Janie R. Beverley
Janie R. Beverley
Janie Beverley, a Prestonsburg Community College graduate and current Big Sandy Community and Technical College Director of Disability Support Services, faced many hardships in her quest for a college education. She knew that nothing was going to stop her from achieving her dream of obtaining an education and a means of supporting herself without having to depend on anyone else; she faced every barrier and challenge with fierce determination.
Janies father passed away when she was thirteen. She and her seven siblings were raised by their mother who had a very limited social security income from her husbands death. Janie knew that her means to an end would be getting a college scholarship, so she studied hard in high school. You can imagine her disappointment when the weight values assigned to the courses were changed in the final two weeks of her senior year. With the recalculation procedure, she became a hundredth of a point away from receiving the desired scholarship. Thus, her first challenge was figuring out how she could get enough money to attend PCC.
Imagine a 5 feet tall, petite eighteen year old girl tossing bales of hay unto a truck and then into a barn on a hot summer day. This way of paying for her books says a lot about Janies character and drive. Janie was not familiar with available college resources until she met the Business Officer who told her about financial aid and Veterans Benefits.and then proceeded to help her through the entire application process. Tuition was covered and books could be bought.
Her next challengehow to get to and from the Prestonsburg campus since she lived nearly eight miles away, and her brother at the University of Kentucky had the family vehicle. She did what many would not consider doing. At 5 a.m., she walked, hitchhiked or caught a ride with the Floyd County Sheriff to get to her 8 a.m. class.
While a student at PCC, Janie got a job as a work study in the Organic Chemistry lab. She knew that her work study supervisor knew she needed this money and that she walked to school but he never said anything to her as he did not want to hurt her pride. Janie indicated there were many times he would look out the window and notice rain clouds and say to her, If you need to leave early today, you can make up the hours tomorrow. He would then modify his schedule to match her needs as she could not be alone in the lab.
Janie said one of the images she still has is seeing her mother stand in the doorway crying as she started walking toward Prestonsburg. Her mother wanted her to get her education, but she also had a mothers concern for her child. This was prior to cell phones so her mom would not know if she made it safely until Janie returned in the evenings.
Within two years, Janie received both the Associate of Science (May, 1976) and Associate of Arts (May, 1977) degrees while maintaining a 4.0 standing. She was ready to move to the next step in her plan. Apply to and be accepted into the Dental Program at the University of Kentucky. However, these plans were put on hold when her mother became ill; Janie was the oldest child at home with two younger sisters. She had to stay in the area.
Janie says, A serendipitous meeting with the Financial Aid Officer gave my path a
different turn. When I told her I could not go to UK because of my mothers illness,
she encouraged me to apply for the Nursing Program because, as she said, I had a 4.0,
great ACT scores and the required science classes. Because Janie wanted a job that
would provide her with a living wage to take care of herself, she applied and was
By this time, her brother had bought his mother a car. Janie no longer had to walk to school. Her mother drove her to and from the Prestonsburg campus every day, even though she did not have a drivers license. Clinical rotations were a requirement. Her mother did not have enough gas money to cover the travel to the clinical sites. Classmates would wait for Janie to be dropped off by her mom, and they would then take her to the clinical sites.
Pinning day arrived. Janie was receiving her Associate in Applied Science degree in Nursing (May, 1978)again as a 4.0 student. Janie said, Of anybody I would have wanted to be there, I wanted my mother see me graduate. She was the one person who was there for me every day of my journey trying to help me figure out a way to get my education. She knew the whole storythe person who cried every morning when I was ready to walk to school. She didnt attend. She said, I didnt have anything to wear, and I didnt want to embarrass you.
Janie got a job with Mountain Comprehensive Care (MCC) as an After Care Nurse traveling throughout the county checking on people with mental health issues and monitoring how to integrate them into the community. She never forgot the promise she made to God when she was just seven years old. On her way to a Letcher County grade school, she stopped when she saw and heard other children in the play ground running and laughing. Having watched her mother endure domestic violence at the hands of her father, Janie craved a joyful childhood. As she stood there, she thought this is how childhood should beno worriesno fearjust being happy. At this point, as a seven-year-old child, she made a promise to God saying, If you will help me survive this situation I am in, I will do something to affect change for other women and children.
Janie kept this promise. While doing Case Management with MCC, she kept the statistics on the number of clients who had any kind of sexual or domestic violence history. She saw that those clients with mental illness who were depressed or anxious had horrific histories. She became an advocate for women and children striving to have a shelter built in this area. She became a Domestic Assault Support and Housing volunteer, answering the domestic violence calls, talking with the women about their situation and, in many cases, driving the women to shelters in other areas of the state. During this time, she and her family faced threats against their lives. Five years later, the local shelter became a reality.
Janie was truly a victims advocate. She was not allowed to travel to meetings while
employed. But, her commitment and her promise to God, resulted in her taking days
without pay to attend meetings. She said one of her proudest and the most incredible
moments in her life was when the Warrantless Arrest Law was signed. Prior to this
law, police had to see the woman being assaulted before anything could be done.
In 1988, Janie became the Program Director for the Kentucky Council on Child Abuse covering sixteen counties. It was during this time that Janie and Dr. Deborah Floyd, President of PCC, were both participants in Leadership Kentucky. When a position opened at the College, Dr. Floyd suggested Janie apply for it. She was hired as a Counseling Associate in 1994 and immediately began working with students with disabilities to fill a vacant position and to provide a much needed/mandated service. Janie indicated, These 19 years have been some of my most rewarding years of service. Watching students grow, achieve and excel despite the obstacles and challenges that could have held them back. I have graduated and celebrated with each one of my students hoping that I have played a small role in their success!
People we meet along the way unknowingly have a major impact on our individual success. Janie said, PCC gave me every educational opportunity. Getting into the Nursing Program opened the door for me to all the opportunities that followed. The nursing degree was a natural fit for all jobs that followed. I think God knew I was sincere and He knew my heart; He guided me.
Somehow the right people came into Janies life at the right time to offer her the support and encouragement she needed along her journey. She was empowered to achieve by her mother, her family and the many PCC employees she met along the way.
When asked what she would say to high school seniors, Janie said, If you have a true
desire for something and a will to stick it out with whatever you have to do along
the way, God will get you to the resources that you need. If you do your part, He
will do His part.
Emails are welcomed at Janie.Beverley@kctcs.edu.