HCC helps mother get her life on track

Nov 30, 2015

Wendi Hay’s story is an inspirational one filled with strife and success. The Houston Community College (HCC) graduate made the decision to change her life during her second year of living at the Star of Hope with her four daughters. It has been a very tough road for Hay, who went from being a top student in her Alabama high school to making choices that took her down the wrong path.

“I went through an intense recovery program and rehabilitated from a life that was full of trouble, tragedy, and terrible mistakes,” she said. “I tried my best to hide from the world the fact that I was severely schizophrenic.”

Counselors at the Star of Hope saw the potential in Hay and encouraged her to enroll in college, so she applied to HCC.

“When I read that acceptance letter it literally changed everything for me,” said Hay. “In the situation that I was in at the time, acceptance made all the difference.”

What also made a difference was receiving a Pell Grant for her first year at HCC and for the second year, a full-ride scholarship from the David and Jean Wiley Foundation through the HCC Foundation. Hay discovered she not only loved college; she was also an exceptional student and feels education literally saved her life.

“Getting that scholarship, meeting the donors who donated the money, and enjoying every opportunity offered to me from this amazing school just reinforced everything that told me I was moving in the right direction,” said Hay.

Today, Hay has two associate degrees from HCC. She is currently taking classes at the University of Houston Bauer College of Business, has a thriving career, and a new apartment.

“When I came to Houston, I had nothing,” she said. “It took a village - the fourth largest city in America to put me back where I need to be.”

Hay gives back to people who lead her down a path of promise. She speaks to women at the Star of Hope about the importance of education and serves on the board of SEARCH Homeless Services. Her advice to everyone going through struggles is to just “believe in yourself.”

To learn more about the programs and scholarships offered at HCC, visit hccs.edu/programs or hccsfoundation.org.

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