Beverly Meadows Douglas
Four years ago, Beverly Meadows Douglas began working as a substitute teacher. Her experiences in the classroom, especially with special education students, made her realize that she had a gift for working with this group of children. Douglas decided to attend Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) because her father, who was one of the original contractors to expand "the Barn" into the Fauquier Campus, told her that she should go to LFCC.
"I'm glad I listened," said Douglas. Now, at the age of 39, Douglas graduated from LFCC with an associate degree for transfer in education. Her next steps include completing a bachelor's degree in education from Old Dominion University and then pursuing a master's degree in special education.
"My long-term goal is to enrich the lives of special education students. I want to help them succeed in life. I want to instill in them a love of learning. The joy in children's faces when they learn a new task is an indescribable feeling of elation. It makes me feel like I have found my place in this world," Douglas said.
In 2006, Douglas accepted a position at Pearl Sample Elementary School in Culpeper, where she works as a special education aide. This job has confirmed her desire to work in the field. "I look forward to going to work each day, because I know I am making a difference."
In addition to school, work and family, Douglas volunteers at Pearl Sample Elementary School and Floyd T. Binns Middle School, where her children attend. "I volunteer wherever needed. I'm involved because I know first hand how much work it takes to run a classroom. Resources are stretched tightly in every school. There is never enough time to do everything that needs to be done. Parent volunteers are important to the success of the school," Douglas said.
Douglas feels that her parenting is one of her greatest personal achievements. "I was a stay-at- home mother for 13 years and I believe this has given my children an advantage. The nurturing and love that my children received while I was at home cannot be compared to dollars," said Douglas, whose four children are ages 7, 11, 12 and 21. "I am going to school to show my kids that they can go to college and pursue a career that they enjoy. If I can achieve this at almost 40, then they can do it too. My calling, if you will, is to make a difference in children's lives."
Her time at LFCC has given her confidence and a sense of pride in her accomplishments. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and she recently received the Outstanding Graduate in Education Award.
When other individuals ask her about going to college, she is quick to tell them that it is never too late to learn. "I tell anyone that asks that LFCC is a wonderful starting point. I love the feeling of belonging and the diversity. Everyone here wants to help you succeed," Douglas said. "It has ignited in me a passion for learning. I truly believe that you can change your destiny one step at a time."