Husband/wife team find going back to school easier with one another

The McColloughs took their first class at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast in spring 2013. It was an accelerated class, so they began it partway through the 16-week semester.

They took the summer off and, come fall 2013, each had a full class load.

Ruby McCollough is studying for her associate degree in Early Childhood Education. She hasn’t taken classes since high school–she graduated in Virginia in 1996–and her husband, Mark McCollough, hasn’t taken classes since he did firemen training. But that was more learning to climb a ladder and less math and English.

Ruby and Mark McCollough, of Auburn, in one of Ruby's Early Childhood Education classrooms.

Ruby and Mark McCollough, of Auburn, in one of Ruby’s Early Childhood Education classrooms.

“School seemed a little intimidating, to be honest,” said Mark, who is studying Design Technology. “I remember thinking, if I had someone to go to school with, maybe it wouldn’t be so overwhelming.”

He has dabbled in a number of fields: He started as fire fighter, then became a tool maker, then a furniture maker, then a tool maker again. He realized that learning the computer assisted design that goes along with the Design Technology degree would round out his skill set.

Ruby and Mark have been married six years and, together, they have six children: Matt is 28; Chase is 20; Morgan is 16; John is 14; Hallie is 11; Emma is 5.


Chase and Emma at Chase’s 2012 graduation from DeKalb High School.

Mark jokes that Ruby wants to teach so she can follow Emma through her schooling. Morgan is thinking about college and will likely take classes at Ivy Tech and transfer to a four-year school, Mark says. Chase is a student at Ivy Tech, too. He returned home from National Guard training on Jan. 22, 2013, and the three McColloughs registered together. Chase is studying engineering.

And the McColloughs have seen success. Ruby and Mark both admire their respective teachers–they’re wonderful people to work with, Ruby says.

In her classes, Ruby learns about how to stimulate children's creativity with toys like puppets.

In her classes, Ruby learns about how to stimulate children’s creativity with toys like puppets.

Mark tells about getting a letter in the mail from Ivy Tech. He thought it was a bill, and then he learned he’d made the Dean’s List. At first, he wasn’t sure what that meant–he’d never made the Dean’s List before.

“I wasn’t trying to get anything like that,” he says. “I was just trying to to do my best. It was very satisfying.”

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