Toliver forgoes walk across stage to start her career in U. S. Air Force

Published 10:34 am Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Toliver forgoes walk across stage to start her career in U. S. Air Force

South Panola senior Tra’Meisha Toliver accepts the Jr. Varsity Hustle Award from head fastpitch softball coach Ashleigh Hicks at the softball banquet Sunday afternoon.
The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

By Myra Bean
South Panola senior Tra’Meisha Toliver will miss walking across the stage Saturday for graduation.
After signing with the United States Air Force, she has been ordered to San Antonio, Texas today to start her Basic Training.
When she first realized she would miss walking across the stage, she admits it was a hard reality to face.
“It was a hard feeling but I got over it,” Toliver said. “I’m going to do greater things than walking across the stage at my graduation.”
Her four years at South Panola was marked with participation in different activities and sports. She was a member of the ROTC for four years which planted the seed for her upcoming career.
“I always wanted to be  a leader. Not just to help somebody, but be a leader of the world,” Toliver said of her decision to join the U. S. Air Force.
She also tried out for the softball team going into her ninth grade year.
“When I tried out I didn’t know a strike from a ball,” Toliver said. “This team has led me into a lot of leadership roles. There were good times and bad times. It showed me how to carry myself to others, showed me how to be more than just about myself. Showed me a lot. I’m very grateful to the coaches I had.”
Having the courage to sign up for the Air Force came in part from her head softball coach, Ashleigh Hicks.
“She built my feelings up for the Air Force,” Toliver said. “I was a little kid crying about everything. My senior year I’m like, ‘I’m ready for you. What? I’m ready.’”
On the softball team, she has everyone mimicking her “Hey, guhl” talk. She worked herself into the lead off batter role on the junior varsity and was a pinch runner on the varsity team.
Growing into her role as a leader on the softball team, Toliver had some run-ins with the other players who have different personalities.
“Everybody’s attitude is different,” she said. “Everybody takes what you say differently. How I handled those situations was say, ‘Okay’ and keep going. In an hour we would be back talking like nothing ever happened.”
Toliver sends out a big thank you to all the coaches and her teammates, especially Chloe Morgan who she said was a big step in her leadership role.
“I’m just grateful to have a team like this,” she said.
Toliver will be learning to be a team member on a bigger stage as she will arrive in San Antonio where she will do her basic training for eight and a half weeks.
She comes back close to home after that at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi where she will go to tech school to learn her job. That will last to some time in October where she will get a two-week leave to visit family and then they will tell her where she will be stationed for the next three years.
“I have been excited about what the future is going to bring,” she said.
She did not want to leave without thanking her support system, not just her teammates but family and friends.
“Thanks for all the support. You don’t have to do this for me. I have a lot of support behind me. A support system means a lot. Without y’all I don’t know. It would be hard,” Toliver said.
She is the daughter of Jackie Toliver and Dewayne Coleman.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox