Finish my Degree in Computer Science

$210 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 57 months
Rhonda Holder Blanton
Student ID: W00008770
Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, AL

Letter of Appeal

For your consideration;

I am including a copy of my Summer Appeal letter with this correspondence in an effort to shorten this letter as much as possible. I have altered my degree plan to include two majors. I had planned on doing this before finishing my Computer Science degree. When I was here in the 90's I was working on an Applied Science Degree, and I wanted to finish that program while I was here.

The previous letter only included the death of my daughter in 1998, realizing now that I need to include the time leading up to, and after this life changing event. Only my immediate family and a few friends know these details of my life, and they are difficult for me to share, even in a letter. But my future depends on it as I am turning 53 next month, and I feel like this is my last chance to get it right.

At the end of the semester in the spring of 1994, I had lost both of my part-time jobs. As a single parent with a 15 year old son, I had to find employment immediately, which is when I stated working in construction. This job required 12 hours a day in a variety of cities and states, making it impossible for me to continue my education at that time. I always planned to get back in college as soon as financially possible.

In the summer of 1996 while working on the construction site of HealthSouth on Highway 280 in Birmingham, Alabama, I was attacked by a man while working on the elevator shaft on top of the building by a man whom we later found out was a lifetime sex offender. There were police reports filed in Jefferson County and later I had to hire an attorney. This person worked for the general contractor, I worked for a subcontractor, of which there were several as this job site had well over 600 workers on any given day. There were at least three other women this happened to. They did not fire him; they moved him around to other jobs. One of their Superintendents was helping me, by telling me the truth, was said to have committed suicide one weekend. That is when my boss said it was time to go out of town to work. While in Florida working with my partner, I became pregnant with the child that died. The entire time I was pregnant I was going to depositions and legal meetings over this matter. While this case was in progress, the offender, John Calhoun, murdered a man, raped his wife and left her for dead. He is on death row now.

Within a year after our daughter died my partner turned to drugs and became a methamphetamine addict. I packed his things and put him out of my house. I was left with all the debt and had to continue to work in construction as it was the only way I could earn enough to take care of everything. Finishing school was still a goal of mine, but it was not going to be possible for a while.

I finally got a job with a company in which I could at least use the knowledge I had received while going to college. I was working right here in Hanceville. But in 2008 the company filed bankruptcy and I really got serious about going back to school. But in July of 2008 I had a heart attack, and within a month I was having an arteriogram with a stint placed in my right coronary artery. Two weeks later I had another arteriogram because they thought they had seen another blockage, thankfully it was a false alarm, but the procedure itself was taxing.

A few months after the heart attack my sister and her husband invited me to the beach because they thought I needed a little down time. On May 1, 2009 while in Panama City Beach I fell and shattered my right forearm which required 6 hours of surgery and two titanium plates to put both bones back together. I had another surgery on this arm a year later at UAB, where all my doctors are, to remove the bottom plate because it was causing pressure on the nerves. A week after they took this out, while in the shower washing my hair, the bone snapped into. This required six weeks in a cast and 6 months in a custom brace in order for the bone to fill in the holes left by the bolts they removed. It was a total of 18 months before I was release from the doctor from this accident.

About four months later I was having sever pelvic pain, I probably was having it sooner but due to the level of pain from the arm, I don't think I would have noticed. After several test, Dr. Jared Roberts, my gynecologist at UAB discovered a large tumor bundle on my left ovary. I had a complete hysterectomy, including lymph nodes and connective tissue on May 20, 2011. But I was cancer free.

As soon as I recovered from this surgery I started seriously getting prepared to go back to college. I went to the Career Center and tested and became eligible for the W.I.A. program, and now they tell me I am out of W.I.A. funds. So the funds in my account now are all the hope I have of finishing. In the fall of 2011 I went to night classes and completed the Ready to Work Program and Work keys. I started classes for my Computer Science degree in the summer of 2012, this fall I will finish that degree, and in the spring I have three or four classes to complete the General Studies. I will graduate in May with a double major if I have the funds to pay my bills and get to school and back.

In the spring of this year when my appeal was turned down, the letter indicated that if my grades were very good and I didn't drop any classes, they would seriously consider granting approval on my fall appeal. I did not drop any classes and have A's and B's. All I need for my degree is the four classes I am enrolled in now. I
think that should count for something.

