Patricia Wilson talks of importance of education, parental involvement

Roseanne McKeeJ-C Correspondent
Patricia Wilson talks of importance of education, parental involvement

Pawhuska School Board candidate, Patricia Wilson was the speaker at the regular Kiwanis Club meeting on Jan. 28.

“I just want to be a voice for our kids and our parents and anybody who wants to have a voice,” said Wilson. “The last three years I’ve had an opportunity to be on the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce board; and I have taken over some events and led those. That has helped me be a leader myself and I hope to do that if I’m elected to school board.

“I work at Forby Oil Company. I’ve been there for eight years now. It’s been a great opportunity to meet a lot of people in Pawhuska.”

After working for many years, Wilson decided to pursue higher education.

Wilson said, “I grew up in a family that nobody went to college. I will be the first person in my family that will finish college. I want better for my kids, so I’ve instilled in them education — the value of education. That is more important than anything extracurricular sportswise or anything — granted, sports teach you lessons in life. For me to teach them about education, I’ve got to prove that to them, so that’s why my goal is to finish school. And encourage them, don’t do what I did. Go to school. Get your education first and then begin the rest of the things that come in life.

“I’m going to Tri County Tech. I’m learning accounting. I graduate in May. I hope that with the hours I’ve gotten at Tri-County, I’ll be able to get my degree in business.”

As a single mother of two, working full-time, her pursuit of higher education hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been a long road. Having two kids you can’t take off much time, but I’m not giving up and I’m going to finish,” Wilson said.

Wilson was recently named adult student of the month at Tri County Technology Center. “That’s a very big honor for me.”

Born in Osage County, Wilson graduated from Wynona Public Schools and moved to Pawhuska in 1995.

“I’ve been here raising my kids. I’ve been here for over half of my life.”

Regarding her position on the four-day school week, Wilson said, “It’s not going to be just one person making the decision. It’s a huge decision to be made. There are pros and cons to it, so I’m trying to get as much information as I can before I give a concrete answer — see what’s going to help everyone. It’s going to affect the teachers and the students. It’s going to affect our community, so we’ve got to make a decision that will be best for everyone, not just one.”

Wilson said, “I’m talking to other schools — Liberty Mounds. They have only 500 students. They went to a four-day school week in 2010. They seem to be doing well with it, but I spoke to others who disagree with it. There are pros and cons, but it’s going to be finding what is best for our kids and our teachers and our community.”

Asked what she would do with her two children if there was four-day school week, Wilson responded: “Lucky for me my kids are older. I have a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old, so they are old enough to take care of themselves, but that is something to take into consideration. There are so many young ones and how is it going to affect the young ones and daycare is already a shortage here in Pawhuska.”

Wilson stressed the importance of parental involvement. “It’s not just up to the teachers to encourage our kids to do better. It starts at home. We’ve got to encourage our kids.”