A Message From Dr. Maria Markham, ADHE Director

By Maria Markham on Friday, October 21, 2022

Dear Students,

When Reba McEntire was growing up in neighboring Oklahoma, she wanted to be an educator. She graduated from the education department at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and while performing at a rodeo, she was heard by another artist. The rest, as they say, is history. She signed a record deal and went on to be one of the rare musical artists who earned No. 1 hits in four decades. When I was about 9 years old, all I wanted to be when I grew up was Reba. I would sing my heart out with my little “jam box” and even had this weird red wig that I thought resembled her.    

The irony is not lost on me: My early dream was Reba’s adult life, and her early dream is my adult life (although I’m certain hers is much fancier than mine—pun intended). 

No matter what your childhood dream was, compared to your present-day plans, showing up for YOU is the best habit for success. There is no time like today to think about your future. By even reading this magazine and considering options, you are moving forward and formulating plans.   

Right now, the future may seem uncertain, and you may be unsure about what lies ahead. However, higher education is still relevant, valuable and worth the investment. Not everyone will decide to go to a flagship university and get a graduate degree. Some will choose a community college and a technical education that will serve their family and community well. No matter which direction you choose, making decisions that help you get closer to achieving your dreams, makes you the superhero in your story. No matter what you choose, college is for you. 

Thank you again for being a champion of strength. May you maximize all your options and rock out college!

Be well and do good,

Dr. Maria Markham
Director at Arkansas Division of Higher Education