celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news
 

Eyes on the future

Foster care aids goals

By Aaron Phillips
aaron.phillips@amarillo.com

Drive. Determination. Perseverance. You name it, Jordan Crouch likely has it.

Crouch, 18, graduates May 30 from Canyon High School.

Crouch isn't from Canyon, but she's found a home in the care of her foster parents, Jim and Rita Craig.

"For some reason, everybody seems to think foster kids don't work as hard," Crouch said.

Crouch has been in the foster care system close to nine years. She said she was at a home in Claude and at the Panhandle Assessment Center before coming to the Craigs' home about five and a half years ago.

Crouch said she and her brother were living in a situation where their mother and stepfather were abusing drugs and her step-father was verbally abusive to them when the state removed them.

"One of my biggest beliefs is God doesn't give us anything we can't handle," Crouch said.

Despite her situation, Crouch said she tries to focus on the future and what she can be. She said that rather than using her struggles as a crutch, she looks beyond them and bases her decision on herself.

"I've always been scared that I'm going to fail. I want to become something with myself," she said.

"I want to look back and say I worked hard. I don't want to be another statistic."

While she's seen a number of case workers, both Crouch and the Craigs said the Department of Family and Protective Services have been good to her.

"Anything she's ever needed, they've been right behind her pushing her and helping her," Rita Craig said. "Of course, that's because of what she's doing."

In addition to the Craigs and DFPS, Canyon High School teacher Mollie Colvin played an important role in Crouch's life.

"She's there for me any time I need her because she knows how much I want to succeed, not only because she's a teacher, but because she's that type of person," Crouch said.

While Colvin is there for Crouch's support, she said Crouch does 98 percent of the work involved.

"She just has a positive attitude and that's a rare thing when you know somebody's going through some rough times," Colvin said.

Colvin met Crouch when Crouch was in her SAT/ACT preparatory class and her junior English class. Colvin said Crouch is a positive influence on both her classmates and her teachers.

"I've watched her struggle and never get down. She has a smile on her face and is so focused on what she wants to do," Colvin said.

"She is inspirational to me because she can do whatever she wants to do. She is the American dream."

In school, Crouch participates in National Honor Society, Business Leaders of Tomorrow, Texas Association of Future Educators and Drug Free Youth in Texas. And, for the past two and half years, she's worked at The Cake Company in Canyon.

Crouch will finish high school with 32 credit hours completed at West Texas A&M University and anticipates earning six more this summer. She will begin college in fall as a sophomore.

Crouch said she hopes to become a pediatrician.

"I wanted to find a career that will help children," she said.

Crouch said her family has had problems setting goals and keeping them, but that her success has made them proud. She's been able to be in touch with much of her biological family including her mother, most of whom live in the Dallas area, over the years.

"One thing with Jordan, she's taken advantage of all the opportunities she's had," Craig said.

"She can go to the moon if she wants to. It's just up to her."

Editor's Note: The Amarillo Globe-News is profiling a student a day from May 9-29 as part of its 2008 graduation coverage. Students were nominated by Globe-News readers.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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