Ancille, a Hospitality Management alumna, has an extraordinary graduation story: she gave birth to her daughter only two days before returning to campus to participate in her graduation ceremony last December. Although Akilah offered Ancille maternity leave, Ancille replied that she did not want to risk her graduation no matter what the personal cost. She said that graduating from Akilah was her opportunity to create a better life for herself and her newborn daughter.
We at Akilah are constantly in awe of our students’ dedication and commitment to education while performing a delicate balancing act between school, motherhood, and family obligations. Take Odette, for example. A Foundation Year student, Odette must complete intensive courses in English, leadership, and IT before advancing to Akilah’s diploma curriculum. Instead of putting off her important Foundation courses, she brings her newborn to school with her.
Akilah is committed to providing accessible education for women, and we firmly believe that motherhood should never present a barrier to education.
Earlier this year, Akilah rolled out the Independent Study option for current and expectant mothers. Students who choose the Independent Study option will be able to complete their education on a timeline that allows them to devote the time needed to raise a young child.
And later this fall, Akilah is excited to announce the Goldberg/Seibert Nurseries. With a generous donation from Akilah supporters Veronica Goldberg and Jody Seibert, these on-campus crèches will open on both campuses in September.
The nurseries will be a game-changer for many of our students and staff, who will be able to bring their young children to campus without missing school or work. A trained nanny will be employed at each nursery on a full-time basis. Importantly, the crèches will allow Akilah mothers to continue breastfeeding without interrupting their studies.
With almost 40 student and faculty mothers across Akilah’s two campuses, the nurseries will become a lively part of campus. While Akilah students are busy in the classroom, their children will be getting proper and thoughtful care. The Goldberg/Seibert Nurseries will work to make Akilah’s mission more inclusive and sustainable, enabling mothers to create a better life for both themselves and their families.