Advancement: Ducketts Committed to ‘Family’ Gained at SMC, Give Back

Advancement: Ducketts Committed to ‘Family’ Gained at SMC, Give Back

Jeremy Handel
Staff Writer

Judge Jacquelyn Duckett

Family is important to the Ducketts. Whether it’s the connection between mother and daughter, or the “family” that came from their connection to Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC). And for the Ducketts, it’s important to embrace and support future generations of their “family.”

After graduating high school, Jacquelyn Duckett knew she wanted to go to college but wasn’t entirely sure where she wanted to attend. She did know community and faith were important to her, and her mother made a recommendation.

“My mother influenced me to attend SMC due to it being a smaller institution for my first time away from home,” Duckett said. “We explored other colleges, but SMC stood out as far as academics, smaller class sizes, and support from the Methodist church, which I am affiliated with.”

Her experience at SMC proved to be a perfect introduction to higher education, and after finishing her associate in criminal justice, she continued on to earn several more degrees. Today, she is known as Judge Jacquelyn Duckett, serving as a magistrate judge for Greenville County.

When it came time for her daughter Amaya to start her college journey, there was only one place Judge Duckett had in mind – SMC.

“It was the only college we visited at the time because of its proximity to home, the specific curriculum offered, and the many scholarship opportunities available,” Judge Duckett said. “Also, it was because I was a proud alum and very familiar with SMC and their academic professionalism.”

For Amaya, the choice was easy, and it was for most of the same reasons as her mom.

“The closeness and inclusivity of the campus impressed me from day one,” she said. “From being embraced at orientation to the first day of classes, I knew SMC was the perfect fit for me.”

Amaya Duckett

Amaya also benefitted from earning the full-tuition scholarship at SMC, which covers the cost of tuition for students who are eligible for the South Carolina LIFE Scholarship.

Amaya earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from SMC in May. She said it was great that the College began offering four-year degrees because it meant she could stay in that close-knit community. Now, she hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps again and pursue a career in law or criminal justice.

Both said their time at the College provided a great base for their professional careers and shaped them in a positive way.

For Judge Duckett, she said she came away with the tools to help her achieve in her career, including determination, a good work ethic, and dedication. Amaya noted the same preparation, including the new professional development program that taught her how to be a good job candidate and adjust to professional life.

The Ducketts also developed a desire to serve and help others during their time at SMC. One of the key audiences they chose to help are the future students.

Judge Duckett has been a regular donor to the College for a number of years. She said that as she progressed in her career, she felt it was important to give back to the place that gave her the base for her growth.

“As I grew as a professional, I realized that my gift to SMC would enhance the educational experience for others,” she said. “I think my gifts benefit the college in immeasurable ways and provide funding specifically to help current students achieve their goals.”

While Amaya is just starting her professional journey and hasn’t yet become a donor, she said it is something she plans to do.

“I would love to give back to the school that helped shape me into the individual and eventual career woman that I am today so they can continue to shape others,” she said.

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