Father and daughter graduate together

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Father and daughter graduate together

Story by Taylor Shuck, Editor

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Most children ask their parents for help on their science project, but Dave Drovetta would ask his daughter for help on his homework. When father and daughter are in school at the same time, it’s just part of the experience.

“You know, asking her for help was OK,” Dave said. “Teresa is really good at what she does, so it was good advice. My other daughter (Laura) is a middle school math teacher and I touched base on her for an algebra question. That’s one of the things about being a resourceful student, getting assistance from all possible places, including your children.”

He and his daughter, Teresa Drovetta, are earning their respective degrees from Baker University at the same time, Teresa with a bachelor of science degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and Dave with a bachelor of business administration degree from the School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Dave jokes that, although they were on different campuses, the two were classmates.

“When we figured out that we would be graduating together, I thought it was a little ironic that I would be graduating at the same time as my youngest child,” Dave said. “It was a lot of fun. Baker’s a great school. Laura is a Baker grad, so we’ve had very good experience with Baker University.“

Although the two are on different career paths, they did share a mutual bond over being in school together.

“We would proofread each other’s papers and talk about our homework together,” Teresa said.

Dave started at Baker’s SPGS program in the midst of his time as mayor of Gardner and his full-time job. He had started college in 1976 but says that life got in the way for him.

“When I started college, I basically wasn’t ready, so I thought I would work for a little while,” Dave said. “After a little while I just kept working, got married, had kids and and life got away. I always thought about going back to school but there was always an excuse not to. Now I’m at a point in my life, Teresa is the youngest, I ran out of excuses so I decided to finish my degree.”

Teresa said his journey back to college was a major inspiration for her during her time at Baker.

“It puts a lot of perspective for me,” Teresa said. “I have a lot of harder classes than he does, but he has a lot more responsibilities than I do. So if he can do it, I can do it, too. And we both did.”

They both will also be holding a graduation celebration together, something neither had ever thought would happen. Although both will be sharing the festivity, Teresa believes it is more of a recognition of her father’s achievements than anything.

“To me, I think this graduation is more of a celebration for him than it is for me,” Teresa said. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve done, but he’s been out of school for so long. It takes so much courage to come back to school after that much time.”

Teresa transferred to Baker from Kansas State University following her sophomore year. Her mother, Margaret Drovetta, received a position at BU in the Office of the Registrar as an academic records assistant.

She said her parents did not pressure her to transfer, but after hearing of both of their experiences, it seemed like a positive transition.

“When my mom got a full-time job here, it just seemed like a good idea,” Teresa said. “I didn’t take advantage of a large school; I have good stories and met good people at K-State, but strictly academic speaking, I’m so happy I got a chance to transfer to Baker. I wish I would have spent all four years of my college years here.”

Both will also be continuing their education. Teresa hopes to apply to the Baker School of Nursing, and Dave will be pursuing his master’s degree.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Dave said. “And it’s very possible that another combined graduation could happen again together in two years.”