Candice Hart, LSC-CyFair

Winning Essay:

I became a Lone Star College - CyFair Mighty Duck in January 2013. At the time, I was working full-time and attending college full-time. About midway through the semester I realized I would have to give up either school or my job. I chose to quit my job to continue my education. That put me in a financial bind, but I was able to work with the Financial Aid office and they helped get me approved for loans so that I could continue working on my degree.

A month later, I was offered a job here at Lone Star College - CyFair, working with New Student Orientation. Nearing the end of my first semester, I was willing to help newcomers begin their roads to success. I met many people and made lots of connections among the staff here at Lone Star. These connections would prove beneficial to me down the road.

Near the end of the summer, I found myself homeless in the middle of the night. Having nothing more than the things I could carry and a little bit of faith, I slowly made my way to the college. After all, I did have to be at work at 8:00 the next morning, and money was a priority now more than ever. I walked into the building carrying everything I owned, and was immediately stopped by the receptionist in the Counseling office. She was concerned about me carrying my things, and asked me what was wrong. All I was able to say at that point was that I had been evicted, and I was ushered into the Counseling office and she went to get the Director of Advising and Counseling. The staff really did pull together and as the morning sun rose in the sky, I found myself showered with love as people were working with me to find me a place to go and some peace of mind.

Another one of the staff members opened her home to me. I was able to greet the incoming freshmen at New Student Orientation knowing that all was going to be well. That afternoon I attended class, and was able to pay attention and participate. As the second summer session came to a close, I had overcome a personal obstacle with the help of my friends at Lone Star College - CyFair.

As the fall semester started, I found online classes to my advantage because I was able to open up my work availability. Having very few orientations in the fall, I transferred to the Information Center to help fill a vacant position. By the beginning of October, I had been hired permanently at the Information Center. By the end of the semester, I had gotten a better job, moved three times, and still managed to make the President's List. The final move of the semester was into an apartment of my own, with the help of my friends at Lone Star, who provided me with everything I would need to live comfortably. I know that I would not have been able to do it without them.

With the help of the staff here at Lone Star College - CyFair, I am able to pursue my goals and reach my dreams. Without them, I would not have been able to continue my education as I most likely would have had to quit and either move home or take on another full-time job. This has impacted my life in a positive way. I am humbled by the love and support I have received in my time of need and know that I am blessed to be a student here. Seeing how much the staff cares about the dreams and goals of the students is very uplifting and refreshing.

Lone Star College is a community college and they care about the community. I was able to witness this first hand and am proud to be a part of the family. Where there is a will, a way can always be made. I can only pay it forward and am willing to do my part to help other students just like me who may not be making their needs known to others. My persistence to stay on track was made known and admired by many. I hope that my story can be an inspiration to others. Once attained, an education cannot be taken away so it makes sense to be our top priority.

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