Theresa Robinson was born on March 7, 1912, in Narcoossee, Florida. Her father John owned a 10 acre orange grove. John died before Theresa graduated from the local school but her mother was determined for her to have an education. Since the beginning of the county, Black education up to the eighth grade was available but those who wished to go to high school had to go elsewhere. Theresa’s mother sent her to Florida Normal College in St. Augustine, a high school level institution designed to train teachers for the Black schools.
She entered Florida A & M University after leaving Florida Normal in 1930. It was quite a sacrifice for her mother, so Theresa dropped out to teach and work in the orange grove. It took seven years to finish her degree while teaching at the old sawmill towns of Nittaw and Illahaw.
On December 23, 1939, in Orange County, FL, Theresa married George W. Helms. She later taught Social Studies and English at Kissimmee High, the local Black school, until it closed, then transferred to St. Cloud Middle School from where she eventually retired after thirty-five consecutive years of teaching in Osceola County schools.
Theresa Helms died on September 28, 1999.
Source: “Osceola County The First 100 Years” by Aldus M. and Robert S. Cody, 1987