Are you a single parent seemingly juggling the world, but still hoping to get a degree? You can do it. And Meghan Tarantino, a 2017 graduate of Moraine Park, is proof! Here’s Meghan’s story, in her own words:

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

I am a 33 year old single mother of 4. I grew up in the inner city of Milwaukee. My childhood was very inconsistent and I chose to have a child of my own very young. My first born was the greatest thing to have happen to me. He set the pace for a new family value since education was not valued growing up. I knew I’d go back to school someday. I also wanted my children to learn they can overcome and never be a product of their environment. Here’s a little bit about my children:

  • My oldest Julio is 16 and plays football and track. He gets good grades and will graduate a year early from high school. Julio also is part of a scholarship program through his high school and has been researching colleges he hopes to attend.
  • My middle son, Miguel, is almost 15. He signed up for honor classes this fall for his freshman year. He hopes to graduate early as well. He will attend his class trip to Washington D.C. this June. Miguel is very witty and funny. He is my hippie minus the illegal drugs.
  • My daughter Ariela will have her golden birthday this May. She will be 11 and she acts exactly how she should for her age. Ari is beautiful, sweet, and always the little mother. She hopes to become a vet someday and even watches animal surgeries on YouTube. I just joined the big sister program I feel it will help her in her development especially since she is the only girl in our home. Many times I struggle with raising her, but I found its because she is still learning her important role in our little family. She’s our treasure and at times the older boys can’t stand her but they also protect her.
  • Lastly is my baby boy Joey who is 5. It’s hard to talk of how he came along, but he brought all of us closer than ever. From the worst things in life this little boy brought the greatest joy. He his smart beyond his years. To add he’s funny, active and beautiful beyond words. I couldn’t imagine my life without any of these kids, but with Joey even the older kids said,” We couldn’t ask for a better baby brot

My children are my world and I value the memories we make everyday. I take them hiking and have taught them to appreciate nature. Most of all I taught them to value family above all else.

Why did you choose your program of study?

I chose criminal justice not for the best reason I suppose. Mainly I knew alot about it from the criminal aspect. Many family and friends were and are not law abiding citizens. I think my life lessons really enhanced my training. Who doesn’t enjoy a criminal mind? Only thing that separates some of us from them is our ethics and not getting caught. Having kids very young made me strive to not be a law breaker. I also wanted to show my kids I could get an education, make something of myself and still raise them by myself.

What has your experience been like at Moraine Park?46584

It was pleasant. Some classes were a struggle, but that’s with many things in the real world. I believe it’s how we interpret things and allow it to affect us that will either make or break an experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet wonderful, inspiring teachers who really showed they believe in my progress, but most importantly they showed they believed in me.

What are your  career goals? 

I’m hoping fall of 2018 I can finish my education and start my bachelor’s degree. I hope to work in probation and parole.

What advice do you have for others considering a career in…?

My advice is never judge another on their poor choices in their life. No one is above another. At the end of the line we all bleed the same color. Some in life were handed a better card. Others were not as fortunate. Who’s to say I wouldn’t have made some of the same choices in my life as many criminals I have met. One thing that helps even through raising my kids and just living life is always be mindful of the positives. It’s a learned condition through time due to all the negative I remembered to always think of “Things could be worse.” Or I also like to remember no matter how down I feel life has taken me I know the good will follow. Take accountability, have respect, and lastly think openly and these tools can be used in the criminal justice career – but most importantly in life.

To learn more about Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu.

Andrew Pantzlaff
Written by Andrew Pantzlaff
Public Relations Specialist. Lover of pizza.