Not everybody has the power to significantly change the life of a total stranger but Mesquite Mayor Al Litman was the lucky guy who was recently gifted with just that task.
Karla Viera-Garcia was the worthy winner of a $15,000 scholarship from Stevens-Henneger College, in which Mayor Litman was to choose the recipient.
The scholarship was based on a written essay; the subject, “How a college degree can change my life.”
Litman chose Viera-Garcia based on her essay relaying the day-to-day struggles she and her mother have faced after the death of her father five years ago. She also had to overcome her own bad accident over a year ago that left her with a broken leg and injured back. Viera-Garcia said this time was particularly hard on her mother, who was faced with having to pay all the bills and take care of her daughter.
Viera-Garcia, while working as a dishwasher at the Virgin River Casino, thought she should better her life and pursue a degree if she really wanted her life to change but she didn’t have the resources to make that work on her own.
Viera-Garcia’s dream has been to pursue a career in nursing and the scholarship is her ticket to a new beginning. She realizes the potential of a college education and said so in her essay when she wrote, “The fact of the matter is that if you obtain a college degree you’re more likely to earn more money throughout your career.
“Not only does a college degree make you more marketable, it provides you with a greater range of lucrative career options. While high school graduates can look forward to entry level positions in non-skilled positions, earning a college degree at any level will open doors for me that would otherwise be shut.”
Viera-Garcia plans to work toward an associate’s degree in Medical Specialties and further down the road pursue her life-long dream of becoming a nurse.