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Robert Jones

Children Drive STLCC-Forest Park Graduate To Succeed

 

Robert Jones

Robert Jones is one of the most decorated scholars to graduate from St. Louis Community College-Forest Park.

Jones was named to the 2007 USA Today All-Community College Academic First Team. He also earned a place on the 2007 Missouri Community College Association All-State Academic First Team and was named the state of Missouri's New Century Scholar. He also was named the 2006-07 Distinguished Chapter President at the Missouri Regional Phi Theta Kappa Conference and was Forest Park's student speaker at commencement.

Jones' motivation to succeed comes from his wife of 10 years, Opal, and his young sons - Robert, 7, and Isaac, 5 - who both are autistic.

"I've learned a lot from my boys," said Jones, 41. "It's hard for them to learn. I don't have to struggle like they do. They don't understand that they're different. They are just pushing forward like any other kids. Just watching them motivates me."

A longtime St. Louis City firefighter, Jones initially attended Forest Park to take piano lessons. A gifted writer, Jones wanted to write a play. A friend convinced him the best way to compose music for the play was by playing the piano. He planned to take a few piano lessons. What he found at Forest Park changed his life -- he learned about the cultures, perspectives and religious views of students from around the world. He also earned his degree in general transfer studies and will attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis' Pierre Laclede Honors College this fall. His goal is to teach English at a community college.

And yes, Jones did finish his play. "The Power of Love" was Forest Park's first theatrical production of 2006-07. Proceeds of more than $1,000 were donated to organizations that offer support to victims of domestic violence.