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Student focuses on goal to become nurse

By BY KASY OWENS
June 2, 2014 at 1:02 a.m.

Kasy Owens

WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

The Victoria Advocate will be publishing student essays from the Victoria College "What's Your Story?" scholarship competition during the next few weeks. Students were asked to write an essay answering the question, "How has Victoria College changed your life?" Winners of the contest will receive a $1,000 scholarship funded by the Victoria College Foundation. We welcome letters and columns from all students.

My story begins when I was a child of about 3 years old. I was living with my mother, who lived a wild life; she didn't really pay attention to me to the point that I was abused by one of her friends. My father found out about the incident and took me away from my mother. He couldn't take care of me: being a single father and always working. He drove 18-wheelers as a job, and I wouldn't see him for months - sometimes even years. He called his mom (my grandmother) and explained the situation to her, and she said, "Why don't you let me raise her for you, and you can come and visit her any time you want?"

My father went to the courthouse and had a paper notarized saying that my grandmother had power of attorney and legal guardianship for me. Since then, my grandmother raised me, and I hardly saw my father. My grandmother enrolled me in school, and I went all the way through to the third grade with straight A's and B's. My grandmother tried her best to supply the things I needed to succeed in school by having yard sales.

There were times when I had to stay home from school to help with the yard sales because my grandmother was too sick to do it alone. I would help her by letting her know if there was a customer outside. My grandmother decided one day to pull me out of school and try homeschooling me. She didn't have the money to homeschool me through the right organizations, so she would buy me books from places like Goodwill and churches that were having a donation sale. The books she would buy me were either too advanced for me or below my grade level. I would try my best to learn from these books, but it was difficult. This went on until I was 13 years old. I didn't like the fact that other kids my age knew more than I did.

I started watching my grandmother manage her checkbook and, by doing that, I learned how to subtract, multiply and borrow. I would also watch my grandpa do his payroll and learn how to break down big numbers so they will be easier to add. When I had free time, I would read newspapers, magazines and encyclopedias to get a better understanding of how to spell, write and pronounce words.

When I turned 17, I took what I had learned and applied it to my basics of everyday living. I still wasn't happy with the limited knowledge I had gained; I felt stupid for my age. I had big dreams of going to college and studying to become a pediatric nurse. One day, I decided enough is enough, so the next trip my grandmother and I made into town, I asked her if she could buy me a newspaper so I could see if they had any kind of learning classes available. I started reading it, and I saw that they had free GED classes available in my area.

I called the number they had listed and attended orientation the following day. I studied as hard as I could, but it was hard to focus on school when I was helping my grandmother with the yard sales every day. When I turned 18, I decided to leave home in hopes of bettering my life and myself.

I moved in with a friend who told me about the free GED classes offered in the area. Once again, I called the number they had listed and attended orientation that week. I studied hard for a year and finally got the courage to take the test; I passed all of the subjects but math. It took me an additional three years to pass math, and I earned my GED this year. Now that I have my GED, my main focus is to join Victoria College's Associate Nursing Degree program to become a pediatric nurse. All my life, I always thought that I wouldn't be where I am today. I know that Victoria College will bring a lot of open doors, opportunities and hope to my life. I know I will have a lot of support from Victoria College and family in times of need.

Kasy Owens is a Victoria College student who wrote an essay for the "What's Your Story?" scholarship contest. She lives in Port Lavaca.

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