Why didn't you tell me there was a graduate school grant for military spouses? As a teenager, I believed you had to be extremely smart or wealthy to attend a college or university. I was neither, so I never planned for postsecondary education.
Yet now I am approaching the completion of my Master’s degree in Secondary Education and it is due to a fantastic grant I received from Corvias Foundation.Growing up in East Germany during the Cold War, higher education was not common and most people left school after 10th grade to attend trade schools and work. In fact, I was the first person in my family to graduate high school.
Right after graduation, I moved to the western part of Germany to escape high unemployment rates brought by the reunification and changes of the economy. This is where I met my husband, Derek, an American soldier, preparing for his first deployment to Iraq.Later, when Derek received PCS orders to Fort Riley, Kansas, and we moved to the United States., I experienced quite the culture shock.
To help get acclimated, I began volunteering for Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected children in the court system by serving as their voice and helping them find a safe placement. I enjoyed helping children and shortly after started working in the local middle and high school giving extra instruction to exceptional students.
Working with disadvantaged individuals, I had found my passion and decided to go to college to be even more effective in this area.
However, after another deployment came at the same time that I found out we were having another baby; I decided to quit working and focus on school and my family.
I began school at Barton County Community College in January 2010 and had to start from scratch as none of my credits from Germany transferred. I graduated one year later with my Associates of Science Degree and thought it was the greatest accomplishment ever.
It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to go further so I applied to Grand Canyon University in Arizona shortly after and graduated with my Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology in the spring of 2013. Though my husband was on another deployment, he got to watch my graduation ceremony online from Afghanistan.
That December, we were relocated to Fort Rucker, Alabama. My graduate studies began the next month but I realized that I would run out of money before finishing my studies.
One morning, when I went to the community office to use the gym, I saw a flyer for an educational grant. Not giving it a second thought I took the flyer, assuming it would be another great opportunity for a military child to get some money for college. I had never come across an opportunity for military spouses in a graduate program.
To my surprise, the Corvias Foundation grant was geared towards me and it was the amount I needed to finish my degree without taking on any debt! Though I never thought I would win, I took my chances and completed the application. I didn’t even tell my husband about it out of fear of disappointment. When I received a call from Corvias informing me I had won, I could not believe my luck. Corvias enabled me to complete school and fulfill my dream.
It is tough to juggle the many responsibilities we face as military spouses, parents, and individuals. Many obstacles are thrown our way and we don’t always feel like we can accomplish as much as we would like in the midst of deployments, moves, making and losing friends, and all this while being far from home. It is important to create our identity and chase our dreams.
Twelve years, four children, four duty stations, and five long deployments later, I am fulfilling my dream. Winning this grant meant the world to me. My goal is to instill awareness in people and help them see that they can create a better life for themselves through education. Corvias has been doing exactly that for many years now. They are passionate about military spouses and provide them with opportunities to succeed in their educational journey.
Never would I have imagined that I’d be joining them as an honorable grant recipient. I am grateful to Corvias Foundation for their generosity and I’m proud to carry on the tradition they have established. I cannot wait to start the next chapter of my life!
Anne Combs is an Army spouse currently fulfilling the dream in Alabama. The Corvias Foundation, a private, charitable foundation and the charitable arm of Corvias Group, has been committed to supporting military families in the pursuit of higher education since 2006. Since its founding by Corvias Group CEO John Picerne, the Foundation has awarded $920,000 in grants to more than 180 military spouses and more than $4 million in scholarships to kids of active-duty service members. Grant and scholarship applications will be available to children and spouses of active-duty service members stationed at 13 Army and Air Force installations nationwide beginning November 1, 2014 at www.corviasfoundation.org. Why Didn’t You Tell Me is a weekly feature that gives our readers a space to tell their own story. If you have a story for us, please submit using the contact button above. All stories must be original and unpublished. Photo compliments of Anne Combs.