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#6degreesofLVV Featuring Crystal Jones

Crystal Jones

By Amelia Pond

December 21, 2017

#6DegreesofLVV aims to capture the personal stories of corps members and alumni currently serving in Las Vegas. The person featured in each story connects to the person prior in a number of different ways. Both individually and collectively, these unique stories will show you a new side of Las Vegas education.

I didn’t set out to be in education, but in a way, education was always my calling. When I walked across the stage for my high school graduation, my elementary school principal, Dr. Lemons,--who had come to watch his former students get their diplomas--said, “I will see you right back here when you make it.” That was the first time someone outside of the circle of people who loved me saw my talent, believed in me, and knew that I was destined to make an impact-- specifically in education.

Even after Dr. Lemons’s comment, I didn’t think education was my path, so instead I tried many other things. In college, I tried to be a pharmacist, and I even got into a great nursing program. After all, my mother and two of my sisters were nurses, and growing up, my mom pushed nursing in our household. I started my nursing program and classes were going great--until I had one that was in a morgue. Our teacher told us that we were going to identify body parts, and I turned around and never came back. However, around the same time, I started volunteering in different places like church and at our elementary school in the Fifth Ward of Houston. Once again, education and working with students was calling me.

In addition to my volunteering experiences, my daughter, Nesha, had a major influence on me choosing to go into education. I had Nesha when I was in high school, and I knew that I wanted better for her. After all, education can help you separate yourself from whatever may be happening in your own life. No one can limit you once you have a great education. I wanted to change the way that she got her education, while also being someone that she could look up to.

So between volunteering and Nesha, joining the education field became almost inevitable. One day while at the elementary school, I went to visit my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Curry, and he said, “so you aren’t a teacher yet?” At that moment, I finally knew it was time to step into my calling.

Fast forward and I am now the principal at Democracy Prep Elementary School at the Agassi Campus. Every morning I get out of bed for our scholars. Point blank. If you could see me right now, you would see that I look exhausted, but I know our scholars are depending on me. Kids don’t fail, we fail kids. The more of us that take on that responsibility and say, “my actions determine scholars’ lives and I am building better minds every day with my actions,” the more people would be inspired. I want to sit back when I’m in a rocking chair at 90 years old, and look around knowing that I helped to educate the people who are leading our country today.

I am so glad I heard and followed my calling. By being in this profession, I am able to work with people every day that believe in One Day. And what I mean by One Day goes back to my past with Teach For America. What grounds all of us is Teach For America’s mission. No matter what our calling is or the different spaces we grow into, we will never forget our belief that all kids must get an equitable education that gives them choice in their lives. I am proud to be a part of the foundation of change in our community.

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