Shanita Jackson

Aside from my mother, education has been the only constant in my life. My mother and I were homeless for a year. I began my senior year living out of a motel. I walked to restaurants to turn in homework assignments. I sacrificed. I cried. I hid my depression in an attempt to be strong for my mother. But poverty has a way of developing into hopelessness and, like any homeless teenager, I grew weary.

It wasn’t until two former English teachers surprised me at a poetry slam that I shook off that weariness. In middle school, these teachers encouraged me to apply to the Early College program via Blue Ridge Community College. Seeing the two reminded me of how much others believed in me and why, in return, I should believe in myself. I’m sure that these teachers as well as all of my instructors don’t understand the impact they’ve had on my life. They’ve consistently given me something to fight for.

Because of the staff at Early College, I have a home. Because of the staff at Blue Ridge, I have a future.

Despite the unfortunate conventions of life, I will graduate this spring with my Associate Degree.