By Patricia Williams
Eldrea Ann Taylor completed a journey that began over 30 years ago. At 63-years old, she has earned her Bachelor’s in Organizational Management from Nyack College in New York in May. She attended class on the Washington, D.C. campus. She also obtained her Procurement and Public Contracting Certification from the University of the District of Columbia this year.
Taylor is a native Knoxvillian from the Lonsdale community; and a 1972 Rule High School graduate. She was the apple on her daddy’s eye and was named by him. Her father is deceased Eldred Taylor, the well-known founder and lead singer of the original Royal Travelers Gospel group of 1950 through the early 80s.
Taylor briefly attended Knoxville College before the birth of her son, Taru Taylor. A few years later she moved to Washington, DC and continues to live in that area.
Over the years, Taylor has advanced her goals – one small step at a time while raising her son and working full-time. Both mother and son earned degrees in May. Taru graduated from top-ranked Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio with his J.D.; Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.
Taylor is contemplating tossing her hat into her local political arena this November.
“I want people to know, especially women and women of color, that we can do anything as long as we stay true to ourselves and focus. Where you came from doesn’t matter. Focus on who you are” is a message Taylor wants to impart as she proceeds to set new personal goals, and make the most of opportunities presented along the way.
Alison Duncan, 57, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, School of Social Work. Duncan is a native of Guyane, South America. In 2015 she visited Syracuse, NY, when her daughter Enkeshi Thom, received her Master’s Degree from Syracuse University.
This was not her first trip to North America, but this time she decided to stay. She envisioned landing a job in her field, re-establishing her life and being close to her daughter. But first Duncan needed an acceptable high-school diploma in order to attend college. Duncan was undeterred and accepted the challenge.
She wanted to be more competitive in the workforce. So she took remedial classes at Syracuse and passed the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) test in short order, according to Duncan.
She returned to Guyane and earned an Associate Degree in Human Services from Onondaga Community College. But she was not finished.
Her next trip to North America was to Knoxville, TN. Both she and her daughter enrolled at UT. Duncan has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work; and her daughter continues to work toward a Doctorate.
Duncan is self-sufficient and has worked since coming to North America, and is now seeking a position in her field of Social Services.