Teen’s ‘calling’ to work with children

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 20, 2008

VIDALIA — If there is one thing Vidalia High School senior Anna Beth Baker knows, it’s that she wants to help people.

That realization didn’t come in a moment of epiphany, though, she said.

Instead, it was the only thing she was sure of for a long time whenever she thought about what she would do in the future.

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“I’ve been pretty blessed my whole life, and I just want to share that with other people,” she said.

Baker, 18, admits she has wavered in the last year about how she can pursue that dream.

At first, she wanted to be a social worker after a trip with the First Baptist Church of Natchez youth group to volunteer at a soup kitchen in Jackson last summer.

“It was pretty eye-opening,” Baker said. “You never realize how many people are homeless until you see it face-to-face.”

But her true desire — she said it could be described as a calling — is to work with children.

“At Christmas, I went with a group from school to give presents to children at the Sunshine Shelter,” Baker said. “It made me sad, but at the same time they were really good children. I don’t think there enough people working with children right now.”

The desire to work with children, coupled with an interest in anatomy she acquired during a biology class, pointed Baker to the career she plans to pursue at college: pediatric medicine.

“My mom wanted me to take Biology II so I could be prepared for the biology in college, and after I started taking it I started thinking about going into medicine more and more,” Baker said.

As for now, Baker said she is concentrating on finishing high school — she is in the running for valedictorian — and getting accepted to the honors college at the University of Mississippi, where she hopes to, in addition to medicine, study Chinese.

“With the world economy the way it is, you never know when you might need to know a foreign language,” she said.