Delores Frison’s parents were raised in a time when quality education was not readily available in for African Americans like them and their children in Mississippi. However, they believed deeply in the value of an education and taught their children to feel the same.  

“We couldn’t come home with C’s,” she explains.  

Frison earned a degree in pre-med biology from Mississippi Valley State University and became a medical technician and certified scientist. Eventually, though, she felt the call to teach. She completed an alternate licensure program and taught for 10 years at Northwest Middle School before pursuing further education as a graduate student in BYU’s educational leadership and foundations program.  

This vibrant educational growth and influence traces back to childhood evenings around the table with her father, she says.  

After coming home from working two jobs to support his wife and 13 children, he would check over each child’s homework. If the answers were not correct, he would sit down individually with them to help teach them the material. It was not until later in her life that Frison understood fully how hard her father worked to make sure he could participate in his children’s education. “It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized my dad only had a third-grade education,” she says.  

One night when Frison was in high school, she was up late when she heard her parents talking in the kitchen. Her mother told her father that he had spelled a word wrong, and he needed to redo the word.  

“My mom taught my dad to read and write,” she says.  

Frison was the first in her family to attend a desegregated school, a task made more difficult due to resistance from many white teachers and students. As her schooling went on, Frison felt that students of different races reached many understandings.  

“We learned to get along with everybody,” she says. “Everyone just wants to know they belong somewhere.”  

As a teacher, Frison hopes to support minoritized students who may look to her as an example of what they can achieve.  

“I am generally the only Black teacher or one of a few Black teachers,” she said. “I think, for a lot of them, it’s another thing to read about it, but when it's your reality, it is something different.”  

Frison hopes to inspire students to go on to higher education and achieve their dreams, which is part of the reason she decided to pursue graduate school in the EdLF program. She chose to attend Brigham Young University for its spiritual component: although she is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she enjoys praying before classes and the spiritual elements of her classes. 

 “We are all headed to the same destination; we are just taking different vehicles,” Frison says.