Her speech was only 233 words long but the message produced many more words of reaction when she was finished.
Racheal Hunt, who was a student in OTCs Middle College several years ago, spoke at a recent College Development program about her time at OTC and how it changed her life.
“I found my life line (at OTC). I found my self-worth and my purpose,” said Hunt who graduates next month with a degree in Early Childhood Development and will start at Missouri State in January.
Her speech turned emotional midway through as her voice wavered from the podium.
“I owe a great deal of my success to the people in this audience,” she said to the hundreds who were listening. “Without Middle College, Im not sure I would have ever gone to college.”
LaRaine Bauer, dean of special academic programs at OTC, which includes the Middle College, said, “to say we are proud of her is an understatement. She is a shining example of the hope we have for each student who starts at Middle College. We provided her with the opportunity, and she turned it into gold.”
Hunt, 20, came to the Middle College program after attending Central High School during freshman and sophomore years until she was in a severe car accident and missed a lot of school. Her grades dropped and she came to the Middle College in 2009 to continue her studies.
As part of the program, Hunt is currently working at Isabel House where she interacts with children who are brought in from crisis situations.
At Middle College, Hunt said instructors pushed her “in a loving way” to excel. She got the help she needed to pass her courses.
It was Bauer who convinced Hunt to give the speech. The two of them worked on it together. After the speech, Hunt went into the audience to find Bauer and the two hugged.
Hunt was nervous about the speech at first but “I found a few faces in the crowd that I knew and it was OK then. I’ve always been kind of a talker but never in front of that many people.”
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