Learning, reaching, and holding true to your dreams are important life lessons. Take it from Ke’Ashsa Wall who practiced this philosophy even in her youth as a student at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, MS. Her college life is a testament to how faith and perseverance are key in pushing through disappointment.
“In the 11th grade, I started trying to figure out what college I wanted to go to. I went to a predominately white high school, so I always felt as if I was missing out on more of my culture,” stated Wall. “I remember attending a revival that my church was hosting. The guest minister said that his six-year-old daughter at the time wanted to go to Spelman College. I was like, what is Spelman? I looked it up and saw all the pictures. I told myself, I want to go to this school.”
Embarking on her senior year, Wall had to make a solid decision on college. “I went and visited Spelman. They had something called ‘A Day in Your Life at Spelman.’ My twin and my best friend and I went to Atlanta and spent a whole day touring Spelman. I LOVED it there. I felt at home. Just the Black culture, I had never been around so many people that looked like me before,” she said, still with a sense of excitement.
Wall applied for early admission. “I was just playing the waiting game…waiting on my acceptance letter. I got accepted into Tennessee State University, University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State, but I was waiting for my Spelman letter,” she said.
It was almost Christmas time, and she received an email from the Spelman glee club wishing her a Merry Christmas. “They also sent me a video of their famous song that the school is known for – ‘We are Christmas.’ It was such a beautiful, heart-warming song.”
But, still no acceptance letter.
Being a faith walker and believer, Wall said aloud, “I will sing this song at Spelman, and I will be accepted into this college!” Well, a week later she received her acceptance letter, and she was quite thrilled!
Wall graduated high school with a 3.97 GPA and special honors. She started Spelman in the fall of 2012. “It was everything and more than I could imagine! I sing, so I was on ever singing platform at the college. I was a freshman music major, so in glee club, or anything dealing with an HBCU, freshmen are the lowest on the totem pole.”
Holding on to her promise to sing “We are Christmas” before leaving Spelman, one day when Wall was coming in late for glee club, Dr. Kevin Johnson was hosting “We are Christmas” solo auditions. “I usually sat in the front but this particular day I sat in the back because I was late. He told everyone to stand up for this audition and mostly seniors stood up because, just like me, I could imagine they said the same thing I said about the solo while they were freshmen.
“People stood up and he sat them down after singing a few words of the song and Dr. Johnson said, ‘Where is Ke’Ashsa?’ And everyone pointed at me, and he said, ‘Stand up and sing these three words: We are Christmas.’ So, I did, and he said the solo is yours!”
The week prior to that awesome news, Wall went home. While there, she talked to a lady by the name of Barbara Jones from Tupelo. “I told her I wanted to sing that song and she said sing from your heart and tell the story. I did just that. Her words of advice and guidance landed me that big solo as a freshman.”
That good news was short lived. During that Christmas break, Wall received an email stating she owed $9,000 to register for her next semester. “I said, well how am I going to pay this. My family doesn’t have any money? I went and talked to Dr. Johnson. He said he was going to see if the glee club could give me a scholarship. So, I ran with that. I was just so young and naive and didn’t know any better to follow up.
“I received an email that the glee club was going to sing at President Obama’s second inauguration, and I was one of the singers chosen. So, I had to go back to school early from my Christmas break. My mama drove me, and something just wasn’t sitting right with me on the way there. Before I went to my dorm, I asked her to stop me by the business office. That’s when I was told that I would have to sit out if I couldn’t come up with the money.
“All of my classmates and dorm hall buddies were crying,” she recalled. “They helped me pack my things and they wished me luck in life. That was the longest drive home to Mississippi. I didn’t have a plan or anything. I had no clue what I was going to do. I was sick! I was a 19-year-old girl that loved school and because of money I couldn’t continue my education. I went into a depression! I cried all the time and ate.”
Wall said it was almost a year later in September 2013 when she heard God say, ‘Enough!’ “I got up and found a job at Goody’s retail store and I started working out! That was my way to cope with everything! I just got closer to God during my heartache of not being able to go to any school due to Spelman holding my transcript for the outstanding balance.
“During that time of working out and getting my relationship with God stronger, I heard about a sticky note movement. It’s when you write your miracles you want God to do on a sticky note as if it’s already happened. My note read: Thank you God for my tuition being paid in full!”
For literally five years, Wall “stuck” with the movement. “I kid you not, September 2018, it was a regular Sunday. We said the benediction, and we were all just standing around. I was getting ready to walk out and someone walked up to me and hugged me. I felt them slide something in my hand. I didn’t know what it was but before I could ask, they had already left. I opened up what looked like a check. It was for $5,000. I fell to my knees and just sobbed! I thanked the Lord over and over!”
Wall called Spelman the next day. They took that payment as a settlement, and she received her transcript! She was finally able to go back to school. “I spoke that into the atmosphere, and it had to be! It was faith that got me my transcript! I saw it before I had ever seen it!”
She then enrolled in Itawamba Community College (ICC), but it wasn’t too long afterwards that she found out she was pregnant. Although the news made her question her path, it didn’t deter her. Wall took online courses while working full time. Her son, Karter Jace, was born in June 2017.
Now, with things beginning to look up and graduation on track for 2020, due to COVID-19, Wall had to wait until 2021 to walk across the stage to receive her degree.
“I wouldn’t dare not walk! I worked hard for this! I went through the storm and rain, but I know a faithful Father that saw me through! A testimony I will always tell! God paid my tuition for me! He had to bring me back from Spelman to humble me and my home church and youth needed someone to lead them!
“I finally got my answer of what God was doing. I don’t regret Spelman because I met my best friend there. She’s from Maryland and before meeting her, I had never flown before or even traveled outside of Atlanta! God does everything for a reason! Now I am a mother to the love of my life and motivated by everything I do.”
Wall is presently attending Ole Miss, majoring in business finance to one day be able to teach people about the importance of credit and how to align their finances to set up generational wealth.