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Florissant Valley Campus

#IDidIt at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley

Melicia Lytle

Melicia Lytle is set to graduate on May 17 with a 3.83 grade-point average. It has been a long journey for this single mother of three who has a disability, but she is finally able to say that she has achieved her goal, and has overcome one of her biggest fears.

In 2009, Lytle was involved in a serious car accident, which left her with a spinal cord injury as well as multiple fractures. She was hospitalized for three months.

“They wanted to send me to a nursing home because they said I wasn’t going to walk again, but I did,” Lytle said. “It boiled down to the power of perseverance. I was determined that I would walk again. I knew I had to fulfill my purpose in life. Going back to school was a start.”

Lytle had to resign from the job she had because of the accident.

“I had to gain a new set of skills to pursue an entirely new career because of the accident and limitations that it brought,” she said.

Going back to school to get a degree was something she had always wanted to do but couldn’t find the time.

“The accident almost gave me the nudge I needed,” Lytle said.

Lytle says the accident changed her life. It made her focus on the things that are truly important, and it gave her the opportunity to pursue her goals.

"My sons nudged me to go back to school as well," she said. “I knew that community college would be a perfect fit for me and naturally I choose STLCC.” 

Lytle was told to be careful about taking on a full load of classes because she had come a long way and didn't need any setbacks.

“A vocational rehabilitation representative said that I needed to focus on taking one class at a time, which I wasn’t happy about because I knew what I wanted and needed to do within the timeframe I had set," Lytle said. "I had a plan, and I was determined to stick to it.”

Lytle started in fall 2012 and decided to major in human services.

“I picked human services because I wanted to give back to my community,” she said. Lytle is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society and has been on the dean’s list since she enrolled. 

“It’s an exciting time because my youngest is graduating from high school and I am graduating from college,” Lytle said. “Going back to school has given me the confidence to excel even more.”

After graduating, Lytle plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in human service, social work or counseling.

Lytle says her family has been her biggest support system.

“They showed me that I could overcome any obstacle and that I could tackle any hurdle,” she said. “They were many a day when I wanted to curl up in a ball and quit, but I persevered.” 

The Access office at STLCC helped her with any disability issues she encountered.

“They provided special accommodations to make sure that all my needs were met, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” Lytle said. “You have to know someone with a disability or have a disability yourself to understand the hardships they face. Having a disability is not just what you see on the outside. It affects the person as a whole. There is always underlying elements that go along with it. Those are the elements that are not seen.”

Amy Bird, manager of disability support services at STLCC-Florissant Valley, said she was excited to learn that Lytle wanted to complete her human services practicum in the Access office for her final semester.

"During her time at Florissant Valley, I have known Melicia to be a diligent and self-sufficient woman who has made tremendous gains in her life following a very traumatic event," Bird said.

Bird described Lytle as an excellent role model for others and knew that she would be an asset to the Access office.

“I am so proud of Melicia for reaching this milestone in her education," Bird said. "She has already made a difference in the lives of others, and I know that she will continue to grow and positively impact the people she serves.”

By Rachel Gomez