WEST POINT, Miss. (WTVA) — When the West Point School District named one of its principals for East Side Elementary and Pre-K, some wondered how that person could be the principal.
But those people didn't know the real Jacqueline Gray.
What she encountered in December 2008 was something that no one expects to deal with at a young age — a massive stroke.
Nearly four years have passed, and now she is a principal.
"After having a stroke and just being totally debilitated at that point,...I thought to myself I can either stay in a wheelchair or I can do what I have to do to get up," said Gray.
Overcoming her challenges sets an example of determination for her fellow co-workers.
"Her overcoming a stroke to me is phenomenal because she is one that I can tell that has that 'don't quit' attitude," added Stephanie Craven, teacher. "That's very important being in a leadership position."
Before becoming a teacher and now a principal, Gray worked for 17-and-a-half years for Weyerhaeuser.
She says the experience there helped her prepare for the challenges that lie ahead as she emphasizes teamwork.
"We work as a team. The team is my concept here at East Side Pre-K and Kindergarten. It takes the teachers, parents, the community, myself as the administrator to work together for the benefit of all the children," said Gray.
"What I loved about what she first said to us was we're going to be a team," added Craven. "We're all going to be a team and work together as a team, and that's exactly what she has done."
Working with the next generation and being involved with a team approach, she now knows what she is meant to do.
"Do what I know what God had kept me here to do," said Gray. "That's work with children, and I've enjoyed it, and I still enjoy it."
To this day, she still encounters minor effects from the stroke but adds that through prayer and rehabilitation she is able to do what she sets out to do.