Scholar Story: Seberina
Martinsville, VA

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SeberinaFor the last twenty years, Seberina has been devoted to what matters most in her life—being a good mother to her two sons and working hard to provide for them. A single parent, Seberina worked full-time at a local corporation and took the occasional college course when she had the time. But most of her energy was spent caring for her boys—coaching their sports teams when they were young and attending their games when they moved up to junior high and high school. Now that her children are grown, Seberina finally has time to focus on what has been a lifelong dream of hers—going to college to become a teacher.

“I’ve always loved being around children. My children are all grown up now, and I find that I still want children in my life. It’s always been a dream of mine to become a teacher,” she said.

When Seberina was laid off from her job with the Virginia Employment Commission, she saw an opportunity to finally go to college full-time. She enrolled as a student at Patrick Henry Community College. Her goal: earn her Associates Degree in General Studies first, and then move on to a university to complete her teaching degree in Health and Physical Education.

But not having a full-time job began to take a toll on Seberina. The income she brought in from her work-study position was not enough to pay her quickly mounting bills. On the day she came home and found an eviction notice from her landlord, Seberina was forced to face the reality that she simply could not afford to go to college.

“I nearly dropped out,” Seberina said. “But another student on campus noticed that I wasn’t myself and asked me what had happened. When I explained my situation, she told me about the Dreamkeepers program.”

Seberina went to the Financial Services department at Patrick Henry, and through the Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Assistance program, was awarded a grant to help her pay her rent, stay in her home and stay in school. She also found out about another work position opening up at the college. Taking another job on campus helped Seberina stay on top of her bills while still being able to go to class. 

In the spring of 2008, Seberina graduated from Patrick Henry Community College with her Associates Degree. She enrolled at Averett University, and after getting married, she is now working toward her Bachelors' and Masters' Degrees at Old Dominion University's branch on the Patrick Henry campus "and loving it."

“My self-esteem has skyrocketed since going to college, and I can see my sons preparing themselves to go to college too. I think they say, ‘If my mom can do it, I can do it.’

"I feel so good about myself. Now that I have come so far I just have to graduate. Before I felt like I just couldn’t do it and now I know that I can do it. I would have had to drop out if it not for Dreamkeepers and I pray that Dreamkeepers helps someone else.”

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