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Perseverance Helps Parsons Emerge as a Scholar

May 30, 2013

Sharon Parsons  
Sharon Parsons

An undiagnosed disability severely limited Sharon Parsons' ability to succeed in school. She primarily was a "C" or "D" student throughout grade school and into high school.

No matter how hard she studied, Parsons could not retain the information.

“My mum and I stayed up all night studying for a test,” she said. “I knew I was ready, but when I sat down to take the test, all of the information was gone.”

College never seemed like an option for Parsons. 

In 2007, she was injured in a roll-over car accident and suffered a back injury. As a result, she could no longer stand or sit for long periods of time. She had spent years working in the packing industry, but after the accident she was no longer able to do heavy lifting.

Realizing it was time for a change, Parsons took a chance in 2008 and enrolled at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley. Initially, she was told that her income was too high, and she did not qualify for any financial aid.

“The person helping me advised me not to worry,” Parsons said. “A program within the STLCC Foundation paid for my tuition and I was introduced to the book loan program.”

But once again, the issues she experienced in high school resurfaced. She sought answers and was officially diagnosed as suffering from panic and anxiety attacks. Parsons now takes medication for her condition, which helps tremendously. She is currently working on a human services degree and plans to go on to a four-year university to become a social worker.

Parsons has had to regroup, make changes, and start over due to events beyond her control. In spring 2013, Parsons was recognized as an Emerging Scholar for her academic success.

Emerging Scholars are students who have begun their college career by taking developmental classes, and then completed at least 24 credit hours with a minimum grade-point average of 3.5.

Parsons has proven to herself that she is an exemplary student. She is facing and dealing with a disability that could be debilitating for some.

“My children keep me going,” she said. “They are my inspiration.”