Out to prove a point
Sharon Smith decided to attend college for the same reason she received her GED. She wanted to prove a point to her three young children.
“If I was going to teach my children and expect them to get their high school diplomas, I needed to have my own,” Smith said. “And, if I wanted them to go to college, I needed to go to college, too.”
Smith explained her family traveled a lot when she was young. Her mother was married to a member of the military and the family traveled with him.
“I don’t think I stayed in a school more than six months to a year,” Smith said. “I learned a lot through the personal, hands-on experiences related to our travels. School work wasn’t really important to me at that time.”
“My family has always been my focus,” she said. “Then school became my focus when education became more important to my children. With my husband’s support, I worked to get my GED and then decided to attend college. Johnson County Community College allowed me to schedule classes while still having time to home school my kids, ages 13, 11, and 5, and work on weekends.”
Wasting little time, Smith focused on her education at JCCC. While here, she fulfilled all prerequisites needed to transfer to the University of Missouri- Kansas City to pursue a bachelor’s degree in teaching with an emphasis in English. With her high grade point average, Smith is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She is also a tutor in the JCCC Writing Center, where she works to brush up her skills while helping others improve theirs.
So, what do Smith’s children think of their college-bound mother?
“They think I am the smartest person in the world,” she said, beaming with pride. “They tell me that all the time. They ask me really weird questions. Questions the average person might not know. For example, they asked me once how you get a brain freeze. So I helped them look the answer up in books and on the Internet. Those are the kind of questions they expect me to know just off the top of my head. We have fun learning by looking the answers up.”
While proving to her children the value of education initially brought Smith to JCCC, she now thinks about college a little differently.“Now that I’m here, I want more,” Smith said. “I feel like I am accomplishing things I wanted to do for myself, and it is not about only setting an example for my children anymore.”