Five Lone Star College System students described “How My Community College Experience Changed My Life” as part of the 18th annual Lone Star College Foundation’s Chancellor’s Breakfast held Jan. 26.
The students, one from each of the five Lone Star Colleges, were each recipients of a $1,000 scholarship from the LSC Foundation. They shared the personal essay that they had written with the breakfast attendees who were on hand at Shirley Acres in north Houston.
Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor, welcomed the donors, guests and friends of the LSC Foundation, and thanked them for their support.
“Consider your support as a solid investment,” Carpenter said. “You have done so much to help the lives of so many students.”
Carpenter said that he felt the audience members would be touched by the stories from these student scholarship winners. “I say this every year at this event, but if this is your first time to attend, it probably won’t be your last,” he said.
Stories of overcoming obstacles in hopes of obtaining an education were the common theme in all of the essays. One student wrote about having to leave his mother and sisters and travel 24 hours on a plane to reach America and enroll in college to fulfill his educational goals. Another student wrote that she wanted to not only obtain the education she needed to ensure the financial stability of her family but she also wanted to become a role model of success for her two young children. One student who endured numerous setbacks said “opportunities that I once firmly believed were available only to the young, the privileged, and the fortunate, were now opened to me.” All of the essay stories were heartwarming.
Fred Caldwell, of Caldwell Cos. in Houston and chair of the LSC Foundation Board of Directors, also thanked the guests for their support.
“I echo Dr. Carpenter. We thank you all for your commitments and the difference that they make,” Caldwell said. “I believe that the safest investment you can make is the money that you give away.”
The five student essay winners were: Dena Horne, representing LSC-CyFair; Jason Clayden, LSC-Kingwood; Angel Guajardo, LSC-Montgomery; Willicia Toran, LSC-North Harris; and Jonas Rodriguez, LSC-Tomball.
The LSC Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to support the students, faculty and programs of LSCS. LSC Foundation executive director is Darcy Mingoia.
With more than 69,000 students in credit classes for fall 2010, and a total enrollment of more than 85,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which 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.
EXCERPTS FROM ESSAY WINNERS
Dena Horne, LSC-CyFair: “Through my experience with Lone Star College I have been blessed with an abundant amount of support while on a journey of self discovery. The teachers here have encouraged me through patience and tolerance to see in myself the success that I never knew possible. They have truly helped to change my life. It is my hope that when I reach my ultimate goal of teaching at a community college that I will have the same impact on my students that my teachers at Lone Star College have had on me.”
Jason Clayden, LSC-Kingwood: “My community college experience has allowed me to be more open and honest with myself and those with whom I interact. I feel profoundly more confident in my abilities as a creative individual with high ambitions. Although I do not know when I will be able to see my mother again, I hope that these steps I take in an American college will help me obtain the keys to unlocking the doors of education; doors that will allow my family and I to be closer to one another in a country where one is not fearful for one’s life or loved ones, where uniqueness is embraced and where impossible dreams often hit the shelves.”
Angel Guajardo, LSC-Montgomery:“Hearing about LSC-Montgomery for the first time was just as exciting and thrilling as riding uphill on the world’s wildest roller coaster cart. I knew this was the right place for me. Not only did it offer challenging engineering programs that would enhance my learning progress, but it also had a great amount of clubs and organizations that promised to offer tons of fun, while helping others. Nevertheless, I felt even more thrilled when I heard that I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the Lone Star College Board of Trustees Scholarship, and I realize that Lone Star College was giving me an immense opportunity to fulfill my dreams and continue with my educational goals.”
Willicia Toran, LSC-North Harris:“Looking back on my experience in life, community college has played a pivotal role in helping me achieve my lifelong dream. I have grown in so many areas, and now I am doing something that matters in the lives of others. Community college has given me the essentials I need to carefully and wisely achieve the goals I set out years ago. I appreciate all that Community College has offered to my life for it has given me a foundation that will always contribute to my growing success.”
Jonas Rodriguez, LSC-Tomball: “How has my experience at Lone Star influenced my life? It’s difficult to convey in words, but I truly feel that my life’s path has changed course from a difficult road lined with detours and impassable obstacles to a large and open roadway paved with success and solid bricks of opportunity. My professors at Lone Star have opened my eyes to a host of new ideas and possibilities. Opportunities that I once firmly believed were available only to the young, the privileged, and the fortunate, were now opened to me.”