Speaking Up

Trixi A. Beeker
Adjunct Professor, Biology Program

In 1987, I first met my anonymous, but inspiring student, ‘Jane,’ in a rather inauspicious manner. I heard muffled sobbing while in the women’s restroom at LCC. I hesitated, thinking how I’d been raised to not interfere in other people’s matters. But even though I only teach biology at LCC, I consider the welfare of all students at LCC to be my responsibility. Also, while living in Scotland for several years I adopted the Celtic philosophy that I’d rather regret something I have done than something I haven’t done.

So I asked, “Are you OK?” She replied, “No.” I then asked if she would like to chat with a counselor. She said she had no money, but when I added that counseling is free for LCC students she paused her crying long enough to gasp, “How do I get there?”

That day so long ago, I gave Jane my business card with directions to the counseling center written on the back, and to my surprise she kept in touch for years. I heard, periodically, about how the LCC counseling had helped her find support and develop strategies to escape an abusive partner. And how the LCC counselor had helped her connect with financial aid so she could attend LCC’s art and writing programs.

A few years later, I got to clap for Jane as she crossed the stage on the day she graduated with her Associate in Arts Degree with a double major in Creative Writing and Fine Arts from LCC. I was equally thrilled when she contacted me again, years later when she earned her BA degree in Writing, and again when she published her first book.

‘Jane’ ultimately earned an Master’s in Fine Arts and is teaching at a community college out West. Her mission, in addition to teaching writing, is to keep an eye and ear out for students who may be struggling so that she can provide free college resources and connections for them, so that they too can prevail in their careers no matter what personal challenges they are facing.

Sometimes I wonder what would have become of Jane if I hadn’t taken a few moments out of my too busy schedule to speak up that day long ago at LCC, but I will always be grateful that I know her and have been privileged to witness her transition from sobbing to success.