Brenda Gerald, Working Mother of the Year: My oldest daughter, Cassidy (25), earned a degree in business from East Carolina University and has such a beautiful heart. She is compassionate, loves people and has this unique way of being able to connect with just about anybody. Always by her side is Chloe, her emotional support dog who has helped so much with her anxiety. They are literally two peas in a pod and travel everywhere together. Collin (22) is currently majoring in geology at East Carolina University. I could easily see him travelling the world in a motor home someday, exploring and just living life to the fullest (with his adorable dog Apollo, of course). He’s very laid back and easy going. My daughter Bella (18) just graduated from high school and is currently enrolled in virtual classes at Wake Technical College. Kindhearted, smart, bubbly and fun, she was a cheerleader all throughout high school and has a tight-knit circle of friends. She's my 18-year old who’s still young at heart. I often look at her and think to myself, how great to be 18 and still enjoying the simple things in life, just as much as she did when she was a child. My youngest son, Jakob (16) is always up to some kind of fun and mischief. Being the baby of the family, I was a little less strict with him, so he’s used to getting away with more shenanigans than my other kids. He plays baseball, and just like most 16-year-olds, enjoys playing video games. He’s my Mr. Fix It Guy, very handy with any tool in his belt and able to repair just about anything.
Lynch: My oldest, Katherine (21), is studying history at Winona State University in Minnesota and will continue on to get her master’s in library sciences. Just like her dad, she’s quite the introvert. We’re very much cut form the same cloth; we’re both bookworms and self-professed nerds. She aspires to be a professional writer someday. My middle child, Ally (18), is a freshman at Illinois State University majoring in theater education. She's the complete opposite of Katherine; if there is a spotlight, she wants it pointed directly at her. Extremely outgoing, she can make friends with anyone. Sewing, painting, choir and theater are just a few of her many interests. If you asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up four years ago, she might have said a big Hollywood star like Scarlet Johannsen. Nowadays, she leans more towards theater education because of how much fun and impactful her high school theater career was on her. My son Patrick (15) is the youngest. A sophomore in high school, he is your typical teenage boy who left to his own devices would most likely watch YouTube and play video games all day. He also enjoys the great outdoors, camping with his Boy Scouts troop, and fishing with me or his grandpa whenever he gets the chance.