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Magazine Magazine Magazine

This publication is a contribution the students of Tarrant County College This publication is a contribution fromfrom the students of Tarrant County College the Trinity Campus Writing & Learning Center and and the Trinity RiverRiver Campus Writing & Learning Center “An Unshakeable Focus on Student Learning” “An Unshakeable Focus on Student Learning”

The Achieving the Dream Issue


Artwork by Brandon Tucker, Photographer, Artist, and TCC Student



Contents Making a Difference Dr. Mary French still keeps her students‘ dreams alive.

10 My Scholastic Epiphany

Lori Banks faces daunting challenges in her effort to blaze her own trail.

the Boot 12 Getting Conner Moyer turns 18 and his father gives him the present of a lifetime, only not one Conner expects. The Sailing Warrior 14 Connie Alling describes the challenges of navigating her college career.

19 A Blessing Not a Chore

Tragedy and loss motivates Janis Hare to make a life-changing decision.

From Beyond the Bottle 20 Dreams Charlotte Johnson tells a story of abuse, alcoholism, and the dream that wouldn‘t die. Stones to a Dream 24 Stepping Sarah Reckling tells a story about dreaming and achieving amidst the river of life. Dream Job 29 My Caroline Diaz describes her dream and the barriers she faces on her journey to becoming a registered nurse. Dream 30 My The death of her father, an abusive husband, and unexpected pregnancies didn‘t keep Shirley Smith from achieving her dream. Father’s Dream 36 My Riva Day embraces her father‘s dream with amazing results.

38 6,840,507,000 Julie Highland questions love, pain, and loneliness-even when surrounded by others. Rays 40 Your Sumer Semmens describes the rays of lost love and the butterflies that once were. Achieving My Dream 42 For Kathryn Humphries achieving her dream hasn‘t been easy. Se Puede 46 Si, Inspired by his mother and grandmother, Rudy Olalde works to achieve his dreams. River Student Becomes Author 48 Trinity Terryon Desso talks about his new book.

The Idea Store at Trinity River

fall-winter 2012

By Steven LeMons

Achieving Your Dream


uring childhood, many of us entertained healthy dreams. Most of us remember being asked the question, ―What would you like to be when you grow up?‖ The typical response was usually a doctor, lawyer, football player, nurse, astronaut, or any of a host of other choices. Sometimes, if we were really imaginative, we‘d even combine multiple careers so diverse we could not accomplish them all in three lifetimes...But we dreamed. In our childhood, we truly believed we could become anything our hearts desired. Our childhood dream was not restricted by the confines of reality. Anything was possible. For some of us, age brought the harsh realization that being a pilot, doctor, and professional athlete simultaneously was a lot harder than we thought. As life‘s challenges seized our imagined reality, many of us slowly succumbed to the consequences of our regrettable choices and how the results of those experiences impacted the achievement of our dreams. Experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, domestic abuse, a drug addiction, or the demons of generational poverty can sometimes crush our uninhibited ability to dream. What‘s interesting is how some of the same experiences we often consider negative can also become catalysts for motivating us to succeed. I am reminded of a young man whom I will refer to as ‗James,‘ who shared with me the challenges he once faced battling drugs, multiple incarcerations, and unimaginable poverty. He told me his dreams were so far from his current reality that he had long since quit imagining himself ever becoming anything...let alone being successful. He said his life experiences had virtually destroyed his ability to believe in himself or his dream. Not only had he lost his ability to dream, he resented anyone who dared attempt to resurrect it. Then he experienced a life-changing circumstance when an individual transformed his thinking forever. In short, fate placed him in a situation where his path intersected with someone who soon became his mentor. James‘s mentor saw value in James he could not see in himself. Through this reality, James not only regained his ability to dream, but with the help of other mentors, transformed his thinking. He is now a successful college student on the path to graduation. Though our dreams may sometimes seem nonexistent, they are still alive and well, lying beneath the rubble of broken promises and expectations. At his core, James still held on to his desire to attend and graduate college. Maybe you still haven‘t given up on making your dream to graduate college a reality. If so, don‘t stop or quit, but take action. Your commitment requires much more than just saying you want to graduate from college; it demands work, drive, time, purpose, and an insatiable desire to move beyond your current set of unpleasant circumstances. Sir Isaac Newton‘s third law describes it best: ―For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.‖ Simply put, you must invest something in yourself in order to reap meaningful results. This means applying yourself as never before, and learning from people who currently are where you would like to be. Find people who have overcome many of the same obstacles and challenges you are facing. You must also set realistic goals and follow through. If your goal is to become an astronaut, but you hate math, your chances of fulfilling that dream are almost nonexistent. My question is not what would you like to become, but is your desire strong enough to make your dream become reality? For your dream to become reality, regardless of how tough the circumstances, your hunger for success must be stronger than any difficulty hindering you. You must be moved beyond the temporary discomfort of a math, speech, or writing assignment, and consistently embrace the larger dream in your mind‘s eye. You must propel yourself beyond excuses. You must possess a dream that consumes you. It is the dream that must serve as the driving force in your life. It must be the catalyst to transform your life beyond merely hoping for success, to the creation of success.

You must learn to recognize and seize opportunities which enhance both personal and professional development. As a rocket blasts free of Earth‘s gravitational pull, so must the desire to achieve your dream from anything negative that attempts to diminish or even steal your dream entirely. Any dream worth having is worth achieving. Just like James, there may be many others who began with enough hopes and dreams to build a fulfilling life, my challenge to you is not to allow your dreams to die. Regardless of whether anyone else believes in them or not, the most important thing is that you believe in your own dream, and in yourself. Whatever challenge you may be currently facing, know that your challenge is not going to break you, but make you stronger. Hold fast to your dream as if it were a winning lottery ticket, because it just might be your winning ticket to an incredible life. Never give up on your dream, live it everyday.

Steven LeMons Managing Editor

The power of your dream could light up the world.

About the Cover Photograph By Brandon Tucker

One Friday evening I was approached by my Photography II teacher, Patricia Richards, at Northeast Campus, about a photo contest two days before submissions were due. The event was the Achieving the Dream – D.R.E.A.M. BIG contest. Having only limited time to create concepts, I gathered a few friends as models. I was then challenged with acquiring the equipment and people, not to mention securing an appropriate location. Luckily, everything came together right as the sun was setting, during the ‗golden hour‘ of photography shooting. I came away with an incredible shot on the very last take. After some informative critique and skillful editing, I submitted the image to the Achieving the Dream contest judges and received an almost instant email back, stating that everything in the image was exactly what they were looking for. The photo and prints were then commissioned to various employees and staff members at their foundation. With the great success of the photo, many other colleges around the nation have requested prints. The image is currently on display in schools from San Francisco to New York City. It is very exciting to see the piece displayed around TCC, on the cover of TCC Writes Magazine, and other online outlets giving people encouragement and inspiration to succeed!

SUPPORT The mission of the Writing and Learning Center is to create, promote, and foster the value, growth, and appreciation of writing.

The Writing & Learning Center

During the opening of the new Trinity River Campus, in the fall of 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mary French, an incredible intellect and master instructor, Dr. French‘s numerous achievements relating to student success, collaborative initiatives, and strategies for improving classroom content delivery, provided insight into her exceptional knowledge. In addition to her gracious and accommodating personality, she also displays a deep and on-going level of commitment to student success. Dr. French received a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from New Mexico State University, an M.A. in English-Professional Writing and Rhetoric Option from The University of Texas at El Paso, and a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso. In addition to teaching at UT Arlington, Dr. French has taught at New Mexico State University, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso Community College, and is currently teaching here at TCC. When she suggested the idea of collaborating for a student essay contest, I was enthusiastic about the opportunity. Achieving The Dream, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. As a consummate advocate of student success, Dr. French‘s vision was to use this edition of TCC Writes, as a platform for bringing to life and showcasing the immense struggles and challenges facing community college students, by allowing them to share their remarkable success stories. The collaboration between her English 1301 class, the Trinity River Writing & Learning Center, and TCC Writes Online Magazine, resulted in the Achieving My Dream Essay Contest. The final writing contributions in this issue reveal the perseverance and determination required for many students who are determined to break the bonds of generational poverty, domestic violence, and illiteracy to earn their degrees and create a better quality of life. Not only did Dr. French and the Writing & Learning Center encourage student participation, our hope is that many of these personal and insightful essays inspire the entire student body of Tarrant County College. Dr. French‘s dedication to the art of teaching students to become better writers goes well beyond assigned reading materials, classroom discussions, and mere writing assignments. She draws upon a unique spirit of excellence which allows her to effectively deliver classroom content in ways that captivate students-and increase their desire to become, not just better students, but better equipped writers for life. In our current days of iPads, iPods, and iPhones, it is refreshing to know there are still teachers, instructors, and professors, equipped with only a whiteboard, magic marker, and love of teaching, who continue uncovering the creative reservoir which exists in each of us. Dr. Mary G. French is one of these extraordinary individuals who is making a difference.

