The story of Dr. Veronda Rooks-Price is one of heartache, resilience, vision, and redemption. And to leave out any part of her journey would not justify the level of passion she has in order to carry out her life’s mission of mentoring young people to help them overcome their struggles and achieve their dreams.
Veronda is a survivor of child molestation, rape, and mental abuse. She was pregnant at 14, adopted at 16, and was a foster child of seven families.
Dr. Veronda Rooks-Price has a Ph.D. in public policy and administration. She is an author, entrepreneur, founder of a nonprofit, public speaker, educator, tutor, and most recently a certified virtual product trainer and certified virtual class instructor for MasteryPrep in ACT® and SAT®. She teaches virtually from Senegal, where she lives with her husband Abdoulaye Diagne, who was raised in the western African country.
“His Grace is Sufficient”
A native of Newport News, Virginia, Dr. Rooks-Price earned a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Norfolk State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix. She spent several years as a sales professional before beginning to write her life story and branching into education, mentorship, and development.
In 2013, she published the first of five books, His Grace is Sufficient, an autobiography. “Some people wonder just why they were born. I must admit, I did the very same thing. Additionally, I learned early in life that unless I made some drastic changes, my life would remain mediocre at best. Molested, mentally abused, and pregnant at age 14, I thought there was no life outside of my downtown village. Little did I know God had a plan to turn those trials to triumphs. Eventually you will see that all things are possible if you just believe. And you will find that His Grace is Sufficient.” Her additional supplements to her autobiography would include His Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness, When I Am Weak; HE is Strong … Songs of My Heart, and His Grace is Still Sufficient. She also wrote How I Became Prince!! – a fictional story of how her great-nephew came into the world and a story to encourage him to grow into a young man.
Dr. Rooks-Price spent years teaching high school English, serving as a youth minister in various churches, and volunteering as a teen mom for both her son’s high school football teams. In her interactions around young people, she noticed a need for a structured program young women could benefit from and help them blossom and develop during their most influential and important years.
In 2014, she founded the nonprofit, Pretty Girlz Inc. She works with her son, Briaun Rooks. With a motto of “Dream Big. Work Hard,” the organization finances conferences, workshops, and community engagement activities, all to educate, develop, and mentor under-served and under-privileged girls. “We promote team building, healthy living, healthy eating, healthy relationships, career path focus, and college readiness. We foster a commitment to young girls and youth that will promote pro-social friendships, strong people skills, and reassert a sense of hope for their future.”
Pretty Girlz has partnered with the Newport News School System, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., We Speak Life Inc., and Hampton Parks and Recreation, to name a few, and the nonprofit has worked with secondary schools within the Hampton and Newport News school system, as well as Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University, coaching college students.
Six years ago, Dr. Rooks-Price served as a public speaker in front of about 325 young women at a conference in Newport News, Virginia. She told her life story. When the session was over, she was greeted by a foster child impacted by her speech. “She told me she was having struggles in her life, that my story meant a lot to her, and wanted to meet her biological family. I gave her my contact information. Three months later, she e-mailed me, said she met her family, and thanked me for telling my story to help her.”
What started out locally, grew internationally for Pretty Girlz Inc. In eight years, the nonprofit has impacted 2,500 young women and 4,500 total young people, extending outreach to teenage men. The program has impacted young people in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, and extended outreach to Uganda through a virtual conference, and to Senegal, through donations of supplies, desks, uniforms, and tuition.
In 2020, Dr. Rooks-Price broadened her entrepreneurship to the corporate world to launch RP Consultants LLS. A partner with her son Briaun, RP Consultants helps people start nonprofit and for-profit companies, and coaches entrepreneurs through the business life cycle. Dr. Rooks-Price is also a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Gamma Upsilon Sigma Alumnae Chapter.
Nearly a year ago, Dr. Rooks-Price ventured onto the remote work job board, remote.co, and learned of a virtual teaching opportunity through MasteryPrep. “I wanted an opportunity to continue teaching. I am a life-long learner in every opportunity I engage, and MasteryPrep afforded me the ability to teach young people college readiness skills from abroad.”
Her first teaching assignment was what MasteryPrep characterized as “Mission Miami” – the company’s seven-week SAT prep program to help 3,000 rising seniors across 30 high schools in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She was one of 27 MasteryPrep instructors who taught the program virtually. The SAT camp’s success was an extension of MasteryPrep’s commitment to fill the gap of learning loss in 2020 when schools were forced to close. Following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, MasteryPrep accelerated its technology development, building a new platform and retooling its resources to fit a virtual environment. MasteryPrep resources, taught both in-person and virtual, are in 625 school districts and institutions in 47 states nationwide.
Dr. Rooks-Price’s favorite test prep strategy to teach is “Process of Elimination.” “On any standardized, multiple choice test, half of the answers are absolutely wrong, and if you can teach kids how to look for those and eliminate them, and that gets them to a 50-50 shot, then their whole world opens up to help them find the right answer.”
Founded in 2012, Baton Rouge-based MasteryPrep provides mastery-based college readiness services and resources for the SAT®, ACT®, TSIA2, EOC, and WorkKeys®. MasteryPrep is the nationally preferred SAT and ACT prep provider of the Council for Opportunity in Education and partners with schools and districts to level the playing field on standardized assessments and accountability measures. MasteryPrep is ranked among the Inc. 5000 “Fastest Growing Companies,” featured by “Entrepreneur 360,” and selected among the “Growth Leaders” by Louisiana Economic Development for two years in a row.
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