Thanks to St. Clair County Community College, alumna Patricia F. Tibble never had to give up her dreams of joining the military and becoming an educator.
Tibble serves as the health/physical education and tech teacher at Fort Gratiot Middle School as well as a reservist with the U.S. Navy at Selfridge in Clinton Township.
Tibble grew up in a small country town in Texas. Her parents came from Mexico to the United States for a better life to support her and her seven siblings.
“I remember thinking about my future at a very young age because my parents reminded my siblings and I about their sacrifice for a better life,’” she said. “I worked hard to keep focus on the future. I had dreams about someday joining the military to serve my country that gave so much to my family and as well as going to college to earn a degree in education.”
A graduate of Sudan (Texas) High School, Tibble first attended Ventura County Community College in Oxnard, Calif., while on active duty with the U.S. Navy. She then transferred to SC4 when she and husband Justin moved to Port Huron.
She attended SC4 from 2002-04 where she completed her Associate of Arts degree.
“I attended SC4 to complete general education courses that I did not complete while on active duty in California,” she said. “I found that SC4 offered a teacher introduction course with field work and I enrolled. Based on that experience, I concluded that teaching was definitely the right career pathway for me.”
After SC4, she transferred to Saginaw Valley State University where she graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in K-12 health/physical education. She continued on there to earn her master’s degree in educational leadership for middle/high school in 2014.
“It was an advantage to attend SC4, because it was close to home and convenient to get to the campus library for project meetings and individual research,” Tibble said. “SC4 prepared me to be successful at the university level.”
Tibble said it was 2009 when she decided to return to the Navy Reserves to finish what she started years ago. Since enlisting as a reservist, she has served 14 years of active and reserve duty and plans to serve her country up to retirement.
Today Tibble’s daughter, Candelaria, is following in her mother’s footsteps by attending SC4 through the Blue Water Middle College.
“As a parent and an educator, I know the importance of education,” Tibble said. “When my daughter, Candelaria, and I found out about the Blue Water Middle College at SC4, I knew it was the key to my daughter’s future. She is now in her 13th year and, like me, she is grateful for SC4 because it builds the foundation needed to face challenges at a university.”
“SC4 helped me prepare for academic and personal growth challenges, all which I faced at SVSU,” she added. “While attending SC4, I was a mother and a wife. It was a struggle at times; however, I was able to overcome many obstacles with the help of my husband and mother-in-law, Barb. Thanks to their help, my worries were minimized because I knew my daughter was being taken care of while I was in class and daily chores were being done at home.”
She added, “I am extremely grateful that the instructors at SC4 were understanding and showed that they cared about my goals and accomplishments. I want to be someone my daughter looks up to. My advice is to never give up.”