Her dream of working in the health care profession is very bright. More than just a beautiful state-of-the-art facility, Trinity River East Campus (TREC) offers a fully-accredited nursing program as well as other Allied Health courses that equip tomorrow’s health professionals with the skills they need to compete in one of today’s fastest growing employment segments. We welcome all students, faculty, and staff to our Trinity River family. You are in good hands, and your future is very bright.

Epiphany By Lori Banks

“During my freshman year at TCU, I struggled quite a bit. I was so terrified of failing and disappointing my father, I don‟t think I even gave myself a chance.” While I was growing up, college seemed like an expectation and a birthright. Both my parents and my two older siblings are college graduates. I admit I wasn‘t the best student, but I was a people pleaser. Never did it occur to me that I might not achieve a degree. When it came time for me to go to college, I was accepted into eleven institutions. Texas Christian University, however, was the school my father desperately wanted me to attend. I found myself waitlisted. My father, a TCU alum, was optimistic one of his three children would attend his alma mater. As his youngest child, I was his last hope. He immediately arranged a meeting with the Dean of Admissions so that I could plead my case of why I thought I should be accepted. Early one Saturday morning, my father appeared on the threshold of my bedroom door with excitement in his voice: ―Lori! Wake up! The Dean of Admissions is on the phone!‖

negotiating to attend night classes at Tarrant County College while working full time, my father reluctantly gave his consent. Two semesters later, I defaulted on my promise. I just couldn‘t seem to handle both school and work. I decided it was time to take a break from school—a decision with which my father was less than amused.

In my mind, my life was still on track. I come from a family of bankers—my father, my mother, and my sister are all bankers. Besides, my job was going well. I was really enjoying my colleagues. I never thought twice about leaving the bank. I assumed I would work there forever. Seven years later, I finally came to a different realization. Banking is not for me. It was beyond difficult to admit that to my family and to myself. Not only did I not know what I was going to do with my life, but I was without a college degree. My father constantly reminded me that I was given He stood near the foot of my bed trying to make out the everything I needed to succeed, yet I had nothing to phone conversation. Was he finally going to have one show. I felt like a failure and an embarrassment. of his own to share in the pride of being a TCU Horned After I resigned from the bank, I was unemployed for Frog? Still in disbelief myself, I relayed the details of close to a year. At least once a week, my parents the call to him. I had ―unofficially‖ been accepted. would drill me with, ―You need to do something with Within hours I found my bed covered in TCU your life and find a career, not just a job!‖ Finally, I memorabilia. A large TCU pennant was lying across my bed accompanied by a pair of TCU pajama pants, a accepted a part-time position as a receptionist at a spa. Once I got back into a routine, I decided going bumper sticker, and a small stuffed animal wearing a back to school was a good way to get my father‘s TCU shirt. I had never seen my father so excited. I praise. I met with a TCC counselor, a requirement after was glad to be the reason for his joy. not attending school for two years. After our ten minute conversation, I had a completely different During my freshman year at TCU, I struggled quite a outlook on myself and school. She pointed out that by bit. I was so terrified of failing and disappointing my failing my previous classes, I had been trying to ―hurt‖ father, I don‘t think I even gave myself a chance. My my father because I felt so unworthy. She made me newfound freedom pulled me even further away from realize that, in reality, I was hurting myself. If I was my studies, and I soon found myself on academic probation followed by academic suspension. Once my going to re-enroll in school, the decision would need to father found out, it was time to talk. We went around in be for myself, no one else. I have spoken with many professionals throughout the years, but after only ten circles about how I needed to apply myself more. minutes with this counselor, everything suddenly Many times he asked me if I even wanted to attend college. My answer was always yes. College was all I clicked! Now I don‘t worry about my parents‘ approval thought about, it‘s what was expected of me. How can in school or fear their disappointment. My goals are my own. I want to graduate and do well in my classes, anyone look a parent in the eye, after only wanting not just pass them. support and approval from them, yet knowing you are not living up to their expectations? There are many days when I think about the impact My father‘s solution to my schooling issue was making that counselor had on my life. If I hadn‘t been required to meet with her, I‘m not sure I would have the me work part-time at a bank during the summer. He thought by giving me a ―taste of the real world‖ I would confidence and determination I have now. I am eternally grateful for the time she took with me that day return to school in the fall with a different attitude. because she changed my outlook on what I could Unfortunately, his plan backfired. Before the summer accomplish, and made me realize I don‘t need ended, a full-time position became available at the bank. I had become comfortable with my work and my anyone‘s approval to achieve my goals. co-workers, and I decided to leave TCU. After

Getting the Boot “On my 18th birthday, my father jokingly gave me a cowboy boot to symbolize me „getting the boot.‟ With the boot in mind, I set my eyes on a goal that seemed attainable: independence. My first shot at chasing my dream occurred shortly after I turned 18 years old. I moved to Lubbock to start college.”

By Conner Moyer


“If you keep this behavior up, Conner, you‘re going to get a rude awakening the second I can legally kick you out of my house,‖ my Dad said with a stern voice that shook from the anger boiling inside him. ―Yes sir,‖ I said somberly as the words resonated in my mind. For as long as I have been alive, my father has always said ―our house‖ but never ―my house,‖ so why the sudden change in ownership? Is it not my house, too? I decided to test what he meant by ―my house,‖ so on my 17th birthday, and for many days afterwards, I was kicked out and I lived with my best friend‘s family. Although my father eventually accepted me back into his house, I knew from there on out what he meant by giving me the boot, or at least I thought I did. On my 18th birthday, my father jokingly gave me a cowboy boot to symbolize me ―getting the boot.‖ With the boot in mind, I set my eyes on a goal that seemed attainable: independence. My first shot at chasing my dream occurred shortly after I turned 18 years old. I moved to Lubbock to start college. My first attempt at being independent was fleeting. I wasn‘t ready for what the world had thrown my way. A combination of excessive weight gain, poor grades, and no way of supporting myself, other than donating my plasma, led me to come back home to Fort Worth to start over again. The process of rebuilding lasted a year. I listed all of my mistakes that I made at Texas Tech and slowly marked them off my to-do list. I threw myself into the workforce during the summer of 2011 and started my job as a waiter so I could provide for myself. The stress of learning how to be a fulltime student and full-time worker proved too much for me at the time, and I was put on academic probation. Needless to say, the last thing on my to-do list was to prove my intelligence and successfully pass a semester at TCC. Close to the end of the Fall 2011 semester, I realized that no matter the grades I made on my finals for the semester, I was going to pass. With that, I crossed everything off my

