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Royal speaks to library’s Teen Book Club about pursuing college

Pictured are, first row, Jaimi Royal and her daughter Annika Royal. Pictured are, second row,  Teen Book Club sponsor and Assistant Director for the Luverne Public Library Regina Grayson and Andrew Smiley. (Photo by Beth Hyatt)

Pictured are, first row, Jaimi Royal and her daughter Annika Royal. Pictured are, second row, Teen Book Club sponsor and Assistant Director for the Luverne Public Library Regina Grayson and Andrew Smiley. (Photo by Beth Hyatt)

Monday afternoon, the Luverne Public Library Teen Book Club had the chance to sit and chat with Crenshaw County native Jaimi Royal.

After many years of struggling and persevering, Royal can now say that she is the proud recipient of her General Education Degree (GED), thanks to the help and support of not only her actual family but also her LBW family.

“I love the staff, I love the faculty and I know a good bit of them. I consider a few of them to be friends,” she said.

“I definitely consider them part of my support system, too.”

Royal was born with cerebral palsy, which made the everyday task of living more strenuous. In 2002, she dropped out of high school in the 11th grade. Years later, the death of her husband in April of 2013 left her with two young children to raise.

Although Royal’s disability caused daily struggles for her, she realized much could still be accomplished in not only her life, but also in the lives of her children. It was then that she decided to attend LBWCC in Luverne to get her GED.

“I had to finish what I started, and I wanted to be a good example for my kids,” she said.

“I went about five months after Billy passed, and I started classes. It took me over two years to get my GED.”

In June of 2015, Royal succeeded in passing her reasoning through language arts test, which gave her the confidence boost she needed to continue on to her other tests.

In July 2015, she passed the social studies test, followed by the science test in November 2015 and finally the mathematical reasoning test in February.

This fall, Royal plans to return to college to pursue a degree in psychology. While she knows this will not be an easy or fast field of study, it is a dream she has wanted to chase since she was 16 years old.

“I’ve always enjoyed encouraging people, listening to people and giving advice. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was 16 years old,” she said.

“Well, I’m going to be 32 in September, so I get to do something I love. God has lined everything up. I’m excited to get started and see what all happens.”

Recently, Royal was also honored as the District Nine recipient of the annual Pete Turnham Scholarship through the Alabama Association for Public and Continuing Adult Education. The scholarship recognizes Turnham’s 40-year membership in the Alabama House of Representatives and his untiring support of adult education.

Royal will also continue her volunteer work with Youth Leadership Forum (YLF), which also gave her the push to pursue her psychology degree.

“I’m excited to finally started taking psychology courses. I’ve always been interested in the way people think, the way they feel, how they behave and why they have different reactions to different things,” she said.

“Everyone’s got their own system, but just stick with it. You’ll get it, and it gets better with time.”