Monday night, we celebrated 62 college degrees! Supporters of FSH, staff and our special families gathered to reflect on the accomplishments. Aleshia Thompson, a member of the Class of 2016, spoke to the crowd and we wanted to share her words with you below:
Good Evening, I am honored to speak to you all today. My name is Aleshia Thompson and I am a proud member of the FSH Class of 2016. The past month has seemed surreal, as I walked across the stage at graduation- I couldn’t help but reflect back on the journey that got me to this exact place.
Last year, I completed an essay for a scholarship and the topic of the essay was where I saw myself 5 years from now- and where I saw my daughter, Trinity, 10 years from now. As I reach this goal – of obtaining my college degree- I wanted to share the words I wrote 1 year ago.
It can sometimes be difficult to think of the future when there has been so much that has gone wrong in the past. For every good thing that has come in my life, a small amount of time is spent reflecting on how far I have come. When I think of five years, I think of the amount of time I was out of college, living life as a productive citizen of KY, working hard in the medical field and a dedicated member of my church. It sounds like an okay life, but I was completely lost. Due to many obstacles that came in my life, I was changed from a top scholar in high school, graduating with honors, full of promise, to a woman that felt like there was no hope, there was no way out, and there was nothing left to live for. The great thing about my life is that the story did not end there. Right now, I still have close to nothing, as far as material possessions go, but I am so close to achieving everything. It still amazes me that I have a future worth fighting for. From the childhood abuse, to the abusive relationship, to the miscarriage, to the birth of my daughter, and to the poverty that seems to dominate my life. I am thankful that I stand today with my sanity intact. At my lowest point, the only thing that kept me going was my daughter, her impending birth was a constant reminder that things in my life needed to change. I was eight months pregnant with her when I decided to leave her father. My fear of her growing up in a violent home, trumped my fear of what he would say and do to me – so I called my family and the police, gathered my things, and left. My next greatest concern was that I could not provide her the future she deserved working as an entry – level medical technician, but I knew that the medical field was where I wanted to stay. When my daughter was four months old, I carried her to JCTC with me as I enrolled in college after being out of college for five years. For the two years I was there, I met some amazing teachers that saw my potential, encouraged me, and challenged me to continue my education. Family Scholar House also opened their doors to me, and provided me with the support I needed to focus on my education. Since then, I have transferred to UofL, majoring in Biology, participated in a summer program at the University of Virginia and became a tutor and mentor to several students and family members in elementary, high school, and college. Where there was once uncertainty and frustration in my future, I can see with clarity what I see myself doing in five years. I plan on being graduated from the University of Louisville and well into my training at medical school. I plan on being in either OB/GYN or Emergency Medicine. I plan on giving back to my community and Family Scholar House for all the support they have given me and my daughter. The future I plan on giving my daughter has always been clear. In ten years, she will have seen me accomplish all of my educational goals and will be in the process of attaining her own. She will be thirteen years old and preparing to enter high school. I will make sure she is involved in extracurricular activities and our church. I am excited to see the young woman she will become because everything that I have done has been to give her all the opportunities I can, and the best way to do that has been to value our educations.
One year ago – this was the vision I had for myself and my daughter- and today I can proudly say that I graduated from the University of Louisville with my Bachelors degree and will be starting Medical school in August at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Trinity will be starting kindergarten! Thank YOU to everyone that has supported me and this program. Your support makes it possible for me and all the other graduates to reach our goals – and that means more to us than we can ever put into words !