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Posted on 05/10/13

Graduation Marshals Are A Pair

Tarsher and Arthur Felton are husband and wife.  Together, they have three children.  Each is a current student at Rockingham Community College: each plans to transfer to NC A&T University in 2014 in pursuit of an engineering degree.

These two have one more thing in common.  They were both nominated by RCC instructors as marshals for the 2013 RCC graduation, held May 10 at 10 a.m. in the Robert C. Keys Gymnasium.  They were both selected.  And they will fulfill that role on the date of their fourteenth wedding anniversary.  Although they typically go out of town to celebrate their anniversaries, they were so honored to be chosen to lead the 2013 graduation class to their seats for the graduation Commencement ceremony, they briefly postponed their trip.

Their story doesn’t end there, however.  These are people who gave up a six-figure income to change a comfortable life that wasn’t meeting their needs as a family.

Tarsher Felton was a homemaker.  Arthur Felton was a construction general foreman and, later, a construction superintendent.  The jobs took him away from home, sometimes six months at a time.  He never saw his sons play sports, never got to be the parent he wanted to be.

On the job, Felton knew he was making the same kinds of decisions, solving the same kinds of problems as the engineers with whom he dealt.  The difference – they were making even more money than him, they didn’t have to deal with sometimes difficult personnel, and they were more stable.  Felton’s family, on the other hand, had started moving with him every time the company required relocation.  They worried about their daughter being moved from school to school.

Eventually, they made a powerful decision: Arthur would give up his job and they would both go back to school.  Tarsher Felton had previous college experience but no degree.  Arthur Felton had never attended college.  Before taking that step, though, Felton wanted to make certain he could succeed.

“I knew I needed calculus to become an engineer,” he said.  “So I enrolled at RCC in a pre-calculus course to test the waters.  I knew if I could pass that, I would be okay.”

He made an “A” and in fall 2011, the couple enrolled full-time in RCC’s college transfer program.  Last semester, he made straight “As.”

They have no regrets.

“Change is possible,” says Tarsher Felton, an A-B student.  “You can find yourself at college.  You’ll discover things you were not even aware existed.”

But to make that change, says her husband, you have to be motivated.  You have to find that motivation and hold onto it.

Life has changed but they enjoy it more.  Felton works away from the family during the summer, earning enough to finance their college pursuits.  But during the year, they are both involved with school, each other, and their children.

“I’ve seen my boys play ball now,” Arthur Felton says, a smile on his face.

Now he’s anticipating a life where he can have it all – a comfortable living and his family.  Tarsher Felton looks forward to the same and to exploring all of the career possibilities that engineering offers.


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