Although scraping by is not ideal, I have found every possible way of adapting to the stresses of living selfsufficiently. Learning to budget my money so I have a roof over my head has been the greatest challenge, but I‘ve been able to cut the majority of the fat off my budget by saving in areas that I spend the most on: food and gas. When I head to the grocery In reality, this step proved not only costly, but also very lengthy. Trying to store, I‘m readily equipped with buy a car as a 19-year-old without any coupons and a shopping list that I stick to. In doing so, I‘m able to save supervision from family and friends by planning out my lunches and turned into a daunting task, but I figured out a solution to my dilemma. dinners in advance. To save money After extensively researching the car with gas, I choose to ride my bike to work instead of taking my car, and buying process, the payoff came in April of 2012 when I bought my 2007 any time I do drive I have slowed down so I can hyper-mile my car. Mazda3. Chasing my dream of independence proved to be a rocky My father once told me that ―life is road, though, because I ended my yours to grab, so use college as the semester with flunking grades. means to maximize the ride.‖ I have Because I focused more time on my car search than my studies, I fell into decided to adhere to this statement by putting my studies first before academic suspension. It was in this moment that I reached rock bottom. In everything else. College is such an important element in the achievement my pursuit of happiness, I had forgotten the one road that would give of my dream, because without higher education I will be unable to chase my me the means to attain my lifelong next dream; being financially goal of independence: college. I did independent. Between wanting to everything I could to reverse the damage I dealt to myself and found a have an emergency fund and a desire to build my own house within the next way to enroll into school for the fall five years, maintaining my job as a 2012 semester. waiter will not supplement the salary needed to fulfill my dreams. To start After buying my car, I felt the next step was going to be providing a roof my financial independence, I need to find a way to support what I am over my head and food in my belly chasing after, and I know that gaining independently. I searched my college degree will help me find a comprehensively on the Internet to job that will pay for my dream home. provide answers to my needs. The Like dreams of past, it will only be a solution came in the form of my matter of time before I achieve my roommate. She was able to find an next dream. apartment with everything I needed: my own bedroom and bathroom, an updated kitchen, and a washer and dryer inside the apartment. After taking a look at the model apartment, the decision soon became easy, especially with all that was included in the price tag. The Liberty Bell rang its tune again in late April when I signed my soul, and my freedom, to my apartment complex. At last I had done it. Working as a full-time waiter to pay for my independence, I have learned to be content with being able to only scrape by. I‘m constantly worried about whether or not I will have enough money to pay for my bills.

to-do list, and the taste of independence started salivating in my mouth again. I wanted more, so I made it a goal to tackle the reliance I had on my father‘s F-150 to transport me wherever I needed to go. This step seemed simple in theory, but costly.

The Sailing Warrior By Connie Alling

“I am a fighter navigating the seas of life. Presented a cause for which to fight, I am motivated to action. Having been given a second chance at life, I was committed to making this one different and making it count.�


eing a victim of domestic violence was never in my life‘s plan. Spending two years and three months on the streets panhandling to meet the basic needs for my existence was not a part of my plans for life. Being a college student back in school after thirty plus years was certainly not included in ―my‖ plans for my life, until….

my course to California. Tethered to the academic challenges were unseen forces of determined defeat—being a non-traditional student in a classroom of traditional students, giving speeches to a classroom of peers, and standing alone for my convictions on ethics. Like tsunami waves each challenge hit, first sucking the breath from my being only to return with a vengeance like no other, swallowing me in fear and intense moments of breathless uncertainty. Would I stay afloat? At an age that qualified me to be nearly any student‘s grandmother, and held upright by two wobbling seafaring legs, along with uncertain academic strategies, I prepared and presented speeches to a classroom of peers. Straining alone, I held the main sail against winds determined to uproot and drag my ethical anchors. This fighter would not give up. This fighter doggedly determined not to be vanquished. Buffeted by the winds I felt dashed upon the reefs of mathematical equations. Rhythmically swallowed by the tempestuous swells of philosophical writings, I catch my breath in the calm of studying human behavior.

Deciding on a direction for my life, setting goals, and planning the steps had challenged me in ways yet unknown. I recall sitting at a computer lost in fear, overwhelmed, and directionless. Tears cascading down my cheeks, I felt I had been placed in a small dinghy and set to sail the wide expansive ocean without a compass. In which direction should I aim to locate a purpose for life? What could I do? What would I be good at? There was an ocean of possibilities attainable, but where should I start? I fought hard, watching the horizon for signs of land. I clung with fervent tenacity each time the waves of impossibility swallowed my vision. I was determined and refused to surrender to the tumultuous waves of adversity. To capsize each time uncertainty tossed me Stronger than any other semester, my optimism flourished. I set my course into spring 2012. Navigating with relentless vigor was never an option. the waters of adversity, I am thrust forward by Using public transportation to get to and from school, I commitment and strength, ready to face the next wave recall one morning, a blind man boarded the bus with of challenges. Overhead looms the presence of his service dog. As I watched them interact, a longing financial darkness. Day after day darkness falls with no sight of relief. Daily rations portioned for mere existence infused my spirit. The seed, planted long ago, sprouted into a seedling. Being an avid dog lover and are well spent before night fall. With ominous stealth, passionate about nursing, it seemed only reasonable financial darkness encroaches on my tiny vessel, my tender dreams. I lie awake wondering: will this final someday the melding of these two loves would fulfill my life‘s purpose. I then knew the direction for my life. I force overtake me? My resolve to not give up is tested. Should I give up, who then will dream for the would train therapy and service dogs for the disabled dreamless? Who will hope for the hopeless? Who will and handicapped. The longing of that moment help the helpless? breathed new life into the desolate warrior within. I could feel the invisible force of a current carrying me; I Self-sacrificing, unconditionally-loving canines are was now at the helm, holding steadfast to my waiting to breathe life through the independence only newfound course. I knew I would make it to shore. I they can bring, changing human lives forever. Through watched with anticipation for winds of opportunity to their big, brown eyes their hearts cry out to me, connect with related services and capture my goal: a Bachelor‘s of Science Degree in Canine Studies from pleading for me to reach land. Exhausted, I drift off to sleep, freed for a moment from the weight of reality. Bergin University in California. Refreshed and motivated by nurturing life fulfilling dreams, I face another day, searching the horizon for The fighter in me had been called to action. One by one I faced the challenges of starting life over, charting help. 

Trinity River Campus Hallmarks An Unshakeable Focus on Student Learning Service and Community Engagement Strong, Open Communication Professional and Personal Growth Multicultural Competence and Language Acquisition Interdisciplinary Collaboration Wellness

She achieved her dream. So can you. Achieving the Dream, Inc., is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Achieving the Dream helps 3.75 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams. So don‘t give up on your dream. She didn‘t.

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The Writing & Learning Center


aniel Heinrich died in a car wreck on his way here.” Anger, depression, resentment, and puzzlement as to how God could allow something like this to happen were some of the feelings and emotions that were running through me when my youth pastor told my friends and me. Why Daniel? Why now? He was going to graduate the following year. He wanted to go into ministry. Why was his life cut short? What didn’t occur to me then was that Daniel had been the most ready out of all us (my church youth group) to go. He did not waste his life, but used it to the best of his ability for the purpose God had given him. I was a junior in high school at the time and was still unsure as to what I was supposed to do with my life. It was several weeks after my friend died until I got back in the swing of things. I didn’t realize how much Daniel’s accident had affected my life. I can’t really pinpoint a time when I said, “This is what I’m going to do with my life and this is how I’m going to do it.” But after the car accident, I knew that I could have been the one in the car when the drunk driver came. God just decided to bring him home. I do not want to waste my life, because I know that I could die at any moment. No one can tell the future; all I know is that I want to use my life wisely and not to waste the time I have on earth. I love Spanish, telling others about what I believe, and learning about the Bible. This year, I finally decided what my majors are and what university I will be attending. TCC is helping me achieve that goal and helping me to use the resources and gifts I’ve been given to reach my goals. I want to receive an education and one day go to a country where I can use what I’ve learned to help and minister to others.

By Janis Hare

Education is a huge part of my dream. If I do not attain one, becoming a Spanish translator on the mission field is not going to be an easy task. I’ve been given an opportunity to learn more about what I love and to become the kind of person I aspire to be. That opportunity is college, one of the means by which someone can figure out what they’re called to be and receive the knowledge necessary. It is a blessing, not a chore.

