Abby Jones was always interested in the Spanish language, so she learned it.
After finishing high school, Jones spent a year in Madrid as an exchange student and then went to the University of Nebraska and majored in Spanish and psychology. Her last year, she went back to Spain to teach English.
Years later, Jones is the high school Spanish teacher at Gibbon Public Schools.
It was during a Spanish III class that her students asked for help with scholarships. That was eight years ago and Pathways to Success was born.
“It's an awesome opportunity for students here at Gibbon,” Jones said. "They are able to have extra support for filling out scholarship applications, learning more about volunteer opportunities, applying for college and also writing their scholarship essays."
She said that many students wanted to keep studying but they didn’t know how, or their parents only spoke Spanish and couldn’t help them. In a normal year she has about six to 12 students and they earn about $200,000 to $300,000 in scholarships in total. One year when she had about 20 students, they received about $1,000,000 in scholarships.
“We really have a great team here at Gibbon,” Jones said. "The counselors, the administrators, the business teachers; we all work really closely with one another to make sure that all of our students can realize their dreams and realize their full potential."
Jones started teaching when she was 22-years-old because her friend dragged her to a job fair. Nearly 20 years later, she still feels strongly about education.
“Education is extremely important,” Jones said. "I want all of our students here to have an idea of what success will look like whether that’s a two-year school, a four-year school, the workforce, or military."
In 2022, Jones received the Award for Excellence given by the Nebraska Department of Education.
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