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Congratulations to ECC student Andrea Montes, who is a winner of the NISOD/Community College Week Scott Wright Student Essay Contest! This contest is an opportunity for students to describe how a faculty member, staff member, or administrator helped them complete a course, finish a semester, or graduate from college—Andrea wrote about Mountain View College biology faculty member Debby Sutton.

Montes was born in Honduras and came to the US when she was 12. She has three children and is a fourth-semester nursing student at Methodist/ El Centro College. She earned an Associates in Science at Mountain View and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society.

“I am thankful to God for helping me get this far. I don’t take for granted the blessing of this scholarship and the opportunities that the DCCCD, Methodist Hospital, and DACA have provided me. It is my greatest desire to serve the community as a skilled compassionate nurse in the near future.

Through this journey, I have learned that determination is key to success and that ‘Nothing is impossible to a willing heart’.”

Andrea is one of only three winners selected from well over 200 contest entries!

With this honor, Andrea and Debby, as well as the college will all receive awards. Andrea and Debby will receive complimentary NISOD 2018 International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence registrations and lodging; they will be recognized during the Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration (May 26) held during the conference and Andrea will be reading her winning essay.

El Centro College will receive a complimentary 2018-2019 NISOD membership and as one of the winning member presidents, Dr. Adames will also receive a complimentary conference registration to attend NISOD’s 2018 conference.

Andrea’s Award Winning Essay:

Going back to college at the age 27 was one of the most difficult and challenging things I have ever done. I was surrounded by young people who were not only younger than me, but also had the high school experience I lacked. The last grade I completed was 8th. By the time I went back to school not only was I older, but I was also a mother of three kids and was a house wife to an abusive husband. Furthermore, English is my second language and I struggle writing and understanding things. Every class I took felt like I could not do it anymore and that was only the beginning of the long journey ahead.

After I finished taking the developmental classes I decided that I wanted to become a Nurse. One of the pre-requisites to enter a nursing program is Anatomy. This is where I met MY ANGEL. It might sound corny to many, but this is what this Mrs. Sutton is to me. I remember feeling scared and incapable of finishing the course. I could not imagine in a million years been able to get a degree.

To my surprise, she, Mrs. Sutton had a teaching style I will never forget. Every class was like going to Anatomy and Physiology Disney Land. Due to her humble and sensitive spirit I could open to her and confine with her my fears and my life struggles. She was so kind to me and every time we talked I felt that she believed in me and as a result I started to believe in myself.

One day, I told Mrs. Sutton about an interview I had with one of the most recognized hospitals in the Dallas area. It was an interview to get into their Nursing School program with a scholarship. The thing about this process was that all employees and volunteers are able apply, but only 10 get accepted each semester.

Mrs. Sutton offered to give me mock interviews to prepare me for what was about to come. We did a few mock interview sessions that prepared me so well that I earned a spot at the Methodist/El Centro College Nursing program. The first semester of Nursing school was literally hell for me. I emailed or visited e my long-time professor, mentor, friend, and ANGEL every time. I cried to her when I fail my first nursing test and examination. With her calm voice she would encourage me and filled me with strength to continue.

Currently, I am a fourth semester nursing student. I graduate in May with and Associate of Nursing that will not only change my life, but also the life of my three kids Kim, Kristal, and Eduardo. I am so thankful and blessed to have met such a wonderful human. One day I will become a teacher and I can only hope I become half of what Mrs. Sutton is. I hope one day you (Mrs. Sutton) know how much you changed my life.