Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Site Content
Expand About JUAbout JUAbout JU
Expand Academic AdvisingAcademic AdvisingAcademic Advising
Expand Academic AffairsAcademic AffairsAcademic Affairs
Expand AcademicsAcademicsAcademics
Expand Accelerated Degree ProgramAccelerated Degree ProgramAccelerated Degree Program
Expand AdmissionsAdmissionsAdmissions
Expand AlumniAlumniAlumni
Expand AspireAspireAspire
Expand AviationAviationAviation
Expand Aviation_OldAviation_OldAviation_Old
Expand BiologyBiologyBiology
Expand Campus ActivitiesCampus ActivitiesCampus Activities
Expand Campus LifeCampus LifeCampus Life
Expand Campus MinistriesCampus MinistriesCampus Ministries
Expand Campus SecurityCampus SecurityCampus Security
Expand Career Development CenterCareer Development CenterCareer Development Center
Expand Center for Teaching and LearningCenter for Teaching and LearningCenter for Teaching and Learning
Expand CHSOldCHSOldCHSOld
Expand College of Arts and SciencesCollege of Arts and SciencesCollege of Arts and Sciences
Expand College of Fine ArtsCollege of Fine ArtsCollege of Fine Arts
Expand College of Health ScienceCollege of Health ScienceCollege of Health Science
Expand College of Interdisciplinary and Professional StudiesCollege of Interdisciplinary and Professional StudiesCollege of Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies
Expand Colleges & SchoolsColleges & SchoolsColleges & Schools
Expand CommunicationCommunicationCommunication
Expand Computing SciencesComputing SciencesComputing Sciences
Expand ControllerControllerController
Expand Davis College of BusinessDavis College of BusinessDavis College of Business
Expand Department of ChemistryDepartment of ChemistryDepartment of Chemistry
Expand DepartmentsDepartmentsDepartments
Expand Division of HumanitiesDivision of HumanitiesDivision of Humanities
Expand Division of Student LifeDivision of Student LifeDivision of Student Life
Expand Dolphin AlliesDolphin AlliesDolphin Allies
Expand Dolphinium RecordsDolphinium RecordsDolphinium Records
Expand DuplicatingDuplicatingDuplicating
Expand EchoEchoEcho
Expand Employee Advisory CouncilEmployee Advisory CouncilEmployee Advisory Council
Expand EngineeringEngineeringEngineering
Expand EnglishEnglishEnglish
Expand Event SchedulingEvent SchedulingEvent Scheduling
Expand Experts ListExperts ListExperts List
Expand Faculty & StaffFaculty & StaffFaculty & Staff
Expand Finance & AdministrationFinance & AdministrationFinance & Administration
Expand Financial AidFinancial AidFinancial Aid
Expand FrenchFrenchFrench
Expand Freshman Interest NetworkFreshman Interest NetworkFreshman Interest Network
Expand GeographyGeographyGeography
Expand Green Pages Student HandbookGreen Pages Student HandbookGreen Pages Student Handbook
Expand HistoryHistoryHistory
Expand HonorsHonorsHonors
Expand Human ResourcesHuman ResourcesHuman Resources
Expand HumanitiesHumanitiesHumanities
Expand Information TechnologyInformation TechnologyInformation Technology
Expand Institutional EffectivenessInstitutional EffectivenessInstitutional Effectiveness
Expand Institutional Review BoardInstitutional Review BoardInstitutional Review Board
Expand International Student ServicesInternational Student ServicesInternational Student Services
Expand Journal of Research Across the DisciplinesJournal of Research Across the DisciplinesJournal of Research Across the Disciplines
Expand JU BlogJU BlogJU Blog
Expand JU CheerleadingJU CheerleadingJU Cheerleading
Expand JU Marching BandJU Marching BandJU Marching Band
Expand JU NewsJU NewsJU News
Expand JU Public Policy InstituteJU Public Policy InstituteJU Public Policy Institute
Expand JU Public Policy Institute - OldJU Public Policy Institute - OldJU Public Policy Institute - Old
