My fifth grade teacher told my parents that if I was ever going to succeed, I needed to stop being such a social butterfly. Against her advice, I continued putting my social life first. Needless to say, I did very poorly in high school and dropped out during the second semester of my senior year. This put a pretty larger damper on my college dreams.
My dreams were rekindled when Dr. Collins passed me my bundle of joy. In her eyes I saw my future and I knew I needed to get back into school. I received my G.E.D. and my high school diploma but did not get accepted to the University of Maine at Orono. All hope was not lost however because the admissions office pointed me in the direction of the Onward Program.
Once accepted, I put my heart soul into being the best student I could be while remaining the best mother I could be. The Onward staff helped me through the harder times of the last two years. Although I continued to do well in college, my personal life was crumbling. Eric Chapman was my academic advisor but he did so much more for me than help me plan my schedule. My peer advisor Lisa Scheetz, deserves much of my credit for my still being here. She helped me academically and personally in all ways possible. When my life became so messy that she could no longer help me herself, she got me the help I needed. Most important to me and whom I hold dearest to my heart in the Onward Program is Jerry Ellis. He is the one who allowed me to enter the program in the first place. He is also my constant inspiration. When the days that I want to give up fall upon me, I see his face and his encouragement. When I am tired but know I have one more chapter to read, it is his voice that I hear telling me to go on. He has helped change me from the quitter I was to the fighter I am today.
There are many accomplishments that I am proud of but first and foremost is my daughter. She got me to apply myself to make both of our lives better. On an academic basis though, I am proud of my 3.0 GPA especially when considering where I came from academically, my Dawn Allenwood Scholarship, and the Onward Grants I have received. I am so very proud to give back to this program by being a peer advisor for the Onward Program. It fills me with a satisfaction that I cannot put into words.
Although I am currently working on my BA for social work, I plan to continue on and get my MSW. I would like to work with pregnant teens or troubled teens and eventually I would like to settle down, until my retirement, in the director’s chair of Onward.
College will forever make my life better and make me personally stronger. It is the Onward Program though that has instilled in me a stronger set of values and, for the first time in my life, self-esteem. My family and friends, who watched me flush my life down the toilet, will be able to see me earn my degree and tell stories of my accomplishments. I will be forever grateful to all the staff at Onward and for giving me the chance to shine when I had put myself in darkness for so long.
Image Description: Chris