Victoria College Foundation awards “What’s Your Story?” scholarships

Clockwise from left: Elena Glidewell, VC President Tom Butler, Tham Le, Lauren Vasquez (seated)

Recently, three Victoria College students-- whose life stories are both remarkable and inspirational-- were each awarded with a $1,000 scholarship by the VC Foundation.

Last week, these three “What’s Your Story?” scholarship winners got the opportunity to read their essays and meet VC Foundation donors to express their appreciation at a breakfast honoring both the winners and donors.

VC Foundation Board members Steve Hipes, Josie Rivera and John Zacek each introduced a winner and expressed how impressed they were with how these students’ lives had been transformed as a result of their education at VC, coupled with their own courage and perseverance. 

“Every year we’re inspired by our students’ stories,” said VC President Tom Butler. “Not only do they inspire us to continue working hard to help students achieve their dreams, but these stories inspire others and give hope to those who don’t yet know what possibilities await them at Victoria College.”

Each student told of the difficulties and disadvantages they had to overcome and of how attending VC made all the difference in their pursuit of education in reaching their goals.

A Future for My Family

Elena Glidewell had a baby while she was a sophomore in high school. She describes her now three year-old daughter as a blessing. As a mother, she’s determined to provide the best life possible for her daughter and knows that getting an education is best way to do that. She wants her daughter to be proud of everything her mother accomplished and she wants to ensure that when her daughter grows up, she will pursue an education as well.

Being a single mother and a first-generation college student, Glidewell admits that she deals with both financial difficulties and childcare challenges, not to mention simply juggling motherhood and being a full-time student.

Gildewell, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average, credits VC for being dedicated to student success. She is grateful for the support she’s received from faculty and staff, which has made attending college a rewarding experience.. As a result of attending VC, Glidewell says she now sees that her life is full of opportunities instead of feeling like she’s doomed to be a statistic.

After she finishes the nursing program at VC, Glidewell has plans to transfer to Texas Tech University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

There’s No Place Like Home

Lauren Vasquez graduated from St. Joseph High School and was all set to begin college at a large university. She was excited about college, but even after touring a few universities, she hadn’t found one that felt really comfortable. Nonetheless, she enrolled at a big four-year institution the following fall. She quickly regretted that decision when she discovered she wasn’t ready for life at a big university away from home.

That spring, she came back home and enrolled at VC—and has not regretted it one day since. She’s been delighted to find professors who are not only passionate and knowledgeable, but also accessible and constantly supportive. Some of her family and friends had preconceived ideas about attending community college; they worried that the quality of education might not be the same as a university. In her experience at VC, however, Vasquez has found the curriculum to be challenging and admits that her classes keep her busy. Vasquez also credits VC’s faculty and staff with providing the kind of support that has helped her do well in college. As a result, she’s now confident that she can reach her potential and achieve her dreams.

Vasquez plans to transfer and finish a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology after she finishes taking her basics at VC.

From Vietnam to Victoria

Tham Le moved from Vietnam to the U.S. to attend college. The naturally shy and passive Le began by taking English as a Second Language courses in the Houston area. She struggled with her classes and the anonymity of living in a huge, overwhelming foreign city. Because she was shy and not confident of her English, she did little beyond attending classes and was nearly ready to give up and go back to Vietnam. But then a friend suggested Victoria College.

After she moved to Victoria and transferred to VC, she found the small town and small college atmosphere made a big difference. She struggled at first, but then one of her instructors commented that if she put her heart into her studies, her perception of the material would change. She began to see that learning was an opportunity. Her grades improved after she put more effort into her classes and sought tutoring for difficult subjects, which in turn improved her self-esteem.

Not long after, she was encouraged to work as a tutor at VC. She has found that student life at VC offers many options in a welcoming atmosphere. Consequently, she has created a rewarding social life for herself in addition to excelling in her classes.

After she finishes her associate degree in business management at VC, Le plans to transfer to the University of Houston System at Sugar Land to complete a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management.


posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Katy Long


Published: Thursday, 26 May 2011

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