Substitute Teacher — Pea Ridge School District
Explain your career path
It's been a long and winding road! I studied mass communication with an emphasis in radio and television, and minored in business administration. I worked for 20 years as a radio broadcaster in Missouri and Arkansas. I was a news reporter and covered President Reagan, the first President Bush, and President Clinton. I met and interviewed 5 Arkansas governors and 3 Missouri governors, a Miss America, an Academy Award winning actress, and several big celebrities like Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. Then one day I suddenly found myself out of radio, and working as a clerk in a hospital for several years, then as a clerk for a U.S. Government contractor. Now I'm qualified as a middle school social studies teacher and am working as a substitute teacher. Most of these radical career changes were unexpected. You have to take what life throws at you. However, every place I worked was glad to have a college graduate! When you achieve the success of graduating from college, doors will open later. But don't think that what will come in the future will be easy, because it is really a lot of hard work, and blood, sweat, and tears, too! Overall though, I have no regrets and God has been good to my family and me.
What was your major at Southeast and how would you characterize the quality of that program to prospective students?
I went through the mass communications core with an emphasis on radio and television. I minored in business administration. However, due to failing a college algebra class I graduated with a general studies degree. I am glad to have gone to SEMO and I did learn a lot that has helped me keep going all these years later.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
At the time I lived in Sikeston, so it was nearby. Southeast has always been a good school, and when I attended the college was known as "the K-Mart of Colleges" because tuition was pretty low. In example, I received a $500 scholarship from the Radio/TV Club and that money took care of every cost I had for parts of three semesters!
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
Dr. Harley Rutledge in the Physics Department was a good man, so was Professor Easley in the History Department. In the Mass Communications Department there were several good folk like Dr. Fred Wyman, Dr. Gordon Holland, Dr. Herb Taylor, and Dr. JIm Dufek.
Share your best college memory.
Probably one of the most interesting things is I was in mass communications classes with Cedric Kyles, also known as Cedric the Entertainer. He was a friend in college and we worked on student productions together, particularly in the spring semester of 1986 when we worked on a cable access TV show that was cablecast on campus and around Cape Girardeau called "CAC-10 After Dark." Fellow students Brenda Chassey and John Lukas also worked on that show. There were three episodes videotaped and we had a lot of fun putting them together.
If you were in Greek Life, the Honors Program or any other student organization, please tell us about that experience and how it impacted you.
During my radio broadcasting career I contributing news stories to the Arkansas Radio Network so my stories and my voice were heard on 70 radio stations that covered parts of nine states. I also contributed frequently to Associated Press, and was a stringer for The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, TN and the Arkansas Gazette at Little Rock. In 2000 I was presented with a Distinguished Service Award from the Journalism Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I also was presented with several other awards and citations during my 20 years as a broadcaster. I've also worked as a freelance writer and have had about 150 articles published in regional magazines and newspapers and have self-published two books.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
NO matter what life throws at you, keep pushing on. As a young graduate fresh in the workplace I thought everything would come fairly easy. I was wrong. Keep working at whatever it is you do and good things will follow. Have a strong faith, find a good spouse to share life with, and keep a smile on your face in happy times and sad times. Everything comes out in the wash.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Challenging, exciting, fun.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
Keep your eyes on the prize and keep working at it through the hard times. Nothing good comes easy. I never got rich and I never got famous but working in the careers I have had has been challenging and interesting. I constantly have been amazed at the talented people that have surrounded me and am happy to be counted among them.