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Green Amanda Cavin
Name: Amanda Cavin '15
Residence: Edgemoor, S.C.

Amanda cavin family

Recent Winthrop University graduate Amanda Cavin '15 had her graduation day marked on her calendar for most of her last two years, and she happily told anyone who asked the date and time.

Of course, she expected to shed several tears. In the audience was her husband and four children: son Ian, 19; and daughters Jennings, 17; Kaci, 15; and Emma, 13.

“I will be proud of what I’ve accomplished and for my kids to see it,” Cavin said before graduation. “Not graduating college had always been the biggest regret of my life. How many people can say they got to go back and fix that regret?”

Cavin, 43, is a first-generational, post-traditional student who completed an early childhood education degree in the Richard W. Riley College of Education. After graduating from Northwestern High School in 1989, she enrolled in Winthrop for two semesters, but lacked the self-discipline for which the rigorous course material called.

She was working in administration at Saluda Trail Middle School when budget cuts eliminated her job, and her thoughts returned to her big regret: not finishing college.

“It was my husband who said, ‘You’ve always wanted to go back to school,’ and I realized I wanted to,” she said. “I was excited and scared.”

Being a full-time student, mother and wife was a balancing act and a sacrifice, she said. She worked in the Instructional Technology Center to help pay for her child’s music lessons.

“It’s a sacrifice of time with my family,” she said. “But it’s funny because every once in a while they ask me about my grades. Once I get home, I’m mom.”

That means encouraging her children to tackle the college dream as well.

“Being a first-generation college student, of course I want that for them,” she said. “I want them to go to college. I want them to not have the struggle that we’ve had.”

At first, coming back to Winthrop as a post-traditional student, Cavin was a little intimidated, but said the faculty and staff — particularly those in the College of Education — have been wonderful. She is also grateful for the scholarships she received.

Cavin was a McNair Scholar during the summer of 2013, where her research focused on how teachers measure and define quality, which presented at a national conference and took home first place in education. Cavin also made the Dean’s List and served as president of the Palmetto State Teacher’s Association on campus.

Ultimately, she hopes to earn her master’s degree in in RTI, response to intervention. Later down the road, she would love to become a principal.

“My whole philosophy is, if I’m a teacher in a classroom of 25 kids, I can impact 25 kids,” Cavin said. “If I’m a principal, I can oversee 30 to 40 teachers who are impacting 25 lives each. I can make a bigger difference that way.”

Last updated 6/10/15

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