We all want the best for our children. We want them to succeed. We want a better life for them than we’ve had. We want them to be more educated, better suited to deal with an ever-changing world, better, well, better everything.
My wife, Danny, and I got good high school educations, me at Newton High School, her at Sebastopol Attendance Center. We went on to college and, earned degrees, hers in Elementary Education and mine, Communications and Public Relations, and we have been successful in our chosen professions.
We’ve had a great life, been married 40 years, and produced a wonderful daughter almost 29 years ago. We couldn’t ask for anything more, except for the same — or, perhaps better — for our daughter, Rachel-Johanna. I think our hopes and dreams are unfolding before our very eyes this week, so bear with me as I brag for a moment.
When she was just three years old, Rachel-Johanna moved with her mom and me from a tiny North Central Mississippi town to the bustling Ross Barnett Reservoir for my work. She started kindergarten at Northwest Rankin Elementary School and insisted on riding the school bus to school on the very first day. She started out independent and determined and continues so, though very modest, today.
She was one of the not so many students in her class at that very large school that started kindergarten there, and graduated from high school there. She finished school with numerous honors and her senior year she was captain of the dance team that had won state championships and national honors.
Upon graduation, she, like her parents, chose Mississippi State University to further her education and double majored in Communications and Public Relations — like her dad — as well as Political Science, and four years later walked the walk to accept both diplomas. Two years after that she left MSU with a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration and went to work for then State Treasurer Lynn Fitch.
She also earned those degrees while holding down jobs in the campus housing department, with the city of Starkville, and as a graduate assistant in the Department of Communications. Not all at the same time, though.
When Treasurer Fitch decided to run for Attorney General, and won, Rachel-Johanna was asked to move with her into the new digs and is now Deputy Director of the AGs Division of Public Education and Community Engagement and is Human Trafficking Program Manager.
Two weeks ago she was in Washington, D.C. at Shared Hope International’s JuST (Juvenile Sex Trafficking) Conference where she was one of four panelists discussing what AGs around the nation are doing to combat human trafficking and to help victims recover with hope and dignity.
And today, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, she is back in D.C. for probably the most exciting moment in her young career. Today our daughter is on Fitch’s team on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States of America as oral arguments are being made for, and against, Mississippi’s 2018 law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — a decision which could overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case in which the court ruled a pregnant woman has a constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.
For us it isn’t about whether one agrees or disagrees with the law, but it is the fact that the independent little girl, the one with the bright pink backpack, that marched up the steps of that big yellow school bus in 1998, our girl, through hard work and good work ethic will forever be a part of one of the most important court decisions in history.
From Carrollton Mississippi to Redbud Trail at the Ross Barnett Reservoir, to the Little Red Apple School House in Morton where she went to preschool while her mom taught at Morton Elementary, to Northwest Rankin Elementary, then Middle and High Schools, to Mississippi State University in Starkville, to our country home in Sebastopol, where her mom and I now live, to Mississippi’s Capitol City, and now the Supreme Court of the United States, I think it is safe to say, those hopes and dreams of her “doing better” than us are quickly becoming a reality.
So, yes, please pardon me for a minute while I brag, because her mom and I are two very, very proud parents.