A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Geoff Igartua
Kate Ruth was pleading with her instructor. She had missed two of the first four weeks of school and was begging for time to catch up. The professor said yes, and Ruth appeared relieved but exhausted. It has been anything but a good start to the spring semester for Ruth, 21. On Jan. 25, her grandmother suffered a stroke and died. A week later, at the memorial service, Ruth’s mother also suffered a stroke and lost feeling in her right side. “I still haven’t found myself crying, mainly because I’m in complete shock that the two most prominent female figures in my life were in so much pain,” said Ruth. Remembering the great times spent with both of her role models was easy for her. “My mom, she’s so wonderful and vivacious and awesome,” she said. “How could she not be the most influential person in my life?” Her strong bond with her mother comes from being homeschooled during her middle school years, where learning was more of an adventure than a chore. “We went to museums all over Florida, such as the Kennedy Space Center, and she would make me do my times tables standing in line at Disney,” