YMCA arts director stuck with it
Occupation: Teen and Arts Director, Amarillo Family YMCA
Where did you receive your education?
Randall High School; Amarillo College; University of Central Florida.
How has your education played a role in your life today?
A summer-theater camp turned me from a 10-year-old getting into fights into a driven performer. I stuck with theater through high school, won scholarships to college and eventually, through a caring professor, was able to work for Cirque du Soleil for six years traveling the globe. Now I put everything I have learned into my job at the Y.
What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
I had to take two years off, one after my freshman year and one after my first year at UCF. I had to work and save enough money to pay for what scholarships and work study did not. It was a struggle and I graduated at a late age, but the goal was worth it.
What is the value of your education?
It enabled me to found a theater company, to find work outside of performing and to think creatively in jobs that require new ways to approach persistent problems.
What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
It doesn't matter if don't have a degree plan or an idea of a career, just go. As you attend classes and meet new people, you will find out who you are and what you care about.
When did you make education a priority?
I cannot remember education not being a priority. I wanted to better myself and my circumstances.
What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
I realized that education was important in my life around the time I was traveling with Cirque du Soleil. I realized that without the educational path I took, I may not have reached that goal.
Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
I thought about quitting my second year at the University of Central Florida. My sister and I were living together at the time and she encouraged me to register. She helped me with my living expenses so I could pay for tuition and books. She made me realize that, if you want something bad enough, help will come and a way will be found.