Myford Collins, was just one of the 1,200 students who graduated from Lone Star College-North Harris this year. However, the obstacles he has overcome and determination he has shown is likely unmatched by those who crossed the stage with him at the LSC-North Harris commencement in May.
Collins, who will turn 49 in August, is a former all-state track star from Sam Houston High School. At one point, he was ranked 15th in the world in his sport, and to this day has records that remain unbroken. Yet, after declining numerous athletic scholarships to pursue his academic dreams, his life changed forever on a Sunday night in 1979 when his car was hit by a drunk driver.
The accident left him a quadriplegic. It also required more than 20 surgeries during the next 30 years. Today, he is confined to a wheelchair and has only limited use of his arms. Even the most mundane everyday tasks are a challenge. It has also taught him a lot about himself.
“I think a lot of people put limits on themselves. It’s easy to say ‘That’s too hard. I can’t do it. But, if you really commit yourself to something and put in the effort, the results can be surprising. Not just to others, but also to yourself,” said Collins.
While his accident might have slowed him down, it has not come close to stopping him. After being laid off from his job in 1998, Collins looked at his situation and decided he needed a degree if was going to compete in the job market. He had a few college courses under his belt already, but decided that he would focus on going back to college. Soon his sights were set on a bachelor’s degree.
And so began a tedious struggle to balance the necessary surgeries and intensive rehabilitation programs with attending classes. Now, after more than ten years, he has finally completed his Associate of Arts degree from LSC-North Harris. Even in the midst of this accomplishment, his determination to reach his ultimate goal is unwavering.
“It feels good to have come this far, but it’s also just one hurdle down. My goal is to get my bachelor’s degree and I want to finish it in two years. I’ve still got a lot of work left to do,” explained Collins.
Equally impressive, is that Collins has been as much a recruiter for the school as he has a student.
“Myford is extremely active in bringing other students to this college and letting them know the value of an education. It’s not uncommon to see him showing a new student around campus or helping them register for classes,” said Teresa Garza, program coordinator in the Teaching and Learning Center.
“There’s something special about going to college here. I know how much of a difference LSC-North Harris has made in my life and I just want to give back. If I know someone who is having a rough patch with their job or career, I let them know that they have this avenue for education and encourage them to better themselves,” said Collins.
As for himself, Collins is preparing to continue the pursuit of his goal at the University of Houston-Downtown. He plans to earn a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management. And, if anything, he is setting the bar even higher for himself now.
“I really want to work a foreign language into my degree, probably Chinese, and my goal is to graduate with a 3.5,” said Collins. “Also, I really enjoyed the engineering graphics class I took at LSC-North Harris. So, after I finish the bachelor’s degree, I plan to come back and get a certificate in that program as well.”
If history is any indication, chances are high that Collins will accomplish all of that and more.
Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 East, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit LoneStar.edu/NorthHarris.
With more than 62,000 students in credit classes in spring 2010, and a total enrollment of nearly 85,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the second largest and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. LSCS consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.
Myford_Collins.jpg: After, a drunk driver left him in a wheelchair, Myford Collins spent more than 10 years of taking classes at LSC-North Harris. Collins, seen here with Teresa Garza of the Teaching and Learning Center, graduated with his associate degree in May and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree from UH-Downtown in the next two years.
May 28, 2010
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