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Positively LEX 18: Legally blind HCTC grad inspiring others through determination

Posted at 1:20 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 19:38:25-04

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Knott County woman is living proof that persistence pays off. After nine years and a lot of determination, 58-year-old Shelia Ann Jacobs, who is legally blind, just graduated from Hazard Community and Technical College.

"I am, I'm very proud of myself, and I am very thankful to God who was always there with me," Jacobs said.

This journey started back in 2012. Jacobs enrolled in a class on Appalachia Humanities at HCTC because she thought it sounded interesting.

Jacobs said, "I loved the class. I didn't know at that point in time that I was really going to continue on."

Eventually, working with the disability coordinator and surrounded by a strong support system of family and friends to help her get to her classes, she just kept going, taking one class at a time each semester.

About halfway through, Jacobs wanted to give up, but she received a message from her adviser at HCTC that helped her believe in herself and continue.

"My adviser sent me the cutest picture it said, 'Don't worry you got this,'" Jacobs said.

And on Saturday, after nine years of hard work, Shelia Ann Jacobs finally received the fruits of her labor. She not only got one associate degree but two and the President's Award.

Jennifer Lindon, President and CEO of HCTC said, "I think students who see Shelia and hear her story will be inspired to overcome their own obstacles that they face."

Done with all the homework and studying, Jacobs is now looking toward the future.

"I told everybody I'm going to take a break," Jacobs laughed. "No, I want to get a job. I really do want to get a job."

She may eventually get her bachelor's degree, but one thing is for sure, Jacobs said she wants to help people and encourage others to let nothing get in the way of accomplishing their goals.