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

Degree opens doors

Parents of civil engineer were a driving factor

Jonathan Gresham
Age: 43
Occupation: Civil engineer, City of Amarillo

Where did you receive your education?
Amarillo High School and Texas Tech University.

How has your education played a role in your life today?
Education has opened doors for me that otherwise wouldn't be open. In my career as a professional engineer, a bachelor's degree is required to obtain your license. Without my degree, I would not have the career I have today.

What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
The classes were my biggest challenge. I have always excelled in math, but once I began my civil engineer studies at Texas Tech, the classes were much more difficult than high school. I had to rededicate myself and make my education a priority to make it through the engineering program.

What is the value of your education?
It's immeasurable. My education has allowed me to pursue a career in engineering and to obtain a rewarding, stable job. It has given me a better understanding of the world and myself. Knowledge is the key to a fulfilling and rewarding life. I believe the value of an education lies within each individual.

What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
Continuing your education is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. Education increases your chances of leading a fulfilled life; it exposes you to realities of life. Obtaining a good education will allow you to pursue your goals and dreams and lead to a life rich in stability, challenge and reward.

When did you make education a priority?
It has always been a priority. My parents always stressed the importance of a good education. They encouraged me at a very early age that college was important and I was going to attend, and I never had any other thoughts other than continuing my education after high school. I knew that education was going to be a priority.

What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
Again, my parents were instrumental in stressing that receiving a good education was a priority. Neither of my parents graduated from college, and I saw firsthand how hard they had to work to make up for the fact they didn't have a college degree. I'm very proud of my parents for supporting me with my dreams and always believing in me, no matter how tough it may have been.

Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
Of course, I think we would not be human if we did not think about quitting. I had the usual doubts after a tough exam or when finances were at a low. I just stayed focused and continued through the good and the bad knowing that I would achieve a personal reward that no one could take from me.

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