MARIETTA, OH (June 6, 2017)— Kelsey Short’s story to academic success is full of struggle; you might even say she has a Cinderella story. She’s faced adversity and overcome tragedies, yet despite it all, she has been fortunate to always have mentors to guide her through the rough patches and keep her on track. That encouragement combined with her hard work and fortitude makes her a stand-out student on the Washington State Community College (WSCC) campus and positioned her as the June Student of the Month.
Kelsey is quick to credit her grandfather with her desire to learn. “He was the smartest man I know. He encouraged me to be the best I can be,” she said of her late papaw Monty Ely. “He shaped my love of learning.”
But alas, like Cinderella, to get to her fairy tale ending, she had to face some misfortune. When she was 16, Kelsey found herself homeless. For many, this would have halted their education, but not Kelsey. To her advantage, she was able to move in with a friend. This friend’s family became her adoptive family. They loved her, nurtured her and encouraged her. In a situation that could have destroyed her, she persevered.
When she was in high school at Warren, Kelsey had the fortune of having Mrs. Lou Ann Roberts as her English teacher. Mrs. Roberts, was a fairy godmother, of sorts, who not only instructed her in the classroom, but knowing her home situation, provided her with books, clothes and the occasional trip to the movies. Her nurturing and guidance reinforced the lessons of Papaw Ely as she encouraged Kelsey to pursue her dreams of academia.
After high school, with no clear decision on a major, Kelsey enrolled at Washington State. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to go to college,” said Kelsey. However, just days after completing her first semester of college, she was involved in a car accident that left her without transportation to return to classes in the spring.
But car, or no car, Kelsey still needed a job to live, and to her favor, her adoptive grandma, was able to get her a job at her place of employment. Good fortune was beginning to shine on Kelsey’s life. It was here that she met her now-husband, Tony and had a child. Yet her life didn’t seem quite complete. Beyond caring for her son, “I wasn’t doing anything,” she confessed. “I don’t even remember what I did with my time.”
Tony was watching his wife exist, but not really live, and he knew she needed to pursue her dream of going back to school. With his encouragement, Kelsey decided to give college another whirl, but still unsure of what she ultimately wanted to do with her life, she was only sure that her strongest subject was English, but she feared it would render her a degree that would have few job opportunities.
With trepidation, she decided to take some general education classes during the summer semester in hopes of discovering herself. Feeling confident after successfully completing those courses, she decided to take an Intro to Fiction class, and that’s when it happened, “I fell in love with literature,” she confessed. “I finally forced myself to let go of the fear that I wouldn’t achieve a good job with this degree. I decided that the most important thing for me was to follow my strength and passion and find a way to make it work.”
The abandonment of her fears didn’t just happen overnight, like Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo. She sought the counsel of her English instructors Donhnall Godfrey and Jill Anderson, both of whom encouraged and reassured Kelsey that literature was a good fit for her and that there is opportunity to be had for those who work hard.
“Kelsey is an outstanding writer and thinker,” said Anderson. “She also helps other students with their writing, and she helps me by letting me use her essays from Composition II as models of excellence for my current students. She makes my life as her teacher, so much brighter.”
Currently, Kelsey is working toward her happily ever after pursuing her liberal arts degree with a focus in literature with an anticipated graduation date of Spring 2018. And while Kelsey confesses she still isn’t completely sure what she’s going to do when she graduates, she’s positive of the field she’s chosen. “I don’t know what I want to do with my life, but I’m doing something.”
For more than 45 years, Washington State Community College has fueled the community’s future through education. We work to make a positive impact by providing opportunities for growth. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to enrich your life, we cultivate pathways to guide you toward future growth. Be inspired. #BeWSCC. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.