Former Gang Member Says Security Officer Changed Her Life

The officer served as one of the few positive influences in Vickie Wilson's childhood.
Published: May 3, 2016

Whittmore Park Middle School’s Vickie Wilson received her school district’s employee of the year award this week.

It’s an honor few could have seen coming during her crime-filled childhood. Indeed, Wilson remembers many people assuring her she’d never amount to anything.

But one person, the security officer at her school, made a positive impact that’s lasted a lifetime.

“She never criticized me, she never degraded me,” Wilson told wfxg of the school security officer, who she affectionately refers to as Ms. Vaughn. “Even though she arrested me, she encouraged me. So I have the utmost respect for Ms. Vaughn.”

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Wilson, who now works as the in-school suspension instructor at the school in Conway, South Carolina, credits Ms. Vaughn for being one of the only positive influences in her troubled early years.

“My childhood, I was very frustrated, I was very angry,” Wilson recalls. “I fought all the time because of the dysfunction in my family.”

Wilson says that anger and aggression didn’t stop Ms. Vaughn from believing in her. “She was always there, and every time Ms. Vaughn came around, she would always say, ‘Vickie, life does not have to be like this,’” Wilson says.

Now Wilson is striving to be a similarly helpful figure to the students in her life.

“She made a difference for me, so I want to make a difference for others,” Wilson says.

After receiving the Horry County Schools’ Support Staff Employee of the Year Award, it appears she’s accomplishing her goal.

“Through [Wilson’s] work, we’ve seen children make incredible progress,” Whittmore Park Principal Judy Beard says.

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Wilson’s passion for helping others can also be seen outside of school. She started a mentoring group for young girls called Q.U.E.E.N.S., which stands for Qualities, Unique, Elevated, Express with Nobility. The group aims to educate girls about self-worth, self-esteem, etiquette and making good life choices.

“You want them to look in the mirror and see they are beautiful young ladies that have a purpose,” Wilson explains. “They are queens, and if they can tell themselves that and believe that about themselves, then they will begin to present themselves that way.”

Wilson, who thanked God for her award, says she plans to continue trying to influence students the way Ms. Vaughn influenced her.

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