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Feb 20, 2024 MOST Staff

M.O.S.T. Alumnus Asia Gibson Sees Quality Education as the Best Investment in Memphis

"M.O.S.T. helped me build character and I am very appreciative of the program."

This message was discovered by M.O.S.T. staff last week as we digitally thumbed through alumni records, in the notes section of 2019 St. George Independent School graduate Asia Gibson’s file. Her quote sat alongside details about a host of impressive high school-era activities and accolades, like serving as a St. George’s Ambassador, attending VISION Camp at Perdue University in Indiana, and participating in the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Seminar at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, among others.

Curiosity piqued, we reached out to learn where life went after her years as a M.O.S.T. Scholar, and how she has evolved in the short five years since high school graduation. Typical of the M.O.S.T. Alumni with whom we reconnect, she’s continued to thrive and is doing more than her share to elevate her community. Today, she sees giving back to Memphis communities as the dividend on the investment M.O.S.T. donors made in her.

“I’m in graduate school at the University of Memphis, getting my master's in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Currently, I’m a registered behavior technician, working with children with autism or developmental disabilities to help them learn functional skills,” said Asia, who did her undergrad at Christian Brothers University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration.

“This work I’m doing currently is essentially what my Master's degree will empower me to do, but I’ll be able to become board certified and can open my own practice and be able to write treatment plans for similar individuals,” she says. While the Master’s will shape the work she does as a professional, she opted for the business minor to help her open and run her private practice.

Her Master’s program demands focus and long hours of hard work, but Asia points to the opportunity her M.O.S.T. Scholarship created for her at St. George’s as foundational to her success.

“My mother wanted the best education possible for me and to open all the best opportunities, and she found the help she needed to make that happen at M.O.S.T.,” she said. Through St. George's, my world opened up. Through school, I went on trips to Atlanta, to New York, we went to Italy. So many opportunities that I got to experience while being at St. George's I would not have had if I went to a public or charter school that was closer to my home. My mother really wanted me to get to experience life while also receiving the best possible education to set me up for my future.”

Through her private school education, she also developed habits as a student that gave her a leg up at the college level. She says the combination of small class size and the carefully crafted St. George’s curriculum laid the solid academic foundation she relies on as a graduate student.

“That environment made learning that much more intimate and we were able to be on a closer level with our educators. They taught us functional life skills and how to be successful academically,” said Asia. “I was talking to my mom a couple days ago about how they taught us deliberate notetaking and picking out the most important information in the reading, and it occurred to me that a lot of my current classmates don't know how to do this. I had to remember that not everyone was as fortunate as I was to have the type of education where I was deliberately taught certain things to make sure that I am successful.”

Once she earns her Master’s degree, in about a year and a half, she plans to settle in Memphis, opening her practice here to give back to her hometown, the city she loves.

“Memphis shaped me into the woman that I am today, and now there’s a new generation of children here also being shaped by the city and their lives in it,” she said. “The donors who support M.O.S.T. decided to invest in me, and I think about all the futures that they’ve created for this community. It’s a long-haul deal; you won’t see the results right away. To me, if I took everything I got from M.O.S.T. and started my professional life away from Memphis, it would almost be a waste of that investment. But I also love this city, so to me there’s nothing better than staying here to give back as much as I can on that investment.”

Published by MOST Staff February 20, 2024