EUREKA, Ill. (WMBD) — On Saturday, May 15, Kerri Berry became the first member of the Uniquely Eureka Promise program to graduate from the honors program, Magna Cum Laude.
Berry is a local mother of four. When she was just 15 years old, she had her first child. As a teenage mother, she graduated from Peoria High School and earned her associate’s degree from Illinois Central College in 2015, but her education plans ended there.
“I thought I would always be unable to pay for college, that something would have to happen, someone would have to believe in me for me to go back, so when I saw it, I thought that might be my opportunity,” Berry said.
The Uniquely Eureka Promise is a Eureka College program that allows successful students who have associate’s degrees but cannot take on the financial burden to attend Eureka tuition-free.
Berry found out about the Uniquely Eureka Promise and now, at 27 years old, she has become the first honors student in the program to graduate Magna Cum Laude.
Berry tapped into a career that interested her while working on her honors thesis and received a job offer from the early learning organization Bright Futures.