BY Dexter McCree, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Upon high school graduation, T’Nora Dessaw wasn’t quite sure of her next move. She contemplated enrolling in college immediately or a career in the armed forces.
Strong in her faith, she prayed and asked God for guidance and direction during that difficult time of finishing high school and deciding what to do in life. Days later, she received a letter in the mail informing her she’d been awarded the Johnnie Ruth Clark Scholarship to attend St. Petersburg College (SPC).
“My prayers were answered. I knew I was on the right path,” she exclaimed!”
That was two years ago. Dessaw graduated from Osceola Fundamental High School in 2016 and enrolled in SPC.
Receiving the scholarship gave her the opportunity to attend college tuition free, so long as she remained in good academic standing.
“That was no problem for me,” she said.
The scholarship took away the financial pressures often associated with college, and allowed her to really focus on her academics, as well as getting involved with student and community activities. Earlier this month, she received her associate’s degree.
During her tenure at SPC, she was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. One of the perks of being a member of the honor society is being afforded the opportunity to travel to South Africa to study International Relations and Diplomacy.
Dessaw is also a member of the Golden Key International Society, which is reserved for students who are in the top 15 percent of their class. She held the office of student government vice president, is a member of the National Council of Negro Women Black Pearls and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.
“Being a part of these organizations has enabled me to impact my community in many ways,” she proudly explained.
Dessaw mentors high school student and is involved with the Good News Club at Melrose Elementary School. She has volunteered for the NCNW’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast event, the Ronald McDonald House and projects involving cleaning up the streets of St. Petersburg.
However, as we celebrate the actions of this incredible young woman, I would be journalistically remiss if I did not mention her challenges. While in school, her grandmother passed away.
“This really hurt badly; I was her caregiver,” she revealed. “We had a very close relationship, but I looked to God for help and strength to get me through each day.”
“T’Nora is very self-motivated and a self-starter,” said Ellis Hodge, pastor of Word of Life Fellowship. “There is no task too big for her to tackle and accomplished with confidence.”
In addition to her traditional academic accomplishments, Dessaw received a diploma in Theology from Life Christian University.
She has been accepted into the University of South Florida, Tampa and will major in criminology. Her desire is to eventually live in Washington, D.C., and work for the federal government, preferably the Drug Enforcement Agency.
“T’Nora is very gifted, talented and someone who loves to serve and encourage others,” stated friend and colleague Jenay Yore.
Dessaw’s personal life statement can be found in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV):
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.