Local woman walks tightrope as single parent, teacher and student

Shekeya McCallister (foreground) works alongside her 11-year-old daughter Annya. (Photo by Christy Soto)
Shekeya McCallister (foreground) works alongside her 11-year-old daughter Annya. (Photo by Christy Soto)(KWTX)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 2:16 PM CDT
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Shekeya McCallister of Killeen who’s stranded at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak with her Annya, 11, is juggling roles as a single parent, a teacher and a student as she works to complete her master’s degree.

“You just don’t know what the next day holds in this,” McCallister said.

McCallister lost her job on Feb. 23 and has been surviving on savings ever since.

“I can live off my savings for about six months but after that, then what?” she said.

“You have to know how to save your money, be prepared for the worse,” McCallister said.

And balancing a tight budget isn’t the only challenge.

She’s also having to scramble to help Annya, a sixth grader at Roy J. Smith Middle School in Killeen, keep up with her schoolwork.

“It’s been difficult, I had to learn her learning style, and all her lesson material,” McCallister said.

Math has been their biggest challenge.

“The whole realm of math has changed so much, so I’ve had to spend time learning how they do things now.”

And on top of mastering her daughter’s coursework, McCallister also has her own as she finishes up a master's program and begins work on a doctorate.

So every day, they sit side by side and get to work.

McCallister says her daughter misses school and is ready to go back, but they both have appreciated the time they’ve had together.

“We used to not spend a lot of time together because it was school, homework, and then bed, but now we have time to bond,” McCallister said.

She encourages parents to stay strong during this time and look for the positives.

“Just try to stay strong for our kids and let them know that this will be over soon and we are here to support them, who's going to be strong for them, we have to,” McCallister said.

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