PHS student Tamia Nelson finds her way

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2020

By CONNIE NOLEN | Community Columnist

“Want me to read it to you?” my daughter asked as my phone vibrated on the console between us while I drove.

“Yes, please.”

“Who is Tamia Nelson?” my daughter asked laughing.

“A new student,” I said. “Why are you laughing?”

“All this text says is, ‘Mrs. Nolen,’” my daughter replied. “It’s like she’s knocking. Just checking to see if you’re here.  Her text reminds me of how I used to text you, ‘Mom’ and nothing else until you responded.

“I’ve thought of that too,” I said. “Tamia was adopted by one of her teachers. I get the feeling that there is a fine line between parenting and teaching to her.”

“How do you normally respond?” my daughter asked.

“’Yes ma’am?’” I said. “Be sure to add the question mark.”

What followed were one of many texts I received through our class Remind from Tamia Nelson. This driven young woman had questions that evidenced her deep thinking and attention to detail that delighted me almost as much as her writing. Able to reveal emotion and complex thinking on paper, Nelson revealed writing talent.

Arriving shortly after the school year began, Tamia Nelson assimilated quickly into the girls’ basketball program and her classes. When I learned that Nelson planned to take Creative Writing her senior year, I was thrilled. Writing ability like Nelson’s wins scholarships. Knowing that she planned to play basketball in college, and knowing that she was a strong basketball player, I suspected that writing scholarships coupled with her basketball scholarships would enable Nelson to attend college debt free.

“Mrs. Nolen, I’ve got something to show you,” Nelson said holding up her phone as she approached my desk.

“Can it wait until I call roll?” I asked.

“Oh sure,” she said with a big grin. “It can wait.”

“Let me see that phone,” I said.

Tamia Nelson’s phone revealed that she’d won a $10,000 scholarship for her Horatio Alger contest essay.

Announcing her $10,000 scholarship to her writing classmates brought a round of applause for Tamia Nelson—and great joy to her teacher.