By Nita H. Satterfield
With the Solar Eclipse coming soon and thousands of visitors expected this month in our small community, I began to think about things in Hoptown that surpass my expectations. Who in our small town has an amazing story to tell? Is there a mom who has surpassed expectations and done something great? Rose Jackson comes to mind.
Jackson, 38, chose almost 20 years ago to become a single mom to her three sons, work full time to raise them, go back to community college while they were small and receive three associate degrees, and then go to Murray State University and receive a bachelor’s degree in independent studies/organizational communication in 2009. As if that didn’t surpass anyone’s expectations, six years ago she became involved in Hopkinsville Community Friends, where she immediately became and remains president and is the organizer of the yearly back to school bash.
Shortly before talking with Jackson, she had just finished her weekly date with her three teenage sons.
What is this weekly date?
Going out for ice cream.
What is the most difficult part of raising three boys by yourself?
Seeing that they grow into young, productive men.
What have been the greatest joys?
Seeing my sons find themselves and their own personalities. And having my sister and mom, who helped me raise them, see the end results were worth it.
Her oldest son is 19 and graduated from Christian County High School in the top 17 percent. He turned down seven full-ride scholarships because he wasn’t ready for college and wants to be a pro skateboarder. He just fathered her first grandchild, a girl, and is planning to marry later this year. Her second son is 18 and just graduated CCHS in the top 15 percent. He is headed to Western Kentucky University this summer. Her youngest is 17 and will be a senior at CCHS this fall and already plans to attend the University of Michigan. He wants to major in sporting business.
Do you feel surpassing expectations in your life has influenced your sons?
Definitely, that’s why I did it. My mom would always say, “You don’t need all this,” and I’d say, “They need to see how important it is to go to school and work and be involved in your community.” Education is something that can never be taken away from you and it’s never too late to start.
Has church played a big part in raising your boys as you wanted to?
Yes, too many people don’t see how important God can be in your daily life. My mom taught me a long time ago, not just to send them to church but to take them; you were their first leader.
As if all this hasn’t surpassed expectations enough, let’s get into Jackson’s community service with Hopkinsville Community Friends; tell us about it.
Six years ago, Deremy Wilson wanted to reach out in the community and he began to contact people. I was one of them. The group wanted to provide not only school supplies but support for students and guidance. Because I had boys, I felt a special need toward making sure the boys’ needs got met as well. I was chosen president and have remained thus. Deremy was killed in a car accident a few years ago and I became the organizer for the Back to School Bash.
What is involved in the Community Friends Back to School Bash?
This year, anyone in Christian County School District K-12 can come and get an armband for a free backpack. In it, we’ll have the school supply list for their school and everything on that list.
Who organizes this and how long does it take?
There are 13 on the board and we do most of the work. It takes about six months to organize. We are lucky the Challenge Houses donate the backpacks and we put out a plea for school supplies on Facebook, but most of the supplies come from the 13 of us. The board of education joined with us three years ago and let us use the old Christian County Middle School, and lots of organizations have come on board to show their support on that day.
When is it? And how many students do you expect?
It will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Aug. 12. Six years ago, we expected 50 to 75 school children, and 175 showed up. This year we expect 550 to 600.
Have your children gotten involved?
Definitely, every year. My son who will be at Western has already said he’ll be back for the day of the event.
What do you enjoy doing with your sons in your free time?
Reading the Word; watching them read and understand the Word; going for ice cream; fishing all day and watching them participate in their activities.
Fun place for all to eat?
Most memorable trip or time.
Land Between the Lakes trip; grabbing fishing poles and fishing all day.
Best gift from your boys.
About four years ago, I was feeling down but couldn’t really explain why to the boys, and when they saw me crying, they got around and prayed and said I was the best mom ever and to not ever forget that.
What is your dream vacation spot?
To go to Bora Bora with my boys and new granddaughter.
What do you like to do during your “down” time?
Read and minister.