Promise Scholar makes promise to self: no doubting, keep trying

Sep 5, 2023Courtney Morris
Promise Scholar Mya McCray

What does a debt-free degree look like? For Promise Scholar Mya McCray, it’s meant not only fewer financial worries but also the chance to explore her options.

The C.E. King High School graduate has been attending San Jacinto College through the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship since fall 2022. This scholarship — available to all in-district high school seniors — covers an associate degree or certificate at San Jac 100% after other financial aid.

Growing up, inspired by an aunt in uniform, McCray pictured herself as a police officer too. During her senior year, she researched and applied to several universities, but housing and tuition always created roadblocks. Her school counselor and her parents encouraged her to pursue Promise @ San Jac instead.

The scholarship has allowed her to take classes full time, work part time, and even live in her own apartment for a season.

Promise Scholar Mya McCray
Mya McCray
“I’m a very independent person,” she said. “I like doing things on my own.”

At San Jac, McCray also discovered nursing — not fighting crime — is her true passion. A natural caretaker when her mom and grandparents got sick, she wants to help others get healthy again. After finishing her basics, she plans to apply for the College’s licensed vocational nursing program — a step up from her current job as a certified nurse aide.

“That’s what I love about San Jac: I have time to think about what I want to do,” she said.

Despite being independent and the first in her family to attend college, McCray has learned to lean on San Jac’s student resources. She has met with a peer tutor for English classes and used San Jac Marketplace for groceries and café meals.

“San Jac is very helpful and understanding,” she said. “If you need help with schoolwork, you can go to campus, email, or call. Tutors are always available. If you’re going through anything personal, there are counselors you can talk to on campus too.”

McCray’s advice for future Promise Scholars? If you’re not sure what career to pursue, find your passion first.

“I know how you feel,” McCray said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Apply for the Promise Scholarship, complete your basics, do some research, and get your mind on what you really want. By the second year, figure out what you want to do.”

While Promise @ San Jac has removed financial stress, McCray already knows a thing or two about removing distractions to focus on the goal. She sees herself continuing from licensed vocational nurse to registered nurse, then someday working as a travel nurse.

“I have a lot of goals in my life,” she said. “I’m young, but I’m taking it one step at a time.”

When doubts creep in, she says keep trying your best: “Don’t ever say you can’t do it if you haven’t tried.”

Steps to Become a Promise Scholar

If you’re a high school senior living in San Jac’s taxing district, you qualify for the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship. Learn how to apply:
  1. Find What You Need

    Learn about eligibility requirements, continuing eligibility, and the appeals process.

  2. Pledge and Apply

    By Feb. 22, 2024: Take the online pledge and apply to San Jac via ApplyTexas.

  3. Apply for Financial Aid

    By July 18, 2024: Complete the FAFSA. Promise @ San Jac covers 100% of the cost after all other aid, scholarships, and grants.

  4. Enroll in Full-time Classes

    By July 18, 2024: Enroll and register for fall 2024 classes at San Jac. Full time, full speed ahead! 

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