Looking at Lone Star College-North Harris up close reveals more than 1,100 employees fulfilling the college's mission at LSC-North Harris and LSC-East Aldine Center. Their collective experience and dedication make the college a standout in higher education. One of those employees is Reyna Tippetts.
Tippetts, LSC-North Harris Advisor II, never knew life would end up being so, as she calls it, “amazing and easy.”
As a child, Tippetts thought school was for the wealthy. She grew up in El Moralillo, Veracruz, a small town in Mexico, in a small shack with walls made of cardboard, pieces of metal and scrap wood. She and her mom would walk miles to get to the town dump and pick through the trash for something edible.
“Growing up and seeing other kids with things that I couldn’t even dream about having was a little confusing,” she said. “However, it never put me down.”
Despite her mother not fully understanding the value of education, Tippetts wanted to go to school. To offset costs, she began working at the age of 12. She worked nights to support her family and pay for school, all while maintaining high grades as an honor student.
“School was the escape from all the chaos and scarcity at home,” Tippetts said. “I was able to dream in ways I was not allowed to at home.”
Soon after, Tippetts began technical school. Tippetts’ days often began at 5 a.m., walking miles to work and school. She would get out of school at 10 p.m. and walk back home, but she quickly found out that the shortest path home was through hazardous neighborhoods.
“I remember walking as fast as I could, holding my books and just praying to God to let me make it home,” she said.
Tippetts attributes a large portion of her success to her instructors that “did more than their job description,” friends that walked with her at night to make sure she got home safely and to people that would tell her, “don’t give up.”
In 1998, Tippetts met her husband and moved to the United States. After having a family, she felt a need for continuing her education and beginning a professional life; however, she only spoke Spanish.
Tippetts began working at LSC-North Harris in 2001 as a housekeeper. She tried to get other jobs, but the language barrier was an issue. So, she began to immerse herself in the English language.
In 2004, Tippetts transferred to LSC-Montgomery as a lead custodian, and in 2006 she became a staff assistant within the LSC Police Department.
“Working at the police department I discovered the seriousness of my poor English skills while trying to spell employees’ last names,” she said. This was the moment she decided it was time to get back to school and to prove that she could do more than they thought.
Tippetts began taking classes one at a time and added a few more each semester until she earned an associate degree in legal studies in 2010. She would go on to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting in 2016 and an MBA in 2017.
Today, Tippetts shares her story while advising students at LSC-North Harris. And this semester, she began teaching classes in word processing and keyboarding.
Tippets encourages students to have determination. “If you ask a question, and don’t get an answer, go back and ask someone else,” she said. “You have to keep knocking. You have to keep asking. Education is the biggest and most secure investment we can make; no one can ever take that away.”
Lone Star College offers high quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 99,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion. LSC consists of seven colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.