Ginia Moorehead shares her story to encourage others

Penn State York to award 67 degrees at Dec. 16 commencement ceremony
Ginia Moorehead York 2016

Ginia M. Moore, right, a senior in human development and family studies at Penn State York, works with Jane Emery, director of advising and career development and coordinator of the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State York. Despite some tough times in life, Moorehead has persevered and will graduate on Dec. 16 during commencement ceremonies at Penn State York. She is dedicated to making life better for herself and her two daughters.

Credit: Michelle Bixby

YORK, Pa. — “Believe in yourself and what you have to contribute to the world.” That’s advice from Ginia M. Moorehead, who will cross the stage of the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center at Penn State York on Friday, Dec. 16, and receive a bachelor of science degree in human development and family studies.

Moorehead, 24, is a mother of two, a student, and works full time as a child prevention specialist at the Children’s Home of York. She speaks with children throughout York County about staying in school and realizing that no matter their circumstances, they count and can make a difference.

Moorehead is quick to tell you that she was not a model student in high school and that the terminology of being "at-risk" definitely applied to her. The good news is that Moorehead was able to stay positive and keep moving forward in her life.

Not a York native, Moorehead attended Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Maryland, and at age 16, her first child was born. She left Aberdeen and headed to York, Pennsylvania, with the father of her child and his parents. She remembers that this was one of the most difficult times in her life, as she left her family back in Maryland.

“It was a difficult adjustment coming to a new area, a new high school, and leaving my family back in Maryland,” said Moorehead. “I made up my mind to change things.”

Moorehead attended William Penn High School and worked hard to improve her grades and establish relationships. She turned her life around. Through the Talent Search Program, a federally funded TRIO program offered through a grant to Penn State in the York city schools, Moorehead was academically successful and came in contact with some Penn State representatives who encouraged her to attend Penn State York. A particularly positive influence, the late Terrell Jones, who was at that time vice provost for Educational Equity at Penn State, encouraged her to pursue an education at Penn State.

The Talent Search Program identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. The program provides academic, career, and financial counseling to its participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue on to and complete their postsecondary education. The program publicizes the availability of financial aid and assist participant with the postsecondary application process.

After graduating from William Penn High School, Moorehead began her degree at Penn State York in the fall of 2011. She did not have a car and walked 20 minutes or more to day care with her baby and then to campus. Following classes, she walked back to day care, picked up the baby, and then walked home. Moorehead was on her own in York, with no family nearby, but she continued to pursue her degree. She remembers some tough times, but also the help she received from Penn State York faculty and staff, and others in the community she came in contact with through her church, True Bread Community Church in York.  

Moorehead began her educational experience at Penn State York in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. After taking a variety of courses, she decided on the human development and family studies major.

“Ginia is a remarkable young woman and exemplary role model for others. Penn State York is a better place because of her. She continues to serve her community and use her education to improve the lives of others.”

-- Jane Emery, director of advising and career development and coordinator of the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State York

She received scholarships to Penn State through the Equal Opportunity Program, now called the Comprehensive Studies Program, and worked hard in and out of class. She worked in the Nittany Success Center on campus and then also worked in Advising and Career Development in a variety of roles, all the while taking classes and taking care of her child. 

“Ginia served as the Advising and Career Development office's work study student for the past three years, and was the student coordinator of our Academic Advising Orientation summer program,” said Jane Emery, director of advising and career development and coordinator of the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State York. “Ginia has positively impacted many students at our campus. She has a special way of welcoming students who are often nervous and unsure of their direction and putting them at ease, as well as helping them navigate through University policies and procedures. She successfully juggles many responsibilities as a mother and student, and still finds the time to reach out and help others on campus and in the community.”   

In 2015, her second daughter was born, and Moorehead continued to pursue her degree. Moorehead began an internship at Children’s Home of York as part of her degree program this past fall, and was hired as a child prevention specialist. She has worked at the Children’s Home of York while completing her degree. 

“Ginia is a remarkable young woman and exemplary role model for others. Penn State York is a better place because of her,” said Emery. “She continues to serve her community and use her education to improve the lives of others.”

