"Okay, eight days before I graduated high school, I gave birth to my first baby boy Chase. I know what you're thinking, what did she do now that she has this little boy? Well, I went on and I graduated. I had to get permission from the doctors for my principal to allow me to come to graduation. But he gave me permission. I had to be there because I had to give my valedictorian speech. On graduation day, they called our scholarship dollars and the number of colleges that we were accepted to. I graduated with $896,000 worth of scholarships with acceptances to 27 colleges. The college that I decided to go to was LeMoyne-Owen College, the one and only HBCU here in Memphis, Tennessee. While being at LeMoyne-Owen College, the very first year that I was there, I was extremely nervous, and kinda timid and to myself, so I wasn't a part of any organizations. But I came in contact with Dorsey Pattinson, and he was my mentor. He saw things in me that I didn't see in myself. So under his mentorship, I became the president of his organization, the W.E.B. Dubois Scholars Program. I was a part of Moving Forward. I was the vice president of the tutors Association. I was the president of the science club. I was Miss Senior. I did a lot of things being at LeMoyne-Owen College. I graduated in 2019, with a Bachelors of Science degree in biology with a minor in Chemistry. I graduated number two of my class and my best friend graduated number one. After undergrad, I decided to go to nursing school at UTHSC here in Memphis, Tennessee. On my very first day, I found out that I was pregnant with my second baby boy Taylan. This was a very complicated pregnancy. So I wasn't able to make it through nursing school. But that's okay. Being at home, I had a lot of time to think. And I didn't really know what I wanted to do. So just to make money, I started working at the Goodwill. Three months after I started working there, I found out that I wouldn't be able to work anymore, because my son was sitting on my nerves. And my legs and feet used to go numb and I couldn't walk at time. After this, I had a lot more time at home to kind of think about what my future would look like. And I began to brainstorm and think of ways to make money and figure out how to further my education. With that being said, I applied for a teaching position, a biology teaching position, here with Shelby County Schools, and I was given the interview opportunity with Sheffield High School here in Memphis, Tennessee. After my interview, the principal reached out to me offering me a job that same day, she said that all of the interviewers loved me, and that if I wanted to take the job that I can have it. I told her that I will get back to her but that same night, I reached back out to her accepting the position. After accepting the position, I found out that I needed more teaching experience since I had a biology degree. So I enrolled at the University of Memphis for their Masters of Arts and Teachers Program. Fast forward to three years later, I graduated from University of Memphis with my Master's of Arts and teaching degree in May of 2022. And I have been teaching at Sheffield High School for three years. I've also just launched a real estate career. And both of my sons are really doing well now. Chase is six, Taylen is two. I just want to leave you guys with there's always light at the end of the tunnel. If I can do it, then you can too. Thank you."

Jarianna Bates

Jarianna is from Memphis, TN, specifically her roots are in the South Memphis community. She is a graduate of Hollis F. Price, LeMoyne Owen College and the University of Memphis all with honors. She is currently a high school teacher at Sheffield High School and a real estate agent at Crye-Leike in Midtown. Most importantly, she is mom to two amazing boys, Chase and Taylen.

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