SSS Success Stories
At SSS, we are proud of each of our students. When they succeed, we celebrate right along with them! Sometimes, special students come along who have overcome powerful odds to achieve success, and we would like to salute them in a special way!
2011-2012 Anthony Ervin
Student Support Services graduates are full of “beat the odds” success stories, but few are likely to match the obstacles and adversity of one participant. On May 5, 2012, Anthony James Ervin defied the odds and graduated summa cum laude from the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies. “I am a survivor because I never let my disabilities or other people define me; I continue to push forward because I know I can,” he said.
As a young child, his disabilities interfered with his school work, his interaction with other students and teachers and his ability to focus on one task. He learned to manage them and graduated from high school with honors and enrolled in college. After failing his first attempt at college, Anthony took a job as a laborer and eventually became a plumber, a job that he held for several years. In 2007, his story became more audacious when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. The doctor told his mother he would not survive his injuries. To their surprise, at the end of the week, he was still alive and improving. His recovery was a miracle, but he was told that his injury caused permanent impairment of his cognitive and bodily functions. “I proved the doctors wrong by returning to community college,” said Anthony. He graduated with honors from Motlow State in 2010, less than three years after his near-fatal car accident.
His disabilities and impairments from the car accident persisted and followed him to UTC. In addition, he had to develop strategies to meet the demands of a rigorous pre-Physical Therapy curriculum and address issues relating to transferring and finding financial resources to finance his education. Even with the help from Student Support Services, it was no small achievement for him to graduate and gain acceptance into the Physical Therapy doctorate program. “Anthony understood when he needed support, and he took advantage of our tutoring services in a variety of classes, impressing his tutors with both his knowledge and determination,” said Melissa Laseter, SSS Tutor Coordinator.
“I physically hurt every day and do not have the memory or spelling and punctuation skills I once had,” he said. Director of Student Support Services, Shirl S. Gholston said, “His attitude is surprising considering the daily challenges he has to endure. He is a remarkable and humble person and never, ever complains about his problems or even alludes to the fact that school was more difficult for him than other students.”
Although obtaining his undergraduate degree has been difficult for Anthony, he will continue his education in the UTC Physical Therapy Doctorate program this fall. His goal is to become a physical therapist to help others with movement dysfunctions. As one can see, his challenges have not deterred his spirit or made him angry. Instead, Anthony is using his experiences to push himself toward a better future, and he will soon be providing that encouragement for others as well.