Expand JU Sailing TeamJU Sailing TeamJU Sailing Team
Expand JU Shooting ClubJU Shooting ClubJU Shooting Club
Expand JUDevJUDevJUDev
Expand JUTrainingJUTrainingJUTraining
Expand Leadership & LearningLeadership & LearningLeadership & Learning
Expand MARCOMARCOMARCO
Expand Marketing & CommunicationsMarketing & CommunicationsMarketing & Communications
Expand MathematicsMathematicsMathematics
Expand Media BoardMedia BoardMedia Board
Expand Military and Veterans InformationMilitary and Veterans InformationMilitary and Veterans Information
Expand MSRIMSRIMSRI
Expand MSRI BackupMSRI BackupMSRI Backup
Expand NROTCNROTCNROTC
Expand OrientationOrientationOrientation
Expand ortho_devortho_devortho_dev
Expand Parent & FamiliesParent & FamiliesParent & Families
Expand PhilosophyPhilosophyPhilosophy
Expand Physical PlantPhysical PlantPhysical Plant
Expand PhysicsPhysicsPhysics
Expand Post OfficePost OfficePost Office
Expand PPI DevPPI DevPPI Dev
Expand PresidentPresidentPresident
Expand PurchasingPurchasingPurchasing
Expand RegistrarRegistrarRegistrar
Expand Residential LifeResidential LifeResidential Life
Expand School of EducationSchool of EducationSchool of Education
Expand School of OrthodonticsSchool of OrthodonticsSchool of Orthodontics
Expand Science, Math and Engineering DayScience, Math and Engineering DayScience, Math and Engineering Day
Expand SearchSearchSearch
Expand Service LearningService LearningService Learning
Expand Social ScienceSocial ScienceSocial Science
Expand SpanishSpanishSpanish
Expand Sport & Exercise Science ConferenceSport & Exercise Science ConferenceSport & Exercise Science Conference
Expand Sport and Exercise ScienceSport and Exercise ScienceSport and Exercise Science
Expand Student Counseling CenterStudent Counseling CenterStudent Counseling Center
Expand Student Involvement and LeadershipStudent Involvement and LeadershipStudent Involvement and Leadership
Expand Student ResourcesStudent ResourcesStudent Resources
Expand Student Success ProgramsStudent Success ProgramsStudent Success Programs
Expand Student Support ServicesStudent Support ServicesStudent Support Services
Expand Study AbroadStudy AbroadStudy Abroad
Expand Support JUSupport JUSupport JU
Expand SustainabilitySustainabilitySustainability
Expand temptemptemp
Expand TRIO Student Support ServicesTRIO Student Support ServicesTRIO Student Support Services
Expand Tutoring and Learning CenterTutoring and Learning CenterTutoring and Learning Center
Expand WaveWaveWave
Expand Wilma's Little People's SchoolWilma's Little People's SchoolWilma's Little People's School
Expand Writing Across the CurriculumWriting Across the CurriculumWriting Across the Curriculum
Expand Writing at JUWriting at JUWriting at JU
Expand Writing CenterWriting CenterWriting Center
DocumentsDocuments
Page Banner LibraryPage Banner Library
ScriptsScripts
Expand Site AssetsSite AssetsSite Assets
Site Collection DocumentsSite Collection Documents
Expand Style LibraryStyle LibraryStyle Library
FacultyPicsFacultyPics
Featured StoriesFeatured Stories
Large PicturesLarge Pictures
MainPage Banner LibraryMainPage Banner Library
News ImagesNews Images
NewsIconsNewsIcons
Spotlight BannersSpotlight Banners
CalendarCalendar
CategoriesCategories
Content and Structure ReportsContent and Structure Reports
FacultySpotlightFacultySpotlight
Helpful LinksHelpful Links
ImagesImages
InTheNewsInTheNews
Main Menu HeadersMain Menu Headers
Main Menu LinksMain Menu Links
NewsNews
PagesPages
Reusable ContentReusable Content
Site Collection ImagesSite Collection Images
Site PagesSite Pages
TagsTags
Top NavigationTop Navigation
University LinksUniversity Links
Workflow TasksWorkflow Tasks

