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 It's Never Too Late to Pursue your Dreams

10/23/2019 5:30 AM

​Don't give up on your dreams – ever. I'm a Rockford Public Schools graduate who attended Rock Valley College with a goal to become an art teacher. Then life happened, and I put my dreams on hold. I paused my plan to work and raise my kids, sometimes even working two jobs at times. 

My work never took me far from children. I began working at a daycare center and did that work for quite some time. Later, I was a substitute paraprofessional and eventually landed a permanent position at RESA Middle School. I enjoyed working as a paraprofessional because I was able to build more intimate relationships with the kids. Ultimately, my position was eliminated at RESA and I moved to Ellis Elementary School in 2012.

I really enjoyed working as a paraprofessional at Ellis. I had a good rapport with the staff, students and families. They admired my attitude and how I approached my work. I worked as a paraprofessional at Ellis but sometimes subbed in the main office. I was received well in that position. The principal, Taren Turner, told me that if there ever was an opening she would hire me. And she did! I'm very happy to be working at Ellis as an office professional.

I am all in as a Rockford Public Schools supporter. Not only am I an alumna and employee, two of my children are Guilford High School graduates. My son, Keonta, is training with UA Local 23 to become HVAC certified. After graduation my daughter, Kiara Burnell, attended Northern Illinois University where she will graduate in December. Kiara is an aspiring Rockford Public Schools teacher and is now learning the teaching profession at Washington Elementary School. 

The best part for me is this: After putting my dreams on hold to focus on my family, I am proud to share that I completed my associate's degree in May from Rock Valley College. My daughter and I celebrated our graduations on the same day! Northern Illinois University and Rock Valley College held their African-American graduation ceremonies on May 10. Wearing a cap and gown on the same day as my daughter was more special than I can put into words. It was one of the proudest moments in my life.

Now my dreams are back on. My goal is to continue to further my education and earn my teaching degree.

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