My name is Tannelaine Wilson and I am a high school educator. I started my education in my parent’s home watching Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street. My mother ensured I had plenty of books, crayons, pencils, learning coloring books, reading books, and board games. Despite my parents never graduating from high school, they ensured all six of their children earned a high school diploma. Quitting school was not an option in our home.
I began my formal education in the public school system of Bessemer City, North Carolina. During high school, I was dual enrolled at Gaston College and earned my North Carolina Real Estate Certification. As a pregnant teenager, I enrolled at Gaston College earning an Associates in Applied Science. Then as a single mother,I enrolled in Belmont Abbey College and earned a Bachelors of Arts. Next, I received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, a Marketing & Business Certification from North Carolina State University, and Masters of Executive Leadership from Gardner Webb University. In 2016, I founded Community Preparatory Academy, a non-profit organization with a mission to prioritize parental education and network with community stakeholders to address disparities. I currently serve as a subcommittee leader for Pathways for Prosperity K-12 Focus Group and Board Member of the Cape Fear Committee on African American Heritage.
As a child, my maternal grandmother, Geneva Partlow told me to reach past the stars. Later, Mrs. Tweety Stewart, my seventh grade English told me that I could change things once I grew up and that winners never quit. Last year one of my mentors told me to strive to be better than I was the day before and my only competition was myself. My Spiritual Father, Reverend William Thompson reminded me that everyone that changed the world encountered difficulty but it didn’t stop them.
It truly takes a village to raise a child. Parent involvement, words of affirmation, love, encouragement, support, and inspiration matters. Informal education is just as important as a formal education. The foundation that you give to a child matters. Humans are like flash drives. All of our experiences download into our subconscious and impact our development. What happens when a child is not given the tools to be successful? As a veteran educator, I have witnessed the effects of children suffering and sometimes meeting their demise due to adult problems. As parents, under no circumstances should children carry our burdens. It is not a child’s choice to come into this world. For this reason, it is our responsibility to ensure our children are prepared to learn, lead, and love one another.
Our beloved Malcolm X stated, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” In 1965, Brother Malcom X was telling us that education matters. Today, I am stating that education matters. How many changes have you witnessed during your lifetime? Jobs, medicine, technology, processes, and simply the way we live continues to change. Our children must be educated and prepared to ensure their existence. We must think generational. Today, reflect over the generations in your family. What is the pattern in your family? What can you do to change it? Until today, you may have not recognized your role in your family’s legacy. However, when we know better, we must do better.