14:15 PM

Mother of Nine Named Student Speaker

By Dan Silvia

You never stop being a mom — especially when you have nine kids.

StudentSpeakerMelanie Standiford, the student speaker at Bellevue University’s Spring Commencement, juggled her duties as a mother, while earning her Bachelor Science in Leadership.

How did she do it?

“A lot of late nights,” she said. “Luckily, I don’t require a lot of sleep.”

While several of her children are grown and have kids of their own, that just brings grandma responsibilities into the picture as well.

“I find that my grown children actually need more of my time,” she said. “Like help with babies or questions on how to do things with kids.”

Standiford didn’t just scrape by en route to graduation. She earned Summa Cum Laude honors with a 4.0 GPA.

“I like to give one hundred percent if I can. It’s a huge priority,” Standiford said. “If you do your work, follow instructions and give the professors everything they ask for, it's done. That's what I expected of myself.”

Standiford praised the work of her Student Coach, Hollie Richie.

“She was just amazing. We would talk sometimes anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours,” Standiford said. “She really made me feel like I mattered.”

Standiford earned her associate’s degree at Mid-Plains Community College and learned about Bellevue University from Stan Wudtke, Bellevue University’s Outreach Manager at the North Platte, Nebraska school.

Wudtke, whom Standiford knew as a counselor and coach at her high school, steered her toward the Leadership program after learning about what she was looking for in a bachelor’s degree.

“Probably the best educational advice I've ever received,” Standiford said. “He just really took the time and really walked me through what I would need to do and how the program worked.”

In addition to being a full-time mom, Standiford also works part time as a photographer and a florist. Following graduation, she is considering pursing a master’s degree.