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franklin county times

On the road to becoming a teacher

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 20, 2002
Kim Jenkins admits being a single mom and working part-time while pursuing an education is a struggle but she says her goal is worth the fight.
Jenkins, 29, of Meridian, has five children: Aquaysha, 10; G'Variana, 7; DeShawna, 6; Greggory, 3; and Kabriyah, 2.
Jenkins began pursuing her bachelor of science degree in elementary education at Meridian Community College in the fall of 1998. She completed her associate's degree in the fall of 2000 while she was enrolled for her first semester at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus.
That semester she was taking 27 hours of class work and was on the dean's list at both schools. She earned her bachelor's degree in May and is now working on her master's at MSU-Meridian.
Jenkins has also been active in MSU-Meridian's Student Association, the college branch's equivalent of a student government association. She served as the group's secretary last school year.
She has a part-time job in MSU-Meridian's student services department, doing clerical work dealing with financial aid and admissions.
The children, Jenkins said, love to see their mother study.
Jenkins decided she wanted to become a teacher after tutoring children in the Youth Excitement Team program in Meridian while working with AmeriCorp.
She completed her student teaching this spring at Parkview Elementary School and is currently seeking a full-time teaching position. Jenkins said she could not have gone back to school without the support of her mother, Jeanette Jimison of Meridian, and the public.
Her undergraduate education was paid for through a federal Pell grant, a partial scholarship at MCC and a William Winter Scholarship at MSU-Meridian. She has taken out a loan to pay for graduate school.
Jenkins receives food stamps and Medicaid through the Department of Human Services and she sometimes receives help in paying her utility bills from the Multi-County Community Service Agency.
Her rent is paid through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and East Central Planning and Development's Child Care Department pays for part of her day care expenses.
Concerning her decision to be a single mother, Jenkins said: "It takes a lot of self evaluation, self motivation and a love for your children and yourself. Without all three of those things, you will not succeed."
She said her best advice to others who want to become self-sufficient is don't give up.

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