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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

SE student returning to school after 30 years gets award

Regina Thompson, SE Campus student and Tourism Cares -— Texas Doug Harman Scholarship winner, reads a copy of the Convention Daily newsletter and talks about green tourism. Thompson’s scholarship earns her $500 per semester, and she received recognition last month at the Tour and Travel Expo Convention in Pittsburgh.  Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian
Regina Thompson, SE Campus student and Tourism Cares -— Texas Doug Harman Scholarship winner, reads a copy of the Convention Daily newsletter and talks about green tourism. Thompson’s scholarship earns her $500 per semester, and she received recognition last month at the Tour and Travel Expo Convention in Pittsburgh. Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian

By Shay Freeman/reporter

Regina Thompson, SE Campus student and Tourism Cares -— Texas Doug Harman Scholarship winner, reads a copy of the Convention Daily newsletter and talks about green tourism. Thompson’s scholarship earns her $500 per semester, and she received recognition last month at the Tour and Travel Expo Convention in Pittsburgh.  Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian
Regina Thompson, SE Campus student and Tourism Cares -— Texas Doug Harman Scholarship winner, reads a copy of the Convention Daily newsletter and talks about green tourism. Thompson’s scholarship earns her $500 per semester, and she received recognition last month at the Tour and Travel Expo Convention in Pittsburgh. Photo by Jennifer Covington/The Collegian

SE Campus student Regina Thompson believes it is never too late to pursue an education.

After being laid off from her job and trying different careers, she was determined to find something she would enjoy. She took advantage of the time off and used it to pursue what she was truly passionate about.
“ I did not want to work and not enjoy it,” she said.

Thompson decided to pursue a degree in tourism and hospitality because she enjoys working with people. Additionally, this career path will allow her to spend time with her family.

“ I had not been in school in 30 years, and I was fearful,” she said as she revealed her initial hesitation about returning to college.

Thompson recently won the Tourism Cares — Texas Doug Harman Scholarship. She was the only SE Campus student to receive this award, which earned her $500 per semester.

“ I am truly grateful for the help,” she said.

She also has received tremendous support from the professors and faculty at the college.

“ Every teacher has inspired me to want to do more and hang in there,” she said.

Thompson said the faculty members show they care about the students.

“ It makes me feel good about my daughter’s college experience because I often wondered if her professors truly cared about her.”

One person in particular, Katrina E. Warner, culinary arts, dietetic and hospitality department chair, has had a tremendous impact on Thompson’s college experience and career interest.

“ Regina is a dedicated and serious student,” Warner said.

“ She answers questions intelligently and asks pertinent questions in class. She is punctual and always turns in assignments on time or even early. She is very serious about her education.”

Warner said Thompson’s positive attitude is also noticeable in class.

“ She has a great personality and is flexible and friendly,” she said. “Anything you ask Regina to do, she does it perfectly and with no complaints.”

Thompson had planned to serve hors d’oeuvres at her own congratulatory reception, but Warner stopped her.

“ I told her she was supposed to be a part of it, not serving it and to enjoy herself,” Warner said.

With this positive attitude, Thompson does not look at her age as a “barrier.”

Neither does Warner.

“ Her mature attitude about school is apparent by how serious she is,” Warner said. “She has not missed a class yet.”

“I am over 50,” Thompson said with a chuckle.

She has noticed more people with similar experiences are returning to school and believes this trend may be attributed to the rapidly changing business world and current economic conditions.

Thompson is also grateful for the encouraging students she has encountered in her courses.

“ The younger students were so nice and helpful,” she said.

In every class, Thompson has noticed a real support system among the students. “ We are all trying to reach a goal,” she said.

She could not have picked a better time to return to college.

“I have more resources, time, and my mind is clearer,” she said.

She said her grandchildren are excited that she is in college. It gives them something to talk about, and it is a chance for her to lead by example. Thompson often finds herself “stressing education to them.”

Thompson plans to finish her degree in May 2009. Her goal is to become a travel agent.

“ I want to continue going to school even when I finish this degree program,” she said.

Thompson offered encouragement to students who may get discouraged with college.

“ There is always a way to accomplish your goals,” she said. “Stay with education and don’t give up on it because when you quit, something will always come up and delay you from pursuing your education.”

As a scholarship recipient, she was excited about attending the Tour and Travel Expo Convention last month in Pittsburgh, where she was recognized.

Thompson said it was an honor to be invited by the donor.

Warner is thrilled for her student.

“ She is most certainly worthy of this award, and I’m proud of her for working so hard to receive it,” she said.

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