Don’t tell Michaela Cate she can’t do something because she loves to show people she can.
Cate has used her A+ scholarship to become a physical therapy assistant even though, at one point, it didn’t look like she was going to get through the program.
“I wouldn’t have made it through financially without A+,” the Lincoln, Mo., high school graduate said. “I wouldn’t be in college without A+.”
The A+ program provides scholarship funds to eligible graduates of A+ designated high schools who attend a participating public community college or vocational/technical school, or certain private two-year vocational/technical schools in MIssouri.
In high school, Cate more than met all of the requirements needed to be eligible for the A+ scholarship. Besides having the grades that were required, she served on school committees, teams and societies.
She also had a plan for her future.
“I had my plan devised my entire senior year — move to Springfield, get a job and get into the PTA program,” she said.
After gaining college credits while in high school and fulfilling other prerequisites, Cate was accepted in the PTA program at the OTC Springfield Campus.
But her dream seemed to be over when she didn’t make the required grade for one course and wasn’t able to continue in the PTA program.
“I felt as if I hit a road block and failed. My dreams were crushed,” she said. “After many tears, I decided I must go on and do something valuable with my time and my A+ scholarship while waiting to get back into the program.”
Cate took the year off from the program and worked on an Associate of Arts degree in business. She also was asked to join the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Today, she is back in the PTA program and will be graduating with both degrees in spring 2017.
“I totally stretched the benefits of the A+ program. A+ has opened doors and created opportunities for me I never even thought possible,” she said.
“I feel like I accomplished something and that I’m not a failure.”
Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.