Watkinsville resident Shaquida Smith believes there is no shortcut to providing for a family.

As a single mother of a son and three daughters, Smith credits her work ethic for giving them a good foundation. When not working at Oconee County High School as a beloved custodian, she’s selling electronics at the Epps Bridge Walmart.

And as of May, she is officially a graduate of Foothills Charter High School in Athens.

Coming from a broken home, Smith has worked hard since childhood. Her father was incarcerated the first week she attended Oconee County High School.

“I had to work to pay my bills, so by the time I got to my senior year, I was just so overwhelmed,” Smith said. 

During Smith’s senior year, her oldest sister, who had four kids, succumbed to a deadly illness.

“I wasn’t feeling appreciated or like I was being loved. I didn’t feel like anyone cared if I finished school,” said Smith, who on a fall day in 2004, called her sister to pick her up from class. That was the day she dropped out of high school.

Smith’s sister tried to talk her out of it, saying, “This is not over for you.” 

For more on this story, see the September 26 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience store and grocery store and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 


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