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By JOYCE BEASLEY
My mom determined that all of my brothers and sisters would attend college or some other form of higher learning after high school. I could hear the finality in my Mom’s voice that high school was not our last stop in the educational world.
I continued my mother’s legacy with my children and launched my own Cradle-to-College campaign. When I wanted to make my point more clear to my children, I began teaching the rhyme “Go to college to get more knowledge” which earned the same importance as the “ABC” song at our house. This rhyme was sung by some of my little ones as early as age 2.
With “college” becoming a household word at our house, my husband and I set about to make sure this stage in our lives and our children’s lives would become a reality. Similar to my Mom, who lacked money to send us to college, we both had faith that it would somehow happen.
My husband and I never really felt money would be an issue, and trusted the way would be made, as this was a must in this world, especially for African-American children. We believed if we spoke it we could receive it, Proverbs 18:20-21.
My first year of teaching was in a small eastern Kentucky town and I was torn by the fact so many families had no intentions of sending their children to college or vocational school. Thus, I set about to educate and encourage all of my students to attend higher education after high school.
Being a teacher of children with various learning challenges made me even more determined they should have a chance of obtaining a career via college or vocational school. Many of my special needs children beat the odds of this ever happening as sometimes doctors, teachers and parents feel this is not a reality for their patient, student or child.
Encouragement and high expectations go a long way in this process.
The decision to send our children to ECC at that time and now ECTC was one of the best decisions we ever made. Our small-town, stay-in-your-corner-of-the-world, mind-your-manners and respect-all-adults doctrine helped our children evolve into free-speaking, civic-minded citizens of the world.
This small community brought out so many talents in my children, many of which I never knew existed. They became involved in student government and served on boards with outstanding adults in this community. This would not have happened in a four-year university setting. Although community college may not be a fit for all children who seek higher learning after high school, it has been a wonderful experience and blessing for my family.
My daughter had an opportunity to speak at the KCTCS news conference Feb. 12 in Frankfort to explain the Super Sunday emphasis on minority enrollment and I was proud to hear the educational credentials of my children.
Allow me to share:
My cradle-to-college campaign has worked for my own children and I’m confident the legacy will continue to gain momentum through the generations. I pray that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will enjoy the benefits of higher education, especially the advantages of a community college education.
Joyce Beasley of Elizabethtown is an educator and mother of 11.