Camp graduate reaching for dream job

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Renee F. Copeland will walk proudly as she accepts her associate’s degree in applied science in administration of justice. She’s not only proud of achieving such a loft goal but she’s also proud of the support from her family and many of the staff at Paul D. Camp Community College where she is working toward a dream.

&uot;My sisters, Patrina, Erma, Rosa, and Cherita and my brother Eric, and my mother and father, Edith and Ulysses Copeland of Holland Village, have all been so supportive and helped me along the way,&uot; said Copeland. &uot;I’ve had a lot of people from the college to really push me including Martha Kello, who encouraged me to continue on past the one year certificate studies. Ron Osborn also pushed me to go further, however I could not have done any of it without the support of my family. I am grateful to all of them.&uot;

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Copeland, of East Washington Street, is currently a teacher’s assistant for Hilda Montgomery at Mt. Zion Elementary School and she helps with the four-year program, Early Start.

Although she works full-time with Suffolk Public Schools, Copeland holds down another job; getting herself educated. She’s enrolled in the Administration of Justice Program at PDCCC, and once she graduates Friday, May 9th, she will transfer to Old Dominion University where she will continue to work toward a degree in criminal justice.

&uot;I would like to work with at-risk children when I graduate,&uot; she said. &uot;I would like to be with probation and parole or a facility for youth in trouble. My dream is to work with youth who have made some wrong decisions in life and try to get them redirected.&uot;

Copeland is one graduate who is truly looking forward to the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony. Eric A. Cooke of Franklin, an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, will address the graduation at PDCCC’s &uot;Regional Workforce Development Center,&uot; at 7 p.m. Copeland looks at him as an example of how education can enrich a life.

Since l996, Cooke has been responsible for preparation and trial of criminal felony and misdemeanor cases at all levels of complexity including both jury and bench trials in the Circuit Court, trials in the General District and Juvenile Courts of Franklin and Southampton County.

He has also served as a special prosecutor in Suffolk when the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney encountered a conflict of interest situation in prosecution, and these are only a few of the opportunities enjoyed by Cooke as a direct result of continued education. It is easy to understand why Copeland has her sites set on continuing her own edification

Copeland is a 1981 graduate of Forest Glen High School, and she’s currently a big supporter of her own daughter, Patrice, who is in her third year at Virginia State University.

&uot;I call her &uot;Muff,&uot; as do the other students because my grandmother always said she was a sweet little muffin,&uot; said Copeland. &uot;She’s our joy and she’s studying psychology to be either a lawyer or a psychiatrist and we are all extremely proud of her. I want her to enjoy her education and become whatever she chooses. We will just be so proud of her.&uot;

Copeland and her family are members of Mt. Zion United Church of Christ.

For more information on Paul D. Camp Community College’s Workforce Development Center, call the college at 925-6300 for the Oliver K. Hobbs Campus in Suffolk, or call the Franklin Campus at 569-6791.