Dreams from beyond the

Bottle By Charlotte Johnson

“I grew up in a dysfunctional alcoholic home, with a father who was abusive mentally, physically, and emotionally. Nothing was ever talked about—everything was hidden, or we would turn our heads and act like nothing ever happened.” My perception was it was okay to do what I wanted and party all the time. Therefore, I grew up living my life thinking my circumstances were okay and everybody in the world lived the same. Living this way, I hit bottom where I was desperate and needed help. Circumstances or serious consequences happened where for the first time I had to look at myself in the mirror. I had to look at whom I had become, and who I did not want to be anymore. I started to live a different way of life in a spiritual program, having a relationship with God, and trying to grow spiritually on a daily basis. Being clean and sober, I had a realization that I would like to start taking better care of myself. I reached an awareness that it is important to eat properly and adequately, as well as know what type of food I put inside my body. My experience has been that I have to first start making the changes on the inside. By having this experience I can share with others so that their see the light go off in others‘ eyes as it did for me, and

lives can benefit from my struggles. I would like to I want to be able to see others love themselves for who and what they are. In order to help others and be successful myself, I would like to finish my goals to complete my associate‘s degree at TCC, become a registered dietician, and build my own house. First, I would like to complete my associate‘s degree at TCC. I believe that I have to start somewhere and walk through the smaller challenges now so I can be successful, face and complete the rest of the challenges ahead. I would like to start making the change now and become a better person. I would like to achieve this goal so that I can have the experience I need to achieve other goals. I plan on achieving this goal by studying consistently. By doing this, I believe that I have to be accountable to

others and let them honestly know what I am doing on a daily basis to study consistently, also to maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. I have to do this so I can move forward with the rest of my college career. Moreover, I would like to continue to utilize academic resources on campuses. I can do this by taking action and just walking through the fear so it will become a habit to do so. I believe that reputation strengthens and confirms. Second, I want to be a registered dietician. For so long, I did not take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and I had to hit a bottom in life to realize that changes had to take place, and the changes had to start on the inside. Being clean and sober, I now realize how important it is to take care of myself. I want to achieve this goal so that I can pass the hope and faith that was and is given to me daily to others. So I can see the light come in others‘ eyes and the changes that can take place if one is just willing to move forward and to not give up when times are hard or when you can‘t see your way out. In addition, I want to see others--young or older live a full, happy, purposeful, meaningful, and long life.

through similar experiences in their journey of life. Next, I would need to take the action by establishing a location and start building. Through this I would have to stay close to God and the fellowship to make it through this process. Just to trust that everything will work out just the way it‘s supposed to. Summing up, here are my three-year, five-year, ten-year goals, and the actions that I will need to take to reach these goals and be successful. In conclusion each goal reflects who I am and values I want for myself, why I want to achieve this goal, and how I plan to do it.

To do this maybe I can be one to help them better themselves starting with what they eat and how they take care of themselves. I plan on achieving this goal by maintaining good grades in science courses and other courses at the campus of UT Arlington. To do this, I have to study, stay disciplined, and not give up when challenges are thrown my way. I would like to proceed to graduate with a bachelor‘s degree at UT Arlington or maybe even go further. Again, to achieve this I would have to lean on others and receive help from others, as well as put one foot in front of the other. Lastly, I want to be prepared to take state licensing test to establish this career. To achieve this I would try to keep things simple and go back to basics from beginning to end, and do a lot of studying. My third goal is to build my own house. This is my dream goal and I relate this by how I had to build my life over at a young age starting from the bottom to top, meaning having nothing inside to materialistic things either. The transformation that had to take place and that I had to strive to get through was painful but freeing at the same time. Today in my life I still have to go through this process on a daily basis. I believe through this that God is trying to mold me to be the woman that he wants me to be. I want to achieve this goal so I can share with other women or other individuals or are struggling as well. I plan on achieving this goal by establishing a successful career as a registered dietician. I believe that I have to have money saved up and a solid foundation with career to be successful in this area. Also, I would have to be researching and gathering information. Besides, to do this I have to ask for help, maybe ask others who have been

Visit the World Lounge in East Fork ! It is one of the best places on campus to learn about the people and the world around you. Ever wonder what time it is in your country, or try locating your homeland on a world map? On permanent display is a global map and clocks representing various time zones. The rotating exhibit will highlight students who make up the wide variety of cultures here at Trinity River. If you would like to submit your story and picture for display on the wall, please stop by the Writing & Learning Center in TREF 1402. Stop by and study by yourself or with your friends, and spend some quality time getting to know others who may also have a strong desire to get to know you. The World Lounge is located on the first floor of the East Fork building.

Hamlet wuz the baddest dude ever. His stuff was deep. Real deep.

Do your papers sound like this? You probably need help. Now. For more information on how you can better your own writing and punctuation usage, make an appointment with the Writing & Learning Center for tutoring, grammar resource books, and much more! Come visit us in TREF 1402 or call (817) 515-1069

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by sarah reckling


remember the first time that I stepped onto the grounds of the Trinity River Campus. I arrived on campus for General Educational Development (GED) testing and I was nervous. I remember walking through the hallways of the campus, seeing other students, and being fascinated by some of the art that was on display. I remember during one of the breaks between testing wondering if one day I would attend college. Was it possible? Should I pursue it? Those were the questions I began to ponder between the testing times. Life is like a river; it is often full of unexpected twists and turns. Amidst the water there are stepping stones that may be taken to help you travel well, but close consideration must be taken as you choose which stone to step onto next. In life our original plans often don’t work out quite as we think they will. That has been true in my life. Back before 2009, I never would have thought I would be sitting in a room taking tests to receive my GED certificate. But unexpected health issues had changed my life. In October of 2009, I began to have health issues. Over time as my health worsened, my ability to complete my coursework lessened. I was home educated, but even with the benefit of being home, I still had difficulty completing the coursework. After seeing many doctors and going through much medical testing, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and later Fibromyalgia. I’ve learned many things along my journey with chronic health issues. The first lesson I learned in regards to academics is that I didn’t want to give up. There was a point when my health was very poor and I was only able to work a little at a time. It seemed that it would take me many, many years to finish high school. But, I was determined to achieve and complete that chapter of my education. Over time, my health began to slowly improve. I learned how to cope, to live, and function at a rhythm and pace that worked well for my body. However, I still could not give up on dreaming. I also learned that thankfulness and laughter

But, I was determined to achieve and complete that chapter of my education. At the start of 2012, I was approached by a wonderful family friend who taught GED preparation classes. She had felt led to ask if I had considered completing GED testing. After looking into it, I began to meet with her once a week and work on distance learning preparation. After a few months of preparation I was ready to take the tests. At the Trinity River Campus, I took and achieved the completion of the GED. After that I began to think about the future. What stepping stone in this river of life should I take next? Was my health well enough to attend college? After much consideration I realized that I desired to attend. I began to dream again about the future and research what degree to pursue. Since completing the GED, I’ve enrolled in college classes. But even more importantly, I’ve begun to dream again. I’m dreaming of becoming a librarian and passing on my lifelong love of learning and knowledge to the patrons and students I’ll one day serve. I’m dreaming of writing along the way in hopes of one day becoming a published author. I’m dreaming of living daily with a heart full of thankfulness and loving well. Yet, dreams without practical evaluation of the stepping stones needed in life will stay distant possibilities forever. I’m dreaming, but I am also taking practical steps and looking at the future.

I’m also looking ahead to continue my education at the University of North Texas to receive a Master’s in Library Science. Step by step I’m dreaming, but step by step I’m also achieving. Along the way I face challenges. Currently I’m enrolled in a developmental math class to bring my math skills up to a college level. Math has always been challenging for me, but with the help of my teacher and her two wonderful assistants, I’m learning. I also must keep in mind the need for rest and the lifestyle choices necessary to keep my health in a positive condition. Thankfully, along this journey I’m encouraged by family, friends, and teachers who want to see me achieve these steps. There are challenges and obstacles that we all face, but with support, diligence, and thankfulness dreams can be achieved. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. I have no guarantee of what tomorrow holds or what the state of my health will be next year. But I can dream. I can take steps upon these stepping stones of life, work diligently, live with a thankful heart, and love well. I am achieving dreams one day, one step, and one choice at a time.

Diligently I’m studying and embracing this learning opportunity that I’ve been blessed with. I’m investing time to complete basic college coursework at TCC.

Enjoy your holidays. Please don’t drink and drive.

