The 2019 U of A Hope-Texarkana Academic All-Star Award was recently presented to Kalesha Parrish of Texarkana, Arkansas, at the Annual Arkansas Community College’s Conference in Little Rock. The purpose of this program is to recognize the scholarly and service achievements of Arkansas’ two-year college students. Each All-Star will receive a $500 scholarship for his/her final semester at their college of attendance and a full-tuition transfer scholarship to any Arkansas public four-year university.
In her time at UAHT, Parrish has made the Chancellor’s Honor Roll, been named as the 2019 TRiO Hall of Fame Award recipient, served as Senator-at-large of the Student Government Association, and as treasurer of TRiO Student Support Services. Kalesha is active in the community and has volunteered at the homeless shelter of Texarkana, the Salvation Army, and at UAHT. She also serves as the Secretary and as a Sunday school teacher at her church.
According to Kalesha, her success in college did not always come easy. “I was a freshman at UAHT for five years. I kept giving up on my dream. In August of 2018, I felt lost and decided to quit my job and return to college to try to create a better life for my family. Despite numerous setbacks and times that I just wanted to give up again, I was encouraged by numerous faculty and staff members to keep going. They helped me feel like part of a family and also helped me find ways to pay for college. The journey was challenging, but I never gave up. With the support of my family and the college, I received the encouragement I needed to succeed. I finally found myself and my voice at UAHT!”
Parrish is currently pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at UAHT. Her plans include transferring to Southern Arkansas University to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting. After completing her education, she plans to become a state or federal auditor and eventually work in politics.