Student of the Year finds passion for education during time of grief

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, April 20, 2022

LAPLACE — Adison Cooper discovered her calling to early childhood education during the most devastating time of her life.

Adison’s mother, Sondra Crochet, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 46 in July 2021. Known as “Mama Sondra” to her daughters’ friends, she was loved by all for her caring nature and her ability to connect with children.

Those traits live on through Adison, who was recently named the 12th grade District Student of the Year for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools.

The week after her mother’s passing, Adison found herself teaching Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church of LaPlace.

“The way she was with kids is something that I’ve picked up. I was teaching the preschoolers, and that week I was able to have one of the best weeks of my life despite what was going on in my life. I was so driven and encouraged by the children,” Adison said. “That was the week I finally decided what I want to do – teach children for the rest of my life. If it could give me so much hope and so much joy in a time of so much sorrow, I want to be in that position for the rest of my life.”

People often praise Adison for how much she’s overcome. The truth is, grief isn’t something that’s meant to be conquered.

“In reality, it’s not about overcoming it. It’s about moving forward with it,” Adison said. “Honestly, it’s been really hard without her.”

This fall, Adison will embark on a new journey in early childhood education at Southeastern Louisiana University. Multiple teachers who Adison looks up to as mentors are former Southeastern Lions.

Upon earning her degree, Adison will be certified to teach pre-kindergarten through third grade classes. Going to school in Hammond will also allow her to be present for her younger sisters in a time of need.

Adison is currently a member of the St. John Parish STEM Magnet Program, where she is set to graduate near the top of her class with double seals in digital media and engineering.

“I’ve taken eight or nine electives to be in a position where I’ll be able to earn silver seals in both,” Adison said. “During my senior year, I found that I had room to take more classes, so I sacrificed getting early release to go for silver in both pathways.”

Adison is also a scholar-athlete. She played softball for three years, until an injury during her junior season led to two major knee surgeries, which she is still recovering from.

Adison’s involvement reaches beyond her school campus. She serves on the children’s team and the worship team for First Baptist Church of LaPlace and has found hope within the church walls.

First Baptist Church of LaPlace trustee Harold DeGruy said Adison is a hard worker who showed her dedication to the church and to the children during Vacation Bible School.

“She is a great example of what a young person should be like. Very few young people engage into the church and helping the community these days. We are very proud of her,” DeGruy said.

When First Baptist Church became a hub for relief distributions in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Adison spent three weeks on the storm-damaged church grounds, taking inventory of supplies that arrived in truckloads.

“I slept on campus because it was easier to wake up and get started on what needed to get done. We didn’t have damage to our home physically, but there was already a lot of damage emotionally, and I don’t think we could’ve handled it. God was looking out for us,” Adison said.

“I want people to know you can’t do it alone. The one person who will always be there with you is the Lord.”

 

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