No matter what obstacles you face, you CAN and WILL succeed

I’m a native of Fort Worth, Texas (Southeast Ft. Worth, specifically) and was born to a single teenage mother in the early ’80s. I spent the majority of my childhood moving from one place to another due to economic hardships and other challenges. By my senior year of high school, I had transferred school 21 times in 4 different cities. In spite of all this, I was able to rise above my circumstances and attend college. I’d say I was the first one in my household to do so, but by the time I enrolled, my mother and I were BOTH college students. I began attending Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas as a Journalism student in August 1999 and was becoming quite successful in my own right. Then in November 2002, I got pregnant with my son. By this time, I had entered my Junior year of college. It certainly wasn’t planned, and I had NO clue how I would raise a child at that stage in my life, considering the fact that I was sharing a dorm room with one of my sorority sisters and making just $1 above minimum wage at the time. But I did it.

I continued with my education, landed a six-week internship with Essence Magazine in New York City, and gave birth to my son two weeks before my fall semester in August 2003. It was extremely challenging, but I had a wonderful “village” of friends and family who helped me along the way. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in May 2006 when my son was 2yrs old. A few years later, I went on to earn my Master’s degree from Texas Christian University in December 2011. Since then, I’ve survived job loss, bankruptcy, and homelessness, but I never lost faith and have always come out on top. I’m also proud to say my son is now entering his senior year of high school and preparing for college.

It is my hope to inspire others with my story and serve as living proof that no matter what obstacles you face, you CAN and WILL succeed

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Ashley Dennis