By Madison Oswald
On a foggy Friday morning in 1990, Sandi Moore graduated from the University of South Carolina-Aiken, becomingthe second in her family to do so. She was close behind her older sister, Sybil. Moore recalls taking her place among fellow graduates that morning, radiating joy with a giant smile.
She recalled looking into the crowd to find her husband standing with a large video camera pressed up against the right side of his cheek, a smile plastered on his face. For Moore and her husband, that graduation day was a major turning point.
Following graduation Moore went to work at the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Site in Aiken, South Carolina. She has spent d 22 years in its formation technology department. In that time, she reached various goals including climbing the corporate ladder and traveling around the United States for training sessions. How she got to where she is today is inspiring.
As a child, Moore grew up the younger sister in a family that lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Although tifficult, she says it a major pieces that led to her now completed puzzle. She said, “Living within a household that struggled to provide a stable living environment, showed me how important education is, but it has also made me into the person I am today and I wouldn’t change a thing.” She went on to say that although her parents struggled financially she still lived in a loving household.
When her family moved to Jackson, South Carolina, Moore remembers the morning she was in the fifth grade and her father walked her on to the school bus with a shotgun.
“My dad actually walked my sister Sybil and I onto our school bus one morning with a shotgun in his hand, just because the boys in the seat behind us had been bothering us. I remember at the time I was mortified, but looking back I love him more for it.”
With a comical sigh, Moore shifted her weight on the couch and said, “That’s also the year I met my husband.”
Soon a chuckle came from the kitchen as her husband, Rocky, unloaded the dishwasher. He craned his neck and yelled, “Met my soul mate at 14.” Several years later, Rocky, 22, and Sandi, 18, were married in fall 1986. A marriage this young shook up Moore’s life in more ways than one.
She said, “My parents were not happy. They told me that if I got married they wouldn’t pay for my college tuition. But I was young and in love and I went for what my heart told me to do.”
However, Moore had to work harder than ever before to pay for her car, school, and meals. Living in a singlewide trailer on her in-law’s land, she would drive back and forth between school and work, all while maintaining a steady GPA and staying afloat financially.
“There were so many times I almost quit or went begging to my parents for money. I just had so many people telling me I didn’t need college. But in the end I graduated, and it felt amazing to know that I did it all on my own.” Today she is able to provide for her family and not worry about where their next meal is coming from. She said, “What makes me happy, is seeing my family happy. They’re what fuels me.” Her husband later said Moore changed their entire lifestyle. He then said, “I deeply regret ever telling my wife to quit college. All I knew at the time was that she was never home and working too hard. But Sandi persevered, and it’s what has made our family into the people we are today. I’m so grateful.”
Following graduation, throughout her twenties, Moore lived within the jurisdictions of her little black planner. A time came in the middle of her career when the Moore’s received news not within the confinements of Moore’s planner.
On October 3, 1997, she gave birth to a baby girl named Paige. Moore said the most monumental moment in her life was when she had children.
“Originally, my doctor had told me that kids were not an option for me due to the cervix cancer I was diagnosed with at eighteen.” This devastated Moore and her husband, but they eventually grew to accept it. Slowly they began to accept that God had different plans for them. Little did they know kids would be a part of their life, which is why Moore recalls being completely shocked when she became pregnant with Mattie and then Olivia, her second daughter, a year later.
But working for eight years in a taxing career definitely made balancing two daughters and a demanding career difficult. Moore had to learn to get more work done in less time, which she says strengthened her as a wife and mother, giving her a stronger insight into what’s most important, family. But even with family being her top priority, she has still found ways to excel in her career.
Moore wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. so that she’s able to check her emails before her 8 a.m. meeting at work. Following the meeting, her days consist of many interruptions from members of the team she manages.
“People come in all day long for direction on issues or to just talk. It can be difficult at times but showing compassion in a work atmosphere is so important.”
John Schill, a current part of Moore’s team said, “I’ve worked with Sandi for roughly two and a half years now and I strongly admire her work ethic and tenacity. I’m amazed at how much work she accomplishes every day, even with constant interruptions.”
Moore has many tasks to complete throughout the day, and although at times, she is swamped she still takes the time to listen and reach out to her team members. Moore’s advice to aspiring business professionals is to, “Stay steady, nothing is as important as it seems. Continue with patience and perseverance.” After a long day she finds this to be what keeps her motivated.
Moore even inspires her children, Olivia Moore said, “My mom is the most optimistic person I have ever met, and although it annoys me at times, that’s what I love most about her.