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Pursuit of excellence

Local woman never gives up her college dream

(Photo by Mary Solberg)

The summer months are typically a time of excitement and anticipation for college-bound teens. But just days before Elizabeth Salvo was supposed to leave for Arizona State University, tragedy struck, when her single mom suffered a brain aneurism.

“In the beginning I kept thinking ‘she’ll get better and I’ll go next month.’ Or next semester. It was my coping mechanism," recalls Elizabeth, who was 18 years old at the time. "Then finally the doctor told me she was permanently brain damaged and I needed to pick out a nursing home."

So Elizabeth passed on ASU and the dreams of law school to follow, and stayed nearby with her ailing mother. She eventually completed an Associates degree at Triton College in River Forest and became a paralegal for McDonald's Corporation. But Elizabeth,now a working mother of two, still yearned for a more complete college education.    

“It was this nagging little voice, like Jiminy Cricket," Elizabeth says. "I was working with people who had law degrees, and I had an associate’s degree. There was only so far I could go."

To read the full story, pick up the latest issue of Suburban Life Magazine.

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