On a typical weekday morning, Anthony Harvey hops into the driver’s seat of his vehicle to take his son, Austin, and daughter, Kylie, to class.
The family heads from the tiny Steuben County town of Cameron to the also-small Allegany County village of Alfred. The drive normally takes about 40 minutes.
But instead of dropping Austin and Kylie off and driving away, Anthony, too, grabs his backpack and heads off for a day of learning at Alfred State – taking classes and working toward a bright tomorrow.
Since the fall of 2014, Anthony, 49, has been enrolled as a full-time student at the college after losing his job as a mechanic due to a factory closing. He initially began in the air conditioning and heating technology program on the Wellsville campus and quickly excelled, becoming an Honors Program student and graduating in 2016 with a 4.0 GPA.
Austin began his Alfred State career the same semester that his father did, enrolling in the computer information systems program, which he graduated from in May 2017. Both Austin and Anthony have since re-enrolled in the technology management Bachelor of Business Administration major at Alfred State.
Joining her father and her brother in the fall of 2016 was Kylie who, like her sibling, also became a computer information systems major.
And every weekday throughout the school year (sometimes even on the weekend if the Internet at their house is acting up), the Harveys make the trip together from Cameron to Alfred State and back again.
“Austin and I share the driving duties,” Anthony said. “You get used to it. It’s a 40-minute drive. Usually, in the evening, we talk about what happened during the day, and then in the morning, we talk about classes that are going to occur. It’s college 24/7 at our house just with all of us going to school.”
Austin said it’s “pretty interesting” having his father and sister going to the same college as him.
“It’s made things a little bit easier because we all share a ride to and from the college and we help each other with homework,” he said.
Kylie added that she has taken some of the same classes at Alfred State as her father, and that being able to look back at his old notes helps her with her studies. Plus, she admitted, it can actually be nice to have a parent on campus.
“It’s kind of easier dealing with school stuff because he’s here,” she said. “When you’re in a residence hall, you can’t always talk to your parents about things, but I can go home and swap stories with him and he can relate because he’s going to school right now.”
From homework to financial aid to registering for classes, Anthony helps his son and daughter in whatever way he can. And every so often, he will also treat them to a meal at one of the local restaurants in Alfred, particularly their favorite –Sicily’s.
Still, Anthony definitely recognizes when to give Austin and Kylie some space.
“I’m a cool enough dad that I don’t hover over them,” he said. “If we see each other in passing, I’ll say hi, but I don’t want to embarrass them if they’re talking to their friends or something. If I get the look, I’ll back away. But it’s great and it’s fun to be going to college with my son and daughter. I never thought I’d be doing this.”
Anthony said he is extremely proud of Austin and Kylie, and that he is also proud to be attending the same college as them. Likewise, the siblings – as well as their mother and Anthony’s wife, Laurie – are also very proud of him for going back to school.
“You so rarely hear about that kind of thing,” Austin said.
“I think it’s incredible that he went back to school and that he’s doing so well at it,” Kylie added. “He could have gone to another factory job and it wouldn’t have been good for his health, so that would have been more stress for him. But now, he’s here and getting good grades and I know he’s going to go do stuff that he wants to do in life, so I’m happy for him.”
And so, with Kylie in only her second year and Austin and Anthony still enrolled in the technology management program, the Harveys continue to work toward their degrees together and make the 40-minute trip to Alfred State each weekday, a journey whose ultimate destination is a bright tomorrow for them all.