Published: Wed Aug 4, 2004When Dorothy Creekmore of Spencer walks across the stage at Tennessee Tech University’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, she will become only the second blind student in more than 10 years to earn a master’s level degree from the university.
A non-traditional student, Creekmore earned her high school degree when she was 31 and, at her husband’s prompting, enrolled at TTU to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English journalism.
Her master’s degree is in curriculum and instruction, and she holds a certificate to teach English. She carried out her student teaching assignment at the Tennessee School for the Blind and, in the fall, will have a second round of student teaching at the high school in Van Buren County before officially beginning her new career.
“My experiences at TTU were great. Going to another university would have seemed like settling for second best to me. I wouldn’t have done my education any other way,” she said.
Creekmore has been blind since she was an infant. Born prematurely, doctors put her on oxygen to save her life, but little was known at the time about regulating the proper amount for an infant, and it damaged her eyes to the extent of blindness.
Accompanied everywhere by her golden retriever seeing eye or leader dog, Sadie, the pair have long been a familiar sight on the TTU campus, and Sadie — in her own cap and gown — will also be by Creekmore’s side when she graduates on Saturday.
“On Sadie’s first day (with me), she came bounding in and jumped on my bed, licked my face and said, ‘Hi, I’m yours!’ We found an old pair of socks of mine that she could play with and that was that,” Creekmore said.
That was seven years ago, and Sadie — Creekmore’s second leader dog — is still on duty and going strong.
“I can’t think what my life would have been like without these dogs. They opened the world for me,” Creekmore said.