Education = Empowerment
Danielle King received an Associate's Degree from Lamar State College Orange. She is employed at Veolia Environmental in Port Arthur, Texas and has improved her job advancement opportunities with this degree. We love to see the smiles of our moms on graduation day.
LaToya James is now a Registered Nurse who graduated from Lamar University with a Bachelors in Nursing in 2021. She is employed at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas Hospital. Her determination to work through the grief of her husband's untimely death and continue her education is admirable. SMORE is proud of her. And her two daughters are proud of her as well.
Jackie Guillory, the first SMORE candidate to complete a degree, graduated in 2020 from Lamar University with a degree in Social Work. She is a native of Port Arthur, Texas and worked on this degree for many years. She is pictured here with her professor Dr. Ginger Gummelt. Jackie was inducted into the Social Work National Honor Society.
When Jackie was twelve years old her mother died and Jackie took charge of the household responsibilities. To this day she has been a servant to others. She is a sweet soul and has common sense as well. Working with her has been an honor and a privilege.
We are very proud of her and her accomplishments.
Betty Bernard is an empowered mother of two daughters. She holds an Associate’s Degree from Lamar Port Arthur and is two semesters away for obtaining a Bachelor’s from Lamar University. She works at W.R. Grace in Pasadena, Texas where she is a Quality Control Technician.
She says, “Getting an education has made me knowledgeable in areas that are of my interest. Education is empowering because it is a process of continuous learning acquired at any time or any age. Taking advantage of academic and career opportunities has influenced me to become a well-rounded and grounded individual in my profession.”
Lisa Carson began achieving higher education when she joined the military reserves to qualify for the GI Bill. She chose the fast track to start a career in nursing because her husband at the time was in the Navy and they relocated often. She says, “ Education has empowered me to become independent financially, to have my own home and to provide for my kids. I have a fulfilling job as a nurse for a contractor of the Federal Prison In Beaumont. I work in the infectious disease department and am part of the Bureau of Prisons team that helps protect the public.”
Amanda Conway became a single mom at the age of 20. She dropped out of college and began working full time. She says, “I was blessed at the age of 25 to be able to take classes at LIT in Beaumont. My job allowed me to take classes, I also took mini sessions, summer courses, night classes and online classes and graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Real Estate in May of 2012. I passed the Real Estate Licensing Exam and obtained my Salesperson License and am now doing Real estate as well as Property Management here locally and thriving. I strongly feel that without being able to further my education, I would have struggled to this day to make ends meet. I have also had a ton of familial support along the way.”
Norma Guidry has a BS in Nursing. She works as a service coordinator for a managed care healthcare organization. She says, "My education has allowed me to secure a work-from-home job that provides me the financial ability to provide for my daughter and the flexibility to be very active in helping her set a strong education foundation for her future. SMORE was instrumental in helping me heal from the emotional impact of divorce, therefore clearing the way to a healthy co-parenting relationship." She volunteers at her daughter's school, her church food pantry and in their cooking ministry as well as serving on the SMORE Board.
Allison Leger is a single mother of five. She says, “I realize I am one of the lucky ones. My parents wrote a check for my education every semester-books and all. I value my education very much. While in college, though I had low self esteem, I learned that I could start something and finish it. I found my voice, learned how to make decisions for myself and believe in me. And I’ve had to go back to these roots over and over personally and professionally.”
Allison is a Collision Estimator at Collision and Classics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications with emphasis in corporate communication from Lamar University.
Kay Miller says, "College after divorce, with two small children and at forty wasn't the easiest decision. It was the wisest decision though. It kept me from wallowing in the self-pity of failure and it allowed me to find validity in myself again. It also provided a more stable income for me and my boys.
God was and is still so faithful to me. His provisions with help from friends, financial assistance and scholarships were blessings in my life! The college experience also taught my boys a lot about priorities and responsibilities. It wasn't always easy but it was the best thing I have ever done for me and my children."
She holds an Associate of Applied Science degree as a legal secretary. After her divorce she returned to college at 38 years of age and earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Performance as a Session Musician. She says, “Education gave me the ability to control my circumstances rather than my circumstance controlling me.”
Some Single Moms who have received a Program for Continuing Education (PCE)
“I have an Associate’s Degree in Office Administration. My education has empowered me by earning me a higher position on my job which came with an increased rate of pay which of course was much needed.”
LaTasha is an Administrative Assistant II for the City of Beaumont Streets and Drainage Division.
Going back to college was a decision I made to be an example for my boys. This is a way to better our lives and help us gain bigger and better things. The end is near and our future looks bright.