From your friends in the Trinity River Writing & Learning Center

Shawn Stewart Instructional Associate Shawn has worked in many different university offices: recruitment, registration, student services, and public relations. He has also taught a writing class in the Schieffer School of Journalism at TCU. Over the past seven years, he has had more than 400 articles—and as many photos— published in local magazines, newspapers, and on the web. In 2006, Shawn won a gold medallion in feature writing from the National Council on Marketing and Public Relations. Shawn earned his bachelor‘s degree in English and media, and his masters in Humanities with an emphasis in literature. At the Northeast campus he taught composition, literature, and developmental writing. Shawn has been a writer for over twenty years—a screenwriter, copywriter and English professor. Plus he has more than ten years of video/film production experience, as a writer, videographer, cameraman and producer. Shawn considers himself something of a renaissance type, with interests in many diverse areas, who enjoys contributing to a fun, creative team. Shawn is available for writing center orientations, customized workshops, faculty conferences, and one-on-one student sessions. Feel free to call

The Writing & Learning Center

My DreaM Job By Caroline Diaz


veryone has a different dream that is influenced by personal beliefs and environment. If there were no barriers to achievement, and given the opportunity, I would study to become a pediatrician, but since there are barriers, I am studying to become a registered nurse. College is an important element in the achievement of my dream, because without college I can’t be a registered nurse. Ever since I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to be a registered nurse. I want to be a nurse because I enjoy helping people and I can see myself doing that job. I have grown up around nurses. Every time I had a question about something, it was nice to have somebody there explaining things to me and my family. I know there are aspects of the job that I may not like, but I know that overall I will enjoy the job. I am currently a certified nurse assistant, and working at the nursing home was a new experience, but it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life. When I was at the nursing home I saw many nursing assistants that didn’t seem to enjoy their job, and they didn’t care much for the patients. I want to make a difference, and since registered nurses are in charge of the nursing assistants, they have the capability to ensure the assistants are doing their assignments correctly. My dream job is to be a pediatrician, but due to unfortunate circumstances, I have to settle for less, temporarily. Maybe later in life I will go back

to school to become a pediatrician, but right now I’m concentrated on being a registered nurse. The reason I want to be a pediatrician is because I love kids. Many of my family members ask me to watch their kids when they have something to do and they require a babysitter. The health care career is what I want to go into, so as long as I have a job in health care I will most likely be happy. Every time I take a skills assessment to see what job would be better suited for me, I always get a high rank on health care careers. College is a very important component in achieving my dream because without college I wouldn’t be able to get a job in nursing. To be a nurse there are certain classes that one must take to get accepted into a nursing program. If I decided not to attend college, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish my goal of being a registered nurse or my dream of being a pediatrician. Education is very important in today’s society. Without a certain level of education, it is very hard to get a job, especially in a competitive field. No one said life was easy, so I know I have to work hard to accomplish my goals. I know that getting accepted into the nursing program won’t be easy, so I’m willing to do everything that is required of me. My dream job will have to wait for now; maybe later in the future I will go back to school to be a pediatrician, but not now. Right now I just have to work hard in my classes so that I could get good grades to get a high GPA.

y name is Shirley Smith and I am a native of Fort Worth, Texas. When I was a senior in high school, most of the graduating seniors were preparing to go off to four-year universities. All throughout the hallways, most of the noise came from the joy of getting their acceptance letters to the many different institutions they had chosen. This was so wonderful, just to see the joy on their faces, and hear the many different plans the seniors had as they prepared to leave home, what fraternities and sororities they were planning to join, which university had the best marching band, and having the freedom of no parents around. Just to hear this gave me such a strong passion to want to go to college; but the main part of it was the joy of achieving my dream of earning a college degree. This was one of my biggest dreams. However, during that year my father was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. A few months later, my father was having chest pains and was rushed to the hospital only to live less than eight hours from the time he arrived. This unexpected trauma caused a great burden for my family and me. Its timing came right during my senior year. My dream, for the moment, of attending college, was shattered. Instead of choosing classes, that was all placed on hold. I was now making funeral arrangements while working through the process of grieving. Going to college at that time fell from a dream to only a thought. Soon after graduation, I began working full time to help my mother with the financial burden that reared its ugly head. The reality was that my college dream was exchanged for working long, hard hours. Sometimes life doesn’t seem to be fair, but in the real world, we all find ourselves doing what we have to do. After getting a handle on the financial problem, life threw me another curve—I found out I was pregnant; pushing my dream of attending college even further away. After getting married, even the idea of college became only a dying ember in the deep recesses of my mind; it was over. When I committed to marriage, I believed in not only the vows we took, I also believed in love. I never did I think in a million years that love was supposed to hurt – at least not physically. My husband was a dangerously abusive man. Even having a thought of going to school while being married to a man that physically harmed me day and night was not what I had in mind when I said, ―I do,‖ but I still hung onto my dream of earning my degree. As I thought of how I could begin taking just one class at a time, life happened again - I discovered I was pregnant again. I knew this time that the dream was no longer even an ember; it was dead. There would be no way I could attend college, not being pregnant and having a husband who did not have my best interest at heart. As fate would have it, a few years later I found myself a divorced mother of two and working full time to raise them. Although I believed my dream had died, I found deep within my soul still burned a passion for going back to school. I knew the idea lived in my heart, but I thought it virtually impossible in my mind to find a way to bring that dream to reality. ― It’s dead Shirley,‖ I would tell myself. Sometimes telling yourself something is dead seems better than enduring the pain associated with trying to keep the hope alive, when life seems to have plans of its own. I was injured on the job. Attempting to save a woman from falling, without success, we both fell anyway, forcing me to have surgery on my knee.

While enduring the pain and physical therapy, I was off work for almost a year. Maybe I could have taken a class here and there, but things did not go the way I planned. In order to keep my position, I soon had to return to work. After my return, I began working two jobs to handle the financial burden caused while off work due to the injury. For some odd reason, I became ill at work one day. Not knowing the cause, I went to the hospital and was immediately admitted. I was there for a month, with doctors taking blood, conducting test after test, yet finding no reason for the swelling and fatigue. They performed all types of biopsies and lymph node surgeries, but found no common cause for the illness. Doctors wanted to admit my case to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas. After I refused to take the trip, doctors later discovered that I had SLE Lupus, which is the worst type. This disease attacks all of the main organs in your body. Again, I could not work because my lungs were attacked by this Lupus, making it hard for me to breathe and get oxygen. The thought of having a Lupus flare-up kept me from taking classes, not knowing if the Lupus was going to attack me while sitting in class, or even taking an exam. So again, I could not go. I didn’t want to take a chance of taking classes and not being well enough to complete them – that to me, would be devastating. When I finally went back to work, I worked for several months and had to take off for surgery. Not only did I take the time off work, but being sick in the past caused me to permanently lose my job. A former co-worker encouraged me to go ahead and at least take a few college classes. She believed that this would be a good thing for me since I was not working anyway. My daughter even said, ―Mama you can finally go to school and get your college degree.‖ I was so hurt emotionally from losing my job until I could not see the opportunity God had placed before me. I had longed for an opportunity as this for such a long time, and now here I have the opportunity to live out that life-long dream. My daughter and I stepped onto the Trinity River Campus, only to visit. It was then that my dead ember of a dream exploded with possibilities. I did not, nor could not, know the possibilities that awaited me. The pathway was cleared; there was nothing holding me back or in my way. I went from an emotionally dead, depressed individual, whose dream had died, to a vibrant, passionate, student! TCC has, in many ways, given me my life back. In the fall of 2013, I will attend one of two universities: Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, or Tarleton State University, in Fort Worth, Texas. I will continue pursuing the dream I believed had died years ago. If I could change anything in my life, I would go back and change how I approached my road to education. My youngest daughter has been influenced by seeing me attend college, participating in study groups formed at my home, seeing the interaction of my student peers, and coming home celebrating a job well done from taking a test. I have always had a special gift of helping individuals who are in need, therefore my ultimate goal is to receive a degree in Social Work. By obtaining this degree, I can help and encourage other women pursue their own dreams. The most powerful lesson I have learned throughout my intensive educational and personal journey is to take small steps in life and don’t take time for granted. I am now living my dream.



going places

ccording to Casey Mitchell, part time instructional assistant in the TR Writing & Learning Center, the center has enabled him to polish his abilities and keep them sharp. He states that working with others in this capacity provides him good practice for what lies ahead. If what lies ahead for Casey is anything as exciting as his first action novel, success is inevitable. If you like action novels with a dash of intrigue and edge of your seat intensity, Casey‘s new book, A Deadly Frost, could be just your escape to adventure. The book centers around a detective named Tom Gunnarson, a police detective in a small town in Minnesota. His past as a bodyguard for an Irish mob boss has painted a target on his back for the FBI and Carlo D'Agostino, a Sicilian crime boss from St. Paul. When D'Agostino obtains the rights to the town's main export - iron ore - Gunnarson becomes suspicious and uncovers several other secrets hidden by the townspeople. Casey says that his inspiration for the story was his father. Casey states, ―Growing up, he used to tell me stories about his family members, all of whom had very interesting stories that were stranger than fiction. Each of them is represented somehow in the characters of the story, with the main character being a combination of my dad - who was once a policeman, reflected in the character's good side - and my dad's uncle Tommy, the town punk, reflected in his dark side.‖ Because his father is an author of crime fiction, Casey chose to follow in his footsteps and pen a story of his own. He also chose to write under a pseudonym - Duren Williamson. Casey says that Duren is his middle name, and his father's name is William, therefore he is technically "William's son". A Deadly Frost is made available digitally through for the Kindle reader. Great job, Casey. You‘re definitely going places.

