My Students, My Heroes

Christy was nine years old when she was sexually assaulted for the first time. While her tormentor had his way with her younger siblings, she was locked in a closet where she banged her head against the door until she passed out.

Christy spent the next 20 years hopelessly hitting her head against doors, including the closed door of educational opportunity. She came to AC in her 30s to make life different for herself, her children and grandchildren.

Christy graduated from a four-year university last December. Now, she is a graduate Social Work student. Someday, she will help battered children.

Jose also was nine years old when, because of gang-related activities, he was first arrested and incarcerated. He spent most of the next 20 years locked up in one facility or another. Three years ago Jose was released from the Texas penitentiary.

Naturally gifted in science and math, he came to Amarillo College to pursue a different career than the one chosen for him by a nine-year-old. Now he’s only three classes away from transferring to a four-year university as an engineering major.

Ameer and Monte came to AC from Iraq where, because they had supported U.S. troops against Saddam Hussein, their lives were in danger. Ameer graduated in December with a mechanical engineering degree from Texas Tech.

When her brother was murdered on the streets of Mogadishu, Zainab’s family came to the U. S. to start a new life. Often writing over five drafts for a single essay, she made an A in Comp I and II.

With no job opportunities in Cameroon, Chrystelle and her fiancée pursued degrees in other countries: her fiancée in France and Chrystelle at Amarillo College. Having completed her associate’s degree, Chrystelle now is applying for pharmacy school.

Last August Chrystelle became a U. S. citizen. The following September her now husband joined her in Amarillo. In June they will have a baby.

And I have dozens of similar stories. Dozens.

My students are my heroes.

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