Scholarship recipient shares how EMC Education Foundation changed life
The East Montgomery County Scholarship Foundation held a fundraising gala on Nov. 2 at the East Montgomery County Improvement District headquarters in New Caney. Money raised from the gala helps the Foundation provide scholarships to graduating students in New Caney ISD, Splendora ISD, those who are in private schools or home schools, and those who received their GED.
This next summer, scholarships will be $1,600 per graduating student.
Splendora ISD Instructional Technology Coordinator Dale Martin introduced the guest speaker for the gala, Amanda Hill. He discussed some of her accomplishments during her high school years.
“She earned her Associates degree from Lone Star about three weeks before she got her high school diploma back when it was supposed to be impossible to be able to do these kinds of things,” he said.
Hill is the valedictorian of the Splendora High School Class of 2004. A recipient of the scholarship, Hill continued her education at Baylor University.
Hill says her life provided many obstacles on her educational path as she came from a family of multi-generational poverty. She lived with her grandmother after her grandfather passed away and remembers the difficulty of getting by month to month.
“It was a really hard time and I was very embarrassed by that stark level of poverty,” she said.
Hill, determined to improve herself, changed her life’s trajectory by earning a college education despite the financial difficulties. She worked a number of minimum wage jobs to make ends meet and started mapping out a college plan.
“I figured out what you needed to do for an Associates degree and started working towards that,” she said.
All of Hill’s hard work paid off as she graduated Splendora High School with a high school diploma in one hand, an Associates degree in the other and $1,000 in the bank from the East Montgomery County scholarship.
College provided many opportunities for Hill who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Studies in 2007. She decided she wanted to continue her education and go to law school, noting that much of her past inspired her to want to understand the law.
“Abuse was rampant in my family and should have been prosecuted,” she said. “My grandparents should have been able to adopt me but they didn’t know that process or how it worked. We should have had a lawyer to secure better benefits after my grandfather passed away.”
This prompted Hill to want to go to law school.
“I wanted to be able to help people that grew up the same way I had,” she said.
Hill attended night courses at the University of Houston Law Center while working at Splendora High School. She finished her legal education in 2011 when she earned her Juris Doctorate.
The next step for Hill was to become an Assistant District Attorney in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office where she worked in misdemeanor and felony courts.
Many of Hill’s accomplishments include securing a life sentence against a habitual felon and registered sex offender, working in the Juvenile Prosecutor Division and co-chairing the certification hearing of Don Collins for the 1998 burning and murder of Robert Middleton.
“This was a case from Splendora that I remember from when I was a child,” said Hill. “Here I was all of these years later co-chairing the first case with legal issues that had ever been seen like this in the state of Texas.”
Hill now works as her own boss as an attorney. She often works with children and has helped to make a difference for many involved in her cases.
Despite everything Hill has accomplished, she stresses the importance of the impact a choice can have on someone.
“The East Montgomery County scholarship helped secure my education from Baylor, which ultimately got me onto law school,” said Hill. “Not only can I see the impact that my education has had in my career but my education has impacted my personal life beyond measure.”
The seemingly small decision of awarding the scholarship to Hill has allowed her to break her family’s multi-generational poverty cycle and has also given her children opportunities she never had in the past.
“Thank you for stepping in and changing my story all those years ago,” she said. “Thank you for believing that I was worth your investment.”