I graduated from Huston-Tillotson University in 2006 Summa Cum Laude with a BA in English. During my time at HT, I was selected to receive a scholarship through the Tom Joyner Foundation. I remember how excited I was because the school chartered a bus to Birmingham, Alabama to attend the taping of the radio show where the announcements were made.
I attended school with my sister at the time so to be able to share a college experience with her was amazing even though we were older than most students and non-traditional students. She was also selected to receive a scholarship so we took the trip together. I had traveled in the military briefly but had never been to the home of the Civil Rights Movement so the location was especially significant for students at an HBCU. We listened intently through the show waiting to hear the announcement. I remember hearing Erykah Badu performing and she was one of my favorites. Her voice lifted in the theater like our spirits. Faces like mine lit up in recognition of the hard work we all had in common toward a future.
I am forever grateful for those that instilled hope and gave a light in dark times and vow to serve as a guide for others.
We all of course got word that we were on the trip to receive a scholarship but none of us knew where the money was coming from or even how much. In solidarity we were all surprised at the generosity and faith of the contributors. At the time I was a single mother of four and my sister was a single mother of three. Because we were non-traditional students and older it turned out that we both received $2, 500 each from Budweiser. This was mostly because you had to be at least 21 years of age to receive money from an alcohol beverage company. I still laugh about where my scholarship came from to this day, but I was extremely honored. The money helped with necessities for school and part tuition and was the right push at the time when financially I questioned whether continuing was worth it.
I have to say that HT, my Alma Mater pushed me on to do even greater. I studied further in English Literature and went on to get my MEd at Concordia University. I recognized that HT and the Tom Joyner foundation along with Budweiser served as an example to give back. I also went on to teach high school for several years and have since returned to my home Huston-Tillotson University as an instructor currently teaching English. I am forever grateful for those that instilled hope and gave a light in dark times and vow to serve as a guide for others. Thank you.