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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

One Crisis Away: One Family's Journey Back From The Brink

Dane Walters
Schnique Dory teaches a GED class twice a week on top of a full time teaching job at Benbrook Middle School.

Last year, KERA launched a series called One Crisis Away, looking at four North Texas families on the financial edge. Between now and the end of the year, we’ll catch up with the families. First up, the Dorys.

Wife Schnique and husband J.C. still live in the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement with her two kids. And they have the same jobs. Still, a lot has changed for this family of four. It’s been a year of struggles, and triumphs.

Ducks on the pond, cooks in the kitchen, Schnique Dory in the classroom.

Some people were meant to teach, and it only takes about five minutes with Schnique at the whiteboard to figure out she’s one of them.

Schnique’s day job is a full load of 8th grade English at Benbrook Middle School. Twice a week, she moonlights.

“I teach a GED class on Tuesday nights and Saturday morning at the Community Enrichment Center,” says Schnique. “The Community Enrichment Center is the program that helped me and my children get on our feet when we had nothing.”

Schnique and the kids were facing homelessness. The non-profit helped with housing and got Schnique started on her journey to becoming a teacher.

“When the opportunity came available to teach one of the classes here, absolutely is what I said, sure I will,” says Schnique.

And she teaches with her whole heart, moving from student to student with constructive corrections and positivity.

Relating To Her Students

For Schnique, this class is personal. When she was at her lowest with two small children in tow, what saved her was a bachelor’s degree. Even with a college diploma and a solid, full-time job, Schnique knows what it means to struggle financially. Earlier this year, her husband J.C. underwent four, separate surgeries.

“The first one he had an issue with his thyroid and the other three were for kidney stones,” Schnique says. “So he missed some time off work, almost four months without income.”

Schnique says all together, her family probably lost out on $15,000 when J.C. was off the job as a truck driver. They survived in true Dory family fashion: they locked down their spending.

Stocking Up

Schnique has always been a “couponer,” and during JC’s time off, she took things up a notch. Her motto was ‘I don’t want to buy it if it isn’t on sale.’

“I have canned goods, I have cereal. I really try to collect a lot of things that don’t expire or the shelf life is long, like shampoo. I don’t know what person needs 32 bottles of shampoo, but I have them,” laughs Schnique.

Keeping up with her stockpile is nothing compared to keeping up with her two kids daughter Schnthia is a 7thgrader and Schnique’s son, Jaelyn, is a high school freshman.

Schnthia just made the basketball team and Jaelyn just made a big change to his extracurricular activities. After dislocating his kneecap during football season, he decided to try cheerleading.

Husband J.C. seems to have his health problems behind him. He’s back driving his truck, so the Dorys can relax a little. Just a little.

“We were one crisis away and it was a crisis and it was difficult. But we made it,” says Schnique.

Made it, in part because of Schnique’s steady job. Something she hopes each of her GED students will come to count on after they leave her classroom.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.