On Thursday, December 6, Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) announced their 2019 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) delegate, Mr. Joshua Jackson of Tifton. The EAGLE Program celebrates adult learners in pursuit of excellence. This state-wide program recognizes and honors students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in statewide adult education classes. Adult Education instructors in public, private, and grantee agencies nominate students at the local program level to participate in the EAGLE recognition program at the state level. Selection criteria include student character, attitude, attendance, leadership and community involvement and activities.
Every EAGLE delegate is considered an ambassador and spokesperson for literacy, serving local communities and the state by promoting lifelong learning. In the spring of 2019, Mr. Jackson will represent SRTC’s Adult Education program at the state EAGLE Leadership Institute in Atlanta.
Education was not always a part of Mr. Jackson’s life, however. When he was five years old, he was pulled from pre-school by his parents to be homeschooled. Their mistrust of the education system and paranoia about the violence in school made their decision permanent. Unfortunately, Joshua’s mother was not equipped to teach a five-year-old. Joshua’s homeschool education ended after the first year out of pre-school as his mother’s time became consumed with caring for Joshua’s sickly siblings, searching for employment, and babysitting neighbors’ children. Because his parents were deceiving the Board of Education into believing that he was being properly taught, he was never allowed to go back to school for fear that their neglect would be found out.
While other young teenagers were going to football games, dances, and running for Student Body President, Joshua took a job at a scrap metal yard at the age of fourteen in order to support his family. With both parents unemployed, Josh and his brother had no choice but to continue to provide for the family. Mr. Jackson’s childhood was spent bouncing from home to home, worrying about whether they would have access to running water and enough food to eat. As he became a young adult, Joshua continued to work entry level jobs. He knew that he would never have the success and life that he craved without an education.
When Joshua met the girl that would soon be his wife, things began to change for him. While they were dating, she encouraged Joshua to go get his GED. Once they were married, his wife suggested that he try the Adult Education program at Southern Regional Technical College. He enrolled and went on to spend two years attending day and night classes as well as the online program, making up for an entire childhood of not having access to education.
Of his experience in the Adult Education program, Mr. Jackson said, “I was blessed to have amazing teachers who saw potential in me and were willing to work with my job schedule. There were many days that I worked twelve-hour night shifts and then came the very next morning to class. I would fight through the fatigue and take tests. Sometimes I would fail but just like in everyday life, I would pick up my ego and try again. ‘Never Give Up’ is one of the most important lessons that Adult Education has taught me. This has prepared me for college and the work force. I learned to balance my schedule and multitask.”
Joshua Jackson is currently enrolled at Southern Regional Technical College, pursuing his Computer Support Specialist degree. SRTC is proud to have Mr. Jackson represent the school at the state level, and wishes him every success