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Jessica has already made writer proud

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My Views

By Stephen Thomas

 It’s that time of year when school begins, not only for the kids but also for the college-bound students.

Many of these students are anxious and excited about a new beginning, moving away from home to live on a college campus.

As a member of The Pioneer News staff, I’ve known many local students who have performed well in high school and headed to that next level. Some have returned to become prominent local citizens.

This year there is one young person that I’m very proud of, one I’m confident will become another success story.

I’ve known Jessica since she was a little girl, and I always knew she was a smart young lady.

Originally home-schooled, life situations beyond her control led to changes in her education. Through her parents’ divorce and moving to a new state, she attended four different schools in a four-year period.

Fortunately, Jessica is the type of personality others seem to gravitate toward, and she was able to make good friends at each stop.

In high school she continued her educational excellence, while working two jobs during her senior year. A big reason for that was to purchase her own vehicle.

The two jobs didn’t detract from the education, as she finished in the top ten of her graduating class.

Jessica has started and re-started many life journeys in 18 years, and this week begins her biggest. She will be leaving home and heading to Eastern Kentucky University with scholarship in hand.

All success stories are different and unique. Some may seem more special than others. A story like Jessica’s has happened before. It doesn’t make me any less proud.

I’m proud of Jessica because at her age I don’t believe I could’ve handled two jobs and school and bought a decent car.

I’m proud of her because I come from a large and stable family environment, with lots of people around to help when I needed it. She has had as much success, maybe more, with limited assistance.

I’m proud of her for having enough gumption to pursue different schools and find the best fit for her educational and career pursuits, rather than just accepting and taking advantage of a free college ride.

Mostly I’m proud because she had many reasons in life to use as an excuse, as a reason to give up, or to lose hope, or to just simply do things the easy way, to settle and exist through life. She has chosen otherwise.

I’m also proud of her mother, who helped Jessica keep her head on straight and prepared for college as well as life.

Jessica will start in the EKU Animal Studies program. It’s not Animal Sciences, to become a veterinarian, but rather an opportunity to double major and focus emphasis in numerous career directions.

From there…the possibilities remain virtually limitless.

I’d tell her to go and make me proud, but she already has.

Good luck, chick!