Detailing her personal struggles and insecurities on returning to college, Tralisa Hallmark, was the winner of a $1000 scholarship in an essay contest sponsored by the Lone Star College System Foundation.
After the end of her marriage and years of only being known as "Mom" she was faced with an uncertain future. Although she had many years of professional work experience and an extensive resume, she realized she must return to school in the hopes of making enough money to provide for her family.
Hallmark's story is familiar to many older students. She credits the staff of LSC-Kingwood for easing her fears and rescuing her from confusion. She says the first contact with the school was critical to her. She felt much more comfortable with her decision after spending time with the advisors.
This LSC-Kingwood student has high hopes for her future. The scholarship monies she will receive will help pay costs for her next semester at LSC-Kingwood, where she is taking the basic courses needed to transfer to Sam Houston State University. After that, she plans to attend the University of Texas School of Nursing and South Texas Law School simultaneously.
The runner-up in the essay contest was Nathan Byrd, who will receive a $500 scholarship. His essay focused on his decision in choosing to attend LSC- Kingwood and the terrific experience he had as a freshman.
"The staff has been awesome, the professors have been really good and I have enjoyed every single class I've taken, "says Byrd.
He has big plans for the future; he plans on attending law school and then one day become President of the United States!
The essay topic for this year's contest was, "How My Community College Experience Has Influenced my Life" and the judging criteria were style, grammar, form and emotional impact.
The essay contest is sponsored annually by the LSCS Foundation. Open to all students in the district, one student essay is selected from each college. The winners each receive a $1000 scholarship to further their education at Lone Star College System and read their essay's at the annual Lone Star College Foundation Chancellor's Breakfast.
Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including Cy-Fair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and the Lone Star College-University Center. With 49,250 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit lonestar.edu.
HOW MY KINGWOOD COLLEGE EXPERIENCE HAS INFLUENCED MY LIFE
by Tralisa Hallmark
As I passed these young kids, I felt so inadequate to be on campus. I didn't know the lingo, how to ask the intelligent questions about what I really needed to know, or even the classes I needed. It took all of my determination and strength not to turn and run. I didn't understand about how many hours I needed or any of the terminology being used. I truly felt as if I was in a foreign country. Thankfully, the wonderful staff of Kingwood College was there to rescue me from my confusion.
Having experienced so much loss in my recent life and feeling so insecure about going back to college, I believe my success in my return to school is based on that first encounter with the staff. Had they treated me any differently than they did, I probably would have walked away defeated because my self-esteem was so fragile. Instead, I got a pep talk about what a great decision I had made and how everyone there would help me be successful. I left that first meeting feeling as though I really could accomplish my dream after all.
I then met with an advisor in the nursing department. She was FANTASTIC! She took so much time with me, explaining the lingo, the procedures, helping me register and so much more! I explained to her my insecurity about returning to school, and she took time with me that was above and beyond her responsibility. She did not let me leave her office until I felt 100 percent secure in my decisions and choices. I am sure she had things she needed to be doing, but I never felt the pressure of her schedule.
Every teacher I have had has done the same. Many of them have encouraged me privately and expressed their realization of the challenges I face as an older student returning to school. I have had such a positive experience with everyone I have come into contact with at Kingwood College. Even the maintenance men always speak and have a smile. What I have found most surprising is the reaction of the younger students to me. They are even more supportive and ask many questions about how I do things and how I study. Seems as though I've become the room mother in all my classes.
Kingwood College has given me a direction and confidence I was lacking and so desperately needed. I will transfer to Sam Houston State University in the summer to finish my degree and graduate in December, 2008. I will then attend the University of Texas School of Nursing and South Texas Law School simultaneously. Although I've always had the intelligence, I would NEVER have had the confidence to grab hold of my dreams again, if it had not been for my experience at Kingwood College. The genuine dedication of your teachers and staff have changed my life forever; and whatever I do in the future, Kingwood College will have contributed to it is so many ways. I wish I could thank each person that has touched my life individually, but instead I will carry his or her care and professionalism with me in everything I do.
HOW MY KINGWOOD COLLEGE EXPERIENCE HAS INFLUENCED MY LIFE
by Nathan Byrd
Coming to Kingwood College has been a really remarkable experience for me. Kingwood has helped me make many important decisions as I've transitioned from high school to college. After high school, I needed to find a community college where I could complete the first two years of my bachelor's degree. Since there is no college near my home, I researched all of the area community colleges before making the choice to attend Kingwood College. Even though the drive to Kingwood College from my home is over an hour each way, I decided that it was the best school for me. I was very impressed with the beauty of the campus here at Kingwood and with the helpfulness of the staff. The counselors told me which classes were the best for my degree plan and helped me make the necessary decisions to start the semester. They certainly helped this overwhelmed freshman! At the orientation offered right before school started, I explored the campus, and learned a lot about the classes and clubs at Kingwood College. It is these two aspects of Kingwood College that have influenced my life the most.
My classes have been a wonderful experience so far. As the semester started, I was very pleased with the quality and helpfulness of the professors. I took German 1411 from Professor Herman, who has been extremely patient as I've struggled along through the course. I happen to be somewhat "linguistically challenged." In high school, I valiantly fought my way through two years of Spanish, and yet, emerged from the fight with the Spanish language skills of a lost gringo! As I am a bit of a "rock" enthusiast, I was very happy to see that the College offered a course in Geology. I took Professor Maggio's Geology 1403 course, and I have loved it. He is always there to explain things and he'll go the extra mile to meet with students who have questions. I have learned so much about the world around me. The field trip that we took to Austin and the surrounding area was amazing. My English 1301 class with Professor Franklin has also been a really great experience. I have always loved to write, but grammar and punctuation aren't exactly my strong suits. She has greatly improved my mechanics, as well as my writing style.
The clubs and student activities offered at Kingwood College are another great part of my Kingwood College experience. My favorite activity has been Forensics. When I attended the Kingwood College Expo event before school started, I became acquainted with Professor Patton and the debate team. He met with me the next afternoon and I joined the team immediately. I absolutely love the debate contests that I have become a part of. The travel to different schools and the interaction with students and faculty from the different colleges and universities has been exciting. I have even had a four-year university offer me a debate scholarship to continue my education after I graduate from Kingwood College. The Kingwood Forensics program has also been instrumental in my career plans. I want to go to law school, and then become a politician; the public speaking skills that I am learning at Kingwood will be a great help to me later on in life.
Both the classes and clubs at Kingwood College have greatly influenced my life. As I go about my day, I am constantly seeing things that I learned in one of my classes: from understanding a German phrase in a movie, to identifying the geology of the landscape I drive through, to even correcting a sentence on a billboard as I drive by. Through the Forensics program, I have become a much better speaker. Sometimes I even get to use a few debate tactics in arguments with my sister! I have learned so much over the past semester that will help me as I continue on with my schooling, and then into my career. My Kingwood College experience has been a positive influence on my life in so many different ways. I am already getting excited about next semester!