At an age when most students are thinking about graduating from high school or entering college, 18-year-old Devon Green is getting ready to don cap and gown for Western Carolina University’s commencement Saturday, Dec. 19, and planning what she wants to do after she gets her bachelor’s degree.
Green, a Franklin resident who was raised in Stuart, Fla., enrolled at WCU for spring semester 2009 as a transfer student, and with the academic credits she has earned thus far is on schedule to receive her bachelor’s degree in business administration and law.
Green attended First Baptist Christian School in Stuart from preschool through eighth grade, and then she began taking college courses, primarily at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Fla., where her mother is a member of the business faculty.
Green received her associate degree at Indian River State College, and earned her GED, in May 2008. She began taking prerequisite courses for WCU’s business administration and law program in fall 2008 at two Florida colleges, and finally began her classes at WCU last January, fulfilling a dream that had developed several years before when she went on a tour of campus “and just fell in love.”
Excelling academically at WCU, Green has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average as a member of WCU’s Honors College , while working as an assistant in the office of the provost.
Green said her parents, Michael and Arlene Green of Stuart, and her younger sister Jessie and grandmother, Betty Green, will be attending the Dec. 19 commencement ceremony. On the prospects of receiving her bachelor’s degree at age 18 and going out into the working world, she said, “I’m pretty happy about it. I’m ready to get out there and start doing something.”
One could argue that Green already has done plenty, starting with developing a recycling business with her father when she was just 5 years old. Recognizing that recycling services were not offered to businesses in their area, the father and daughter duo started one and eventually built up a clientele of more than 100 customers. Proceeds from that venture went to charities and the daughter’s college fund.
From ages 9 through 14, Devon Green turned into a young dynamo of a fundraiser, as she was able to raise about $250,000 for various charities around Stuart, including the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, Hibiscus Children’s Center, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
For her first fundraiser, she “donated” her 10th birthday, knocking on doors and asking local residents to donate to the Humane Society instead of giving her gifts. As her fundraising efforts continued over the years, Green made many presentations before various civic organizations to ask for donations.
In recognition of her public service, Green was named a Georgia Pacific Angel in Action in 2004, a Sears’ KidHero in 2002, and a Disney and McDonald’s Millennium Dreamer in 2000.
Green also has served as a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Martin County (Fla.) and for the Humane Society’s pet therapy program, and as a board member for Audubon of Martin County.
Reflecting on the time she has spent in Cullowhee, Green said she has enjoyed interacting with WCU students, faculty and staff – in particular, Malcolm Abel, an associate professor in the College of Business and her academic adviser. Abel passed away recently.
“Dr. Abel always offered his time and guidance to his students without question,” she said. “For me, he became an adviser and teacher, but most of all a friend, and I would not be graduating had it not been for his unconditional support and friendship.”
As she looks toward her future, Green said she plans to move back to Florida to seek employment, and she is looking into enrolling in a graduate program. “I want a job that will positively affect my community and the people around me,” she said.
Looking at the long term, she is interested in eventually earning her doctoral degree. “I would love to teach someday,” she said. “I love sitting in my mother’s classes and watching how she teaches.”
(Editor’s Note: WCU’s Dec. 19 commencement was canceled due to a winter storm. For more information, click on http://news-prod.wcu.edu/2009/12/treacherous-weather-forces-cancellation-of-wcu%E2%80%99s-saturday-commencement/)