Tuesday, June 4, 2013

TSIC Alumna Samantha Hartman's Story of Success

Samantha Hartman, a 2005 alumna from the Take Stock in Children Polk County Program, doesn't let obstacles get in the way of achieving her goals. Diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma (a soft tissue cancer found in her left foot) in middle school, Samantha underwent two chemo treatments and two surgeries. Cancer was just one of the many obstacles Samantha had to conquer to achieve her academic goals. Her parents advised her when she was in 10th grade that if she wanted to attend college, she would need to find a way to pay for it. 

 Through her involvement with the Take Stock in Children program in Polk County, serious academic study, and the support of her mentor and program director Theresa Choquette, Samantha was able to graduate from college without any student loans. After college, Samantha participated in a yearlong fellowship with the John Jay Institute in Philadelphia, PA. Currently, Samantha is the legislative aide for Senator Kelli Stargel (R) of Lakeland in the Florida Senate. Paying it forward, this young alumna mentors a group of four 10th grade students through her church sharing her time and wisdom to build a solid support network. Her future aspirations include teaching college classes, becoming a school principal and being involved in education policy. 

 Her advice to other students in the Take Stock in Children program is a favorite quote from Thomas Edison -- "Many people miss 'opportunity' because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work." Samantha adds, "Be a hard worker, not so others will notice you, but so that you are a person of integrity and character."

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