Adam Adkins is a junior accounting major from Floyd County, Kentucky, and he is traveling the Purpose Road in search of a brighter future not only for himself but also for his wife and parents. Adam’s journey on the Purpose Road did not start straight out of high school. After he graduated, he decided, like many others, to find a job. He worked in the coal mines and machine shops in Floyd County as a welder and a welder’s helper in the pipeline industry. However, he soon learned that these jobs were extremely volatile. He explained that before coming to Alice Lloyd College, “I would be laid off from work or some jobs were coming to an end, and I would wonder what I was going to do next?” After being laid off once again, Adam was struggling with what to do.
During this in-between period, his father pointed out to him that it was not too late for him to change his life by getting a college education. His father’s timely advice held a lot of value to Adam because he remembers when his life-long coal miner father had “Gone out to work in negative degree weather all the way to scorching summers in Kentucky to make sure my family never went hungry and always had clothes to wear.” Adam’s father knew what a life without a college education looked like because it was his past. Much like Abisha Johnson, who brought Mrs. Lloyd to Pippa Passes, Adam’s father realized that his son needed an education in order to find a stable job that he enjoys.
With the decision made to further his education, Adam started to look for a school that was the right fit for him. Adam is an independent, married, non-traditional student, which makes him responsible for the total cost of his education. Such a large responsibility meant that he would have to work and struggle for every dime needed to pay for school resulting in the reality of a large burdensome student debt. The burden of balancing finances, work, and school seemed to be too much until he heard of Alice Lloyd College and the assistance and opportunities offered to help Appalachian students succeed. Needless to say, discovering ALC changed Adam’s life. When discussing the College, he explained, “When I came to Alice Lloyd College, I felt a sense that I was where God wanted me to be. Without Alice Lloyd College, I would never have thought I would be where I am today. If someone had told me I would be an accounting major looking over numbers and statistics, I would have thought they were crazy. I have received so many opportunities I cannot count them.”
This positive attitude and willingness to work for his dreams were instilled in Adam when he was just a small child by both his parents and grandparents. Along with this, they taught him a value that ALC covets beyond all others: a desire to give back to your community. Adam stated, “My grandparents taught me a lot about raising food for winter times, and both my parents and grandparents taught me the importance of giving. Usually, we planted so many vegetables we were able to give them to anyone who might need them. My family believes in no one doing without. We have a lot of old traditions in our family, which is what I think gave me my work ethic.”
His work ethic and dedication to giving back has made Adam an outstanding student who is destined to change his community. However, Adam would never ask for any praise for doing this because that is not the type of person he is. The best way to understand this young man is to understand what drives him to get an education. Adam stated, “My degree will allow me to provide the best for my parents and my wife, even if it means that I have to give up so much time and my own resources. With the generous support of our donors, I am one step closer to that dream. I want to be able to look at my dad when I graduate, and say, ‘No more coal mines. I will help you.’ I will look at him and my mom and tell them to finally rest.”