The fall semester is almost over, but here are a few pictures of Trinity River students, faculty, and staff participating in various events that occurred during summer and fall.












1. Jessica Garcia, Ernestine Palos, and Angela Castillo brighten up any fire drill. 2. Tara Lawrence and Abby Hanson looking great. 3. Kenny Nguyen, Krista English, and Andrea Neal strike a pose. 4. Nurse Warrior gearing up for a long one. 5. Fire drill is over; it‘s back to work. 6. Participants browse at the TR Health Fair. 7. Lorraine Hudson prepares to sing the National Anthem at a Fort Worth Cat‘s game. 8. Dr. Mary French and Professor Ben Romero greet students at the Dean‘s List reception. 9. Dr. Scott Robinson chats with a Dean‘s List Award recipient. 10. Adrian Rodriguez, Tara Lawrence, and Dr. Bryan Stewart greet students and present them their awards. 11. Hector Menchaka is spotted on Main Street.

Rowena Tart Instructional Associate Please join the Trinity River Writing & Learning Center in welcoming its newest Instructional Associate, Rowena Tart. Rowena brings a diverse background which will complement our current writing staff. Having had a successful career in both corporate America and the non-profit industry prior to TCC, Rowena possesses strong management, leadership, organizational, customer service, and platform presentation skills that will help us achieve our vision for the center. These unique skills allow her to take on multiple challenges and responsibilities, which will positively impact the success of our students and the growth and productivity of the writing center. Rowena earned her degree in English at The University of Texas at Austin. For over three years she devoted her time and desire to help students achieve their educational dreams as an instructional assistant at the Northeast Campus writing center. ―I believe student success should be about more than just words, it has to be a passion. For me, working in the writing center allows just that. That is why I love what I do.‖ Rowena has been married almost ten years to Patrick Tart, who is also a TCC employee. The couple has an eight-year-old son and are legal guardians of a teenager whose parents are deceased. Rowena is now available for writing center orientations, customized workshops, faculty conferences, and one-onone student sessions. Feel free to call the Writing & Learning Center to

The Writing & Learning Center

Each year at Trinity River, Main Street becomes Ghoul Street, full of lots of ghost and goblins. This event, sponsored by our Student Development Association, proves that trick or treating is not just for kids, but also for the kid at heart existing in all of us. This year‘s ghostly occasion showcased a number of services, organizations, and resources—all benefiting TR students and their families. As always, there were lots of food, drink, and of course trick or treat sweets for your sweets. Everyone had a ghoulishly wonderful time.

“The only thing lacking in my academic career to date was to be on the Dean‟s List. I took a full-time load of twelve hours for the first time at TCC and completed them with a 4.0 GPA for the semester.” Thinking about my dream for the future brings to mind something my father said to me years ago. He said he wanted me to make good grades, A‘s and B‘s, so one day I could make the Dean‘s List. My personal dream is to someday start a scholarship in his name for students studying business with an emphasis in Real Estate and/or Management. He achieved his dream of being a degreed individual with A.A. degrees in both areas from Tarrant County Junior College. I worked toward my father‘s dream, which became my dream. Over the years I have attended Tarrant County Junior College, now Tarrant County College. The struggle has been long and hard at times. I took classes and dropped classes. There were many late nights studying and missing events with friends even while working a full time job. It was all worth it when I was invited to be in Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society in 2009. I must admit, I did not know that the organization existed until I received the invitation in the mail. I was confused and stunned that I was accepted into such a prestigious organization. I received this honor due to my father‘s advice to keep up my grades. The only thing lacking in my academic career to date was to be on the Dean‘s List. I took a full-time load of twelve hours for the first time at TCC and completed them with a 4.0 GPA for the semester. I was in shock but relieved that my hard work paid off when I received the Email stating I had made the Dean‘s List, not only on the Northwest Campus where I took an English class, but I also received another email from the Trinity River Campus stating the same thing as well. My heart was overwhelmed with joy. I had accomplished my dream, and my father‘s dream, on two separate campuses. I know he was proud. Over the years, my achievements could not have been possible without the opportunities that TCC provided. I feel it would be only my duty as a responsible student and graduate of TCC to start a scholarship for working individuals seeking degrees in Real Estate and/or Management, since those were the areas that my father received his A.A. degrees in many years ago. Although my father passed in 2005, and was not alive to see me achieve the successes I have at TCC, it would be a privilege and an honor to start a scholarship in his name as a testimony to his belief in education. He put not only my mother and brother through college, but me also. I believe in education as much if not more than he did. I feel that with a degree, you are a success and you will continue to be successful throughout life, no matter what your endeavors. I have seen this not only in my life but also in the lives of other successful individuals, including my father. College is very important to me to achieve the goal of scholarship in Real Estate, because without it I could not have the education necessary to make my goal a reality. It is my hope and prayer that one day, before I die, I can make this scholarship at TCC a reality for others less fortunate than myself. Follow your dreams and may you find the path to success. 

filled with so many people. How in the world could a girl feel so lonely? And out of all the places in the world, she lives in a busy city.


By Julie Highland

You'd question, with a world so big,

But too scared to show her face to all the phonies. How is it not possible, to find one single person like me? I am terrified to open up this heart, that few have been able to see. I cannot believe I feel this happening. The wall so tall, so strong and wide That I cannot see it, behind everyone else's stride. The footsteps seem to trample my heart. It's already too late, it's fallen apart. Not sure how to fix what's left, I’m blind of hope, my heart is a mess. It’s so hard to get up and go. No blood pumping through my veins, And no family to show.

How is it possible to cry so many tears when all you've been was strong for all these years? You've stood tall, now you’re cradled in bed, when are you going to get it through your thick little head? You've been blessed with talent, and so much more, get up and go, go conquer this world! There's 6,840,507,000 people here. Learn some new languages, it's your time to steer! Change people's lives, do what you do, but no matter through pain, always be you. People will change, and break your heart, but remember Me, I'll always be a part. I'll never give up like they always have. I'm the One, you always had. So continue to love, just like you do. Don't ever give up, keep following the truth. Your heart is not like another out there. But there is another that's just as rare. Be patient my dear, heal once again I promise you love, you'll win in the end.

Your Rays By Sumer Semmens

One moment ago, your rays beat down I waited for your cry. The anticipation was immense—as was the joy. Your movement. Your smell . All there. All valid. Happiness turned to nothingness. The parts meant to feed you ached to do so. The arms meant to hold you cradled emptiness.. All this time, your reality was impending. We read—we laughed. We cried—we lost sleep. We ached. Your home, painfully evacuated—it took months to close down . Those feeding parts dried—the tears still have not. The me that had you left. The snow fell . The butterflies died. They came back in droves. Swarming around me—progress. Enveloped in life lends a sting. That my sweet smelling butterfly is gone.

Casey Mitchell Part-time Instructional Assistant Casey comes from a background steeped in literature. Taking up an early interest in fairy tales, folklore, and mythology as a child, he has cultivated a matured interest in the study of old world cultures and the stories thereof. As a finishing undergraduate at UTA, Casey plans to pursue his education to the highest possible level, eventually becoming a college professor. According to Casey, the writing process plays an integral role in his never-ending independent studies, extending into his interest in authoring works of fiction. ―Working for the Writing Center,‖ he says, ―has enabled me to polish my abilities and keep them sharp.‖ Working with others in this capacity is good practice for what lies ahead.

