CHICAGO, Nov. 11 — Pamela Jackson is all too familiar with the concept of adversity. Growing up in the 1980s in Cabrini-Green, a notorious Chicago public housing development, Jackson lost her father to gang violence at an early age, and experienced a life of gang activity, teenage pregnancy, homelessness and neglect.
Living with constant struggles, Jackson’s father instilled one piece of advice in his young daughter. "Before he died, my father would tell me that education is the key to a better life – it’s the way out of the housing projects and the way out of the gangs," recalled Jackson.
Jackson took her father’s advice to heart and completed high school with honors, despite having two children prior to graduation. Jackson eventually had three more children and her personal and financial struggles continued throughout the years. Determined to make a better life for herself and her five daughters, Jackson enrolled in Everest College’s practical nursing program. "I was determined to complete my education and become a nurse," explained Jackson. "I wanted to be a role model to my children and wanted to better their lives."
Jackson completed the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program at the Everest campus in Merrillville, Indiana, passed the state licensing exam and is now working as a licensed practical nurse. Corinthian Colleges, parent company of Everest Colleges, took notice of Jackson’s perseverance and determination and recently named her the company’s 2009 Dream Award winner.
Corinthian’s Dream Award recognizes graduates who have overcome personal obstacles to persevere in their studies and find success in their chosen fields. Each of Corinthian’s 106 Everest campuses selects an outstanding graduate. Jackson, the national Dream Award winner, was selected from among the 106 campus winners and awarded a full Everest scholarship to continue her education.
"Pamela’s accomplishments are a testament to her courage, determination and will to succeed," said Peter Waller, Corinthian’s chief executive officer. "As the 2009 Corinthian Dream Award winner, Pam represents the personal and career success that is possible through post-secondary education."
"My father was right," said Jackson. "Education is the key to a better life and my daughters and I are living proof of that. Everest helped change my life and make me the kind of person that my kids – and my dad – can be proud of."
Jackson works in a Dyer, Indiana, nursing home as a licensed practical nurse, and says she thoroughly enjoys taking care of her patients. "I give total care. I’m not required to but Everest taught us that you have to be able to do it all," said Jackson. In addition to her work as an LPN, Jackson says she is using her own experiences to help others by counseling women who are drug addicted, involved in gangs or are victims of domestic violence. She is also spreading the word on how education turned her life around.
About Corinthian Colleges, Inc.
Corinthian Colleges, Inc., parent company of Everest and WyoTech schools, is one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. The company’s mission is to prepare students for careers in demand or for advancement in their chosen field. Corinthian offers diploma programs and associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in a variety of high-demand occupational areas, including healthcare, business, criminal justice, transportation technology and maintenance, construction trades and information technology.
More information can be found on Corinthian’s website at http://www.cci.edu.