Progress 2018

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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Friday, February 23, 2018 Goldsboro News-Argus — 9C E VISIT US AT MTOLIVEPICKLES.COM MADE IN WAYNE COUNTY SINCE 1926 39DCT0218J© and when we did, it was a two-door Escort," she said. "My mom didn't have a coat until I was in my teens." When there was food at home, Shycole and her sib- lings often made meals out of "oodles and noodles" filled with hot dogs or bologna. Shycole's mother also ate very little. "We never had enough," she said. "What she would do is she would not eat. If you said you were full, she would eat. For many, many years, my mom would eat one meal a day." Shycole was also exposed to violence in the home, with her mother's boyfriend controlling the environ- ment, restricting when she and her siblings could play outside — if at all — and scaring them into hav- ing a survival mentality. "I learned early how to sit back and take a lot and tune it out with him," she said. There were good moments, though, when Shycole, her brothers and sister would earn an allowance. Her mother gave each a few $1 food stamps. "We would get up to $2 or $3 stamps and that was our allowance, and we would go to the store and just be happy," she said. "You could buy candy and chips, a little soda." As a girl, Shycole's dreams were simple. "I did sit and dream, and it sounds so cliché," she said. "I always remember saying — whenever we did- n't have lights or we all had to get in the same tub, all four of us, because we didn't have water — 'Our later years are going to be better.' "My dream was, it's got to be better than this. It's got to be better than this." SHIFTING GOALS, DREAMS By the time she reached middle school, her mother's boyfriend was out of the picture, and she started to experience some freedom. A middle school teacher noticed that she was good with numbers and could solve math problems without taking notes. A coach also saw potential in her height and recruited her to the basketball team. By seventh grade, she was already 6 feet tall. "They made me play, and I didn't want to play," she said. "I didn't try out." Being a part of the team and becoming friends with other players helped her learn how to take some of her anger and pain and channel it to succeed. "They taught me about discipline and how to control myself because even then, I still would snap," she said. "They taught me how to control that anger and pain. They taught me how you bottle it up to improve yourself and not to go back." She also got the chance to hang out with her teammates and got a glimpse of their home life and what it was like to not live in public housing. There were other moments when the kindness of teachers and friends, including those who slipped her some money so she could eat during away basketball games, that made a difference in her life. "They were just really nice to me, the teachers I had and people in the community that knew our situation that took a lot of interest in me because they thought I was really athletic and smart," she said. "They really poured in my life a lot." Because of her good grades, a civic teacher encouraged her to take accounting and government classes. The decision resulted in her decid- ing to pursue new goals and dreams. "That's when I knew I wanted to be an accountant and work in gov- ernment," she said. "I just wanted to have a better life." She continued on the basketball team and became a star varsity player. A lot of people thought she'd go on to play ball in college, but a personal setback resulted in a different path. BREAKING THE CYCLE Around that time, and after high school graduation in 1997, she started to fear that she might repeat the cycle of poverty, a feeling that drove her to succeed. She started attending Wayne Community College where she earned an associate's degree in accounting, in 2001. "I didn't talk to anybody," she said. "I went straight to class and home and studied. "I felt I had set myself back, that I was not going to get out of public housing. I wasn't going to make it." She continued to live in public housing while she was in school, and her daughter, Rayona, was born in 2000. Shycole had some health challenges but continued to pursue her goals. She also worked at the Wayne Action Group for Economic Solvency, WAGES, as a foster grandparent outreach specialist. In 2004, the door opened up for her to finally leave public housing. She received some money from a wrongful death suit involving her father, who was killed in a vehicle accident. Even though her father didn't have a parental role in her life, she remains connected. She Shycole hugs some of the students from Eastern Wayne High School following their performance at the Martin Luther King Day celebration in 2016. Continued from page 1 Heart in the city See Page 10

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