Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville woman's journey takes her across PHCC stage

Dawn Bloxsom, 35, will be graduating today from Pasco-Hernando Community College. The married mother of four is getting a degree in human services.


Dawn Bloxsom, 35, will be graduating today from Pasco-Hernando Community College. The married mother of four is getting a degree in human services.

BROOKSVILLE – Dawn Bloxsom went back to school with a drive to help others. Along the way, she learned how to help herself and her family cope with the challenges of mental illness.

Bloxsom, 35, makes no secret of her struggles with bipolar disorder. Her battle to overcome the mood swings and depression associated with the disorder has been the driving force behind Bloxsom's four-year climb that will culminate in an educational milestone today.

Bloxsom is one of an estimated 776 Pasco-Hernando Community College graduates earning degrees this spring. About 332 of those graduates will walk across the stage today at the New Port Richey campus. It will be a sweet moment for Bloxsom, who will accept her associate's degree in human services.

Bloxsom had her first child when she was 17 and still in high school. Now she is the married mother of four children: two sons ages 12 and 14, and two daughters ages 18 and 8.

When her children were really young, school seemed to be a far off dream. Raising the kids took precedence.

But by 2008, her children had gotten older and the time seemed right. And her job at Walmart was not fulfilling her. She worked her school schedule around her children's activities, and her husband helped out, too.

"I just decided I wanted to work to help people, not to help a big company make money," Bloxsom said.

Having been diagnosed at 19 with bipolar disorder, Bloxsom gravitated toward mental health studies with an eye toward social work. Her studies helped her recognize how the disorder affected her early life.

Bloxsom is president of the PHCC North Campus Psychology Club, a member of National Alliance on Mental Illness and volunteers for the Hernando Youth Initiative, which is completing a resource guide for parents and children facing mental health issues.

"I discovered that for much of my life I was bipolar but didn't have the tools to understand what was going on, and how to get help," Bloxsom said.

Now that she has helped herself, Bloxsom plans to continue her studies to help others. She will attend Saint Leo University in the fall to seek a four-year degree in social work. Then it's on to a master's to become a licensed mental health technician.

"I had children at a very young age," she said, "but I always knew I wanted to go to college. So it's exciting."

. If you go


Pasco-Hernando Community College will hold its spring commencement today in its gymnasium at the West Campus in New Port Richey, 10230 Ridge Road.

PHCC will hold two ceremonies. The 10:30 a.m. ceremony is for candidates earning their associate in science, associate in applied science degrees and applied technology diploma, certificate or GED. The 4 p.m. ceremony is for candidates earning their associate in arts degree.

Brooksville woman's journey takes her across PHCC stage 05/01/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 7:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB


    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  2. What you need to know for Thursday, June 29


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    See that thing in the water? No? That's the point. It's that time of the year when stingrays are often lurking in the sand, often not visibly. Remember to do the stingray shuffle if you're out at the beach this weekend. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  3. Pinellas beaches seeing fewer injuries from stingrays, but the summer is still young


    FORT DE SOTO — Rebecca Glidden leaned back in her lifeguard chair, watching behind sunglasses as families splashed in the water at Fort De Soto's North Beach.

    A Clearwater water safety supervisor demonstrates the stingray shuffle. Pinellas beaches are reporting relatively few injuries from stingrays so far this year, but they anticipate more as the summer wears on. Officials are reminding beachgoers to do the shuffle when they enter the water and keep an eye out for purple flags flying from the lifeguard towers, which indicate stingray activity. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  4. Weeki Wachee River advocates agree to work to resolve issues

    Local Government

    WEEKI WACHEE — Degradation of the Weeki Wachee River is a complex mix of circumstances, with a variety of jurisdictions holding the authority to fix the problems. That has made finding solutions over the years more about frustration than success.

    A boat and kayak drift into one another as they share the narrow passage near Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River in March. Advocates fear too many vessels are damaging the river.
  5. Despite change in Cuba policy, cruise ships sail on


    TAMPA -- It's smooth sailing for cruises from Tampa to Havana, with the first of Carnival Cruise Line's 12 such excursions launching today, two months after Royal Caribbean's initial voyage from Port Tampa Bay to the island.

    The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. President Donald 

Trump's new Cuba policy may not hurt cruises to Havana at all. In fact, it may help these cruises. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times