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

Teaching tots grad's passion

Future should be child's play

By Josh Burton

Pampa High School senior Lindsey Riley has overcome many obstacles for the chance to attend college.

She plans to enroll at Abilene Christian University in the fall and major in early childhood education, Riley said. She wants to be an elementary school teacher.

"I've always loved kids and I've always been drawn to help kids," Riley said.

Riley works at St. Matthews Day School, watching and helping children at the day care center learn about different things.

"I've just grown up around kids," Riley said.

Riley will graduate at 10 a.m. May 31 at Harvester Field in Pampa.

Helping children has always been Riley's passion, and to do that, she said she needed to go to college.

To pay for college, Riley said she had to earn good grades and applied for many scholarships.

Starla Kindle, a counselor at Pampa High School, is proud that Lindsey is graduating in the top 10 percent of her class.

"She's an outstanding young woman," Kindle said.

Riley's story reinforces the fact that through hard work and dedication, a person can succeed no matter what the circumstances, Kindle said.

"She's really, really an inspiration for me and everyone at the high school, because she's not letting anything stand in her way," Kindle said.

Many family members have helped Riley along the way, including her grandpa and grandma, who raised her.

Riley credits them with pushing her to complete high school, achieve good grades and earn college scholarships.

"I just keep thinking that I want to make myself proud, but I want them to feel very extremely proud of me," Riley said. "I want them to be proud of me and know that I did not let them down."

It's been really difficult keeping up her grades, said Riley.

"I was determined not to become another statistic," she said.

Celebrate Education is a yearlong community project to encourage lifelong learning and help raise the education level in the Texas Panhandle.

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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