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Fulfilling Her Dream “Across the Pond”

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Amanda Burton-Coleman has big dreams. She walks the tightrope of single motherhood, work and classes, with the love of her family far away, unable to catch her if she falls. But her passion for creating a better life for her child and for children in her community keeps her determined, forging ahead with a positive spirit that can’t be stopped. Learn how this intrepid mom with the incredible can-do attitude is fulfilling her destiny, and how the generosity of others makes her load feel a little lighter.

Amanda Burton-Coleman

A self-described non-traditional student at Polk State College, Amanda Burton-Coleman confronts daily the challenges and additional responsibilities that many students face who are a bit older than the typical college student.  At 24, her life experiences have inspired her to become greatly focused on the career path to becoming a Physical Therapist and working with children. She’s also a single mom who is determined to make a better life for her child, but between work, motherhood and school, a lot of juggling is involved with work and class schedules to provide time to spend with her four-year-old daughter, Le’aisha.

While her story may sound like many other students, Amanda’s experience is somewhat different: she is accomplishing her goals in a foreign country. Originally from England, Amanda Burton-Coleman has lived in the United States for ten years. After graduating from Haines City High School in 2004, Amanda began attending classes at Polk State College.

Amanda’s parents and brothers eventually returned to England, reluctantly leaving Amanda and her child in Florida without the security of having family close by–a decision that has been difficult for all.

With her daughter’s future a burning priority, Amanda sought help from TRiO Student Support Services. “The advising staff members in TRiO are really great about letting students know about scholarships and other financial help,” praises Amanda. With their assistance, Amanda applied for a scholarship through the Polk State College Foundation and received the Alumni Association Scholarship.

Amanda works part time for the Orlando Federal Credit Union, so the scholarship has helped to ease worries regarding how to finance classes and has allowed her to focus on academics. Her gratitude is deep. “This scholarship has kept me from worrying so much about the cost of tuition and books, so I can focus on my studies and create a better life for my family.”

Amanda derives great inspiration from being a member of the Polk State College Gospel Choir, and recently joined the gospel group, Sovereign, when the group needed an alto. After only being in the group for two weeks, Amanda traveled with Sovereign to Thomasville, Georgia to perform at a pastor appreciation event that was broadcast on local radio and television stations.

After graduating from Polk State College in 2012, Amanda plans to attend the University of Central Florida to become a Physical Therapist. Embracing Central Florida as her new home, she intends to stay in the area and focus her work on children.