TTU commencement a family affair for four teaching sisters

thumb sistersCollege friends and professors often say their peers are like family, but for four sisters earning degrees Saturday at Tennessee Tech University, that statement is literally true.

Four of TTU’s newest graduates are sisters Heather Bowman (’01), Shannon Watson (’04), Lora Cravens (’06) and Lisa Watson (’07). Already TTU alumnae by virtue of having their bachelor’s degrees from Tennessee Tech, Lora finished her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in the summer, and each of her sisters received education specialist degrees in curriculum and instruction at the end of fall term.

TTU has one commencement for both summer and fall graduates, so the opportunity presented itself for the four sisters to go through the ceremony together.

“It’s amazing, I never imagined this would happen,” said their mother, Charlotte Watson. She and her husband, Buddy, live in Crawford and say they are proud of their daughters’ accomplishments as first-generation college students.

“It’s all them, their determination and hard work,” she said. “God has blessed us, and we give Him all the credit.”

Not only do the sisters share a college graduation day, they also teach together in their rural communities in Fentress and Overton counties.

Shannon and Heather teach at Wilson Elementary School in Crawford, in Overton County. Shannon teaches third grade, and Heather is Title I coordinator for the school. Heather works with students in all grades, particularly with reading skills.

Lora and Lisa work together at South Fentress Elementary School in Grimsley. Lora teaches sixth grade reading, and Lisa teaches sixth grade math.

“As little girls we were always playing school. When we were older we taught Sunday School and Bible School. We enjoyed working with children,” said Heather.

“We knew teaching was the right career for us. We are thankful we choose a career that is rewarding but challenging at the same time.”

Shannon, Lisa and Heather started working on the master’s degree in instructional leadership in January 2009 and continued to complete the Ed.S., taking off one semester. Lora started on her master’s degree in the fall of 2010. She plans to return to TTU in January to work on her Ed.S.

Apply Now