Linfield senior receives funding needed to finish semester, graduate

Gabriel Nair, Staff Writer

Heather Brooks is a single mother raising two young kids while attending Linfield College full time.

She was the first person in her family to graduate from high school, however instead of attending college straight away, she married and had two children.

Unfortunately, this marriage was not a fairy tale but was riddled with instability.

Brooks, hoping for a better life for her and her children, left and were welcomed by the Henderson House, a domestic violence shelter in McMinnville.

Despite this, Brooks wasn’t content with just getting away from the unstable relationship she had left.

She wanted to be able to provide a healthy environment for her children and to do so, college was a vital requirement.

Brooks ended up attending Chemeketa Community College. But having the time to attend classes soon became a struggle.

Both of her children were toddlers at the time, meaning that they were not attending school. She had no one to watch her children and childcare was a constant struggle.

Despite the hardships, she was still able to go to class and sometimes even brought her children along.

Brooks graduated from Chemeketa Community College with an associate of arts transfer degree. This is a general education degree to help a student get ready to start at a four-year school.

Her dream was to attend Linfield College and she was fully supported by her professor, Athanasios Michaels.

Michaels was “one of the best teachers I’ve ever had … taught history at Chemeketa. He encouraged me to go to Linfield and his encouragement meant a lot to me,” said Brooks.

She was accepted to Linfield and still has the acceptance letter.

Brooks knew that it was possible that she would not be able to afford the cost of attending Linfield.

Two days before fall classes began, Heather received a call from Linfield informing her that the scholarships, grants, and loans would be enough to cover tuition.

The moment she heard the news, she rushed to Linfield to sign up for classes. Heather is a senior mass communication major.

Attending Linfield, new struggles emerged. Brooks had problems adjusting to the increased workload of Linfield.

But she had it easier than she did at Chemeketa because her children were now attending school, which helped with the childcare.

Then a huge financial crisis occurred this semester.

Brooks had reached the limit for offered grants and loans so she wouldn’t be able to attend Linfield for this last semester.

She only needed six more credits to graduate and was determined not to let this destroy her dream.

After consulting professors and advisors, Brooks decided to try and get her final year at college funded through a GoFundMe campaign.

GoFundMe is a crowd funding source that allows users to create a website and receive donations for their cause.

She was initially reluctant to put so much personal information out on the web but support came in almost immediately. People even sent encouraging messages as well as money.

Brooks also said that she “wouldn’t want to trade my experience at Linfield for anything.”