Part one: Parents pursue their education dreams

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Students at the Bridgeport campus of West Virginia Junior College were busy wrapping up their final exams Thursday. For many, it marked another step in pursuing their dreams, on behalf of themselves and their children.

"It's a sense of accomplishment, really," Amber Glaspell, 20, said. "Because you're juggling two things at one time."

Glaspell is a single mom and an aspiring nurse. Several years ago, she attended West Virginia University, but dropped out after one semester.

"I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field, but I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do," she said.

When her daughter Riley was four-months-old, Glaspell decided to give it another shot. She enrolled in classes at West Virginia Junior College in August of 2016.

"I've always been passionate about what I do, so I wanted to go back because I knew if I didn't go back, I probably wouldn't go back," she said.

When she signed up for classes, Glaspell knew she was making a sacrifice.

"It takes time away from being a parent, because you have to focus on your school work and you don't really have a lot of time with your children," she said. "You kind of have to find a balance. It's definitely really hard."

At West Virginia Junior College, Glaspell is hardly alone. Jenica Frye, the campus president, estimates that about 70% of the student population are single moms between age 20-23.

"We become their cheerleaders," Frye said. "A lot of them don't have family support, so we're here to cheer them on and get them through those rough days."

Glaspell considers herself lucky. While she's at class, her mom is taking care of two-year-old Riley.

And speaking of cheerleaders--Glaspell says Riley takes the role as captain.

"When I come home, it's always nice," Glaspell said. "Because she's always waiting on me or she'll ask me how my day is."