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Walking the walk: Dad follows own advice on higher education


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Rick Service, right, is graduating this semester from Ivy Tech Community College. His son Chris Service, left, will graduate from Franklin Community High School; his son while son Nick Service, center, will graduate from Franklin College. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON
Rick Service, right, is graduating this semester from Ivy Tech Community College. His son Chris Service, left, will graduate from Franklin Community High School; his son while son Nick Service, center, will graduate from Franklin College. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON


A Franklin family will celebrate three graduations this summer after a father and his two sons receive two degrees and a diploma.

Rick Service will graduate from Ivy Tech Community College with an associate’s degree in general studies, while his son Chris graduates from Franklin Community High School and his son Nick graduates from Franklin College.

Service and his wife, Pam, always told their children to get good grades and go to college to have the best chance at supporting themselves and their families. And two years ago, Rick Service decided he would finally go to college as well.

He wasn’t having a problem providing for himself or his family, but now with an associate’s degree he feels more employable as he now knows how to use computers.

The Service file

Name: Rick Service

Age: 49

Occupation: Maintenance worker

Family: Wife, Pam; sons, Nick and Chris

Graduate of: Ivy Tech Community College

Degree: Associate’s degree in general studies. In the fall, he will complete a technical certificate in business administration.

About Ivy Tech

Campus: Franklin

Enrollment at Franklin campus: 1,063 students

Campus: 2205 McClain Drive, Franklin

Number of Johnson County students graduating: 166

Graduation

Event: Commencement for Ivy Tech Community College — Columbus/Franklin

Where: Franklin Community Middle School, 625 Grizzly Cub Drive, Franklin

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Service started thinking about enrolling at Ivy Tech after seeing the president’s State of the Union in 2011. During the speech, the president mentioned a 55-year-old woman who had gone back to college to learn how to work with computers. After hearing that story, Service decided he should do the same.

“I felt like I was too young to not, at some time in my life, know how to use a computer,” he said.

As a high school student, Service never used a computer. The only people he could think of at the time who used them were astronauts. He joined the National Guard shortly after graduating. Service’s parents didn’t go to college, and at the time he didn’t believe it was possible to afford the tuition.

Service married his wife, Pam, shortly after graduating from high school. After leaving the military, he found maintenance work around town. He works for businesses and private residents and maintains a hair salon owned by his wife.

The couple were able to make a living for themselves and for sons Nick and Chris. But they told the boys early on that they needed to prepare themselves to go to college, which meant keeping their grades high. Service regularly told the boys that if their grades were fine, everything was fine.

“I wanted them to do better than I did. Maybe have an easier time, financially. Didn’t want to see them breaking their backs like I did,” Service said.

Years of listening to Service emphasize college along with constantly driving past the campus prompted Nick Service to enroll at Franklin College four years ago. This month he’ll graduate with a bachelor’s degree in health science.

Chris Service, a senior at Franklin Community High School, already has completed more than one year of Ivy Tech credits through the high school’s early college program, and he’ll attend Franklin College next year to begin studying exercise science.

After Service enrolled at Ivy Tech, he took longer than some of his classmates to complete his assignments, partly because he’d never used the computer programs before but also because he wanted to be sure he completed everything correctly. His sons’ high school and college schedules meant they didn’t have much time to help their dad with his assignments, but any help he needed he got from Ivy Tech’s professors.

Service doesn’t have specific plans for after graduation, other than he’ll complete a business administration certificate in the fall. He hasn’t thought about whether he’ll go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Right now he’s thinking about what additional jobs he’s now qualified for.

“I think having that degree and that certificate will be helpful in getting a job,” he said.

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