By Jessie Morgan
There is no doubt that the COVID crisis has left each of us struggling in some way, whether it be physically, financially or emotionally. Despite those daily challenges, one Messiah student continues to prove that there is nothing that can’t be achieved through hard work, dedication and faith. That student is Tariah Rozier.
Rozier is currently a junior majoring in family and consumer sciences at Messiah. On campus, she serves as an RA and as a Human Development and Family Science Department Diplomat, where she enthusiastically participated in open house events and shared her experiences in the FCS program. She also coordinated the 2019 Special Olympics event on campus, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Like many other students, Rozier was shocked to receive the news that she would be leaving campus for the remainder of the semester. Shortly afterwards, when her mother lost her job in the midst of the coronavirus, Rozier realized that she needed to step up to help provide for her family. Today, she works up to 50 hours a week while maintaining a full course schedule – a feat that can only be maintained through an exceptional work ethic.
“It is a struggle to balance a full-time job plus online school,” Rozier, who is employed full-time in providing direct care to adults with disabilities, said. “It is very mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, but I do what I have to do to help provide for my family.”
According to Dr. Melinda Burchard, professor of special education at Messiah, Rozier’s impressive work ethic shines through in her classwork.
“During this season of coronavirus, the one student in all my four courses who impresses me most is Tariah Rozier,” Burchard said. “She juggles academic demands, actively participating and meeting deadlines with quality work, all without complaint!”
Burchard noted that despite her busy schedule, Rozier still manages to radiate positivity in the online classroom, sharing words of encouragement with her classmates in discussion posts and Zoom meetings.
“Through Tariah’s positivity and sharing that positive outlook with others, I felt personally encouraged as a faculty member,” Burchard said. “Tariah is a shining star among the student body at Messiah College.”
Rozier’s work and education go hand in hand. Through the years, she has developed an incredible passion for both, which helps to keep her going amidst her crazy schedule.
One of the most rewarding parts of Rozier’s life is attending the Lebanon County Special Olympics, where she has been a coach for 11 years. Rozier noted that one of her biggest inspirations for working with people with disabilities are the Special Olympics athletes, including her brother, who has autism.
“The special Olympics athletes inspire me because no matter what life has thrown at them, they push past,” Rozier said. “They may have all these disabilities, but when they are on the court or the field, it’s like they’re invincible. It’s one of those situations that I am not the one who has changed their lives, but they’re truly the ones who have inspired me and have changed mine!”
In the future, Rozier plans to obtain a teacher education certificate to teach family and consumer sciences to high school students. She hopes to make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities by teaching them dynamic skills that they will be able to use later on in life, such as nutrition, sewing, family resource management and personal finance.
“I feel spiritually led to work in an urban or culturally diverse high school because I can teach my students that where they come from does not define who they are, that they’re much more than where they come from, and that they have a purpose in this life,” Rozier said.
Today, Rozier attributes her work ethic to her mother, who works hard to support her children as a single mother without ever losing faith.
“She is the reason I am here today and she is the reason I am who I am,” Rozier said. “[Her] being a single mother and being able to provide for my brother and I … getting my diploma is going to be the greatest gift I can give to her after [she] made all those sacrifices.”
Although the road is long, Rozier has never ceased to push through and work hard, something she attributes to a passion for the disabled as well as for God.
“I may come from a low economic background and not come from much, but I am rich in the love, care and encouragement that surrounds me,” Rozier said. “That shows me that nothing is impossible, and I can do anything that I put my mind to, and so can you.”