by Tawny Aguayo, Senior / Biology major
I was born in New Britain, Connecticut, but, shortly afterwards, I moved to my dad’s birthplace in Puerto Rico. By the time I entered preschool, I had moved back to Hindman, Kentucky with my mother, and have lived in the mountains of eastern Kentucky ever since.
I attended The June Buchanan School, a college preparatory school located on the campus of Alice Lloyd College, of which I am a proud graduate (Class of 2009). During my time there, I received the best education a student could ever hope to have. That education provided me with some great opportunities, including being a part of the Rogers Scholars program, the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program, and many others.
While some of the best years of my life were spent on Alice Lloyd’s campus, I wanted to get away from the small-town vibe and move to the city. Due to my high ACT score and the wonderful education I received at June Buchanan, I was blessed with a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Kentucky. I had gotten just what I thought I wanted – big city, big school, and a fresh start.
After my first year at UK, I discovered that even though my full-tuition scholarship was fantastic, the housing, books, and other expenses really started to add up. It certainly was not cheap, especially for a middle class family like my own. Unsure of what career I wanted to pursue, I chose not to waste anymore money and moved back home.
I worked full-time at various jobs over the next year and a half, barely making over minimum wage. Most would consider this decision to be a bad one. I am grateful, though, because, while tough, it was a blessing in disguise. It taught me the value of hard work, and, more importantly, the value of a good education.
One day, while working as a bank teller, I was approached by a familiar face — Dr. Joe Stepp, the president of Alice Lloyd College. He asked me about my plans for the future and encouraged me to return to Alice Lloyd College to complete the education he knew I deserved. I took his advice, and it has been one of the best decisions I have made to date. During my first week back on campus, I remember bumping into my former high school history teacher. He embraced me in a warm hug and said, “You’re home, kid!”
My career at Alice Lloyd College has been nothing but success for me. I have been blessed to make the President’s List for three semesters and the Dean’s List for one. I am captain of Alice Lloyd’s Dance Team, as well as Vice President of both the IMPACT Club and Allied Health Club. I have been named to Who’s Who Among American College Students every semester. I was chosen to represent Alice Lloyd as a candidate for queen at the Mountain Laurel Festival. I am also a regular volunteer at the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter and a member of our local chapter of Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary.
I plan to continue to give back to my community by attending medical school and becoming a physician. I am so grateful to Alice Lloyd College’s faculty, staff, and especially its donors, for giving me a second chance to lead a successful life. Without the help from amazing teachers and the generosity of those who care about my future, I certainly would not be where I am today. I am forever grateful to everyone who has made this possible.
Help us continue the work of Mrs. Alice Lloyd and countless others by giving to Alice Lloyd College! With gifts from people like you, we can continue to produce the leaders Appalachia needs. Click here to make your gift today!