Santa Cruz Adult School
Nominated in 2016
Samantha Throop is a Santa Cruz Adult School student who recently earned her High School Equivalency Diploma. Her educational path has not been an easy one. Samantha has experienced many difficult life circumstances and has faced many obstacles in her life and yet has made a conscious and brave decision to overcome these difficult challenges and succeed in her goals. A victim of severe abuse as a child, she has little memory of her early educational experiences because of the trauma she experienced. For thirty years, she hid from pain and fear by abusing alcohol and drugs. She raised a family, three who graduated and three who continue to struggle in life.
Reflecting on her life and the impact her decisions have had on her children, she decided that she would make life-altering changes. Eight years ago, she entered A.A. and became a sober mom. Her career calling was to aid the disabled and elderly as a caregiver, and she loved working in this field. However, life dealt her another significant blow several years ago when one of her clients fell and Samantha severely injured her spine while trying to help her. In her time in class, she never gave in to the pain and continued to attend regularly in spite her suffering.
Samantha decided to return to school to get her diploma. While in class, she was a constant support person for other students and she also encouraged acquaintances outside of class to register and attend. Her study habits were amazing. It was typical of Samantha to study online and research each subject thoroughly. It was obvious how much she enjoyed the process of learning. This is how she approached each subject, with laser focus and a genuine enthusiasm to learn above and beyond what was required. When she passed all her tests, she returned to class to offer advice and encouragement to her fellow students. Her participation was crucial in nurturing those important class bonds, welcoming new students with open arms, forming study groups, and often contacting students who had been absent. She made each and every student feel special.
Samantha is gifted in her work with the elderly and disabled and does not wish to leave this field. With this in mind, she is planning to enter college this year and study Human Resources. Her goal is to become a social worker for the disabled, including disabled veterans and the elderly. Presently, she is pursuing scholarships so that she may turn her dreams into a reality. Financial circumstances have dictated a return to care giving and she is continuing this work in spite of her injuries. Her desire to further her education is her lifelong dream and based on how she approaches challenges with such a positive and determined attitude, she will no doubt be successful in becoming an outstanding social worker. Her contribution to the community in this profession will be exceptional
Samantha’s words sum it up perfectly: “The obstacles that I have overcome to be where I am at this moment gives me the courage and strength to get my college degree. My children are very proud of their mom and are following in my footsteps by re-entering school. They got to watch Mom studying at night with multiple books open. My favorite was learning the elemental tables!”