The two women have juggled job and family responsibilities to attend classes three days a week at the college’s Stiles Road campus.
But their graduation with bachelor of arts degrees is just the beginning. They are both completing their law degrees at the Massachusetts College of Law in Andover.
After completing their first year of studies in Salem, anyone with a grade-point average of at least 2.7 can apply to the college’s sister school in Andover. Each has two years of law school to complete before taking their bar exams.
While the average age of the 23 students at the Salem school is in the 30s, Black and Kelly are perfect examples of the type of students the 3-year-old college serves, according to associate dean Maureen Mooney.
“We provide several things here to the nontraditional student going back to school,” she said.
The small, discussion-based classes provide a comfortable setting for older students who haven’t stepped foot in a classroom in years, Mooney said. The college also offers full scholarships and other financial help to students, Mooney said. Tuition is about $10,000 a year, she said.
Kelly said it’s that type of atmosphere and the bond with her fellow classmates that’s made it much easier to go back to college.
“All the students are very close,” she said. “All the students look out for each other.”
Other local graduates are Kelsey Kerr of Pelham and Lieren McElroy of Lawrence.