Tina Crowder Weekend Part-time Instructional Assistant Tina has been working at the Writing Center since March of 2012. She really loves working with students and enjoys getting to know the Trinity River faculty and staff. Tina has a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology, and also teaches English at a local high school. She loves English and getting to hear students' thoughts on such a variety of topics and reading their papers. ―Every day I come to work, I get to learn something new while also getting to help others improve their writing and ability to communicate. For my hobbies, I read nonfiction books, watch documentaries, and volunteer. I also enjoy attending the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.‖ Tina works at the Writing Center on weekends; so if you need help or just want to say ―Hi,‖ come down or make an appointment to see her.

The Writing & Learning Center

Achieving My

Dream By Kathryn Humphreys

“The last time I saw my father was a month before he passed away. When I sat with him, he was confined to a hospital bed and resembled a fraction of the man I knew. We sat near each other uncomfortably, utterly aware of the fact that he was soon to be gone.�


studied his face carefully, allowing my eyes to fall across his features. I took in his sunken cheeks, sharp jawline, and drawn lips before focusing on his hollow eyes. Within those eyes I saw the man I knew; I saw my dad. His slow smile took much more effort that any smile should, but it was still completely his, and it soothed me. “Katie,” he said, breaking me out of my own mind. “Change the world.” The remark confused me, but before I could question him, he continued. “If you do anything for me, I want you to make your dreams come true and change this world.” With that statement, my father gave me the purpose I have spent the past two years of my life trying to discover. Growing up was not picture perfect, by any means. I remember a lot of struggle; I remember a sad mother and an estranged father; I remember finding out what the physical manifestation of darkness felt like as a child. I remember these things, but I also remember life, love, and the freedom to be whoever I wanted to be. I was raised by a single mother who put herself through nursing school and held a full-time job at a hospital while I was in elementary school. My hardworking mother raised me to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be with hard work, dedication, and goals.

school my sophomore year and never stopped to look back. I never once considered the consequences, or let myself think of my future. I had no purpose, no goal, and no plan. I merely allowed myself to exist. Seasons changed, and so did life. Situations brought me back home and into the care of my mother. I began to see outside of myself, and outside of the mindset I had been entertaining since leaving high school. I was forced back to square one and left, once again, with no purpose. For two years, I roamed the earth as a ghost. I was a phantom of darkness hiding in the shadows of existence and haunting the world around me. For two years, I had to pick myself up and rebuild everything from bottom to top. Rediscovering myself was the only thing that saved me during this time. It helped me to see the world through new eyes and find a new sense of hope.

Shortly after the death of my father, I decided to change my life and leave behind the shell I had been confined to for so long. To waste a life because of fear would do no justice to my father, but to live the life he deserved to live and see the world shift because of it would be enough to keep me going. I knew that I had to take the advice of my mother and apply it to my life. I spent a summer with an amazing group of people who coaxed Unfortunately, I was a stubborn child, me back on track by helping me to see and I wanted to figure out life for that, “Life is what you make it, and myself without paying mind to the you’d better make it good.” They advice of others. There was never a encouraged me to get into school and tree too high, a fence too wide, or a take on life with all that I had learned fight too impossible for me to over the years. This was a huge step overcome. Life was an adventure. that put me on the course necessary to “Don’t touch that stove, you’ll burn discover myself once again, and yourself!” I touched it for as long as I experience life the way it is truly could. “Don’t jump from that roof; meant to be experienced--not you’ll break your legs!” I jumped as recklessly, but gently and with much hard as I could. I wanted to feel life; mirth. to live it in every way, shape, and form it presented itself to me. I tried When I think of goals, I often think of everything and more in an effort to dreams; I am the type of person who learn lessons on my own. However, in believes that your dreams can be high school, I lost the will to go on. I obtained through something as simple stopped attending class, and and “do-able” as setting goals, and eventually school altogether. I left striving to stick to them daily. My

dream is to become a zoologist and spend the rest of my life working closely with different species of animals. One day I also hope to be published in scientific journals and have the opportunity to speak at various engagements whilst traveling this beautiful planet. By deciding to combine my three loves of science, nature, and writing, I have accomplished my initial goal of deciding on a career plan. The other goals I must accomplish along the way include exceeding in science/ mathematics, interning at a zoological garden, and, finally, obtaining an advanced degree in biology-zoology. As I journey throughout my college career, it is important that I continue to utilize all of the time-management and goal-setting tools I have learned this year. Regular use of these tools will ensure the mastery of the tasks I undertake, by helping me to stay on top of my time, and remain conscientious of my priorities, both of which are absolutely vital if I wish to go as far with my education as I am able to. I have heard others say that life is difficult. Some say that no matter how hard one works, she will always be left in the dust; that things are just too much, too overwhelming. People often tell them in opposition that life is lived one day at a time, but I challenge that, and wager that life is lived one step at a time. We must focus on the here and now, because allowing ourselves to run ahead is allowing ourselves to self-destruct. Goals help us to live life slowly and stay on task, much like a point on the horizon allows a harvester to keep his lines straight as he plows his fields. By seeing one of my goals on the horizon, I am able to act as a farmer at harvest and not veer off the path I have set for myself. The only thing left for me to do is to take that first step and move forward so that one day, in the not too distant future, I will be living the life I have always dreamed of. 

The TR Transfer Center hosted Transfer Connections Week during October 22-26. This year’s focus was on Speed Recruiting, where students had the opportunity to interview more than 25 university representatives during the week. They completed passports each day to learn whether or not participating universities offered their major or listed the average tuition cost per semester. The event connected students with university representatives and educated them about their offerings. Students learned that tuition at a university is not comparable to TCC’s affordable prices. Some students even received information about new programs, and daily prizes were given away with the grand prize being a Google Nexus tablet. The TR Transfer Center is located near the Fitness Center in TRTR 1020. Academic advisors assist students with university transfers, as well as advising and degree planning. The Center also offers computer access, application assistance, university catalogs, transfer workshops, and access to university representatives. Students may walk in or schedule an appointment with Sharon Moore at 817-515-1144.




1. TR students visiting with representatives 2. Deborah Pamilton-Evans served as a volunteer 3. Student speaking with Aricka Cano from Texas Tech School of Nursing 4. The signed C2C banner 5. Roland Owens chats with William Smith of Columbia University 6. Kara Elliot and Chelsy Grant hamming it up at the popcorn stand as Chris Twitty looks on 7. Heinrich Schander signing the C2C banner 8. Students Marla Apodaca, Danny Corvera, and Renee Turpen attend 9. Deborah Pamilton-Evans, Sharon Moore, and Erin Bass ready to serve TR students 10. Typical poster located throughout the campus 11. Gentile Iradukunda commits with her signature 12. Munchies were the order of the day 13. Professor Tyson McMillan inking up











