Dental Assistant students pose for a "selfie" at graduationChristy Woolsey, a 2017 Salina Area Technical College graduate, knows a thing or two about perseverance and dedication.

During her nine-month dental assistant program at SATC, Woolsey commuted two hours round trip from her hometown of Manhattan to Salina, running out of gas numerous times.

The 33-year-old single mother of two children — 8-year-old Avante Cunningham and 4-year-old An’Aryah Cunningham — has shed her share of tears and spent days without lights in her house, all “to make sure I have a better life for myself and my children.”

“When I walk across that stage today, I will be able to say, ‘Regardless of all I’ve been through, I finally did it,’ ” she said. “I struggled and had my share of adversity, but I finally accomplished what I set out to do.”

Woolsey, who earned her associate degree in dental assistance Saturday, shared the stage at Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts with 131 other SATC graduates.