Inspiring Story of Student Perseverance in the Face of Challenge

Pyriel Infinity

North Seattle College student Pyriel Infinity was selected by the college to be nominated for the Transforming Lives Award. Each college in the state of Washington is asked to nominate one student for consideration for this statewide award. Pyriel's story and her perseverance in the face of many challenges are inspiring. Here is the essay she submitted to the committee for their consideration.

I was raised on the streets of New York City and in a foster system that didn't care. I wouldn't call what I did living so much as surviving. I survived intense physical and emotional abuse. I survived being sold at age seven to men so that my birth parent could use drugs. I survived rapes in foster homes. I survived attempted suicides. I survived hunger, homelessness and even never being loved by the very people who were suppose to. This story isn’t over yet but it's just begun. For starters I knew I needed to leave my home state and wipe the slate clean.

I stepped off an airplane with one small suitcase and a sleepy three-year-old waiting for my fresh start in life. I brokered a deal with a lady who offered to take us strangers into her home. I did not have time to stop once my feet touched the ground. I needed housing, employment and further education. I had one month before Fall Quarter. I applied for any and all colleges that offered my desired field of Early Childhood Education and waited. I went to DSHS for help on my housing and found that it was in North Seattle College. I was surprised at this because in New York City such a combination of services do not exist. While applying for DSHS services, it was suggested because of my interest in college that I speak to someone at the school.

I, in that one day, received more help than I was prepared for. WorkForce Education, Advising and Financial Aid all made time to see me and try to help. Everyone was patient with me and my hungry child. I rode the bus every day to North Seattle College to continue taking steps toward starting in less than thirty days. North Seattle saw someone who seriously wanted to work hard and get a degree. In the end, days before classes were starting, I found out, because I was so late in applying and most funding had already been distributed, I could not afford to start. North Seattle did not give up, and WorkForce allotted emergency funds to cover my semester and even books.

My first class started on October 1, 2014. I enjoyed the classes, instructors and college. In my classes I was able to network and find employment in my field of study. I worked overtime and felt empowered by those around me. However, I could not get funded into Winter Quarter because I was not a Washington state resident yet.

I waited one whole year and changed my residency status just to come back and finish taking classes toward my degree. I was readily received when I was prepared to take classes again. My instructors remembered me and my tribulations. They were touched by my courage and determination. I know that, as someone not originally from Seattle and having no roots here, I could not have gotten this far without North Seattle College. My story isn't over yet.

Posted on: December 23rd, 2015 at 15:27:17

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