At least I should be allowed to plead my case in person and get a reason for their decision one way or another. Anybody deserves a reason why my appeal is denied.

As for my Visual Basics class, the first time I took it my Daddy had a stroke, that changed everything. The second time there were programming issues. I had a newer version that Mrs. Grimmett had, she will verify this. I have a tutor lined up for the fall class starting in October.

My life didn't go exactly and I planned, this letter was almost as difficult to write as it was to live through, but I am determined to finish both of the programs of study. I will be 53 years old in September, 2013 and I feel like this is it; my last chance to get my life back and be a productive citizen once again.

I have enclosed a copy of the medical records request to UAB, to be sent directly to Wallace State. As well as my certificates of completion in Work Keys and Ready to Work. I sent a copy of my daughter's death certificate in the spring letter, hopefully that is still in my file.

I want to thank you for your time and consideration and hope for a positive outcome. My future depends on it as I am single and unemployed and have no other means of completing these programs of study.


Rhonda H. Blanton

This is a copy of the appeal sent to the financial aid committee. My appeal was turned down for MAX hours (SAP)

I was granted a scholarship from the Future Foundation @ Wallace State in the amount of 840.00 which will allow me to take one class this semester. But no funds for utility bills, gas and school supplies.
My home is paid for, I have very few bills, but the added stress of trying to figure out how to meet my monthly bills is making it difficult to stay focused. I have had help with utilities from some family members, but I can't continue to take money from them, they are not financially able to keep doing this.

I am bound and determined to get this degree, if I have to take one class a semester. I am taking one class this semester and would love to take the final three classes needed for my Computer Science Degree if the funds are available.

I don't know if you can give $1.00 or $100.00, but it would be life changing for me.

I want to be a productive citizen and be able to help others on their quest in education. Once employed in my chosen field I will be able to do just that.

I will then be an alumni of Wallace State Community and would proudly donate money in order for others to follow their dreams.

When I was 18, back in 1978, it was thought that if you came from a home that was not financially able to put you through college, then work (any kind of work) was my only choice.

This is pretty much my life since the early 90's ... and like I mentioned before ... difficult to put out there to the public.
I am an open book. If you need more information about me and my situation I would be more than willing to answer any and all questions.

I pray you believe in my as much as I believe in myself. I can do this.

Thank you all so much for at least reading my story.

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Three more classes to go to finish up. Trying to raise the money needed so that I can complete my degree this fall. Going to work all I can this summer. Thanks for reading and please share.
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Please read and share ... thank you all!!!
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Mid-terms starting today!!!
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Got my first "perfect score" on a web page ... programming class starts next month ... ready!
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$210 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 57 months
Created January 15, 2014
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Samantha Ducote
57 months ago

You are proof that no matter the obstacle, with strength & determination, anything you dream is possible. Aunt Hilda & Uncle Jack supported me and my college endeavors, so I wish to support you in yours. In loving memory of them & their granddaughter Ms. Sydney Jade, I wish you the best of luck!

Vanessa Zelitt
57 months ago

Rhonda You are going to do this so stay focused on your goal ! I'm so proud of you!

Beth Crosslin
57 months ago

Rhonda, Reading your story just breaks my heart! I am so impressed with how far you have come and I know that God has his hand in that! I had no idea you had been through so much! We too lost a child. My husband's son was killed in a car accident on September 1, 2011. He was 22 years old. No parent should ever have to lose a child! I really wish I could give more and should the opportunity to present itself I certainly will. Good Luck to you and may God's Grace be with you! Beth

Linda Starnes
57 months ago

I will try to help you each month if I can Rhonda. Stay determined. We all are proud of you!

LaClaire Crouch
57 months ago

I love you Rhonda!

Sheree Steele
57 months ago

I'm so proud of you, I hope you get to live your dream, you deserve it. Keep up the good work and go for the gold, I love you sister:)

Vanessa Thomason Zelitt
57 months ago

Rhonda Your story touched my heart and I will donate $20.00 whenever I can. You are such a good and sweet person and I know you are going to finish this degree. I've been very blessed in my life and know you are going to do great things and you already have whether you know it or not! Love you girl and am so proud of you!

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