Lone Star College-Tomball graduate Gerald Hallford recently received the prestigious Terry Foundation Transfer Scholarship to pursue further study at the University of Houston where he plans to study counseling.
The Terry Transfer Scholarship is awarded to non-traditional students who are transferring from a Texas community college or university and are working toward their first baccalaureate degree. These students must have been accepted for admission to a Terry-affiliated public university in Texas.
Earlier this year, Hallford was also selected as the LSC-Tomball winner of the annual Lone Star College Foundation essay contest. Hallford was one of six LSC students selected for the award and a $1,000 scholarship.
“My life is dramatically different than it was just fifteen short months ago,” Hallford wrote in his award-winning essay. “Anyone who knew me before my time at Lone Star would find the man I am today unrecognizable.”
When he began taking classes at LSC-Tomball, Hallford soon became an active member of the campus community. He served as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges and was also a New Student Orientation Leader and Peer Mentor. Hallford was so successful in his time at LSC-Tomball, that he was selected as the student speaker at the 2016 Commencement ceremony in May
However, he explained in his essay that positive behaviors did not always define his life. “Since graduating high school in 2002, I had struggled to maintain steady and gainful employment. I wandered from job to job always hoping to find employment that would allow me to support myself and my now seven-year-old daughter. I lacked drive and direction and I had a hard time fulfilling obligations.
It was not only unemployment that plagued him. “There was also a much darker to side to the person I was in the past,” he wrote. “Since age sixteen, I had struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. I have numerous criminal charges which further hinder my ability to find employment and live a normal life. I felt as if I was destined to fail and that my life was ruined by negative decisions of my past.
One day, Hallford had, what he refers to in the essay as, “a revelation.” He decided to seek help, get sober, and earn an education that would allow him to use his past experience to help others. Hallford plans to attend the University of Houston and earn a master’s degree in counseling Psychology. He recognizes his own strength when it came to choosing sobriety and he credits LSC for providing opportunity beyond that.
“I am thankful beyond measure for the opportunity provided for me by Lone Star College and for my newfound hope.”
The Terry Foundation, a Houston-based philanthropic organization which Nancy and Howard Terry established in 1986, provides scholarships for outstanding Texas students, who show a record of leadership in school and community, financial need and strong academic abilities. The foundation has assisted hundreds of students with scholarships that provide financial assistance as well as academic, cultural, social and leadership opportunities and support throughout the college experience.
For information the Terry Foundation Transfer Scholarships, go to terryfoundation.org. For information on LSC-Tomball programs of study and available scholarships, please visit LoneStar.edu/tomball.