Ashley is – in a word – dedicated. Her dedication to the students she serves at the College of Wooster and her family is unwavering. She is a strong woman who has excelled in her career and gives back as much as she can. I was able to talk with Ashley via a Zoom call recently, and hear her story, not only about what she is doing now, but also about her experiences at Rogers High School.

Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now — where you live, what you do, family, etc.
I currently live in Wooster, Ohio with my husband Brian of 13 years. Brian is also a Rogers Graduate (’99) and we actually met in high school. He was a senior and I was an incoming freshman. We were not allowed to date in high school, but I always thought about him after he graduated. We reconnected years later as I was walked into the wrong building for an interview, just after I had received my master’s degree. The rest was history after that! I have three children and one grandson – who keeps me busy! 

 I am the Associate Dean of Students at The College of Wooster.

Were you involved in any organizations/clubs or extracurricular activities while in high school?

I was very involved in high school and tried to keep myself as busy as I could. I was a cheerleader, I played the saxophone in the band, I was on the track and field team, I also became very involved with the black student organization, I was very active in the school plays, attempted volleyball, and was on the student council where I was the president my senior year along with serving as president of Youth-to-Youth.

What did you do right after you left TPS?

After graduation I attended Bowling Green State University where I went on to receive my Bachelors of Arts degree to be a high school social studies teacher and the continued to earn a Master’s in Education. After receiving my masters from BGSU, many years later, I went on to attend Antioch University. There I obtained my Doctorate of Philosophy in Leadership and Change. Also, I am an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which has played a role in my ability to contribute to my community.

Do you still stay in touch with friends from TPS?

Very much so – I am friends with more than half of my graduating class on social media and some I talk to more regularly like Crystina and Evelyn.

Were there any teachers that played an active role in your endeavors?

My English teacher my senior year, Mrs. Dewey, she was the teacher who introduced me to black authors. I would also say that the dean at the time, Rebecca Hunt, she knew what my experience was like in high school and she served as my safe space to come talk to, vent and escape, and for that I am thankful.

What advice do you have for today’s students of TPS?

Don’t give up and believe in yourself – you can do it. There will be times when you fail but use it as a learning experience. Failure us not a bad thing. Be confident and go after whatever you put your mind to.

In honor of her 40th birthday, Ashley and her family have established a scholarship – The Gray-Benson Scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded to a Rogers High School senior who is not only actively involved in extracurricular activities such as sports, student organizations and their community, but also a first-generation college student.

If you would also like to donate to Gray-Benson fill out the form below!