Sheyvette Denise Dinkens is originally from Liberal, where she showed promise as an original thinker, voracious reader, and avid learner early on. One of the first recipients of the Jean Randall award, given to third-graders who show extraordinary promise, Sheyvette personifies two distinct facets of what we at SCCC hope to achieve — excellence, and overcoming.
She earned an associate degree in 2004, one year after graduating LHS, and hasn’t stopped learning. It’s all the more impressive in light of the generational shift.
As she wrote on her Facebook page after being notified of this award, “All I can SAY is #Thankyoumomma! I am thankful to have had a mother that never stopped and continued to redefine what it meant to be a woman, mother, friend, wife and sister in Christ! Who knew the daughter of a middle school drop out, domestic violence victor, recovered drug addict and alcoholic would have produced such an offspring! I am my mother’s daughter. This is for my mother, who told me that I could and would make it! To my bestfriend, who I miss dearly.”
Lest anyone think the hard parts of the story are the most notable, Sheyvette’s mother, Ardelia “Cookie” Coleman, also attended SCCC as a nontraditional student on her own education journey to becoming a licensed addictions counselor and CNA.
In the wider world, Sheyvette earned a Baccalaureate of Science in Criminal Justice, Minor in Human Services and Certificate in Addiction Counseling from Washburn University, a Master’s of Business Administration from Baker University, and a Masters in Secondary Education from Fort Hays University.
She has extensive experience working with at-risk children, specifically those suffering from mental disorders and substance abuse in Juvenile Detention Centers and Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF). She serves as the secretary for the Kansas City, Kansas Chamber, Young Professional Group – KCK Forward, advocate for Fairfax Learning Center and Member of the Connection Corner at The City of Truth, along with being the previous recipient of the Community Award by Living the Dream, Leadership of Greater Topeka, Positive Image Award by Topeka Links, You Rock Award by NMZ, Topeka 20 under 40 by the Jayhawk Area Council Boy Scouts, and Woman of Excellence by the YWCA. Sheyvette recently participated in the Better U Challenge for the American Heart Association and completed her first novel, entitled “Bruised But Not Broken.” She practiced as a Licensed Addictions Counselor for more than 10 years, taught and advised at Washburn Institute of Technology, founded the Women Empowerment organization of Topeka and is currently a business educator for high school entrepreneurs in Wyandotte County.
Planting seeds of growth and empowerment, positive body image, health and wellness, the ability to overcome adversity, and dream big with social justice, voter engagement and more … that’s our Saint at work.