By Rudy Olalde

―My grandmother has always been the person I could count on to talk to when I may have had doubt in myself…‖


nly at the age of twenty, I feel I have been through many obstacles in life that have made me a stronger person today. I now make wiser decisions with thinking before taking action. I once heard from a wise man, ―Grow through what you go through!‖ At first it took me a while to really set it into my foolish mind, but I quite understand what that saying really means. Through my ups and downs, I never had in my heart to be a quitter or give up, even when those around me may have had their doubt about me moving on from what might have been holding me back. My grandmother has always been the person I could count on to talk to when I may have had doubt in myself, and her being my number one cheerleader, knowing that her only grandson would someday prosper and be someone important in life, has always been my drive to get up in the morning and never give up. ―¡Si, se puede!‖ she says when I mention a statement such as ―I can’t…‖ or ―It’s too hard…,‖ which in English means ―It can be done.‖ Her words of

encouragement stay in the back of my mind, because she is the main reason I am able to sit in a college classroom today. At the age of twenty, my grandmother left her hometown of Nochislan, Zachatecas, in search of hope that her family could have a better life than the poverty she lived in. She left behind two children: a son with the age of only three years and a new born daughter. Not knowing what she would be facing in her journey to come, she managed to stay strong and move forward. Soon arriving to a place where she knew no one nor the language most of the people there spoke, she managed to settle in the city of Fort Worth. In those times, immigration laws where not as strict as they are today, so it was easier for immigrants to cross over and seek work. With not even two days in Fort Worth, my grandmother quickly found work in small company, where she soon after saved to bring her two children and husband to America. They slowly, as a family, began a stable living here and they started to grow into their own ways. Then it happened. At the age of thirteen her only daughter, my mother, became pregnant with me. Once I was born, my grandmother knew she had to step up to the plate and assist her only daughter. Most teens who become parents at such a young age don’t take responsibility seriously, but my mother took action. Being a single mother was tough but she never gave up,

managing to always keep a job and provide for me; and always by her side to guide her was my grandmother. Now at the age of thirty-two, she is in my eyes a wonderful mother, great wife, and successful business owner. Both my grandmother and grandfather worked at the same company for thirty years. Supporting family has always been a number one priority, but soon after they realized that the ladder of success was not just to stop there. They dreamed of running their own business, so they took a leap of faith and received a loan to start. My grandparents never gave up, even when the business seemed as if it would never give, but with just a little bit of faith and patience anything is possible. Today they own two businesses, which we as a family are very fortunate to have, due to the fact that my grandmother made the choice to embark on a journey that could open many possibilities. I have always told my friends that if a sixty-yearold woman who cannot read, write, or speak English can own a very successful business, then we must be really be in the land of

opportunity and anything is possible.― ¡Si, se puede!‖ My biggest dream is to make my grandmother proud by becoming the man she can see me become. I want her to see that the day she made the decision to come to America was for a better tomorrow, and now I am living that opportunity. I know my kids and grandkids too have opportunities to have great lives, due to her hard work. I want to be able to inspire other young kids to not give up in school no matter what they may be facing, because those troubles no matter how big or small only last the amount of time they let them. Education is truly the key to success, and it’s a phrase I have heard since grade school and continue to hear from many great instructors today. Never give up on a dream. My grandmother had a dream and you’ve read from her story how she managed to get more than she asked for. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

First Photograph: From left to right Beatriz Moreno-My Mother, Edmundo Moreno Jr.-My Uncle Sergio Munoz-My Uncle, Maria Moreno-My Grandmother, and Myself-Rudy Jesse Olalde at one year old

Second Photograph: My grandmother holding my Uncle Sergio

Trinity River Student Becomes Author Who is Terryon Desso?

Born in Magnolia, Arkansas, growing up, Terryon enjoyed hearing and reading stories, but soon developed a passion for writing and creating his own stories. He states that his favorite aspect of writing is being able to share his stories without others hearing what he refers to as his “country accent.” He also adds that his down-home drawl, simplistic thinking, and what he refers to as his old soul, are things about himself he finds humorous. Nevertheless, he attributes those qualities as vital to his ability to write. Terryon states, “It has been my goal to tame such a personality into a unique style and mix it with Christian ideas to make the perfect story. At age fourteen, I discovered my love for writing, and though, perhaps, I still have not discovered my gift for it, I continue to do it anyway.” Four years in the making, Forgotten Labegeddi I, is Terryon’s first attempt at selfpublishing any of his works. According to Terryon, it is also the first in a series of fiction novels he plans to produce. Terryon transferred to Trinity River after attending Northlake College, in Dallas, where he lived at the time. We asked the former TCC Writes contributor what his goals are for the future, Terryon told us, “I have achieved one of my educational goals already by completing my associates. From here, I plan to complete a bachelor of arts in English, a master of arts in Divinity, and a doctorate in Theology.”

About the book

The story is set in 1921, and its main character is Tabitha Douglas. Tabitha is an unwise, transitioning teenager who finds herself far away from home in New York. As a young single mother, Tabitha desires the best for her newborn son and strongly believes it begins with his name, which she has not yet decided upon. After accepting the fact that she has broken a cardinal rule by having an unwedded birth, she struggles to start her son’s life. But after abandoning her parents, the desperate girl finds herself in a life-threatening hostage situation with seven much older strangers who are forced to help her during their captivity. The title of the book is, Forgotten Labegeddi I. It is now available in all major bookstores, including Barnes & Noble and Congratulations, Terryon, and keep up the great work. 

Erika Thomas Part-time Reading Instructional Assistant Erika approaches students with a great deal of kindness and patience. She also believes that treating others with respect creates a better learning environment. Erika believes reading is a key element within the educational process. It is through her passion for helping students that she provides the learning strategies and skills necessary for assisting them in achieving their reading goals. Erika earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice and a Master‘s in Education, specializing in Reading Literacy. Please stop by and meet Erika in the Reading Center, TREF 1306.

Darren Breedlove Part-time Reading Instructional Assistant Darren believes that learning to communicate effectively and concisely plays a major role in society today. By teaching and helping students become better communicators, whether through email, resume or by developing better reading skills, he is certain that his ultimate role is to use his talent to assist those who struggle with reading. Darren earned his B.A. in Speech Communication and has a Master's in Education. Stop by and visit Darren in the Reading Center, TREF 1306.

Student Writers and Artists Wanted TCC Writes Online Magazine

is accepting student submissions! We are always looking for talented writers and artists for TCC Writes Online Magazine. You could have your work showcased for everyone to enjoy. Since Trinity River students are such incredible writers and artists, we look for every opportunity to promote your outstanding work. Contributions can include any of the following: Artwork Personal essays Poetry Short stories (no longer than 2 pages double spaced)

If you would like more information or would like to submit samples of your work, please stop by TREF 1402 or call (817) 515-1069. Who knows? You could be the next William Shakespeare or Jane Austen. All submissions should be e-mailed to

Thanks to each of our students for participating in the Achieving My Dream Essay Contest for this issue of TCC Writes Online Magazine, courtesy of the Writing & Learning Center at Trinity River Campus.

Sarah Reckling Writer

Terryon D. Desso Writer

Stepping Stones to a Dream

Forgotten Labegeddi I

Lori Banks

Connie Alling



My Scholastic Epiphany

The Sailing Warrior

Conner Moyer

Rudy Olalde

Writer Getting the Boot

Writer Si, Se Puede!

In the Center, our mission is to create, promote, and foster the value, growth, and appreciation of writing. In this, as in each issue, our amazing student contributors make this publication possible through their writings, inspiration, and willingness to share. Again, congratulations and best of luck to all of you in your writing and scholastic pursuits. Not pictured: Sumer Semmons - Your Rays, Charlotte Johnson - Dreams From Beyond the Bottle

Shirley Smith

Caroline Diaz



My Dream

My Dream Job

Kathryn Humphries

Lauriva Day



Achieving My Dream

My Father‘s Dream

Julie Highland Writer 6,840,700,000

Janis Hare Writer A Blessing Not a Chore

To every Trinity River student writer, staff and faculty member, Achieving the Dream, Inc., and countless supporters of TCC Writes Online Magazine, we thank you for your contribution and dedication to making this publication possible. Student Writing Contributors Connie Alling Lori Banks Lauriva Day Terryon D. Desso Caroline Diaz Janis Hare Julie Highland Kathryn Humphries Conner Moyer Rudy Olalde Sarah Reckling Shirley Smith

Faculty and Staff Contributions Dr. Mary French Steven LeMons Sharon Moore Shawn Stewart

Photography Contributions Steven LeMons Dee Parish Shawn Stewart Brandon Tucker

Special Thanks The Trinity River English Department Dr. Mary French Dr. Tahita Fulkerson Casey Mitchell Dr. Scott Robinson Dr. Jim Schrantz Dr. Bryan Stewart

Editors Maggie Engel Steven LeMons Casey Mitchell Dr. Jim Schrantz Shawn Stewart Rowena Tart

Additional Assistance Trinity River Copy Center Staff

For more information or to submit a writing sample to

TCC Writes Online Magazine, please email your submission to or stop by the Writing & Learning Center, TREF 1402.

Read other issues of TCC Writes Online Magazine online at Enter tccwrites09 in the search window

TCC Writes Fall-Winter 2012  

This special Achieving the Dream issue includes contributions that reveal the perseverance and determination required for many students who...