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December 14, 2001

Two ULM students overcome the odds to graduate

25 year-old LaTonya Howard and 22 year-old Jesse Hartle, III, will proudly accept their degree's from the University of Louisiana at Monroe this Saturday, Dec. 15, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. LaTonya is paralyzed from the chest down and Jesse is blind.

LaTonya Howard is from Hammond. She became paralyzed after a car wreck in spring 1998, while she was driving home during a college break. LaTonya says her spinal cord injury has brought her closer to God. She says there were times when she wanted to die, but her faith in God only increased. She says it never dawned on her to not continue and get the work done to finish her degree in Pharmacy. During her college career, she got a one-year scholarship from Walgreen's and a three-year scholarship from the Twin Cities Mayor's Committee for the Disabled. She is a member of Kappa Epsilon (a professional pharmacy fraternity), the Academy of Students of Pharmacy and Alpha Kappa Alpha. LaTonya's family will be at the ceremony. On Monday, LaTonya will drive herself to her new job at St. Francis Medical Center.

Jesse Hartle, III, from New Orleans, majored in Law while at ULM. Jesse says he lived a very normal life while on campus. He currently lives in the Sigma Phi Epsilon house at ULM. Jesse says anyone that pities him doesn't really know him. Jesse says he was brought up knowing how to deal with his blindness in a positive way. He says his worries these days are the same as the other graduates, and he is not sure what will happen next. Jesse stayed involved in many campus organizations while at ULM and he says that is one of the reasons why he enjoyed school so much. Jesse will be taking graduate classes at ULM while in the process of applying to law schools. He is not sure what the future will hold, but he eventually wants to have a professional career. Jesse's family will be at the ceremony. While at ULM, Jesse was an SGA Senator, a delegate to the Greek Council, Chaplain of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and was Homecoming King this year.

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