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Josh Moon

Sergeant First Class (SFC) Joshua Moon of Beech Grove holds the distinction of being the first student to graduate from Motlow College via the technology of Skype. His degree was conferred in May 2012 while serving active duty in Afghanistan.

Josh's pursuit of a degree began 16 years earlier. He enlisted in the Army immediately after graduating from Oakland High School in Murfreesboro and served three years of active duty. When his contract was up, he wanted to go to college and enrolled in classes at Motlow. He said, "I chose Motlow because it offered both online and on site classes which suited my hectic schedule. I also wanted to attend a local college where I knew I could engage people face to face."

Josh took classes at both the Moore County and Smyrna locations. Occasionally he had to put his educational goals on the back burner but he never gave up his educational dream. His goal of being the first person in his family to complete a degree drove him to continue amidst family, work and military obligations.

He joined the Army Reserves and has been mobilized four times in support of the United States. His service includes training soldiers at Ft. Benning, Ga., two assignments to Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

His final class at Motlow was an online American Literature class. Josh was deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan where he studied in his bunk at night.

Had he been home, he would have walked in the graduation ceremony to receive his degree. Because that was not possible, his military commander and fellow soldiers stood with him in Afghanistan as Dr. MaryLou Apple and Dr. Bonny Copenhaver conducted a graduation ceremony for him from the Moore County campus.

Josh communicated with family members and Motlow staff members who gathered to witness and celebrate his graduation through the Skype connection. When he returned home, he visited Motlow to meet with college officials who helped orchestrate his graduation. He presented a framed American flag and certificate of appreciation to the college.

Part of the inscription on the certificate read: "The American flag flew through the skies of a free Afghanistan in a U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier, flown for Motlow State Community College. This flag is dedicated in appreciation for your committed support to SFC Joshua Moon during Operation Enduring Freedom, Kandahar, Afghanistan."

Josh added, "Throughout my time at Motlow the resounding theme has been support - support from the teachers, support from the staff, and support in what I am trying to accomplish to better my life."