Finding the Drive to Succeed

As a young student, I did not commit myself academically. During my seventh grade school year, I struggled for the entire first nine weeks of my pre-algebra class. My first quarter report card showed a failing grade in the class. I was going to be kicked out of the class. In a meeting with my parents and the school principal, we discussed how difficult it would be for me to raise my average. I was ready to give up. But my parents convinced my principal to have me reinstated into the class against my wishes. With their encouragement I was able to complete that school year with a 94 average in pre-algebra. To this day, it is one of my proudest academic accomplishments, because that year I acquired a new sense of motivation and determination in the classroom.

A deeply rooted passion

I also owe much of my success in academics to my experience in Tang Soo Do, a specific martial art that originated in Korea over two thousand years ago. I began practicing Tang Soo Do around the same time as my pre-algebra incident. As I advanced through the ranks, I was taught principles like respect, self-discipline, and patience. Each of these three factors, along with my passion and love for martial arts has remained deeply rooted in me, and helped me to succeed in several academic endeavors.

In high school, Hunter was involved with the Health Occupational Students of America.

Discovering a career path

As I applied what I had learned from my past, it began to be effective. I was able to graduate from high school with highest honors and community service awards. Through an organization called Health Occupational Students of America, I also participated in academic competitions, placing 7th internationally in dental science and accumulating over two hundred shadowing hours. This experience led to my decision to pursue a career in dentistry. I received numerous institutional and competitive scholarships from Itawamba Community College based upon my academic merit, leadership, and community service. ICC’s rigorous curriculum has both tested and expanded the lessons I have learned through life, helping me further develop as a student, a leader, and a person.

A source of motivation

As a direct result of my involvement at ICC and my academic journey thus far, I was blessed to receive the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. The scholarship has been a constant source of motivation throughout this academic year. When I am faced with something extremely challenging, the thought of this scholarship reminds me that if I am persistent, I will overcome my obstacles.

A trusting relationship

Another motivating factor about the Pearson scholarship is the mentor that I speak with monthly. During the first online meeting with my mentor, we discussed the results of a personality quiz that we had taken, and she gave me practical advice about how to utilize my personality characteristics. She has also proven to be someone that I can share my struggles and triumphs with, and she offers unbiased advice about those personal experiences. Though I have known my mentor for only a short time, she has encouraged me and guided me in several instances, and we have formed a trusting relationship with one another. The Pearson scholarship has made a huge impact in my life, and I am ecstatic about my next two years with this program.


Hunter Holley is a student at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi and a recipient of the 2017 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. Each Pearson Scholar is paired with a Pearson professional mentor who provides support as Scholars progress toward degree completion. We are incredibly proud of all the Pearson Scholars. Please check back as we continue to highlight each scholar’s story!

1 Comment

  1. Kayla Bryant 2 years ago

    I am so proud of this outstanding guy!!! He has accomplished so much in his 19 years and I am so excited to see what else God has instore for him in the years to come!!

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