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INDIA WHITE

1ST VICE PRESIDENT

HILLSBOROUGH ALLIANCE of BLACK SCHOOL EDUCATORS

A pearl is known as an overcoming element; one in which naturally gives off a beauty that is unmatched.

However, the beauty is enhanced as the pressures are increased upon it. I must honestly say that in my life I’ve experienced various trials and pressures like the pearl that have catapulted me beyond every imagination of success. Growing up in a single parent family with a father who was barely around made me struggle with acceptance and identity. Dealing with chapters of abuse took me to some emotional and mental setbacks that I would not wish on my worst enemy. However, if I did not know what it was like to be rejected, I would not have embraced an internal acceptance nor the grace of God which brought me through every trial and situation. In addition, if I did not endure the pain as a child from the home, I would not have been able to relate to future students that are facing these same trials every day.

On Christmas Eve at age 16, I was kicked out of the house and left for the streets. It was then that I turned and pointed to the sky and said, “God, you’re an awesome God, and I know you’ll see me through this.” I was not aware that maybe two months later I’d lose four family members in the span of a month from my grandmother, two uncles, and my brother, all while homeless. I didn’t know that I’d be told that I was incapable of majoring in math by my calculus teacher. However, these events helped me see that when I was completely broken, I still had value, purpose and the fortitude to achieve my goals and walk into my destiny. I learned in this season that with God on my side, I’m unbeatable because when I was weak, he was strong.

As a result, I had great community support from Sarasota, Florida who embraced and accepted me. They helped me overcome various obstacles and gave me a chance at higher education. I was fortunate that Bill and Melinda Gates helped pay for my college along with 17 other scholarships. I was grateful for the YMCA taking me into the homeless shelter my last two years of high school so that I could have stability.

As a result, I went from living in a Sarasota YMCA homeless shelter into a college dorm at the University of Florida and majored in mathematics while enjoying my college experience by being a saxophone player in the band and a faithful member of the Pentecostals of Gainesville campus ministry. I can now conclude that these setbacks earlier in my life gave me the tools I needed to be a well-rounded transformational leader.

However, the story of success continues. As I continued to teach math, I was able to go back to school for my master’s degree and obtained an M.Ed in Ed. Leadership. This opened up doors for me as a teacher to really give back to my community. I was grateful to become the 1st VP of Hillsborough Alliance of Black School Educators, NAPW Woman of the Year, IWLA Executive Woman of Leadership, and Alumni of the Year for TSIC. These were great honors that I was able to embrace while giving back as a math teacher. As I transitioned as a leader, I became appointed as an Assistant Principal of a Title 1 high school in Tampa, Fl, where we have continually given our all to help serve our learners and their families.

This also then led to another chapter of success in which I’ve been able to join my community by giving back as an author, motivational speaker and business owner, all to help people who need to be inspired to succeed when life tells them to give up. As an Author, I was able to write, “How to Overcome Obstacles from your Past” which helps outline struggles that people face and ways to overcome them so that everyday life can be a success.

With this four-volume series is provided a journal, “How are you Overcoming Today” which helps outline ways to journal success on a day to day basis for each reader. These books have helped many people as they continue to journey through their personal success or help a friend or family member do the same. With my non-profit tutoring company, Tutoring Incentives and Mentoring Program, I am able to help provide tutoring and educational services to families who need it. To work cohesively with the TIM Program is the Rising Glory Productions, in which I am grateful that I am able to work with my community and society to provide workshops, speaking engagements, and inspirational services to schools, churches, businesses so that individuals can be empowered and inspired.

I must say that all of this information about my life has made me relate to the pearl. However, success is still taking place today. I am grateful to be a McKnight Fellow as I study for my Ed. D in Educational Leadership from the University of Florida and work as a math coach at a low performing school. I believe that the sky is the limit for my life and that as a first-time generation graduate, there is much required of me. Therefore, I will never stop giving back to help others and to pave the way as an example for the future generation to follow.

All of these great attributes could not have been a part of my life story had it not been for the grace of God and for the internal fortitude he gave me, along with support from the community. I will continue to pay it forward as a mother of two beautiful children, motivator, educational leader, and a loyal citizen.