From dream to reality: a house to call home

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TCL graduate’s hard work, education lead to professional, personal success

 

Photo: Nancy Brink and her daughters Candace (left) and Katlyn (right) cut the ribbon to their new Lady’s Island home in front of family, friends and community officials.

 

On Thursday, June 24, Technical College of the Lowcountry graduate Nancy Brink cut a large red ribbon to the house that her family can now call home. With about 30 family members, friends and community officials present, Brink shared her story of hard work that led to personal success.

 

After a divorce in July 2007, Brink was left a single mother of two preteen girls and making $100 a week by housekeeping and working a few part-time jobs.

 

In order to make ends meet, Brink applied to live in an apartment with Beaufort County Housing Authority, with rent of $9 a month. Brink and her daughters also collected food stamps and began receiving Medicaid.

 

“I wasn’t sure how we were going to survive with my income being so low, but I kept my faith strong and pushed forward,” Brink said.

 

In the spring of 2009, Brink decided it was time to make a big change for her family.

 

“I decided it was time to go back to school if I was going to make a better life for my daughters, so I enrolled at TCL,” Brink said.

 

Brink was qualified for federal Pell Grants, which paid for her tuition, course fees and books at TCL.

 

Although Brink was nervous and somewhat fearful for her new start at college, she overcame her anxiety and thrived at TCL. Business Technologies instructor Cora Newcomb supported and watched Brink blossom and succeed during her enrollment at TCL and after her graduation.

 

“Nancy was a student that always gave more than was required in her classes and her life,” Newcomb said. “Not to mention she is dependable, caring and a joy to be around.”

 

Attending TCL taught Brink not only academic skills but life skills as well.

 

“I learned to meet deadlines, follow through with obligations, work hard and ask a lot of questions. I was also taught the value of teamwork and communication. All these things combined prepared me for my current career and life in general,” Brink said.

 

Brink graduated from TCL in May 2011 with two associate degrees in Industrial Electronics Technology & General Technology, four certificates and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

 

Brink’s daughters, Candace, 16 and Katlyn, 18, look to their mom for inspiration and guidance as they plan for their futures.

 

“I have truly learned from my mom that you have to work hard to achieve your life goals and dreams,” Katlyn Brink said. Katlyn just graduated from Beaufort High this past spring and will begin her enrollment at TCL this fall.

 

In November 2012, a former classmate from TCL informed Brink of a job opening at the Marine Corps Air Station as an IT Operations Analyst II. That December, Brink was accepted for the position, which laid out a path for her future success.

 

With a steady full-time job, Brink and her family were able to stop receiving food stamps and Medicaid.

 

Three years later, Brink is working directly for HP as a NetOps Lead on Parris Island and has purchased her first home for her family of three through a USDA home loan program, which offers real financial benefits to those that qualify.

 

As Brink and her daughters prepared themselves to cut the ribbon to their first home, Brink smiled at her family and friends with tears streaming down her cheeks. “I never thought someone like me would be able to buy a house. I have been blessed with great opportunities and I am so grateful,” Brink said.

 

This is not the end of Brink’s success story. She plans to travel the world, further her career in electronics technology and send her daughters to college as well.

 

“Her desire to better herself and provide a better life for her children has overcome all of her fears and anxiety of going to college. And now success is hers to claim,” Newcomb said.