Husband, wife to share PDCCC graduation stage

Published 9:38 am Friday, May 11, 2012


Husband and wife Tony and Raquel Newsome will graduate today, May 11, from Paul D. Camp Community College. -- Submitted | Wendy Harrison

FRANKLIN—Raquel and Tony Newsome Sr. will take a second walk down the aisle today, May 11.

The Franklin husband and wife won’t be renewing their vows. Both will receive degrees during Paul D. Camp Community College’s 7 p.m. graduation ceremony at the Regional Development Workforce Center in Franklin.

Tony Newsome Sr., 40, will leave with an associate’s degree in police science. Raquel Newsome will receive her associate’s in education and a certificate in general education.

It hasn’t been easy for the parents of four.

Tony Newsome lost his job at International Paper after the 2009 announcement of the Franklin mill’s closure. At about the same time, his wife lost her job as a hairstylist at SmartStyle.

They chose to continue their education.

“I looked at some other colleges in the area, but

PDCCC offered the same degree and it is closer to home,” Raquel Newsome said.

She began taking classes the first time in 2001, but with two in daycare, it didn’t pan out. Returning to school was exciting and hard.

“It opened up a new world,” Tony Newsome said. “I hadn’t been to school in 23 years. The roughest part was getting adjusted the first three or four weeks. I almost quit.”

Now, the couple encourages others with families to give it their best.

“I didn’t think I was going to stay for the long haul,” said Tony Newsome. “You just have to discipline yourself.”

“And don’t be afraid to ask for help,” his wife added.

The Newsomes say having assistance enabled them to achieve their goals. Tony Newsome’s parents helped get their children to extracurricular activities.

“You need to find outside support,” Raquel said.

Tony was recently hired at the repurposed International Paper fluff pulp mill, which will begin operating in June.

“I’ll use my degree as something to fall back on,” he said. “I also plan to complete the rest of the classes to get my degree in corrections.”

Raquel, who plans to get a bachelor’s degree, serves a senator with the Student Government Association and is a member of the

PDCCC Book Club. The Newsomes are active in Student Support Services.

Their children are Tonellia, 20; Tony Jr., 16; and To’Quawn and Qur’an, both 13.