Elishah is going to college not just for herself, but for her 8-year-old daughter Tessa too. “I want to be a good role model for my daughter. I’m the only parent she has,” she said. “I want my daughter to have a mom who has a college education and does good things for the world.”
Elishah, 27, is one of the single mothers attending Tarrant County College with the help of a scholarship underwritten by the United Way Women’s Fund. The fund is overseen by the Women’s Leadership Council.
Elishah dropped out of school in ninth grade, but earned her GED and then immediately started attending classes at TCC at age 17. She had earned 22 college credits when domestic abuse derailed her life and her educational plans for a while, but she returned to TCC South Campus in 2012. She plans to graduate with an Associate of Arts Degree by the end of the year.
The Fort Worth resident has done well in school and has even been on the Dean’s List. Besides being a student and devoted mother, she cleans offices as part of a cleaning business that she started.
“I’ve been through a lot in my life,” she said. “When I look back on all that’s happened and what I’ve done, I’m pretty proud of myself.”
Elishah was surprised to receive the scholarship provided through the United Way Women’s Leadership Council last fall. “I couldn’t believe I got it,” she said. “It feels good to have a group of women cheering you on.” The scholarship “came at the perfect time,” she said, because she had already used her financial aid for other expenses. The scholarship money enabled her to buy school clothes for her daughter. “I don’t think I’m lucky,” she said. “I’m blessed.”
Elishah has been interested in being a counselor ever since she was a little girl, and at TCC she is majoring in psychology. “I have two courses until graduation,” she said. She wants to continue studying psychology after getting her associate degree. “I have applied and been accepted to Texas Wesleyan University,” she said. “I will start next fall and I am extremely excited!”
Elishah has worked hard to get where she is today, but she takes it in stride. “When you’re a single mom, you really don’t have any other option than to be strong,” she said. “I think it builds character.”