Mothers Huston, Purchase Set to Add Another Title: Carl Sandburg College Graduate

  Aaron Frey
  Thursday, May 6, 2021 3:49 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

With Mother’s Day approaching, here are the stories of two soon-to-be graduates of Carl Sandburg College who have pulled double duty as successful students and the all-important job of being a mom.

Lindsey Huston: ‘I’m Really Making Her Proud’

Before the start of the school year, Lindsey Huston sat her 8-year-old daughter Alexis down for a heart-to-heart talk.

With Huston beginning Carl Sandburg College’s licensed practical nursing (LPN) program, she wanted Alexis to know things were going to be a little different for Mom for the next several months.

“This isn't going to be work, come home, relax and play with you,” Huston told her. “You're really going to have to be a big girl and give me my time when I say I'm studying.”

As Huston gets set to graduate from Sandburg this month with her LPN certificate, she’s ready to celebrate the moment not only for herself but for Alexis as well.

“I'm proud of myself, but I feel like I'm prouder of her for being understanding for as young as she is,” Huston said. “This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but I know that I'm making a better life for my family. It's crazy to think that I'm this close to the end. I put in so much time and effort, caffeine and tears and we're almost there.”

Alexis was even there to help Huston with part of the program. For one assignment, students had to do a head-to-toe assessment of a patient. Alexis stood in to assist Mom as she recorded all of her vitals.

“She was my little patient,” said Huston, who has been on the dean’s list the last three semesters. “Now when she goes to the doctor, they take her blood pressure and she says, ‘Oh, this is my favorite part!’”

Huston knew from the time she was 10 that she wanted to work in health care. Part of that came from hearing stories from her mom, Kate Biggiam, who worked as a unit secretary at OSF St. Mary Medical Center for 30 years.

“To this day, I feel like this is what I meant to do,” Huston said. “Whether it's at the hospital or nursing home, it doesn't really matter, as long as I'm caring for people.”

Huston’s mother passed away in 2013, when Huston was just 19. While her mom won’t be there to celebrate with her, Huston will have her on her mind when her name and photo come across the screen as a Sandburg graduate.

“I've been thinking that this first degree, this was for her,” Huston said. “My second degree, my RN, will be for my daughter, and then my bachelor's will be for me. I feel like I'm really making her proud.”

Lindsey Huston

Kaitlyn Purchase: ‘I Make It Work For Them’

Working in health care is a bit of a family affair for Kaitlyn Purchase. Her sister is a nurse, and her aunt is a nurse practitioner. Even Purchase’s godmother, Stacy Bainter, has been one of her nursing instructors at Carl Sandburg College.

“Everyone thinks she's going to play favorites, but I honestly think that she pushes me harder,” said Purchase, who will graduate this month from Sandburg’s licensed practical nursing (LPN) program. “She is one of the big reasons I actually did this.”

Purchase has four other reasons— ranging from ages 2-5 — at her Monmouth home that have pushed her to finish her schooling.

“My kids are my biggest motivation,” Purchase said. “I work full-time, I come here full-time and then I'm a mom full-time. It’s a lot of late nights, but I make it work for them. I want to be better for them and give them everything they want from me.”

Purchase first came to Sandburg in 2015 after graduating from Galesburg High School. She left after two semesters when she became pregnant with her first child, 3-year-old Leo. Not long after coming back to Sandburg in 2017, she learned she was expecting another child and left school again when her daughter Maria, now 2, was born.

“I was like, well, I have to do something with my life for my kids,” Purchase said. “They're my motivation, so that's what brought me to Sandburg again.”

She enrolled for a third time in 2019 and, while being a mom and working full time as a nurse technician as OSF St. Mary Medical Center, still earned her way to the dean’s list each of the last three semesters.

Purchase also has what she calls two “bonus kids” — 4-year-old Damion and 5-year-old Loukas — from her fiancée, Adrian Aguilara. While Purchase will soon graduate, her challenge of being a working mom and student isn’t over yet. She plans to take prerequisites this fall at Sandburg to work toward earning her associate degree in nursing.

“You can do anything you set your mind to,” Purchase said. “I mean, I have four kids and I'm doing it, so anyone can do it if they set their mind to it. Being pushed through it, it's a good thing.”

Kaitlyn Purchase

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Aaron Frey