Students at for-profit colleges and universities often have inspiring stories behind them. Take Sammantha Montanez, mother of six and recent graduate from Everest’s eight-month Patient Care Technician program, for instance. Coming from a rough childhood and obstacles that would be overwhelming for most, Montanez has shown an amazing amount of resolve and tenacity to become a successful home health aide and help her family make ends meet. For this reason, Montanez was awarded Everest University’s 2012 Dream Award.

Montanez’s childhood teen years were difficult to say the least. Montanez was passed around the foster care system, was a teen mother of two by the time she was 16, and fought her way through bouts of homelessness. Needless to say, education wasn’t as easy as it would’ve been for other students.

Fast-forward several years and Montanez was happily married with six children when she made the decision to attend an Everest University campus to earn her Patient Care Technician program. The eight-month-long course wouldn’t be easy, but it would allow her to get right into a career as a home health aide in less than a year and help her family make ends meet. She says:

“It was beyond difficult – just getting to school was a challenge. The hardest part is taking that first step. Once you take that step toward your dream, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. As a parent, I want to be a good role model for my children to show them that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”

In May of this year, Montanez was presented the award, which is given to students who have changed their lives for the better through education. Having finished her program, her next goal is to work up to becoming a LPN.

And maybe that’s the real power of education. After all the talk about making more money and getting a better job, earning a college education is really about the confidence you gain, the knowledge that you can take on difficult challenges and overcome. That kind of confidence will make you successful in anything you undertake.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sammantha Montanez’s story, you can read the whole thing here. To learn more about Everest University, you can click here.

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