Griffin is a graduate
It took a few years, but Hillsborough County School Board Chairwoman April Griffin has her college degree.
On Tuesday, following a visit to the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board, Griffin drove to St. Petersburg to pick up her diploma from Eckerd College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts with high honors. She majored in organizational studies with a public leadership track. "I worked hard for this," she said.
Griffin, 46, is serving her third term on the School Board. Often a voice for the struggling student, she dropped out of high school after a difficult childhood in Tampa.
Griffin later earned her GED and worked as a substitute teacher. She got involved in Democratic politics and owned a business. She got married - has managed to stayed married 26 year, she says proudly - and raised two sons. She's served as an advocate for children and the elderly.
She says she sometimes wishes adults in her life had been more forthcoming about their own struggles. "I looked around and I didn't know people's stories," she said. "I didn't know they had made it against all odds." It might have made a difference in the decisions she made in her youth. But it all turned out well, she said.
She won her last re-election with 65 percent of the vote.