The Journal | Top Stories | Photo Collections | News | Subscriptions | Contact Us
The Last Best Gift: A Hurricane's
Winding Path to Graduation at GSW

From the June 22, 2022 issue
of The Journal

By Anita Theiss
   It's not often that a college student is enrolled in the same university and at the same time as her own daughter. But that was exactly the case for PJ (Riner) Wilson. A 1997 graduate of Tri-County High School in Marion County, PJ had big dreams of being a forensic scientist and decided to pursue her bachelor's degree in biology.
   She started her college career at Kennesaw State University where she could live with her dad, who she had never lived with before. After one year, she decided to move back home with her mom and grandmother in Buena Vista. So, she started at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) where things were going pretty well until she discovered she was pregnant with her daughter Avery in late 2000. 
    The new challenges of pregnancy made college classes more difficult, and PJ struggled through an unsuccessful semester in the spring of 2001. But she was determined, so she started taking classes again in August 2001 at nine months pregnant and delivered her beautiful baby girl one week early – only two and a half weeks into the new semester.
   She took a very ...
The rest of the story