VA Tech Parent Newsletter
Going back to college age 33 isn’t easy, but it helps if you can count on the support of a loving family. Earl Cherry, from Elk Creek, Virginia, will graduate this spring with a degree in history from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and minors in Latin and political science.
At last Saturday's spring football game, before a cheering crowd in Lane Stadium, Cherry, his wife LuAnn, their children Bruce, Lucy Kate, and Emeline, and his mother Rachel were recognized as the 2015 Virginia Tech Family of the Year.
Joining them on the field for the award presentation was Patty Perillo, Vice President for Student Affairs.
“I could never have made it this far without my wife, my kids, and my mother keeping me going, ” Cherry said. “Mere words cannot express just how grateful to them I truly am.”
The Virginia Tech Family of the Year award is presented annually by the Division of Student Affairs to acknowledge the people who support the university's students. The award honors a parent, family member, or family of a current Virginia Tech student who has made a significant impact on the student’s college success. Presentation of the award coincides with the annual Spring Family Weekend.
To classify Cherry as a non-traditional student is an understatement. He has worked as a barbeque pit master and developed a six-hour course entitled “The Art of Barbecue.” He has been a grocery store department manager and a substitute teacher. He reads, translates, and speaks Latin. He is also active in his church, where he serves as choir director and helps with the youth group.
When he decided to finish his education, Cherry first attended Wytheville Community College, then transferred to Virginia Tech in 2013. He found that the courses were more demanding, the assignments were more time-consuming, the commute was longer, and his involvement in student organizations required spending more time on campus. “I come home exhausted most days, ” he said. “But one thing has never changed. My family was still there behind me, pushing me along.”