Caps and gowns a motif for Bogalusa family

Published 10:00 am Friday, June 27, 2014

A Bogalusa family believes learning doesn’t end with graduation from high school.

The Robertsons believe education is a life-long endeavor. To that end, they strove to challenge themselves and graduate from four-year institutions.

Mission accomplished.

Parents Deacon Rodney Robertson Sr., and Dr. Kathy Spikes Robertson set examples for their children by receiving higher degrees in May. Deacon Robertson received his Master’s Degree in Theology from Unity Bible College in Covington. Dr. Robertson received her Doctorate in Theology from Unity.

Their son, Rodney Robertson Jr., 21, graduated in May from Northshore Technical Community College. In 2013, daughter Kaya Kali Houston graduated from University of Phoenix and then went on to graduate with honors in theology from Unity Bible College.

At 66, Deacon Robertson said there were times when earning an education seemed impossible.

“My wife and I come from and through a period of time in America when getting an education was something almost out of the reach of a poor, young, black boy,” Robertson said. “My parents couldn’t afford to educate me or any of my seven siblings. As a boy coming from the late 1940s and through the 1950s and 1960s in small town America, I learned what was important quickly, and how to work hard to get it.”

Deacon Robertson said education is out there today for anyone who yearns for it.

“Today in America it’s so easy for a young person to go to college,” he said. “And for many years, my wife and I have been encouraging the young people to stay out of trouble, stay in school and learn because it will be hard to fit in today’s workforce without some college course work. It is such a great feeling to see my wife, my children and other peoples’ children growing, learning and graduating.”

Robertson was honorably discharged with 29 years service in the United States Army. He was an ammunition specialist and retired as a staff sergeant. He saw four tours of duty in Vietnam and two tours in Korea.

Robertson has been an ordained deacon at Bethlehem Baptist Church since 1998.

Dr. Kathy Robertson was born in New Orleans and is the sixth of 16 siblings. She is currently on the Unity Bible College faculty as an assistant dean.

“My husband and I realized that sometimes our children do as we do, so we try and set good examples,” she said. “We have always realized that they rarely enjoy doing what we tell them to do, so we don’t tell them to do anything we wouldn’t do. We know that it is hard to graduate, so we sympathize, but we are still prayerful, hopeful and expectant of a graduation date. Our family has always known that in our home learning is fundamental.”

Dr. Robertson said each day presents another opportunity to learn.

“Personally, I believe that many of us can learn something new every day and it will to be our benefit. We may not understand everything at once, but if we study it, we can gain knowledge, and we will grow wiser. Proverbs 1:5 tells us that ‘A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain wise counsels.’ ”

After three years as a student and two years on the faculty of Christian Bible College of Southeast Louisiana in Slidell, Dr. Robertson received her B.S. degree in theology with honors.

She then attended Union Baptist Seminary in New Orleans. Since 2011, Dr. Robertson has sat in the chair of Gladys B. Mims Dwellingham, who was her mentor, friend and former teacher of the Adult Sunday School Class No. 7 at Bethlehem Baptist Church for 77 years.

Houston is currently pursuing her B.A. degree in business management/human resources at the University of Phoenix and is a supervisor of customer service at General Dynamics in Bogalusa.

“I noticed there were so many closed doors to me when I didn’t have a degree,” Houston said. “Now the possibilities are limitless. I plan to be a lifetime student. I felt uncomfortable in my circle not having a degree. I feel like I’m in an elite club having my degree.”

While still a high school student, Rodney Robertson Jr. attended Northshore Technical Community College. After high school he attended Pearl River Community College where he studied Criminal Justice. He returned to Northshore and studied welding earned a scholarship. He has been a progressive welder for two years.

“I hold the record among my siblings of being the first in my family to get a degree in the proper time frame,” Rodney said.

Rodney earned his Certified Welder’s Certificate in 2013. He is also certified in basic safety skills at various levels.