The latest Alumni Update features 2007 graduate Amy Locke. Please read on to see how life has changed for Amy and her 19-year-old daughter Molly since completing her education at the University of Arkansas.

Tell us about your degree and current employment.
I earned my Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Arkansas in 2007. I am an elementary music teacher in Farmington, but it wasn’t a straight line from degree to career for me. I didn’t have a degree in education, so I spent 2 years in the Non-Traditional Teaching Licensure Program to get my license to teach in Arkansas. I have now been teaching music for 12 years.

Did your pursuit of a college education influence your children or other family members?
Molly is currently a Freshman at the University of Arkansas, studying Art Education. I like to think that my example helped lead her to her decision to be an educator and of course her decision to attend college.

What does Molly want to be when she “grows up”?

Molly’s goal is to be a high school art teacher. She also plans to teach English as a Second Language abroad. She has been interested in teaching ESL in South Korea since early high school.

What is your favorite SPSF memory or activity (events, socials, fundraisers, etc.)?
One that stands out was a photo opportunity held at St Paul’s. Andrew Kilgore and Andy Shupe took pictures of recipients that year. Molly and I had never had professional photos of the two of us. She giggled through the entire thing! This was such a special gift from SPSF and the photographers. I still have the framed photo I was given hanging in my living room.

What or who kept you motivated during your time as an SPSF scholarship recipient? How did SPSF NWA contribute to that motivation?
My daughter was 5 years old when I first received the SPSF NWA scholarship and setting a good example for her was absolutely my primary motivation for completing my degree. Knowing that SPSF NWA was behind me and would continue to support me throughout my last semesters of college was incredibly encouraging.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment since completing your degree?
My greatest accomplishment since completing my degree has been my job. Having it has allowed me to accomplish so many other goals.

What has changed most for you and your family, now that you are no longer in school?
I haven’t been in school for quite some time, but I remember those first years after completing my degree were full of relief. Relief from some financial struggles, relief from my class work and studies, and relief from being away from home for so many hours. Before I completed my degree, I was working three jobs and often worked more than 12 hours per day. It was such a relief to have more time with my daughter and more time to take care of necessary tasks at home.

What was the best advice you received in school?
I took four years off from college before SPSF helped me go back and finish. The best advice I received in school was that “it’s always an option to finish, no matter how long you have been away.”

What advice would you give someone desiring to go back to school/current recipient?
If you’re considering finishing your degree, just do it! It is always an option and there are wonderful people in this world who are here to help you.

What would you like to say to SPSF NWA donors/supporters?

To the donors, I offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Your contributions to this program changed my life. You are my heroes!