A Promise Kept
Tri-C resources helped Mechelee Torres find her path to success
Mechelee Torres’ life changed forever when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017. With no electricity on the island, she was unable to continue working or taking classes at her university. A month later, she moved to Cleveland so she could continue her education.
“When I came to the United States, my English was not very good, so I enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at Tri-C,” Torres said.
Shortly after the start of her first semester, Torres received bad news. Her withdrawal from the university in Puerto Rico had not been processed, and Tri-C could not access her financial aid to pay her tuition. Torres credits the College’s Hispanic Council and coordinator Sylvia Royle with keeping her on track.
“Sylvia helped me with my financial aid paperwork and talked to my professors to make sure I could stay in my ESL classes even though I had officially been dropped,” Torres said. “She told me she would help me stay in college.”
Royle kept that promise, helping Torres find and apply for scholarships that would cover the cost of her classes that semester.
After a year of ESL courses, Torres, a Western Campus student, began working toward the Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice that she will receive next month. She balanced her schoolwork with a full-time job, where she often put in 50 hours a week. She is also highly competitive, winning first prize in an Earth Day poster design contest at Tri-C.
“I like to draw and paint,” she said. “I think that is something about me that would surprise a lot of people.”
Following graduation, Torres plans to enroll in a six-month police academy.
“Participating in the police academy and working as a police officer will help me understand the law enforcement system and provide me with practical experience as I continue my studies,” she said.
Her goal is to become a forensic scientist processing evidence in a laboratory.
Torres recommends Tri-C to anyone starting over in the Cleveland area.
“It’s a great place to connect with people,” she said. “There are students from all over the world, and the employees are friendly and helpful. Everyone there wants to help you move forward and succeed.”
Cuyahoga Community College will celebrate the academic achievements of its newest graduates during commencement, June 9 at Byers Field at Robert M. Boulton Stadium in Parma. Check our News and Events page leading up to the event as we highlight members of the Class of 2021.
June 06, 2021
Katie Utrata, 216-987-4582 or firstname.lastname@example.org