It took 16 years for Jennifer Georgeson to find her home, and several years after that before she found a school that she could call home to continue her education.
Now Georgeson, 33, will get settled into a new career as a paralegal after her May 18 graduation from Chippewa Valley Technical College. She has adoptive parents in Durand and a family of her own in Eau Claire.
Georgeson, who was selected as the student speaker for the ceremony, was one of 630 graduates in 52 programs honored at CVTC’s spring commencement ceremony at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena. The previous day 52 students in seven programs were honored at the CVTC River Falls campus graduation, along with three students recognized for receiving their GEDs.
“I grew up in the foster care system, so I bounced from house to house until my family adopted me when I was 16,” Georgeson said.
She entered foster care at birth. When she was 11, one of the many families she had lived with sent her to Robert and Kimberly Cropp of Durand while they took a vacation.
“I found out years later that when the others came back to pick me up, the Cropps told them they wanted to keep me, Georgeson said. “When I was 14, they asked if they could adopt me. By the time they asked to adopt me, it really felt like home.”
Georgeson was involved in many athletic and school activities in Durand, where she graduated in 2003. When it came time for college, she tried UW-Barron County but admits she really didn’t know what she was going to school for and subsequently dropped out.
In 2008, tragedy struck when her boyfriend, who planned to propose to her, suddenly died of a heart aneurism. “I was either going to go off the deep end or I was going to reach for my dream,” Georgeson said. “He knew I wanted to be a lawyer someday.”
Georgeson excelled at a for-profit private college but discovered too late that she wasted her money for credits that wouldn’t transfer anywhere. She landed at CVTC on the Friday before a new semester started. She was admitted to the school, enrolled in the paralegal program and started classes the following Monday.
CVTC was a family affair for Georgeson. While there she met Garrett Georgeson in 2012. They married in 2016, when both were attending CVTC and they now have two children.
Garrett Georgeson graduated in the criminal justice-law enforcement program the same day as his wife.
Jennifer Georgeson has accepted a paralegal position at an Eau Claire law firm.