Title

Once a homeless teen, now she's graduating from Jacksonville University with a 4.0

Body

By Phillip Milano

When Jacksonville University student Patricia Tracey walks from one side of the stage to the other this Saturday, May 5,patriciatracey2.jpg to receive her diploma, she’ll be doing it not only for herself, but for her siblings and everyone else who’s strived to make it to the other side of homelessness and despair.
 
Tracey, 31, a Navy veteran, will take home a B.B.A. in Accounting and a 4.0 GPA, but also the much-earned respect of her peers and teachers for overcoming many obstacles, snaring numerous honors and volunteering to help others.
 
Her story is one of triumph over loneliness, family trials and poverty.
 
“When I was 14, I didn’t see how I’d make it to adulthood, and never saw myself getting to age 30,” she said. “Now I tell folks who are going through hard times that it does get better.”
 
In fact, growing up impoverished with an alcoholic mother, Tracey’s first glimmer of hope came at 11 in South Florida, when she heard the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by Jacksonville’s James Weldon Johnson. She became inspired by its message that with hard work and perseverance, life does improve.
 
Things would have to get much worse for her, though, before they got better.
 
Kicked out of her home in her teen years, she found herself on the streets and homeless by 17, scraping by, living with family on and off and scrounging for food. patriciatracey4.jpg
 
Even before then, trying to find her next meal had already become a major part of her young life.
 
“My coping mechanism was to try to be a mother to my twin and even my older brother. I babysat, walked dogs, anything to earn money for food. We’d go to food pantries. The worst was when my dad left when I was 14. I’d go out and try to get a box of pasta for $1, cook it and put some butter and salt or pepper on it. That was our meal.”
 
Fast forward, and Tracey spent her young adulthood working waitressing and contract jobs before joining the Navy, with stops in Jacksonville from 2004-07 and a tour in Bahrain from 2007-09.
 
She received a scholarship to Jacksonville University, and also benefited from the G.I. Bill.
 
Now she’s in several honor societies, including the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society, the Green Key Honorary Leadership Society at Jacksonville University, the Brumos Circle of Excellence at JU, the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and the Beta Gamma Sigma business society at JU.
 
“The JU community is incredible and a huge part of my success,” she said. “You get to know the other students, and the teachers really care to help you succeed, whatever your learning style is. Everyone had my back.”
 
One of those who did was Dr. Ruth O’Keefe, professor of accounting in the Davis College of Business, who taught Tracey in four classes. She described Tracey as a “born leader who is very other-centered.”
 
“I’ve had thousands of students over 30-plus years, and she is at the very top in every way,” O’Keefe said. “She passes on what she knows to fellow students and to others coming after her. She pays it forward, and it’s beautiful to watch.”
 
One way of passing on what she’s learned to other students is through her work as a business tutor at the Tutoring and Learning Center at Jacksonville University.
 
When she’s not providing guidance in accounting or finance, she’s volunteering, often for the Jacksonville non-profit Horse Sense and Sensitivity (see http://horsesensejax.org/), which provides therapeutic horse-riding for people with disabilities.
 
Tracey also was a “Shavee” for the St. Baldrick's Foundation in September 2011. She raised $2,690 for the group and also had her head shaved to stand in solidarity with youths battling cancer (see http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/Patty).
 
Her message of hope for youths?
 
“There’s lots I can’t control, but the things I can’t control will change, and the things I can control, I must make the best of them so I can take advantage and succeed,” she said. “In the end, you have to have hope for the future -- and perseverance for now.”

 

Expires

 

IsTim

 

Category

 

Category:Category

 

tags

 

Attachments

Created at 5/5/2012 9:05 AM by Milano, Phillip
Last modified at 5/5/2012 9:05 AM by Milano, Phillip