King’s Fork alumni motivate juniors

Published 9:39 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2018

King’s Fork High School juniors got advice on their futures from some high-achieving alumni during an event on Wednesday morning.

Four alumni — Alexis Brueggeman, Dr. Jaleesha Carter, Dr. Lataisia Jones and Shaka Miller — were chosen by King’s Fork’s Access Advisor Adrienne Miller to address the junior class on their annual Junior Day.

All four former Bulldogs preached hard work and loving your job as the keys to a successful career, but the alumni urged the juniors to start working hard now, if they haven’t already.

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“High school gives you the tools you need to be a stronger individual,” Jones said. “Being guided by these teachers at King’s Fork was great.”

“High school was easy, and I didn’t really take it seriously,” Carter said. “But in your undergrad, you have to study. I had to teach myself how to do that in college. Please take it seriously now.”

Brueggeman showed that hard work in high school would pay off both academically and financially in the years following. The fifth-grade teacher at Hickory Elementary finished both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years, and she left school with no student loan debt.

Those achievements were made possible because of her hard work in the International Baccalaureate program at King’s Fork. Being in the IB program gave her college credits and helped her win a full-ride scholarship for four years.

“I tried really hard in high school, and I learned how to study and manage my time. It gave me the ability to finish college as quickly as I could,” Brueggeman said.

Both Carter and Miller were the voices for kids who don’t really know what they want to do once they reach higher education. The two showed that great success is still possible despite an unknown career path.

“I moved all over the place in undergraduate. When you get in college, it’s important to know what you want to do,” Carter said. “But If you don’t know, that’s OK too.”

Carter is currently a doctor of physical therapy at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News.

Miller began a college career in business and was poised to graduate before deciding that education was his preferred route. Now Miller is the assistant principal at the College and Career Academy at Pruden, but he still has other career paths on his mind.

“I am currently a doctoral candidate at Liberty University, and I’m still deciding if I want to go to law school,” Miller said.

Jones used her academic achievements as a motivator for the students. She was the first black doctoral graduate from Florida State University’s College of Medicine.

“Don’t be discouraged by the financial obstacle for college,” Jones said. “There are a lot of firsts that are left to do. Your purpose will be greater than what you think it will be.”

After students left, the rest of the day was filled with opportunities to speak with advisors from 16 different colleges and recruiters from different military branches.

“This should be an example to you,” said school counselor Renea Coley. “If you have a goal and you work hard, you can achieve anything.”