by Jamie Weston
She sits rapt with attention, a sponge soaking up new information. Even on year three of the Oklahoma Scholastic Media Initiative Workshop, she still gathers skills and information to assist her dream of improving her online publication, WPS Eagle Talk.
Deborah McGhee knows first hand that it’s never too late to chase your dreams… or to change them.
Growing up in an oil field family, McGhee did not have a typical childhood. “I moved 17 times in 11 years.”
However, her formative high school years found her settled into small-town life in the rural Oklahoma community of Velma. It was during a biology class at Velma High School, that she began to daydream about becoming a high school basketball coach and teacher.
“My high school football coach was also the biology teacher, and he didn’t teach. We just read from the book. I wanted to be the best coach and teacher I could be.”
Upon graduation, McGhee attended East Central University in Ada, Okla. with the goal of playing basketball as an ECU Tiger and, ultimately, pursuing a coaching degree. However, as McGhee soon realized, dreams and reality can sometimes be two very different things.
After only one semester, McGhee left East Central to return home to her high school sweetheart, David. They married and had the first of McGhee’s four daughters. Her coaching career plans morphed into a series of unrelated jobs which included stocking vending machines, waitressing, and working for an electric company. True love it was not, and eventually the marriage came to an end. It wasn’t until after her divorce that she was finally able to make her teenaged dreams come true.
“I finally realized you could be whatever you wanted to be; you just had to work harder than everyone else.”
Ten years later, McGhee re-enrolled in college at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha and completed her arduous journey, finally becoming a basketball coach and teacher. Life found her with a new career, a new husband, and a new baby. However, she soon realized coaching “wasn’t meant to be” and changed her dreams yet again.
What began as a young girl’s dream to coach basketball eventually led McGhee to teach information technology, yearbook, and newspaper. Now she is attending OSMI, working diligently toward her new dream of advising a successful high school online publication.