Ms. Evonne Jones served the students of Piedmont as counselor and case manager for over five years, and in that little time, she made a great impact on the lives of students. Her departure leaves an empty space in the counseling office, and in the hearts of Piedmont students and faculty members.
With her last day as a counselor on Jan 17, hearing of her departure sent shock waves through campus. With news of her leave being made public just a week before her last day, many students were left baffled as to why one of the best counselors was leaving.
Though she desired to remain at Piedmont until May graduation, a series of unfortunate and unexpected events made it apparent that her life had a different plan. “If I would have known that I would be resigning at the end of fall semester,” Jones said, “I would absolutely have taken a different approach in informing my students and everyone.”
Jones will begin her new role soon as Program Manager at the Turner Center of the Pathways Community Service Board. The Turner Center is a small facility with focused care and is the only one of its kind in the state of Georgia. Jones’ position is an administrative position where she will be responsible for a small staff who work with juvenile offenders who have been deemed incompetent to stand trial. The primary focus of the program is competency restoration for awareness of self and treating diagnosed behavioral healthcare challenges.
Jones loved and enjoyed the work at Piedmont so much that she was willing to spend three hours each day on the road. That sort of drive began to wear on her after a while; especially after more than five years. “It’s important to me that I practice what I preach: self-care and work/life balance,” Jones said. In addition, being originally from South Metro Atlanta, Jones has been wanting to relocate to be closer to her family.
Her warm smile and witty attitude always made her students feel comfortable to talk to her. Whether someone was having a mental breakdown or they just wanted someone to laugh with and talk to, Evonne was always the person. Those who know her and the students who are close to her saw Jones as more than just a counselor, but as a longtime friend. Though Piedmont hired two new Student Success Advisers on staff, no one will ever replace the impact Evonne Jones had on us.
Jones sincerely apologizes to anyone whom she may have hurt by her sudden departure. She counts it as one of the greatest honors of her life to have worked with each and every student who graced her door. She never takes it lightly that any one individual would deem her worthy of sharing in their personal struggles and pain, whether as a professional or friend.
Although Jones can never be replaced, it is important that the college fills her position. Counselors are an important aspect of students’ lives and essential for healthy living.