Thursday, July 31, 2014

The foundation to follow dreams

By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations & Special Events

Perla Carreon is about to embark on a new and exciting chapter of her life. Having lived in Midland since she was in the fourth grade, the 20-year-old Robert E. Lee High School graduate is now about to leave home for the first time as she pursues a baccalaureate degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin.

“It’s a little scary, and I’m nervous; however, I know this is what I need to do in order to follow my dreams and my goal of becoming a speech pathologist,” said Carreon.

After graduating from high school in 2012, Carreon immediately enrolled at Midland College (MC). Now, having lived at home for two years and maintained a 4.0 GPA at MC, she is ready to venture to Austin where she will finish her undergraduate studies and then begin her master’s degree in speech pathology.

Carreon explained, “I’m the first in my family to attend college. My family has been very supportive, and there really was no question as to whether or not I would attend college. We all knew that college was definitely in my future, even though we weren’t sure how we could afford it.”

Thanks to the Legacy Scholarship and the Students in Philanthropy (SIP) Scholarship, higher education was made possible for Perla Carreon. The Legacy Scholarship pays up to $1,050 per semester for any Midland County high school graduate who maintains a 2.0 GPA and completes 40 volunteer hours at an approved nonprofit organization each year. The SIP scholarship provides $1,500 per academic year for students who are accepted to be members of MC’s Students in Philanthropy club. SIP students receive in-depth leadership training, and through activities involving volunteering, fundraising and grant making, the students contribute to nonprofit organizations.

The opportunities and requirements for both the Legacy and SIP scholarships have instilled in Carreon a sense of giving back to the community. In addition, her volunteer hours spent with special needs children have made her realize that a career as a speech pathologist is her life’s calling.

“Whether or not students are on the Legacy Scholarship and/or members of SIP, I would encourage them to volunteer,” stated Carreon. “I preferred to work with children, but all talents and skills are needed to help improve the lives of others. My volunteer work in high school and college gave me a good sense of ‘grounding.’ Volunteering shows people how to be more than just ‘you.’”

In addition to maintaining excellent grades and providing assistance at various local nonprofit agencies, Carreon also worked part-time while she was at MC and will continue to work part-time in Austin. Because of her superb academic standing and her leadership capabilities, Carreon received the Abell-Hanger Continuance Scholarship, which she said will cover tuition and fees for two years while she is completing her baccalaureate degree at The University of Texas. Carreon credits her current success to many MC employees who gave her support and encouragement. Foremost is Julia Vickery, Student Development coordinator and SIP advisor. Carreon also fondly recalled her classes with Dr. Damon Kennedy, history faculty; Lee Almaguer, government faculty; and David Edens, psychology faculty.

Carreon explained, “I wouldn’t be going to UT without MC. I am so thankful for the MC scholarships, and if I hadn’t attended MC, I wouldn’t be getting the Continuance Scholarship. Midland College has given me the background I need to succeed—both academically and personally. Now I’m equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to follow my dreams!“

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