Upward Bound helps WC student to succeed

07/29/2014 11:54 AM

07/29/2014 11:56 AM

Several factors aligned to set Louriann Villa on the path to success including a mother she considers a hero, the Weatherford College Upward Bound program and scholarship funds.

Villa began exploring Weatherford College her freshman year at Millsap High School.

“I was lucky enough in high school to be a part of Upward Bound through WC,” she said. “Upward Bound is a program that caters to chosen high schools and teaches future first-generation college students the ins and outs of college while on the WC campus. This program allowed me to attend a few classes on campus, and that opportunity provided me with the answer to where I wanted to begin my education.”

Now Villa is studying agriculture at WC with future plans of transferring to Tarleton State University to study wildlife biology.

But her education wouldn’t be possible without a little financial help. Villa is currently attending school on the EA Patterson Scholarship, and she listed affordability as one of the most important factors in her choice to attended Weatherford College.

“The Upward Bound program helped give me more knowledge about loans, grants, scholarships and even how to gain access to those resources,” she said. ‘Upward Bound also provided me with a majority of my financial knowledge so affordability was the main target.”

In addition to the cost of tuition, proximity of the campus to her family was another major draw to WC. Villa has a close connection with her family, especially her mother who she said pushed her past what she imagined as her potential.

“Many first time students feel the need to branch out miles or even states away from home,” Villa said. “I knew that staying close to home was what I needed. I was aware that this was a big change not only for me but for my parents as well. Staying within a few miles meant the change wouldn’t be so hard for either of us.”

When not in class or studying, Villa enjoys volunteering in the Weatherford and Mineral Wells area. She’s also been known to compete in beauty pageants, and has won the Parker County Peach Queen crown two years running.

Kim Hutton, Director of Student Support Services, was a counselor for Upward Bound when Villa participated in the program and has watched Villa blossom from a high school freshman into a successful college student with a strong interest in her community.

“She is a great student and has grown tremendously over the past years,” Hutton said. “I am very proud of her.”

As a sophomore on campus, Villa has developed strong ties with her fellow students and instructors. She described the faculty as part of her family with instructors who are always willing to help no matter what it takes.

“That’s something that most students at a larger university can’t say,” Villa said. ”The individual attention I have received here is absolutely the best part of WC.

“I know for a fact that my WC education will put me above the rest in the professional world. I will do more than make a living with my WC education, because I will move mountains with the knowledge that I have been provided from the best community college in Texas.”

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