Meet Dr. Angelica Rivers Collins, a prep basketball standout at Bryan County High School in the early 1990s.
Dr. Angelica Rivers Collins was born and raised in Ellabell. She is a 1993 graduate of Bryan County High School and is one of the one of the best players in Lady Redskin history. She amassed 1,500 points in her career, has the single game BCHS girls record of 52 points and led the Lady Redskins to four straight state appearances. She was even heavily recruited by Georgia.
But basketball was more than fun and games for Collins.
"It was my ability to play basketball that granted me the opportunity to go to college and become the person I am today," she said. "Basketball was my only way out of Ellabell."
Since graduating, Dr. Collins has made the most of her opportunities. Most recently, she finished her doctoral degree program at South Carolina State University on Aug. 13. She
She got her degree Dec. 12 and "I am now Dr. Angelica Rivers Collins, yes, a graduate from Bryan County High School."
How she got there:
"After graduating from Bryan County High School in 1993, I went to Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas on a basketball scholarship. I transferred during the 1994-95 school year to Okalossa Walton Community College in Niceville, Fla. In May 1995, I graduated with an associate's degree from Okaloosa Walton.
"In Aug. 1995, Georgia Southern University offered me another full basketball scholarship for two years. I attended Southern from August 1995-May 1998. In May 1998, I graduated from Georgia Southern with a bachelor's degree in education with a concentration in health and physical education."
It didn't take Dr. Collins long to find work after graduating from Georgia Southern.
"Mr. Perry Bacon, former superintendent of Bryan County Schools, was working at McIntosh County Academy in Darien," she said. "He contacted me in May 1998 about a position as the head varsity girls' basketball coach and health and physical education teacher in Darien. I interviewed and was hired shortly after my interview. That was the start of my new life."
Dr. Collins worked at McIntosh County Academy for two years, then found an opportunity at a larger school.
"In May 2000, I interviewed for a job as head girls' basketball coach and health and physical education teacher at Burke County High School located in Waynesboro -- about 25 miles from Augusta. I was hired. I started working in Burke County in August 2000, and I have been there ever since."
Dr. Collins didn't rest on her laurels, however. She continued to study while coaching and teaching.
"Over the years, several things have happened in my career. In May 2002, I received my master's degree in educational leadership from Troy State. In July 2005, I got promoted to assistant principal. I continued to maintain my position as head varsity girls basketball coach and as an assistant principal.
"In January 2006, I received my specialist degree in educational administration from Cambridge College. And on July 1, 2009 I was transferred from Burke County High School to Burke County Alternative School as an principal."
Dr. Collins said she couldn't have gotten to where she is without help.
"I give credit for all that I am and all that I will become to my mother, Loraine Rivers," said Collins who has a daughter of her own from a previous marriage, Alecia Lamar Collins, 10.
Alecia is a 5th grader in Burke County and will be 11 on Jan. 26.
Dr. Collins had other help as well.
"I have to thank my high school basketball coach for all that he did for me during those four years at Bryan County High School. Johnnie Miller was truly my inspiration.
"My childhood role model was Dr. Sallie Brewer, former superintendent of Bryan County Schools. She was one of the people who kept telling me I could be anything I wanted to be when I was growing up. I made a promise to myself, that I would one day have the title that she has."
Dr. Collins also has fond memories of a certain teacher:
"My favorite teacher in the whole wide world was my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Penny Bacot. She is still currently teaching in Bryan County Schools."
Now, Dr. Collins hopes her story will help others realize they can succeed.
"Hopefully students at Bryan County High School will see my story, and they can see that anything is possible when you put your mind to it," she said. "It's not about where you come from, it's where you're going that's important."
And Dr. Collins still has places she wants to go.
"My future plans include becoming a principal. My long term goal is to become a superintendent. In the next year or two, my plans are to publish a book called:. "My Life is a Testimony." Keep your eyes open for it. It will be on the shelves soon...it's coming."