Student Success: A Desire to Make a Difference

Jamese Coker

Jamese Coker can recall the teachers who made a difference in her life, and now she wants to make a difference in the lives of other young people.

Great Teachers Inspired Her.

Mr. Fair and Miss Vanderstein, for instance. Mr. Fair’s mantra was from “The Little Engine That Could” – I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. He followed Jamese and her fellow students from junior high through high school in the San Francisco Bay area. Miss Vanderstein was earlier. She was always reading stories – reading, reading, and more reading. And she taught Jamese how to hold a pen.

“I had a lot of great teachers,” Jamese says. “I could go on and on. I just want to be a teacher to inspire children as I was inspired.”

Return to College.

When Jamese enrolled at FRCC, she already had a bachelor of applied science degree in audio engineering from Ex’Pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, Calif. The entertainment industry is not known for its stability, however, and post-production work can be hard to come by.

“I needed a Plan B,” Jamese says.

Move to Colorado.

Jamese always felt that teaching was in her. So with her mother living in the Boulder area, Jamese moved to Colorado and enrolled at Front Range Community College’s Boulder County Campus to  study elementary education. She also found work at the Boulder Valley YMCA. She works in the before- and after-school program. In the summer, she will work at a camp for English-language learners.

“I’m really invested in working with kids,” Jamese says. “They are so passionate about life. I want to be a special-education teacher. And maybe one day be a professor. I know I want to be involved in education. A doctorate in education would demand a lot from me.”

Career Goal is to Teach in an Urban Setting.

In the more immediate future is earning her Associate of Arts degree in Education for Transfer, and then earning her teaching credential. She wants to teach in an urban school.

“I always struggled with school,” Jamese says. “I want young people to know not to give up and how to become an adult. You can make it. Believe in yourself.”

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John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College.

2 Responses to “Student Success: A Desire to Make a Difference”

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June 07, 2013 at 1:17 pm, Scholarship Man said:

This woman is going places. I just hope tuition isn’t a problem!

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June 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm, GED Math said:

Great story. As someone who had great teachers, I knew that I wanted to teach. I now work in adult education helping people get their GEDs. There is nothing better than empowering people to believe in themselves and that they can have an impact on the world.