This week's neighbor spent 20 years as a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling four children. Now she is heavily involved in her own schooling and spending many hours as a volunteer.
As a child, Beth Persons attended many schools as her family moved from state to state as her father changed factory jobs. Eventually, her family moved to Wylie, Texas, where she graduated from high school. Ironically, her parents have stayed in Wylie for 32 years.
Beth married her husband, Greg, and had three sons and one daughter, all of whom studied under their mother's watch. Her children are almost grown now. One is in the military, two are in college and the youngest is a senior.
With her children reaching adulthood, Beth started at Crowder College and received her associate degree in 2009 and her teaching associate in 2010. She went on, from classes taken at Crowder, to receive a bachelor's degree from Missouri State University in 2011. Now she is working on a master's degree and expects to finish in May of 2013. She will also receive an associate degree in Spanish in May.
Besides being a student, Beth is also an adjunct instructor at Crowder, teaching Development English classes. Beth is happy to say this is her first job since she was married.
Beth's mother is her inspiration, because at age 50, her mother began her teaching career and still teaches in Garland, Texas, where she has taught for 25 years.
Teaching is not Beth's only passion. She does as much volunteer work as possible with her busy schedule. She is an active member of Master Gardeners, serves on the board of Access Family Care, is a 4-H volunteer, is active in Victory Assembly of God Church, and volunteered in the Adult Education/English as a Second Language for three years.
Recently, she was elected to the board of the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. Beth says that Jerry Christian was a great inspiration to her, as they served together in the Master Gardener program.
"He found hidden qualities in me," she said. "In some small, tiny way, I want to be a part of his legacy. I only knew him a few years, but his enthusiasm for life was so contagious. He left a footprint everywhere...."
Jerry was president of the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery and that inspired Beth to get involved.
Following the footsteps of a good man, helping others, and believing in the power of education makes Beth this week's good neighbor.