• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

‘God’s grace’ – and a little help from others


Tamia Joy Jackson, a 2015 graduate of Woodford County High School, has several reasons to feel fondly about the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at First Christian Church, which she emceed Monday. It’s where members of the Roots and Heritage Committee and Human Rights Commission announced the college scholarship awards that helped her obtain a bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting and Electronic Media last December from Eastern Kentucky University. “Not only did they assist me in my first academic year, they found it in their hearts to assist me up until my last semester in college,” Jackson told the crowd. “At the beginning of every semester, I could count on a call from Miss Peggy Seal. She would check up on me, give me her sweet encouragement and reassure me I could do it.” The MLK Breakfast is also where she met a role model and mentor: Kentucky Educational Television’s Renee Shaw. Shaw emceed the 2019 breakfast, and afterwards, Jackson approached the longtime host and producer of such KET programs as “Connections” and “Kentucky Tonight.” After Monday’s breakfast, Jackson sat down for an interview with the Sun. She said she received some sort of financial support from the two local organizations (the Roots and Heritage Committee and Human Rights Commission) nearly every semester – a total of perhaps more than $4,000, she said. “It helped tremendously; oh, tremendously. I mean, I’m still in debt – don’t get me wrong – but it pretty much took a good portion off of my bill, so it was perfect,” she said. When she approached Shaw after last year’s MLK Breakfast, Jackson didn’t imagine that she’d be the emcee the following year, and, more important, what would happen in-between. “After the ceremony, I walked up to her and she gave me her business card, and she told me that if I was interested, she would like to bring me in for an internship,” Jackson said. The promised internship began last June, and was followed by another of the paid variety in December. “ … Lynn Press, the founder of KET, he passed away (last July), and they found a fund for an internship, so they brought me back in as a paid intern. I’m the first paid intern at KET, and that’s where I’m at now,” Jackson said. She said working with Shaw, a highly respected journalist, is “amazing. … It’s nothing but wisdom; she’s given me great experiences. I had the opportunity to travel to Fancy Farm for the political rally last summer, and I also had the opportunity to help with (coverage of) the governor’s inauguration. I’ve had a lot of hands-on work. She’s just a great person to (be mentored by) and shadow. I mean, it doesn’t get too much better than her, I feel like.” Jackson said her love for broadcast journalism began during her senior year at WCHS, when she attended classes at Eastside Technical Center in Lexington taught by Michelle Rauch, a longtime Lexington television reporter. “She just showed us the ropes for photography, media, video work, and I just fell in love with it. I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Jackson said. Jackson said she wouldn’t be where she was without all the people who’ve helped her along the way, like Shaw, her family, and the people who helped pay her way through college. “I came from a single parent home. It was hard. If it wasn’t for my aunts, my uncles (and) Kristen Wilson, who was my academic counselor my senior year of high school – I really want to thank her, because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have gotten these scholarships. Every morning, I was in her office filling out college applications, scholarship applications. By the time I graduated high school, everything was set up for me. “It was nothing but God’s grace.”

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