Moorehead is the first to admit she is very lucky and is thankful for the financial aid she received to help her earn her degree. She contributed as well, working through college and taking out loans so that she would be able to make a better life for her and her daughters. She shares her experiences with young people throughout the area and plans to continue to do so as part of her mission.

“There are lots of different ways to give back to adolescents in the community and I hope to make a difference.”

-- Ginia Moorehead

In October, Moorehead was the keynote speaker at the Lincoln Center Truancy Summit held at the Farm and Home Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She shared her experiences and offered advice and support to students. She also speaks to groups about why they should not take drugs.

“It has been amazing working in the classroom and sharing my experiences with students,” said Moorehead.  She travels to elementary schools and speaks during classes or during after-school programs.

“There are lots of different ways to give back to adolescents in the community and I hope to make a difference,” she said.

Moorehead’s daughters, who are familiar faces at Penn State York, will be at the ceremony, set for 6 p.m. on Friday, along with some of Moorehead's brothers and sisters, Penn State York faculty, staff, and friends.

“Looking back, it was crazy, but I am glad I stuck with it,” said Moorehead.

Moorehead hopes to pursue a master’s degree in social work and emergency management training, but for now she is looking forward to commencement and receiving her degree.

Penn State York’s commencement speaker for the graduation ceremony is William S. Shipley III, chairman of the board of Shipley Group in York, Pennsylvania, and a Penn State Board of Trustees representative.

Shipley is the operator of companies that serve people and businesses in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. The Shipley business has averaged 30 percent annual growth in sales since he became president in 1992.

Shipley Energy is a provider of heating oil, natural gas, propane and electricity, as well as installation and service of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, and offers indoor air quality service. Shipley Energy hauls bulk liquids as a common carrier in the trucking business. The business is also comprised of Tom’s travel centers, Arby’s restaurants, and Solar Secured Solutions.

Shipley’s career started as a store manager for 7-Eleven in Delaware. After two years, he joined his father’s business in 1982 as an administrative assistant. He worked his way up the management ladder, and is the fourth generation of the Shipley family to lead the business.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and an MBA from Penn State. Shipley stays active with Penn State, and serves as Gov. Tom Wolf's representative on the Penn State Board of Trustees. Students at Penn State York benefit from the Shipley Energy Trustee Scholarship.

Shipley continues to be active in the York community and beyond, and serves on the board of directors of Martin Library, the Paterno Library at Penn State, and York College of Pennsylvania. He was also past chairman of the board of the YMCA of York and York County, past board president of York Area Sports Night, Martin Library, Wyndham Hills Property Owners Association, the Pennsylvania Chapter of Young Presidents, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.

He resides in York with his wife, Michelle, and they are the proud parents of Erin, Sarah and Benjamin, and grandparents of William Paul Shaffer and Kaylee Joy Shaffer. For relaxation, Shipley enjoys reading, music, golf, boating, skiing and juggling.

In addition to Shipley, commencement speakers include the following students: top seniors in Penn State York’s associate degree programs, Juanita D. Ritter, with distinction, human development and family studies, York, Pennsylvania, and Joyce L. Rohrbaugh, with distinction, business administration, Stewartstown, Pennsylvania; top seniors in baccalaureate programs, Kristina M. King, communication arts and sciences, with high distinction, minors in business and human resource management, and a Graham Fellow, New Providence, Pennsylvania, and Jeffrey Robin Heim II, with highest distinction, business, Dover, Pennsylvania; and a top master’s degree graduate, Lauren Susan Taylor, master of education in teaching and curriculum, Dallastown, Pennsylvania.

A total of 67 degrees will be awarded to 66 candidates during the ceremony. Penn State York will award eight master of education in teaching and curriculum degrees, 48 baccalaureate degrees, and 11 associate degrees. Four students who earned their degrees at another Penn State location will return to York to receive a degree during the ceremony.

For those who cannot attend the event, Penn State York’s commencement can be viewed on Comcast Cable Channel 18 or streaming live on the campus website.