HOUSTON (Feb.11, 2013) –The 20th annual Lone Star College Foundation’s Chancellor’s Breakfast gave more than 240 guests, friends and donors insight into the lives of six Lone Star College System student essay winners.
Each year the breakfast attendees are inspired as the student scholarship winners read their essays and tell their stories. Each winner, one from each college, received a $1,000 scholarship. This year, a 2008 graduate of LSCS also returned to tell the group how much her education has changed her life.
The breakfast was held Jan. 31 at the Lone Star Community Building in The Woodlands.
In addition to hearing the essay contest winners, the breakfast also recognizes Lone Star College Foundation donors who helped award more than $1 million in student scholarships and support of academic programs in 2012.
“We are grateful for each and every donor and are humbled by your commitment to helping so many of our students complete their education,” said Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor. “In the last five years our endowments have grown by 56 percent and of the 276 endowments in place, 25 percent are awarding more than one scholarship. This truly makes a difference in the lives of our students.”
In addition, Dr. Carpenter highlighted the largest endowment benefiting each college. Those endowments include:
· LSC-CyFair: Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center, $174,403.
· LSC-Kingwood: Anonymous in honor of Dr. Linda Stegall, $1.9 million.
· LSC-Montgomery: Thomas R. and Kathryn C. Polk, $225,000.
· LSC-North Harris: Dr. Thelma Jones, $43,542 and through the Aldine Scholarship Foundation, the East Aldine District, $255,000.
· LSC-Tomball: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, $96,992.
· LSC-University Park: The Foreman Family, $90,000.
· Lone Star College System: Humble Police Association, $375,000.
The six student essay winners were: Thao Tran, LSC-CyFair; Ashley Trunbow, LSC-Kingwood; Sharon Johnson, LSC-Montgomery; Princess Villata, LSC-North Harris; Alexandra Smith, LSC-Tomball; and Felix Ruiz, LSC-University Park.
Darcy Mingoia, executive director of the LSC-Foundation, said the annual Chancellor’s Breakfast is the highlight of the year for the LSC-Foundation.
"It is an inspirational experience for our donors and supporters to hear, directly from students, how our college system changes their lives,” said Mingoia. “ We can all talk in generalities about the difference an education can make but to have a scholarship recipient discuss in concrete terms the effect is impactful and engaging."
Monique James, the 2008 LSCS graduate who returned to tell her story, described how her associate degree from LSCS was the first step in reaching her education goal. She went on to attend the University of Houston-Downtown, and after hours of hard work and juggling her family, work and school, she graduated with a bachelor’s of urban education. She is now a teacher in the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District.
“I climbed mountains during college, currently as a teacher, and all throughout my life. I feel truly blessed, because I understand that it’s really not about the difficulty of the climb, but about the feeling when you reach the top,” said James.
Below are some excerpts from this year’s student essay winners.
Thao Tran, LSC-CyFair
“Lone Star College has opened my eyes to a New World. It has shaped me to become a better person, a leader in the making. When I first went to college, I did not expect to like it so much as I do today. I am truly thankful for all the great experiences and all the wonderful people I have been lucky enough to encounter at Lone Star College. They have all made a difference in m y life and I hope someday, in the near future, I could become a great influence in someone else’s life like that too.”
Ashley Trunbow, LSC-Kingwood
“Not only has Lone Star College influenced my life, but it also changed it. I will now never have the pain of not seeing my children because I work several shifts a day. I now am an educated, intelligent and strong woman. Lone Star College has made me a strong force to be reckoned with – I can intelligently argue up a storm with the best of them! I would also like to commemorate each and every faculty member of this amazing school for helping make dreams come true, helping strugglers become achievers, and assisting those previously saying ‘There’s no way ‘and altering their negativity to a more positive ‘bring it on’."
“My Lone Star College experience has truly has an unbelievable impact on my life. Before attending, I never thought I could have a career. I assumed I would work at a dead end job for minimum pay for the rest of my life. Lone Star College went above and beyond to help me flourish with math tutoring, help from the Write Place, and professors who make themselves available. As a result of the help I received from LSCS, my GPA is currently 4.0 and I believe that I can reach for the stars. I am forever grateful to Lone Star College for improving my life. Because of Lone Star College I know have goals, ambitions, and a bright future. I will joyfully succeed because of Lone Star College."
Princess Villalta, LSC-North Harris
“Thanks to Lone Star College, not only do I get to say that I am the first in my family to graduate from high school, but now, I can say I am the first in my family to go to college. I never knew how expensive an education could be, but I have been encouraged to try my best knowing that Lone Star College-North Harris has invested in me! Thanks to Lone Star College, I can now break the chain of my family lacking education. I have the hope of having a better life than my parents and giving my children a better chance at life."
“Two years ago, I found myself here on American soil with pockets full of dreams. By the end of my summer program I knew I’ve jumped up a couple of levels in self-esteem, resourcefulness, luck, pain, love and many new things too. There is something special about that LSCS billboard I pass every day, where the Lone Star College is an open door. For a person, who looks from the dark room this crack of light is everything. After two years of holding on, missing my family, working too hard trying to prove myself best, finding the love of my life, learning how to drive and not pass the test from the first try, I finally get in my first semester at Lone Star College-Tomball. And it’s the best start I could have imagined. I want to say the impact on my life can never be estimated, because it’s more than too much. I love my college, the future that they help me built and I promise to do my best not to let them down and spread the word."
Felix Ruiz, LSC-University Park
“I am so thankful for being at Lone Star College for it has influenced my life in so many spectacular ways. My very first classes through Lone Star were taken as dual credit when I was a junior in high school. At the time I had not though much of how important Lone Star would eventually be toward my life because I was unclear on what type of career I wanted to pursue. It is actually a coincidence that I got advised to go to Lone Star for I had gone with my mom to get her advised because she decided to start back up with school. When we got to the financial advisor, she started talking to me like I was the student attending Lone Star. After telling her that I was not the students, she asked me about my plans and then informed me that Lone Star offered the same classes, which would take away less from my Pell grant I had received. So because of that I decided to attend my first years at Lone Star College, which has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life."
Established as a 501(c)(3) Type I nonprofit corporation, the LSC Foundation’s mission is to raise money to support students and academic programs of the LSCS. Through StarGala, the annual golf tournament, and the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses and other organizations, the Foundation is able to annually grant numerous scholarships to students attending LSCS colleges and centers. For more information, visit the Foundation online at LoneStarCollegeFoundation.org.
Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.