Perseverance pays off
By Eileen Mellon, Special to the Citizen 07/23/12
A Henrico woman is one of 10 outstanding students recently selected by The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) as part of its second class of Valley Proteins Fellows.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College student Daphne Jones was a perfect candidate for the program, which was created to celebrate and enhance leadership capacity of students who have demonstrated great potential in the community college system. Jones leads a busy life as a single mother of four who also has custody of her 17-year-old
special needs brother, who is the driving force behind her perseverance to become a nurse practitioner.
“I hit a point in my life where I made a decision to help understand my brother and educate people about taking care of others,” said Jones, who describes her life as layers upon layers of lessons.
“I can say to people, ‘I know the pain you’re going through,’ because I’ve been in their position. I know how it feels to wonder what the next step is, and I know how to help them through it; there’s a brighter side to everything.”
As a recipient of The Valley Proteins scholarship, Jones’ full tuition and fees will be covered at JSRCC. The Fellows also participate in a unique leadership curriculum through community service and receive individualized assistance in obtaining financial aid and transferring to four-year institutions. This added bonus will help Jones on her long path of continued education.
Valley Proteins is a 50-year old family-owned business based in Winchester that operates 12 plants in 7 states.
“I was nervous to go to school but I went in with the idea that once I start this, no matter how hard and frustrating it will be I’m going to do it,” Jones said. “I was scared but then excitement took over, then the excitement went away and I was filled with love. I’m in love with school and I’m learning to love what I’m doing; it gives me confidence.”
Jones is fully dedicated to her family despite her busy schedule, as she manages to communicate and get reports from her children’s teachers weekly to make sure they are on the right track. She hopes that her devotion to education will set an example for her children as she stresses that they should do what she’s doing but “100 times better,” while striving to go above and beyond normal expectations.
During her first year at JSRCC Jones did just that, as she earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.
JSRCC English professor Barbara Walsh remembered when she first met Jones on campus in the cafeteria and could sense that she was a hard-working student with a kind heart.
“She struck me as being a really good student, so I said, ‘Why don’t you sign up for my English class’ and she did,” Walsh recalled.
After a short time, Walsh became thoroughly impressed with Jones’ dedication and unusual habits. Jones would come into class a few minutes early with a vocabulary word of the day for the class and would teach the students around her, willing to share knowledge and help other students.
Walsh has been at JSRCC for six years and had never nominated a student for the Fellows program.
“When I got the email for nominating, I knew I should nominate her,” said Walsh. “I have never seen someone totally dedicated, and I have a lot of students that work hard but they don’t go above and beyond. I really have never met anyone like her before.”
Jones manages to balance her school and home life, involving her children in the studying process as she studies on average six to eight hours a day.
“My kids tell me I’m going to get a brain cramp,” said Jones with a chuckle. “If I’m studying science I’ll bring in Jayson, my 10-year-old, and I’ll go on Google and watch videos, make flashcards and a Powerpoint, and then I’ll have him test me on everything we just went through.
“Not only does he know about it and we both learn, but it is a bonding experience, it’s how I keep them involved, and I don’t have to leave the house for hours to study.”
Jones will begin her second year at JSRCC this fall with the goal of earning an associate degree in nursing. She hopes to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a minor in education.
She also wants to earn a master’s in nursing and then become a nurse practitioner. The schooling will be costly and timely, but Jones is dedicated and knows what she wants and intends to get it.
“I need to work even harder because so many people believe in me and think extremely highly of me,” said Jones. “Eventually one day I know I’ll be finished with this. Until then, I won’t stop.”
More than 300 participants took the plunge for charity Feb. 25 at The Shops at Willow Lawn, raising $40,000 for the Special Olympics of Virginia as part of the 2017 RVA Polar Plunge Fest. Participants jumped into frigid water as part of the event, having raised money through donations leading up to the event.
“At Special Olympics Virginia, our vision is to inspire the first unified generation; a generation of people who respectfully include each other in the school, in the workplace, in the community,” said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia President. “Plunging this past Saturday included people with intellectual disabilities and those without; people of all ages, genders, races and religions; students and teachers; doctors and lawyers; military and law enforcement; one for all; all for one." > Read more.
CancerLINC's 11th annual "It’s in the Bag" event raised more than $50,000. The event, presented by Virginia Cancer Institute, was held at The Westin Richmond in Henrico Feb. 2 and was attended by more than 200 people.
“It's in the Bag” included handbag designer Thaddeus DuBois and his family from Syracuse, Ind. DuBois brought four handcrafted handbags, which were auctioned off and raised more than $4,000. Three autographed handbags from “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker also brought funds. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 02/28/2017 Features
Above, Varina’s Andre Watkins drives to the basket during the Blue Devils’ 52-51 win against Hampton in the Group 5A third-place game at Hermitage High School Feb. 25. Below, Tyrese Jenkins drives to the basket during the game. The Blue Devils (21-6 on the season), who earlier last month defeated Hermitage, 53-34, to earn a spot in the 5A state tournament, next will face Albemarle in that tournament. It is the program’s first trip to the state tournament since 2001 and first under fourth-year coach Andrew Lacey, who has turned around a team that was 6-14 during his first season. > Read more.
For the past two months, they showed up every day at the state Capitol, dressed in matching blazers and carrying pen and paper at the ready – the next generation of public servants carefully observing their superiors.
These young adults are known as pages. They are middle school and high school students from around Virginia who assist in everyday tasks at the General Assembly to experience firsthand how the legislative process works.
The program dates as far back as 1850, when the one page who worked was paid $2 a day. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 02/27/2017 Features
The Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) is seeking to raise $100,000 in 30 days to cover due diligence and closing costs associated with the historic Malvern Hill Farm. These include boundary survey, Phase I ESA, title search and insurance, recording fees, taxes, and legal work as well as a Section 106 review.
CRLC is scheduled to close on the purchase of the property May 31, and is asking community members to help support the site's acquisition. All donations will help CRLC leverage $1 million in matching funds. > Read more.
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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