Two-and-a-half decades after having her college dreams delayed by the birth of her first child, Brandy Taylor graduated from the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Funeral Services program as part of the class of 2022. “I always wanted to go to college, but sometimes things happen in life to change or delay your course,” Taylor said. “The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was myself. As they say, ‘The hardest part of something is the start.’ Simply being scared to start something new, since I had not been in any school since 1996, was my biggest challenge.”

Brandy decided to begin her journey back to college by enrolling in classes at UAHT in the fall of 2020. “UAHT was my first choice for college because it was the only college in the area to offer funeral service education and because my daughter worked there as an instructor,” Taylor said. “Sometimes you see a child and parent end up in college taking classes together, but it is not often that you see a daughter teaching her mother in college. It was certainly an experience I never imagined would happen.”

Brittni Hardie (Brandy’s daughter) is a Computer and Information Science Instructor at UAHT. “For a long time, I’ve encouraged my mom to go back to college because it would open doors to more opportunities for her,” Brittni said. “I also encouraged her to go into a trade or specialized field where good jobs are in high demand. I knew it would be a challenge for her, but my mom is used to overcoming challenges. She was only fifteen when she became a mom, which presented many challenges in both of our lives. She was there to help me throughout those difficult times, and I was thankful to be in a position where I could now guide her in something that would better her life.”

“Going back to school after being out for so long and while working was a difficult challenge to juggle,” Brandy said. “However, with the help of my daughter, husband, and all the faculty and staff at UAHT, I finally became a college graduate. I encourage anyone thinking of going back to college or even going for the first time not to have second thoughts about attending because it is worth it. In fact, I have already secured a position as an Apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer at Texarkana Funeral Home. With a little hard work and the support you will receive from everyone at UAHT, you too can succeed.”

UA Hope-Texarkana Graduate Brandy Taylor
Pictured: Brittni Hardie, Brandy Taylor, and Bentley Hardie