celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

Navy chief removed obstacles in path

Sherry Philyaw
Age: 41
Occupation: Quality assurance specialist and Navy Reserve Senior Chief

Where did you receive your education?
GED from the University of New Mexico; bachelor's and master's degrees from University of Phoenix; many Navy schools.

How has your education played a role in your life today?
Every single thing I do is affected by the education I received. From the tasks I perform at work, to paying bills, leading sailors, helping my kids with their homework, teaching Boy/Girl Scouts about Nuclear Science - everything.

What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
Although some people think that getting a GED means you are lazy or aren't smart, that's simply not true. I wanted to prove people wrong, so while I was on active duty in the Navy I started taking college classes, one at a time. It took me 15 years and seven or eight colleges to finish my bachelor's degree. I proved them wrong.

What is the value of your education?
Never having to say, "I wish I could do that," because you know that you can do anything as long as you have the ability to learn how.

What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
Go to class, any kind of class. It doesn't matter if it's a continuing education class, a fun class, or a class that leads to a degree.

When did you make education a priority?
... When I realized that if I wanted to be someone I was going to have to overcome the obstacles I put in my own path. Now, as the mother of a 10th-grader and a first-grader, I don't want them to have to work as hard as I did. I think they learned how much I value my education by watching me struggle to get it completed.

What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
I saw in the Navy that the people who were in charge, had the authority, and got to make the decisions were the people who had an education. Without knowledge people are destined to follow.

Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
Holy cow! I probably thought about quitting every single day, especially when my friends were out having fun or late at night when they were already in bed sleeping. Getting an education is hard work. It takes dedication. It takes initiative.

2009 Stories
2008 Archive
calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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