August 17, 2022
A Henderson County woman will get the chance to complete her college education, several years after she had to drop out. Thanks to Mars Hill University’s College Completion Scholarship competition, she’ll be able to do so without paying tuition.
Charlotte Bailes Garcia was selected from the entries in the scholarship contest, which awarded one full-tuition scholarship to an adult who wants to earn a bachelor’s degree in business, education, psychology, or social work through Mars Hill’s Adult and Graduate Studies program.
Garcia initially attended Mars Hill following her 2013 graduation from East Henderson High School. Since she was a child, she knew she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and earn her degree at Mars Hill. In her contest entry essay she said, “My first two years at MHU were such a special time in my life. I discovered my passion for teaching and youth ministry, met my best friend, and of course learned so much about myself.”
After her sophomore year, life brought changes that forced Garcia to hit the pause button on her college career. She tried to continue attending classes, but the challenges of trying to balance the long commute with her coursework and the responsibilities of serving as caregiver for her grandparents proved overwhelming.
What she thought would be a brief break stretched into years. She got married and had a daughter who, along with her husband’s daughter from a previous relationship, are two of her primary motivations for wanting to finish her degree.
Garcia works as the children and youth coordinator for her church and occasionally serves as a substitute teacher for Henderson County Schools. She said those opportunities to get in the classroom make her dream of a future as a teacher. She plans to become a middle school math teacher.
“Finishing my degree would completely change my life,” Garcia wrote in her essay. “I want to make up for the terrible debt I put myself in all those years ago; I want to take some of the financial burden off of my hard-working husband; I want to have a career in teaching, something I have wanted since I was a little girl; and most importantly, I want to show my daughters it is never too late to chase after your dreams.”
Now she can show her daughters that those dreams can come true. The MHU College Completion Scholarship will cover the cost of her tuition as well as textbooks.
“I can’t wait to get started!” Garcia said.