Edwards earns top tutor honors at TPL

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Jessica Edwards, a third-year student at Troy University, was recognized Friday as the Troy Public Library’s 2016 Tutor of the Year. As the award was presented by Teresa Colvin, children’s librarian, Payton Bean, a second grader at Troy Elementary watched shyly but with a smile pushing at the corners of his lips.

Edwards has been tutoring Payton for two years and he has made tremendous academic improvements and, for the first time, made all A’s this semester.

“We share this award,” Edward said, obviously honored to receive the award and extremely proud of her little buddy and he for her.

“I have a passion for service and working with young students is an amazing opportunity and a awesome experience. While Payton was learning, I was learning. This tutoring experience has taught me patience and, that was something I needed to learn.”

Edwards enrolled in the Troy Public Library’s tutoring program in 2014 and has exceeded all expectations, Colvin said.

“From the beginning, I knew that Jessica was special,” Colvin said. “She was dedicated to the program and passionate about helping students that were struggling. She can relate to young people in such a way that they want to achieve. She gives them the confidence that they can achieve. With Jessica as his tutor, Payton has shown tremendous progress, from a non-achiever to making all A’s. That says a lot about Jessica and about Payton.”

Jessica is majoring in social work with a double minor in leadership development and creative writing. But along her career path, she took a fork in the road.

“I was in broadcast journalism but I realized that was not my calling,” she said. “I’ve now found my calling.”

And, if there had been any doubt the change in career paths, the public library’s tutoring program and the teacher/student relationship Jessica has enjoyed with Payton, validated her decision to major in social work.

“It has been such a joy to see Payton achieve and to enjoy learning,” she said. “I’ll continue to be involved in the tutoring program. I enjoy working hands on in teaching children. It’s a way that I can serve the community and it’s a blessing to be able to give back.”

Edwards is from Tuscaloosa and she is committed to servant leading. She represented Troy University as a member of Freshman Forum and has been a member and held positions in the Gospel Choir, Sigma Alpha Sigma, Supreme Court and NAACP.

Her future plans include some area of counseling.

“I’m interested in marriage counseling, in drug rehabilitation – just so many areas. I would like to, one day, establish a home for the homeless. The heart is fed by the love you can pour into others. There are many opportunities to be blessed by being a blessing. That’s what I want my career to be – a blessing to others.”