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This UMES family is doubly proud

  • Friday, May 13, 2016

    Michel'le White and Kanisha Stewart ~ Class of 2016PRINCESS ANNE, MD.- (May 13, 2016) - They could have given up at any point and understandably so, going to classes while holding down jobs and caring for young children.  But Michel'le White and Kanisha Stewart of Princess Anne had something in their favor - each other. 

    The step-sisters are about to graduate at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's 129th spring commencement exercises, where they will join 470 of their peers as they walk across the stage to accept their diplomas - well deserved.

    “Oh, it's going to be the most amazing feeling to see them achieve their goals,” said Anna White, Kanisha's mother, with a heaven-ward glance.  “I'm so excited and proud of both of them.”

    “Relief” was the first word that came to mind for Dr. James White. 

    Michel'le, as the daughter of UMES' associate vice president for student affairs, grew up on the UMES campus as a “Wee Hawk” and was able to “show her sister the ropes” of college life.  The two had occasional classes together, joined some of the same school activities, studied together and shared their knowledge when one was better at a subject than the other.

    “Michel'le is the more outspoken of the two of us, so she encourages me to network and socialize more,” Stewart said.  Both were members of the university's gospel choir, drama society, academic quiz competition team and active in other organizations.

    When Michel'le, 24, became a parent two months ago to daughter Amara, it was Stewart, 23, mother to two-year-old Kyree, who returned the favor.

    “I told her it's hard to juggle it all, but stressed not being afraid to ask for help,” Stewart said.  “Prioritize and organize everything from work and class schedules to homework and doctors' appointments and always plan ahead for the unexpected.”  Stewart, who was a junior at the time, sat for her finals the week after her son's birth.

    Fortunately, the two had solid support from family.

    “At one time, they both wanted to take a semester off and we encouraged them to stay in school,” Anna White said.  “They made it.”

     When they graduate May 20, it will be with their own cheering squad; their two children and seven siblings (a UMES alum among them) along with their parents.

    Kanisha, who concentrated in hospitality and tourism management, will continue employment at Salisbury's Marriott Residence Inn, where she will train as a manager following commencement exercises. 

    “I'm ready to start my new journey-the next step,” she said.  She aspires to one day be general manager of a five-star hotel and “work my way up to corporate leadership.”

    Sociology major Michel'le is hopeful of securing “a state job in one of the three lower counties working for the health or social work departments.”

    Her advice to single moms in school; “Don't give up” and for those looking to attend college; “Do it.”  “Focus on the most important part of what you're trying to achieve-the degree,” she said.  “It might be challenging now, but it will all pay off in the end-bettering yourself and your child/children.  Utilize resources on campus like counseling services, the tutoring center and don't be afraid to ask for help.”


    UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 651-6669