AnquillaDennard, a 25-year-old senior theater performance student from Belle Glade, Fla., said to do lists are the only thing that help her manage her time and keep her myriad of responsibilities in order. However, missing tests or class because of unforeseen circumstances is something Dennard has learned to deal with since she is both a mother and a student.
Dennard spends over twenty hours a week assisting with Florida A&M University’s Essential Theatre productions, while also volunteering at Florida State University’s film school. She is also part of the audiovisual team at Family Worship and Praise Center, all while rearing two children, La’Tavia, 7, and Anyia, 3. Despite Dennard’s chaotic schedule, Kimberly Harding, an associate theater professor, said Dennard maintains an overall B average.
Harding wonders where Dennard finds the time to balance her responsibilies, and described her as one of the most mature students, always willing to lend a helping hand and offer wisdom and advice to others. Dennard calls her children “theater babies,” because they usually attend her theatre rehearsals and performances. Harding and other theatre students try to help by watching the children and bringing entertaining movies to the set for them to watch.
Dennard’s roommate and friend of 14 years, Latoya Thompson, 26, said their household on a normal day is frantic and busy, especially with her own 6-year-old also living in the home.
“I use my family and friends as a support network, because without them I would be running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” Dennard said. Antonio Dennard, an 18-year-old first-year music student and Dennard’s younger brother is part of that support network. He often babysits for Dennard, and alternates days with her to give her time to herself.
Dennard’s mother, Inman Dennard, actress Taraji P. Henson and theatre professor Marci Stringer are just a few of her role models that inspire Dennard to follow her dreams.
While Dennard turns to others for strength to succeed, her perseverance had an impact on the life of her brother. Antonio said his sister’s dedication motivated him to attend college and taught him important life lessons.
“She taught me how to treat a woman: by being open and truthful with them,” he said.
Dennard’s short-term goals are to finish graduate school and move to Los Angeles or Atlanta to become a production assistant. Dennard hopes by doing so, she will gain experience that will land her a job as producer in the future.
Through her success, Dennard hopes to instill a resilient sprit within her children and teach them to never let anything deter them from their goals.
“I want them to understand that yes, I did make mistakes but…I want my struggles to teach La’Tavia and Anyia to be resourceful and persistent in whatever they do,” Dennard said.