It never hurts


Photo by Alyssa Kift

JP Welsh now teaches an array of math classes at Texas High.

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

He picks up the marker and begins illustrating a function before his students, explaining the mathematical information in simple terms. Colors and mathematical symbols cover the whiteboard before the class. The explanation flows from his mind, his knowledge helping aid the minds of the class to the correct answer.

JP Welsh, one of Texas High’s new teachers, has a very unique past. His college degree has taken three tries and most of his life to obtain.

“I graduated from high school in Miami, Florida,” Welsh said. “I didn’t have a plan; I had no idea what I wanted to do.”

Welsh was unaware of the importance of getting his degree and didn’t realize the many benefits of having a college education.

“I was working at McDonalds and I actually thought I could make a good career out of that,” Welsh said. “I thought: this is great, I’m gonna go into management.”

When Welsh’s “golden arch” management plan fell through, he found himself in a rough spot. He had to come up with something.

“I did a little bit of traveling around,” Welsh said. “My uncle convinced me to join the army. I got several thousands of dollars to go to college out of the army.”

Just when Welsh’s future started looking up again, he was sucked into the same current as before.

“I made my second attempt at college,” Welsh said. “Still young, still not real mature; I made the same mistake again. I was working at Sears this time and they were talking about management. I thought: I don’t need college, I got a job working at Sears.”

Again, he realized the mistake he’d made when things didn’t quite work out. Welsh knew he needed to get things together and stop making the same decisions.

“I was on scholastic probation when things didn’t work out with Sears, so I had to work hard,” Welsh said. “I went back to school, and next semester I got straight A’s in college.”

As his grades were improving, so was his willpower. He gave college another shot.

“My last attempt was here in Texarkana,” Welsh said. “I decided it was time to go back to school; God put it on my heart.”

With his beliefs and his family on his side, Welsh finally went for it. The countless tiring hours and hard work were paying off. He accomplished earning his degree.

“I worked a little harder. I got a degree in accounting and did that for several years,” Welsh said. “It felt great. Forty six years old when I graduated and I had all kinds of family coming to celebrate with me. It felt good to finally accomplish that.”

All of Welsh’s hard work led him to where he is now.

I was doing accounting for about eight years when God put it on my heart to teach,” Welsh said. “And the opportunity opened up for me to teach; if I did not have that degree, there would have been no opportunity.”

Welsh’s devotion to God and to improving himself has given students a push to go to college out of high school and get that life-changing degree.

“When I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel, this huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” Welsh said. “I encourage everybody to go to college right away. There were several times there when I thought: oh, I have a job, I don’t need a college degree. You never know when you’re gonna need that degree.”

Welsh’s story can be seen as something to learn from, and he advises all students to attend college as soon as they can. College has improved his life, and he can provide encouragement for everyone.

“Even if you’ve got a good job, see if you can go to college,” Welsh said. “It never hurts to have that college background.”