Woman overcomes years of adversity, homelessness to graduate college

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From homeless mom to college grad, Nikishea Wright overcame obstacle after obstacle to get her diploma, which she will receive Saturday.

The St. Petersburg woman has endured traumas but decided going to college was going to make her stronger. She said her diploma would not have been possible without the support of her three sons and husband, who motivated her to finish the degree she started in 2001.

“Those long nights when I stayed up studying for those exams, those nights when I cried. He assured me that I would be OK, that I would get through it,” said Wright about her husband, Glynn, Sr.

On Saturday at Tropicana Field, she will graduate from St. Petersburg College with a bachelor of science in public policy and administration. Wright said her oldest son, Glynn, Jr., 16, took care of his younger brothers Gavin, 12, and Sirr London, 8, when she studied.

Wright said her cap and gown represent her perseverance through many obstacles in her life.

“I was homeless with my oldest son, he was three years old at the time. We were homeless for about three months,” said Wright.

At that time, she lived out of her car, parking in church lots and taking her son into McDonald’s to wash him up.

“I was determined to get back on track. I was determined to make a better life, and I wanted to, if it was God’s will, never go back down that road again,” she said.

Wright fell into a deep depression after her nephew was killed in 2017.

“I had to take some time away to regroup to get my thoughts together,” said Wright. “I had some phenomenal teachers who worked with my through that transition. So, if it wasn’t for those teachers as well, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here today getting ready to graduate on Saturday.”

So when her family sees her with her cords and cap this weekend, Wright said that moment won’t be just for her.

“I did it for my family. I did it for my kids, and I did it for all those women that think they can’t do it. They can,” she said.

Wright started studying nursing all those years ago but realized she wanted to help people in a different way. She also credits her campus job with the Women on the Way program for her success. The program assists students with scholarships and supplies.

She plans to take a year or two off and help her oldest son get prepared for college, then she plans to go on and study for her master’s degree.