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Determination helps woman pursue college education dream

WESSON — Determination has enabled a Bogue Chitto woman to makeher dreams of obtaining a college education come true.

“I always had the self-determination that I would go back toschool and get my degree,” said Mary Addison. “Now that my childrenhave grown up, I can do it.”

The 50-year-old sophomore, who lives in the dormitory atCopiah-Lincoln Community College, has almost completed herassociate’s degree and plans on taking her education even furthernext year.

She hopes to attend the University of Southern Mississippi andmajor in elementary education next fall. After she obtains herbachelor’s degree, Addison would like to try for a doctorate. Sheis unsure what avenue she will pursue after that.

As a mother of six, elementary education was the natural area toconcentrate on in college, said Addison.

“I love to work with kids,” she added. “I’d love to have sixmore kids.”

Being a dormitory resident allows Addison to share her love foryoung people with numerous college students. She enjoys having allthe extra children around to spend time with and pass her wisdom onto as she embarks on her journey.

“The students come to me all the time and talk to me and ask foradvice,” she said. “I call myself the queen mother and they’re mybees.”

It is evident around campus, not just in the dormitory, thatstudents respect and look up to Addison. They seem to look afterher just as much as she watches over them.

When Addison suffered a stroke five years ago, she was leftpartially paralyzed and has difficulty with walking and othertasks. But the students always seem to be there when she needsassistance.

Many students carry her books to and from classes daily. Addisonbeams at the thought of how helpful the students have been over thelast year and a half.

“Sometimes they don’t know me and help me, like when this guysaw I could hardly get down the stairs and picked me up and carriedme,” she remembered.

The teachers at Co-Lin have also played an important role inallowing Addison to follow her dreams. They understand she hastrouble writing, due to her stroke, so they allow her to take hertests in the Learning Center, where she is supervised by othermembers of the college staff.

Addison’s decision to live in the dormitory was beneficial aswell because the help she gets from the other female students isvital in allowing her to make it through college.

“If I need my shoes tied or something, all I have to do is go tothe door and they’ll come help me,” said Addison, who appreciatesevery bit of assistance her fellow dorm residents give her.

She said the students not only help her with difficult tasks,but they also check to make sure she eats every meal. She laughsabout the role reversal.

Last year, she did not require much help from other studentsbecause she was joined in her room by her twin daughters, Sherryand Sheree, who were also students. They have since moved on tofurther their careers.

She will join one of her daughters next year at USM, which sheis looking forward to because it’s another opportunity tolearn.

Learning is the most important part of life, said Addison. Shebelieves everyone should strive to increase their knowledgethroughout life.

“You never get too old to learn,” she said. “You can alwaysbenefit from learning. I believe learning doesn’t stop until youdie.”

She tries to talk with her fellow students about the importanceof education, and she has already taught her children thateducation is important.

“I always told my kids to keep God first and education second,and all six of them go to church and have been to Co-Lin,” saidAddison.

She is excited about the accomplishments she has already made incompleting her dreams, and is anticipating what new adventuresawait her in college.