Peoria native talks about journey from Taft Homes upbringing to master’s degree graduation

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PEORIA, Ill. — A local self-proclaimed goal-getter, dreamer and “force to be reckoned with” is taking the next step in her success. 

Michaura Gordon has gone viral on Facebook after she made a post about her upbringing and success. Gourdon says it doesn’t matter where you start; it’s where you finish. She and her siblings grew up in public housing in Peoria’s Taft Homes.

“To me, we got everything we wanted,” said Gordon. “Now that I’m older and I’m like, ‘wait. we lived in Taft Homes to obviously we didn’t have everything I thought we had at that time.’

She says it was her mother’s hard work and persistence that inspired her to work hard to reach her goals.

“I had no idea that she didn’t have this great grandiose job. She was so positive and she talked to us a lot about how she was brought up and that she wanted us to be different.” 

Saturday, Gordon will receive her master’s degree in education and licensure for professional counseling. She did all this while raising her two boys and working full time. 

“I would go to work at 6 p.m. and get off at 6 a.m, go home, eat breakfast, shower, and then go to my internship. I would get off of work at my internship, go pick up my kids from school. Either do homework, we had sporting events I had to go to. I had my own homework, and I still had my household duties I had to do.” 

She’s not the only success story to com from her apartment at Taft Homes. Gordon’s sister has been practicing cosmetology for several years and just graduated with her cosmetology instructor license. Her brother works for Komatsu. She says she’d like all of them to vist Taft Homes together.

“We need to go down there because this is us, it’s a part of us, we come from here. And all three of our mom’s kids are doing something amazing with our lives.” 

Gordon will celebrate this Mother’s Day as a daughter, a mother, and a new degree-holder. 

To her mother, she says this: “Thank you. I’m proud of you. She is so strong in every sense of the word. If she hadn’t been so determined, my brother, my sister, and I could all be somewhere … who knows? I am beyond grateful.” 

And as for what she wants her sons to take away from her story: “It doesn’t matter where you start off, you can always finish. Your start and the valleys, everything that is in between has nothing to do with where you finish. Just stay determined, keep moving, and whatever you want to do, you will succeed.”

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