Years ago, Kimberly Lillywhite was encouraged to write down her goals and dreams and then map out the route to achieve them. She decided that she had three goals in life: become an elementary school teacher, a wife and a mother in that order. But Kimberly soon found out that life creates its own road map.
Kimberly attended college right after high school, where she met her husband, Justin. As a young couple trying to finish school and work to pay the bills, she cut her schooling to part-time. She soon found out she was pregnant with their first child and her dream of becoming a teacher seemed distant.
Over the next several years, medical roadblocks were put in her path as she received diagnoses of auto immune diseases, meningitis and cancer that eventually spread to her spine.
Throughout her trials, Kimberly volunteered at local schools as well as through the PTA, serving on community councils. She realized how much she loved children and wanted to make a difference in their lives. "Many times people told me that I missed my calling in life by giving up on college and I would have made a really great teacher," Kimberly said. "I smiled and hoped that when the time was right, I would finish."
When her youngest child was in the first grade, she enrolled at WGU.
With the support of her family and the help of Western Governors University, Kimberly was able to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. "I have been able to get past the road blocks and become the best wife, mother and WGU college graduate," Kimberly said during her speech at WGU's summer commencement. "It just took me 18 years longer than I anticipated."
Kimberly was recently named Davis School District's Elementary Educator of the Year. And finally, her first goal of being a teacher will come true this fall when she starts teaching the sixth grade at Layton Elementary School in Layton, Utah.