SPECIAL EDUCATION HOLDS A SPECIAL PLACE IN LORI EMERSON’S HEART.
She majored in elementary education the first time she went to college, but she was most interested in special education. She would have pursued working with children with special needs, but life interfered, and she left college after her freshman year. Today, with the help of a Paducah Bank scholarship, Lori is finishing a dual certification in special education/elementary education.
The first time Lori went to college was after high school graduation. She attended Lakeland Christian Academy while her parents, Elvis and Mildred Emerson, raised the support they would need as missionaries in Honduras, Central America. After graduation from high school, her father strongly encouraged her to go to college. Although she agreed and started college in Chattanooga, Lori “took a break” after her freshman year to help with her grandmother, who was ill. As often happens in these circumstances, she never returned and did not follow through with her education.
She worked in the medical field during the day and attended night classes at WKCTC to finish her Associate’s Degree. In August 2007, Lori decided to complete her degree in Education. She returned to school full-time and worked at the Dermatology & Skin Surgery Clinic on a part-time basis. “They have been great about working around my class schedule,” Emerson says.
However, this year Lori needed to take time off for practicum, or observing in the classroom. An advisor from Murray State recommended Lori for a scholarship because she was a deserving student.
This semester Lori has been spending her mornings at Tilghman High School in Paducah and Central Elementary in Draffenville, and Thursday and Friday afternoons usually find her at Lone Oak Elementary. She attends class at the Crisp Center three afternoons each week. Monday is her late night. After practicum, she’s at the Crisp Center for Science at 1:00 and doesn’t leave until testing is over in Diagnostic Methods at 10 p.m., when she returns to her home in Calvert City.
Lori agrees it is hard to quit work to complete a college degree, but her advice to other adults considering college is to do it. Her admonition to high school students is to finish college right away: “Once you’re involved with life, it’s really hard to take time out.”
Even though this has been an interrupted journey for Lori, with starts and stops along the way, her destination is in sight. She will begin her student teaching in the spring of 2009, and will be able to teach by the beginning of the fall school year. And not only will Lori’s dreams be realized, but the community will benefit from the presence of a dedicated teacher with a heart for special education students.