CANCER O V E R C O M I N G to fulfill a passion to teach

R ecent Bluefield College alumna Sarah Cordill Jones has a passion for teaching – a passion she was living and loving in her seventh year with Tazewell County Schools until the day she learned she had cancer and found herself out of the classroom and in a battle for her life. Being a teacher is something Jones said she always knew she wanted to do from the time she was a child. “I just always enjoyed passing on what I had learned and seeing the excitement of others learning or figuring out something

Intermediate School (GIS). And today, she is a fourth grade teacher at GIS, where in 2011 she started having pain in her back. After months of being told by doctors that nothing was wrong, Jones recalls, physicians eventually found a tumor wrapped around her sciatic nerve near her spinal cord. It was cancer. Diagnosed in December 2011, she was forced out of the classroom she so loves to begin treatment. For nearly a year, February 2012 to January 2013, she endured four months of chemotherapy, which allowed surgeons to remove the tumor, two months of radiation, and another six months of additional

new,” said Jones. “I do feel God called me to teach. I get such a fulfillment from teaching.” A graduate of nearby Princeton Senior High School, she chose Bluefield College to explore and nurture her passion, earning a degree in interdisciplinary studies with teacher licensure in 2008. While a student at BC, she was a member of the Student Virginia

chemo. Finally getting back in the classroom, she said, was exciting and emotional. “It was wonderful to be back where I felt God wanted me,” said Jones. “My kids, parents, and co- workers made me feel so loved and welcome. The love and support I received was overwhelming and humbling. The support and prayers provided a much needed strength and gave me a boost when I needed it.”

Education Association, Alpha Chi National Honor Society and Phi Delta Kappa, a premier professional association for educators. She was also a Virginia Collegium Scholar and named a Teacher of Promise. “My experience at Bluefield College was wonderful,” said Jones. “I really think the BC Education Department is the best. It wasn’t just school; it was a family. They went above and beyond to prepare us for the classroom.” Jones began her career part-time in 2009 as a tutor for Tazewell County Schools. A year later, she became a full-time reading instructor at Dudley Primary School. Three years later, she got her own classroom as a third grade teacher at Graham

Sarah Cordill Jones (right) accepts her Teacher of the Year Award.

Cancer free, Jones returned to the classroom in January 2013. She said she missed the lessons and the actual teaching, but more than anything the social interaction with her students, hearing about their day, talking about new movies, or discussing comic books. “I don’t have children of my own, so my students are my children,” she said. “I love each one, even the ones that test my patience. I love teaching the academics and finding fun ways to do so, but one thing that the BC Education Department always talked about was wayside teaching, and I think that it can sometimes make a bigger difference than the academic success.


Made with