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Mom credits her 7 kids for graduating top of the class

Ashley Payne addressing graduation ceremony

Ashley Payne | YouTube

Cerith Gardiner - published on 07/21/23

A mom from Florida took inspiration from her large family to help her become the valedictorian of her class.

Some people talk about the sacrifices they make as parents and cite all the things they can no longer do now that they have kids to consider. However, a mom from Florida has actually shared how her seven children inspired her as she studied.

As shared by People, Ashley Payne graduated from Keiser University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. And not only did she do so while raising her seven kids, along with her “other-half,” husband Joseph, she also managed to achieve a perfect 4.0 GPA.

It wasn’t the first time the devout Christian had been top of the class: She was also valedictorian when she graduated from her high school, Families of Faith Christian Academy. She then signed up to college but had to pull out in her freshman year after suffering a pulmonary embolism. The health scare led her to focus on family life, but she returned to college in 2019.

“Aim for the moon …”

The graduate shared in a university press release that on her first day back at college her nine-year-old daughter, Lorelai “sent me to school with a Post-it note in her tiny handwriting that had this phrase ‘Aim for the moon, if you miss, you may hit a star.’” As Payne pointed out: “If she can realize the vast opportunities this world has to offer, so can you.”

And this was just the start of their support, as she shared in her commencement speech that you can see below:

Each step has been marked by the support and love of an amazing family who have been my rock and foundation throughout. To my precious children, you are the reason I strive for greatness and I thank you for the motivation and inspiration you provide every day.

As a mother, Payne went on to give some advice based on her strong faith to the other graduates in her class. Speaking of the Lord’s Prayer, she said:

Christ himself taught this prayer to His disciples, revealing the words He spoke to the Father in his most intimate moments. In its simplicity, this prayer encompasses the essence of our relationship with our Heavenly Creator. Let these words be engraved in your hearts, guide your steps, and comfort you in times of need. For when we utter, “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” we acknowledge our connection to the divine, our dependence on His providence, and our unity as children of God.

The influence of children

The mom from Lakeland, Florida, also explained how her role as a mom-of-many had been key to her decision to become a midwife:

My array of birth experiences, after having seven babies, has put me in a unique position to be able to empathize with most women and has cultivated a passion for birth work as deep-rooted as the oldest Shepherd’s tree.

Keiser University shared how proud they were of Payne’s achievements, stating: “Such determination is common among Keiser University graduates. We live to serve students like Ashley and the many other working parents who are determined to take their next steps toward professional growth. We wish Ashley all the best in the future and encourage her to keep reaching for the stars.”

And now, with the continued support of her family, Payne will now endeavor to obtain a Master of Science degree in Nurse-Midwifery at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

It’s stories like these that serve to remind us of the vital role our families can play in encouraging us to achieve our true potential. And of course, while having kids can be exhausting, they can be our biggest source of inspiration, and our greatest cheerleaders.

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