MC grad discovers college success 35 years after high school graduationFebruary 23, 2023

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Michelle Roys standing in front of picture of flower.

Michelle Roys was seven months pregnant when she graduated from Permian High School in 1987.  

“I was a single mom, and so I immediately went to work,” Roys explained.  “College had to be postponed.”

Eventually, Roys married and had two more children.  During that time, she worked on and off in the energy industry and as an EMT when the family was transferred to Wyoming.  Then, in 2004, the family moved back to West Texas and settled in Midland.  Soon after, Roys and her husband divorced, and once again she was a single mother needing to work in order to support her family.

“Life wasn’t bad at the time,” she said.  “I had several great jobs working in oil & gas, and I reconnected with my first son’s father—my high school boyfriend.  We went to lunch one day and have been together ever since.  We married 12 years ago, and our blended family consists of five grown children and six grandchildren.”

However, during the COVID pandemic and the subsequent slump in the energy industry, Michelle Roys was laid off—for the second time since moving back to Midland—and she decided it was time for a career change.

“I answered an employment ad for a legal secretary at Cotton Bledsoe Tighe & Dawson law firm and got the job,” Roys stated.  “I found that I enjoy working in the legal field, so I decided to do something that I never had time to do before—I enrolled in college and started training to be a paralegal.

“It was definitely an eye-opening experience to go back to school after 35 years, but I discovered that ‘you can teach an old dog new tricks!’  I was encouraged by the fact that all my coursework for the paralegal degree could be completed online.  Of course, in order to be successful in online courses, it’s imperative to discipline oneself to complete self-paced courses, and it’s critical to be a good time manager.  My time management skills have definitely improved!”  

Roys started taking classes in October 2020, earned a promotion from legal secretary to paralegal at Cotton Bledsoe Tighe & Dawson in November 2022 and graduated from Midland College with an Associate of Applied Science degree and a perfect 4.0 GPA this past December.  

“I am so glad that I took the plunge and enrolled in college,” Roys said.  “I have been able to advance in my career, and I’ve had the opportunity to expand my mind, improve my research skills and learn a new industry.”

“Michelle was an outstanding student who worked very hard,” Charity Rohlfs, J.D., assistant professor of Midland College Paralegal Studies, said.  “She worked full-time at Cotton Bledsoe and managed to submit quality work on time.  She has tremendous determination and work ethic.  I’m not surprised that she has already earned a promotion.  I’m sure she will continue to excel in her career.”

In her spare time, Roys enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren and traveling.  Now that she is finished with her degree, Michelle and her husband Scott, who is a gas compression account executive at Hoerbiger, are planning a trip to Italy within the next year.

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