Three Sisters Have College Graduations on the Same Day
It was a busy, but very eventful weekend for the Pernesky family of Falls Creek. Jeff and Susanne Pernesky's three daughters all graduated with their own college degrees on the same day, May 5. Two of the girls, Beth and Emily, graduated together at Penn State DuBois commencement ceremonies. The third, Carrie, graduated from the University of South Carolina with her Master of International Social Work degree.
"I think it's really unique, not many families can have three kids graduate college in the same year, and none of us are even twins or triplets," said Beth, who just earned her bachelor degree in criminal justice. She graduated from DuBois Central Catholic High School in 2007.
Emily, the new Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) graduate and 2008 Central Catholic grad, agreed. She said, "I think it is pretty awesome. Our family is unique." She then went on to explain even more ties the family has to Penn State DuBois. "Everyone in our family is Penn State. We all have degrees from here, and we all bleed blue and white."
It's true that everyone in their family, including the parents, are Penn State DuBois alums. Carrie, though she completed her graduate work in South Carolina, did attend the campus after graduating from DuBois Central Catholic High School in 2004. She holds two bachelor degrees from Penn State in HDFS and psychology. Jeff earned an Associate in Business degree at the campus in 1996, and Susanne a degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences in 1979. Emily and Beth's graduations this spring made the Pernesky home a true Penn State Alumni household.
What's more is Jeff has been employed at Penn State DuBois for 34 years as a maintenance mechanic.
"My family is a Penn State family. We eat, sleep, talk, and bleed blue and white," said Carrie. "Most people say 'We are…Penn State.' We say The Perneskys are…Penn State."
Jeff and Susanne attended commencement at Penn State DuBois to see Beth and Emily graduate, just as they had attended Carrie's Penn State graduation. Carrie said she wanted her parents to be there for her sisters.
"What are the odds two universities over 11 hours and five states away would hold graduation on the same day? I can only imagine how hard of a decision it must have been for my parents regarding our graduations," Carrie said. "It would be selfish of me to deny my sisters and my parents the opportunity to experience their undergraduate graduation ceremony. I know my family and I, even though we are hundreds of miles apart, remain close in our minds and our hearts."
As a big sister, a big part of Carrie wanted to be in DuBois for the ceremony, too. She said, "I am very proud of both of my sisters for their academic accomplishments. Beth has not only managed a part-time job, but she has also maintained a strong GPA as a student athlete. Emily has the keen ability to handle multiple tasks at once, all the while having exceptional time management skills. Emily has juggled a part-time job since her freshmen year of college."
The pride Carrie feels, of course, can only be matched by the pride that Mom and Dad feel.
"It's been amazing. Each one of them is so different, and does things their own way, but they're all doing really well," Jeff said. "I'm equally proud of them. We've been blessed, truly."
Jeff said having all three of his girls attend the campus where he works and where he and his wife attended has been a joy, as well. He said, "You form bonds. It's life changing. Penn State DuBois changed our lives. It changed our lives for the better. It doesn't matter if you're faculty, staff, or a student, you're family."
Though the impact of the campus on his family has been great, Jeff still keeps things in perspective.
"Even though Penn State DuBois has been a big part of my life, the best thing that has ever happened to me is the four women from the house in Falls Creek."