College almost over for Allen

Mary Beth Allen with a cousin, Jordan Thames. (Special/Sandra Thames)

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Before graduating from Auburn University in December 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, Mary Beth Allen finally gave in to her heart.

“I knew I really wanted to be a classroom teacher like my mom. I want to experience that light that goes off when the student catches on,” she said.

The lower grades of elementary school are her choice. “No attitudes,” she said.

After seeking advice from counselors at Auburn, she decided to go on with the degree she was pursuing, come home and go to the University of Montevallo for that fifth year. In December of this year, she will have completed all subjects and will do a spring internship. Then she’ll hit the job market with everyone else.

A member of a fourth-generation Shelby County family — on both sides of her family — Allen has always been an Alabaster girl, and her family memories are her most cherished. Part of a huge extended family who just drop in for food, fun, games, water balloons, swimming, fireworks and special occasion parties, Allen is one of the most grounded young people I know.

Her favorite childhood memory is racing through the woods and pastures near her paternal grandparents, Ted and Sara Allen’s, home with a jillion first, second and even third cousins. High on her memory list is Sunday school, VBS, children’s choir, Christmas plays, mission trips and camps. She now teaches Sunday school to pre-school and kindergarten classes. Church and all its activities just come naturally to Allen. Her dad, Mike, has served as an elder and deacon and is on a number of church boards. Her mom, Marcia, plays organ, is an elder and has served in Sunday school, VBS and other fields, so giving back is a natural part of this family. She has one brother, Michael, age 20, who is a student at Auburn University.

She wants to someday have a marriage that revolves around church and family. If affordability is not an issue, Allen would love to have four children. Her standards for a husband: stability, always there for her, unconditional love, kindness, sense of humor, common faith and family oriented.

“So many people erroneously think if they give their life to Christ, there goes the fun,” Allen said. “God balances my life and shares the good and the bad.”

Principles and perspective play an important role in Allen’s hopes and dreams.

“I will pass on the same values, beliefs, memories and traditions with which I have been raised.” Allen knows she has been blessed and realizes the plight of so many. She is compassionate, funny and beautiful inside and outside. I bet the kids at the daycare where she works part-time love her.

A beachy girl, she is easy to please and doesn’t have to have everything. “It’s what’s on the inside of the house,” she said. “I already have the best family and family life. Adding the right man and children will just continue the plans God has for me.”

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by email at