The Good Stuff: Second Impressions

Job seeker Tevin intent on making a good second impression

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - With his high school and college degrees proudly on display inside his family’s home, 26-year-old Tevin Persley is anxious to land his first significant job since graduating from Wiley College in 2017.

"I'll star from the ground up. I just want an opportunity," Tevin begins.

When jokingly asked about still having a college graduate living at home, Tevin's mother responded with a smile,"He needs a job."

Like hundreds of others this week, Tevin tried his luck at a job fair held inside the Bossier Parish Convention Center, meeting with various casinoes and banks with hopes of putting his accounting degree to work.

“I have been offered little jobs, call center jobs,” Tevin said. “Not to be rude, that’s not what I went to school for.”

26-year-old Tevin Persley speaking at his alma mater Wiley College
26-year-old Tevin Persley speaking at his alma mater Wiley College

Tevin says he’s also noticed a change in interest and mood from potential employers from the time he submits a resume online, to an actual face-to-face interview.

“When you put the resume on line then they meet you in person, the mood changes when they see you,” Tevin said.

Tevin's hope is nis medical condition doesn't deter anyone's from considering hiring him.

"I have achondroplasia dwarfism," Tevin shares.

His mother, Sheritha Leonard, says Tevin nearly spent the first five years of his live in and out of a the hospital.

"When Tevin was a baby, I lost him three times. Code blue, code blue," remembers Sheritha, after doctors diagnosed her son with fluid on the back of his brain and a collasped lung.

But by kindergarten, Sheritha got her first glimpse of true hope no long after Tevin began a class designed for children with special needs at Riverside Elementary School in Shreveport.

A young Tevin at elementary school
A young Tevin at elementary school

"I got a call from his teacher and she said Tevin doesn't need to be in this class," recalls Sheritha.

Tevin was far outpacing other students and expectations from teachers.

He continued to excel in school at Youree Drive Middle School and Captain Shreve High School.

"He just became Mr. Popular," a smiling Sheritha says.

"He won president of his sophomore class," and his junior and senior classes, continues Tevin's mother.

Tevin also spent many Friday night's running the sidelines of Gator football games, with the cheerleaders, as one of the school's mascots, Al E. Gator, Junior.

"High school taught me I can do it," brags Tevin.

But about the only thing he hasn't been able to do is find a job.

“People judge by appearances. People appearances and think they’re not qualified because you look at certain way,” explain Paige Brossette, an employment placement specialist with Goodwill Industries, tasked by Louisiana Rehabilitation Services to help Tevin find a job.

“Immediately, I’m like, this guy has got it,” Paige said.

Much like how Tevin didn’t quit on college just because he lost the ability to walk during his sophomore year, he’s determined to be some company’s next awesome hire.

“I’m here to do a job,” Tevin said “I’m going to get it done. I’m still breathing. As long as breath is in my body, I’m going to get it done.”

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