Jamaican graduate receives top award for social work

caines | 9/6/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Deandra Poythress, a recent program graduate, caught four buses from her Hollywood residence to attend school. But even after classes, she remained on the job. The Jamaican-born alumna is a married mother of three and is expecting her fourth child. Despite overcoming childhood abuse and managing a family, she earned all As during her final three semesters and graduated with honors this past spring. She said school provided relief. I chose to be excellent because I refuse to allow my circumstances to define my future, she said. I actually exhaled every time I stepped on campus. Now she hopes to help children that hurting. When I was going through abuse, I wanted to go away, she said. But, I had nowhere to go. I want to help children suffering from abuse and give them an outlet and show them that someone cares for them. For her tenacity and academic success, she was presented with the Social Work Student of the Year award from the Broward unit of the National Association of Social Workers. Fellow FMU student Maretta Rose, won the award from Miami-Dade unit. Rose described the honor as, my Oscar for Social Work. Florida Memorial University [FMU] Social Work baccalaureate program was recently reaffirmed for accreditation by the Council for Social Work Education [CSWE]. The eight-year reaffirmation is valid through 2020. We aim to cultivate an academic environment where our students can develop into competent social work practitioners, said Adela Beckerman, program director. We make sure they learn the 45 competency areas mandated by our accrediting body. FMU received official notification from the accrediting body following an extensive process that started over a year ago and included a site visit last semester by education and social work experts.