If at first you don’t succeed, never, ever stop trying. As current student Jade Poates has discovered, it may have taken her a few attempts to go back to school — four to be exact —but this go-around, she’s nailing it. Not only is she on the Dean’s List, as well as a member of the Golden Key Honour Society, but she serves as a founding officer for the newly established Ashford* Black Community (ABC) Club on LinkedIn.
Sidetracked during her first few attempts to go to a traditional brick and mortar college by the birth of her daughters (who are now two and four years old), Jade dropped out a few times to put the needs of her little ones first. She says she chose Ashford because she knew she’d need the flexibility and freedom it provided her as a single, working mother.
“This time around, I knew I could do it,” Jade explains. “My kids were getting a little bit older. I was a little bit older, and I knew I really needed to get it done. So, I hunkered down and gave it my best. And it’s worked.”
As an ardent child advocate, home educator, and dedicated mom, Jade is pursuing her degree in a subject that is near and dear to her heart – a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education Administration.
Roughly two years from achieving her goals, her “why” in getting her degree is crystal clear and has served as a powerful motivator to keep her on track. Someday, in the not too distant future, Jade wants to own and operate a group of family-oriented learning centers for homeschool families looking to provide educational and social opportunities outside of the home**.
“Anytime I feel like giving up or putting my schoolwork on the back burner, I look long and hard at my two beautiful daughters, and the fire in my heart rekindles, giving me the boost I need to keep going,” she explains.
For many people dealing with the idea of homeschooling for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jade hopes to offer an innovative approach to education.
“I want to be an influencer of the policies and procedures in place to protect and provide children with a great education,” she says.
However, her passion for educating others isn’t limited to children. Through her role in the ABC club, Jade has been instrumental in creating a welcoming online space for all Ashford students, staff, and alumni who are looking to learn more about what the beautiful and diverse Black/African diaspora community has to offer.
“We want to educate people and enlighten them,” Jade says. “Everyone has an idea about every different race, but unless you’re truly educated on the background and the history of it, as well as the present, you really don’t know.”
The club is in its early stages, but Jade envisions it being a place where people can get together to learn, read books together, support, and motivate one another and feel like they’ve found a place where they fit in and can be heard.
“The focus is not going to be just African Americans,” Jade explains. “It’s going to showcase Black people from all over who have influenced the world as a whole, as well as making strides for the Black community specifically. We’re focusing on excellence in general when it comes to Black history.”
Another community where Jade has found support has been through her involvement with the Golden Key International Honour Society.
“It’s a great place to get access to more scholarship opportunities, as well as network with other like-minded students,” notes Jade. “It’s also a pretty cool accolade that you’ll be able to have as a part of your academic journey.”
For current or potential students looking for a bit of extra motivation, Jade wants them to know it is doable. Even if they’re balancing being a single parent, working, and getting good grades like she is, it’s all about sticking to a plan.
“If you set that schedule and stick to it like you would for a work schedule, then you’ll be just fine,” says Jade.
She also reminds students to reach out to their advisor and instructors whenever they’re unsure about something or need advice. “They’re there to help you,” she reminds her peers. “I know people may be hesitant because you think they don’t know you, but they’ve been super helpful for me,” she adds.
“They’re a huge help, and I see a difference in my grades for the better when I use those tools,” she says.
Through it all, Jade admits she is overwhelmed…but in the best kind of way.
“As a student currently in college, I feel overwhelmed with joy and gratitude,” she says.” I have my days when I feel as if I got in over my head, but I do my best to take it one task at a time.”
*Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus.
**An online degree from the University of Arizona Global Campus does not lead to immediate teacher licensure in any state.
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.