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

Ex-teacher never stopped learning

Helen Neal
Age: 81
Occupation: Retired elementary school teacher

Where did you receive your education?
Langston University in Oklahoma; West Texas State University.

How has your education played a role in your life today?
It helped me get a job that paid a decent wage.

What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
It was finishing school at West Texas State. When I returned after about 13 years out of college, I had a husband, four kids and a dog.

I went to school, came home, fixed dinner. I got up about 5 a.m. each morning to study and studied while my children were in school.

What is the value of your education?
It gives a different outlook on life. I was always someone who read a lot. Learning didn't stop at graduation.

What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
You need to make education a priority if you want to get a decent job and have a decent outlook on life. Sometimes no education makes your world a small place. If you get an education, your world can expand. You've got to be ready for what life has in store for you.

When did you make education a priority?
From the early days of my life. My parents and grandparents thought education was necessary.

What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
My parents, grandparents and teachers.

Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
I never thought about quitting. Even when I stopped going to college to have a family, returning was always in the back of my mind. Three years of college wasn't enough to get a job.

2009 Stories
2008 Archive
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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