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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South students hail WINR leader as their ‘Light’

Trish Light, Chancellor’s Award winner for South Campus, coordinates the Women In New Roles program on South and worked as a counselor for 35 years.  Photo by Ashley Brocato/The Collegian
Trish Light, Chancellor’s Award winner for South Campus, coordinates the Women In New Roles program on South and worked as a counselor for 35 years. Photo by Ashley Brocato/The Collegian

By Montreal Spencer/south news editor

Trish Light, Chancellor’s Award winner for South Campus, coordinates the Women In New Roles program on South and worked as a counselor for 35 years.  Photo by Ashley Brocato/The Collegian
Trish Light, Chancellor’s Award winner for South Campus, coordinates the Women In New Roles program on South and worked as a counselor for 35 years. Photo by Ashley Brocato/The Collegian

(Final in a four-part series on faculty winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teaching, an annual award that recognizes professors who impress and inspire their students.)

The South Campus Chancellor’s Award winner left counseling after 35 years but has no regrets about moving full time into the classroom.

TCC no longer lets counselors teach, but Trish Light, associate professor of psychology, was one of the last counselors to do so. She said she does not miss counseling because teaching is her passion.

“Everybody has a calling, and my calling is working and being an advocate for women in transition,” she said.

Light heads Women In New Roles, a program started in 1978 for women returning to school. It is a combination of the Psychology of Adjustment and Applied Psychology classes.

Former South student Sheila Krist said Light and WINR taught her the skills she needed.

“I’m a new woman with a future, that’s sure, thanks to this class that taught me no matter what, I am a ‘WIN-R,’” she said.

WINR, which started on South, has expanded to NE and SE campuses partly because of Light’s efforts.

South student Judy Garza said Light first encouraged her to join WINR when Garza returned to college after 10 years.

Garza said after talking to Light several times over the phone and via e-mail, she was able to meet her.

“Since then, she has always made herself available to me, even calling me or e-mailing me on the weekends­. That’s how dedicated she is to what she does,” she said. 

Garza said one of the things she likes most about Light, besides her encouragement and knowledge, is her optimism.

“One of the first things she read to the class was to dream big, and that’s what she teaches us,” she said.

Students motivate Light, and Light has motivated a number of students. Many of them wrote letters to her in support of her nomination, such as former student Sam Shackelford.

“You helped change my attitude about myself and gave me hope and excitement about my future,” Shackelford wrote. “How can I thank you for that?”

Former South student Angela Baldwell wrote Light to thank her for being a big inspiration in her life.

“Thank you for being my ‘light.’ Thank you for pushing me to do things that we both knew I could do,” she wrote.

Former South student Alice Joy Eldridge wrote a poem dedicated to Light.

“You treated me with respect and kindness, and I found you to be true. I found you honest and open and someone I could tell my troubles to,” the poem read. “For you have been my number one inspiration from that very first day we met.”

Light’s current students also like her and feel her genuine good nature.

“She’s very detailed and caring. You can tell she cares about her students a lot,” current South student ShaJuana Marable said.

Sherl Jennings enjoyed Light’s WINR class.

“She has a very good sense of humor and is very organized and is real structured,” Jennings said.

Light, a Texas A&M-Commerce graduate, was raised in Duncan, Okla. She came to TCC when she finished graduate school at 22. Light has taught at South Campus for 40 years and was a counselor and teacher from 1969 through 2004.

“You need to follow different avenues or roads to self-discovery. You want your career to keep expanding,” she said.

Light also does a lot of work in the community helping people get off of welfare and back on their feet through the Family Self-Sufficiency Committee. She won a Community Service Award for WINR in September 2000.

Light said she considers the Chancellor’s Award special because faculty members are nominated by their peers. She said putting together the binder for judges was quite an experience, and it easily took her six weeks.

Winning the award for Light was a moment she always dreamed of having.

“It was probably the highlight of my career because that’s the highest award you can get from a school,” she said. “It’s the pinnacle or mountaintop experience that someone can have with a teaching experience.”

Along with the prestigious feeling of getting the Chancellor’s Award comes a $2,500 check, which Light plans to use for a trip to India to visit her daughter.

Light said she could have retired a long time ago, but she hasn’t because she has a job that consists of work and play.

“I’m one person who’s been able to find significance and meaning in my job,” she said. “I have a job because of students and whoever works here or teaches here has jobs because of students.”

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