The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Competition brings inspiring stories to light

By Andrea Conley/reporter

The Writing and Learning Center at Trinity River Campus has chosen 36 students as winners of the first TCC Writes competition. The winning essays were part of a featured exhibition at the newly opened campus’ dedication ceremony held last month.

The students had a choice of essay topics, including The Passion That Drives Me and What Inspires Me to Attend TCC.

Winning essays were chosen based on “originality, the writer’s ability to clearly express his/her point and ability to move others,” said Steven LeMons, coordinator of the TR writing and learning center.

“Many of them have overcome challenges such as poverty and abuse, yet they were brave enough to share their stories,” he said.

The winners were from around the U.S. (Los Angeles, New Orleans and Boston), and many were from other parts of the world (Belarus, Vietnam, Sudan, Mexico and South America). Students wrote about being inspired by their parents’ struggles to get by with only an eighth-grade education, wanting to help family members who are hearing-impaired and working at age 14 to pay high school tuition in their native country.

Among the student authors was Mary Cluff, age 68, who overcame one obstacle after another in her efforts to earn a college degree.

“I graduated high school in 1959, and my father thought a college degree would be wasted on a female,” she said.

After moving from her parents’ home as a junior in high school to work and support herself, she went on to marry, raise children and eventually divorce. 

“But I always wanted a college degree,” she said.

In 1986, Cluff was involved in a near-fatal collision with an 18-wheeler. She spent the next five years recovering from her injuries. She suffered memory loss, stuttering and a host of other disabilities.

About 20 doctors in three different states told her she would not likely recover. She proved them wrong.

“The hand of God touched me and healed me,” said the fourth-semester social work major.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian