PSC Student Winner of Statewide Essay Contest

favian-apata-psc-052009Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– College is often described as the “best years of one’s life.”

Prairie State College (PSC) student Favian Apata would agree.

Since she began at PSC in 2005, Apata served as student trustee, participated in student government, performed as a member of the Forensics team, and was inducted in the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. She is making the most of her college experience; however, Apata is not your typical college-aged student. She is 56-years-old.

“Prairie State College transformed my life for the better,” said Apata. “The college ignited something in me that was dormant. Prairie State gave me the gift of youth.”

Apata recently put her passion for PSC on paper when she entered the Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s Paul Simon Essay Contest addressing the theme, “How My Community College Has Changed My Life.”

Apata was named the winner of the essay contest from among 25 finalists and the hundreds of entries received from Illinois community college students statewide. As the winner of the contest, she will receive a $500 cash stipend for educational expenses during the fall 2009 semester.

“It was easy for me to explain why Prairie State College changed my life,” said Apata. “I love Prairie State because it’s a place of inner discovery and growth. I have so much confidence thanks to the opportunities the college gave me.”

Apata didn’t always have confidence. From an early age, she suffered from low self-esteem. Her parents separated when she was 15, and at 16 she became pregnant. Apata dropped out of school because she couldn’t find a babysitter. She began working for the phone company and worked until she retired after 33 years of service.

Shortly after she retired, Apata’s daughter encouraged her to enroll in PSC’s GED program. She successfully completed the program and was awarded a scholarship from the PSC Foundation to continue her studies. A little nervous, she enrolled in her first two classes: Communications 101 and Psychology 101.

“My self-esteem rose when my communications professor encouraged me to join the Forensics Team,” said Apata. “The first day I felt uncomfortable and nervous, but my coaches and the team became my family.”

As a member of the team, Apata went on to win trophies at tournaments, and eventually became a national forensics champion. She said that her national championship win was a turning point in her life.

“My life turned right side up after I became a national champion,” said Apata. “I am not the same Favian who walked through the doors in 2005, and I owe it all to my Prairie State family. These have been the best years of my life.”

To read Apata’s award winning essay, visit prairiestate.edu.

(Photo of Favian Apata supplied)