Started from the bottom, now I'm here!

What if I told you that I was born into an abusive family? You probably would have never guessed that about me. Life was rough in the beginning, then around the age of 16, I went to live with family friends who soon became like parents to me. They were the first ones to show me what the word “family” truly means. They encouraged me to follow my dreams of pursuing higher education. 

Fast forward to high school graduation, and I had been accepted to North Carolina Central University! I had no idea what I truly wanted to study, but I knew that this would be my escape. I soon realized that it wouldn't… Well, at least not directly after high school. I faced many obstacles when it came to filling out the FAFSA and trying to get official copies of my birth certificate and other important information that I didn't realize I needed to go to college.   

Jump to Fall 2018, and I have made it to North Carolina Central University. I soon realized what I wanted to study and decided to transfer to Appalachian State University. With the support of my chosen family, I was able to study abroad and experience new things. I was able to make long life friendships and graduate with a degree in Building Science. 

After a few weeks of being a college graduate, I came across the Appalachian College Advising Corps job application. After reading the job description, I knew this was something I wanted to do. I had applied to other jobs, but after I met Molly and Gloria for our initial meeting, I knew I made the right choice in applying.

It's been almost a year since accepting this position, and I have met with the majority of my senior class. I’ve met with students who have similar backgrounds as me. After hearing my story, they find confidence within themselves to pursue their higher education dreams.

Moving forward into the next academic year, I look forward to using my past experiences and the knowledge I gained from this year to better help the next generation of St.Stephens graduates. The class of 2024 has taught me so much. They taught me to have patience and to give them and myself grace. They taught me that even though they are high school students, some of them are facing real world problems, and sometimes the best way to get through to them is allowing them to have a safe space and meeting them where they are. I always tell my students if you can only give me 10% today, that's okay! I’m here to help you with the other 90%.   

I advise to show students that no matter their situation, they can achieve greatness!  

Written by LaCodia (lala) Reid-Jackson, adviser at St. Stephens High School. 



LaCodia Reid-Jackson, adviser at St. Stephens High School
Published: Apr 12, 2024 11:07am