Succeeding despite life’s circumstances

Since 2008, Lowe’s, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), has helped provide financial assistance scholarships to college sophomores, juniors, and seniors whose outstanding financial commitment threatens to prevent them from continuing their studies.

For Tonna Wilson, the financial burden of college became excessive when her grandmother, who raised her and her siblings, passed in February 2017. As the eldest of four children, Wilson quickly took over the responsibility of caregiver for her siblings. “It was difficult, challenging and frightening,” Wilson said. “But also rewarding to know I played a significant role in teaching my siblings that you can succeed despite life’s circumstances.”

At first, she didn’t know if she’d be able to continue her education. But then she found out she was awarded the Lowe’s and TMCF scholarship. Wilson graduated in 2016 from Harris-Stowe State University, a historically black college and university in St. Louis, Missouri. The scholarship alleviated many of her financial worries, allowing her to be the first college graduate in her family. She is currently attending Webster University to fulfill her goal of becoming a school counselor.

Wilson wants to work with students and their families to help build and maintain healthy relationships, a passion that stemmed from her own difficult relationship with her mother.

“I will help empower students who have similar and challenging backgrounds to help them understand that anything is possible,” she said.

Wilson’s ultimate dream is to receive her doctorate degree and open her own practice. She hopes to support children and families with mental and social health issues, and focus on violence and trauma prevention.

“Receiving this scholarship lifted a huge burden,” Wilson said. “My dream is becoming a reality.”