In her own words

Cassie Yeckel

Growing up in the inner city, I watched both of my parents bounce around from job to job, uncertain of how long they would be there. As I got into middle school, they began to sell and use drugs. Their meager savings were spent purchasing drugs to sell or use. One day when I came home from school, the police had invaded our home and taken the drugs and all my parents’ savings. That moment is when I realized I wanted to grow up and create a different life than my parents had. Neither of my parents had finished college, so as I got into high school, I was never pushed to pursue post-secondary education. Even if they had seen the value of higher education, they would not have been able to provide me with resources or guidance to get a degree. Fortunately, I attended University Academy, where the main goal is to get students to and through college.

Although I went on to University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) after graduating from high school, I still felt very unfamiliar with how things worked and did not know what resources were available or how to access them. That first year was one of my toughest: my father was addicted to pain pills, and my mother left him and moved to Colorado. That year I failed half of my classes, lost my financial aid, and had to move out of the dorms and into my first apartment.

Eventually I was able to stabilize my life. I worked full-time and began taking part-time classes at Penn Valley Community College, while paying for schooling out-of-pocket. I used every resource I had available. I got tutoring. I sought out mentors to keep me on track, give me advice, and help keep me on track. After a couple of years of going part-time, I earned my Associates Degree from Penn Valley.

Currently, I am back enrolled at UMKC, and I am thriving. I am doing much better than before and plan to graduate in Spring of 2019. I am majoring in mass communications and am currently exploring options of career paths. I am utilizing all of my resources to assist me with creating a better future for myself. Currently, I am working with a business owner who is mentoring me in the marketing field, and I meet with my mentors weekly. Over the last few years, I have worked through my obstacles and am very optimistic of what my future holds. I have grown through these experiences, and it has helped me become the woman I am today and the woman I will be.

return to 2017 scholarship homepage