Congratulations to Maryashley Schrock and Aylin Mendez for winning $550 textbook scholarships as part of the One College, One Book program at Lee College! After reading the featured book, American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures, edited by America Ferrera, students had the opportunity to participate in an essay competition and visual arts competition for the chance to win two scholarships provided by the Lee College Foundation.
Maryashley Schrock’s painting entitled, “Strengths in Silence,” was the winning entry in the visual arts category. As someone who exper
ienced partial hearing loss at a young age, Maryashley says the she wanted to use her art to communicate the love and respect she has for the deaf culture.
“It’s hard for the hearing world to understand how the deaf community works,” she said. “When I was growing up, I had a hearing loss issue, and that caused me to have a speech impediment that I still have to this day. I didn’t learn American Sign Language until high school, but I did it for four years, and the impact it had on me was amazing. Even now in college I still struggle, but I am going to try my hardest to go further than I could have ever expected.”
After Lee College, Maryashley plans to attend the University of Houston – Clear Lake and become a secondary science teacher.
Aylin Mendez placed first in the essay category for her work entitled, “In Between Two Worlds.” Through her writing, Aylin wants people to know that living between cultures is not as bad as it may seem.
“We always have to look at the positive outcome; we were blessed to live and share both culturales.” said Aylin. “Never try to be someone else just to be accepted by society. Just be yourself and know that if someone loves you, they’ll love you just the way you are.”
Aylin is working toward an associate’s degree in general studies, then she plans to transfer to the University of Houston to earn a bachelor’s degree, and eventually apply to law school to become an immigration lawyer.
“This scholarship has motivated me to keep writing about my personal experiences, and I will make sure to use it in a positive way,” Aylin said.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my mom for being my biggest supporter and always motivating me to do my best. Even though she is not physically here with me I know she is cheering and supporting me from miles away.”
Sponsored by Title V and the Lee College Library, One College, One Book was designed to: inspire a sense of belonging on campus through a shared reading experience; encourage a culture of reading on campus; and create a space to critically think about our own experiences in addition to the experiences of others.
The One Book experience reached beyond Lee College’s main campus last semester when Donna Zuniga, Dean of the Lee College Huntsville Center, purchased 100 copies of American Like Me to enable the peer tutors and a small group of incarcerated students at the Huntsville Center could participate in the book discussion at their campus. Two students entered the essay contest, and one received honorable mention.
In American Like Me, Ferrera invites 31 of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all.
Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.