Kay Brookes doesn’t lack for faith.
She believed in herself when elementary-school teachers
labeled her as “illiterate.” A natural with numbers, Brookes believed in her
abilities. She was going to read, and she was going to succeed. And she did.
Brookes, from the island of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the
Carribbean Sea, has a dream to help others who face obstacles in life with the
same passion that allowed her to twice make the President’s Honor Roll at MSU
Texas and more importantly, earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration.
She’s ready to embrace the next step in graduate school, but
wondered how the finances would work out. She wanted to be able to work and be
able to send money home to her ailing mother, and she needed to pay bills here
in Wichita Falls, too.
Her help, and she believes an answer to her prayers, came in
the form of the 2019-20 Arbor Creek Apartment Scholarship. The annual
scholarship of housing for one school year began in 2009 and is administered by
Arbor Creek’s parent company, Haley Residential.
Brookes applied for the scholarship, including writing an
essay about herself, and she prayed about it. And then the email came informing
her she had won.
“I saw the email, and I thought maybe I’m the only one who
applied. Sometimes you get something this big, and you want to think the
worst,” Brookes said.
Then Brookes kicked doubt out the door, making room for her
blessing from Arbor Creek. She moved into her new apartment in the first week
“It was a rush of emotion, an overwhelming feeling because
I’ve been praying for this for so long,” Brookes said. “I cried and cried for
about 10 minutes. I hadn’t been this emotional, with this many tears, since my
graduation. I even said to God, if you don’t give it to me, at least give it to
a person who may need it more than me. Sometimes you think your situation is
bad, but in reality, someone else has a bad situation that may be worse than
Arbor Creek's direct community manager, Kathie Tant, was
excited this scholarship was going to benefit another goal-driven MSU Texas
grad student. Tant, who has been there for 14 years, wanted to congratulate
Brookes and wish her well as she continues her education.
“The Arbor Creek Scholarship provides a one-bedroom
apartment to a graduate student rent-free for one year,” said Kathy Zuckweiler,
the Dean of the Billie Doris McAda Graduate School. “This is a huge benefit
because it helps make earning a graduate degree more affordable, and in some
cases, is life-changing for the recipient. I’m extremely grateful to Kathie
Tant and Haley Residential for their generous support of Midwestern State
University, the McAda Graduate School, and our students.”
Brookes knows her situation has improved with this news. She
is excited about starting her two years of grad school in her apartment near
“For me, it was a whole burden off my shoulders,” Brookes
said. “The toughest part has been dealing with my mom because she’s been sick.
She’s been sick for years and it’s getting worse and worse. Getting this
scholarship means I’ll be able to pay my bills and maybe have more spending
money and be able to send money back.”
She wrote in her essay about a desire to be a liaison for
MSU in the future, encouraging and inspiring prospective students.
“It’s a home away from home,” Brookes said. “The biggest
advantage for an international student coming to MSU is no matter where you
come from, you can find someone to relate to. There were already Carribean
people, Indian people, Chinese, and people that I would see on the island. I
have observed MSU’s remarkable ability to recruit students from all over the
world, hence the reason for its diversity. Many organizations provide great
opportunities for internships for students to gain valuable experience and even
employment connections. I would love to help more MSU students to get involved
and benefit from these experiences.”
Brookes wants to become a Certified Public Accountant. She
came to MSU Texas in 2015 with the idea of going into marketing but changed
direction upon starting here. Some great advice and “tough love” from
professors helped, too. Ronald Young and Susan B. Anders are two of her
“Dr. Young, he’s blunt, very blunt,” Brookes said. “But it’s
tough love. He’s a cool professor. You can just talk about anything. Susan
Anders is one professor I see who is really passionate. She gives good advice
about accounting, and she would give some advice to you that others wouldn’t
Brookes grew up wanting to go to college at the University
of the West Indies. But a cousin of hers had attended Midwestern State. And
after some thought she decided to make the journey to Wichita Falls, too.
“It’s almost like a family,” Brookes said. “It’s very
different from back home. It’s cheaper (cost of living) than a lot of cities. It
doesn’t have a lot of nightlife, but for school purposes, that’s probably a
For the coming school year she has a new “home away from
home” thanks to the Arbor Creek scholarship. Her mission isn’t to be the
highest-paid accountant but to be an accountant who gives back, helping others
as she herself has been helped along her journey.
She also wrote in her scholarship application essay that,
“if awarded this scholarship, I am determined to provide the maximum return on
your investment.” She’s determined to live up to that.
“I really want to have a foundation to help people,” Brookes
said. “I haven’t narrowed it down to help homeless people or kids, but
accounting is a means to an end. When I first started, I thought this is what I
want to do for the rest of my life. I figured people helped me along the way,
why not give back when I reach the peak of my success.”
Notes: The Arbor
Creek Apartment Scholarship originated in 2009 when personnel read in the Times
Record News that MSU's then-graduate dean Dr. Patti Hamilton was trying to
double MSU's graduate student enrollment.
The scholarship provides rent for two semesters in a
one-bedroom apartment and is valued at $7,500. Haley Residential officials say
they recognize the importance of MSU to the economic, cultural and intellectual
health of this area and are excited to continue this tradition.