CECH Students Thrive Despite Facing Adversity

Stephanie Ghantous, M.A. and Delina “Lora” Moore are two students of the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH) at the University of Cincinnati who are already making a difference in the lives of their communities. These women have truly succeeded in their studies at UC and are both graduating this semester despite facing hardship and adversity.

Ghantous was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as a child. Her doctors told her and her adoptive parents that the possibility of success in all areas for her was minimal. Then in high school, she was diagnosed with a learning disability in math. Ghantous wondered what her future career would look like since she struggled in that subject so much. Finally, when she took a Psychology class in high school, she found an area of study that she loved. Her counselors in school suggested that she pursue School Psychology because Ghantous loved the mixture of Education and Psychology. She took that suggestion and ran with it. She attended UC and worked as a T.A. and research assistant, and has graduated twice so far, despite another major blow: her mother passing away. Ghantous didn’t let even that slow her down, though.

Since attending college, Ghantous has received a B.A. in Psychology, a M.A. in School Psychology and is currently finishing up her studies as an Education Specialist in School Psychology, all in UC’s CECH. She says that her proudest moment in her educational career is “being able to show my parents and family that all of their hard work paid off.” She continues, “My mom, who unfortunately passed away last year after a battle with cancer, used to tell me stories of the hours she would spend teaching me letters and sounds when I was a toddler. Then as I got older, my Dad spent hours with me reviewing multiplication facts and tables, only for me to forget them the next day because my brain doesn’t process information that way. It’s rewarding to know that the hours and frustration put into my success has reached its ultimate level of payoff.”

Lora Moore and her family

Lora Moore and her family

Lora Moore is another very impressive student who has surpassed every obstacle in her way throughout her life as well. At 17 years old, Moore had her oldest son and was told by family and friends that she wouldn’t be able to graduate on time. They also said that she should drop out of high school to focus on her child. Her parents even stopped supporting her. She had only her husband to help her and yet she graduated on time, but didn’t just stop there. She went on to take classes at UC’s Clermont College while raising her first child. There, she was awarded “Outstanding Addiction Studies Student” for her honors of Magna Cum Laude at graduation for her Associate’s Degree in Addiction Studies.

Now, Moore is finishing up her B.A. in Substance Abuse Counseling through CECH and has a G.P.A. of 3.827, which places her in the top 13% of her class, while also raising a total of four children. She has also been selected as one of nine CECH College Marshals at graduation. Moore pursued this field because she has known people in her life who struggled and continue to struggle with addiction. She wanted to help her friends and anyone else struggling get clean by showing them that they can do it. Others, like her, believe in those affected by addiction and support them through the process.

Both women have been working in their fields of study and have made a real impact on those with whom they work. Ghantous works in schools to help the staff and students. She says that she sees differences being made on a daily basis, even just a little, and that it is the most rewarding to her.

Moore has started her own non-profit organization, Project Empower Packs, in which she and volunteers bring backpacks with supplies such as hand warmers, bottled water, toothbrushes, blankets, and journals to the homeless shelter in Covington and pass them out to some of the homeless people nearby. The group usually asks if they need anything else as well, and if they have it, they will give it away too. Moore said that she met a woman named Mary while doing it the first time and she ended up giving Mary the hat off of her head. It made such an impact on her that she decided to do this about every three months. She has also done some work with the House of Peace, a domestic violence shelter through the YWCA in which she says, “A lot of the women I met there changed my life. They showed me that addiction goes hand-in-hand with many other issues, such as domestic violence and homelessness.”

Both women will graduate this week from UC, proving the message that Lora Moore wants to pass on to her sons, “Life’s not easy, but you just have to work hard and do it. Don’t give up. If I can do it, then absolutely anyone can despite the struggles they may face.” Congratulations, ladies!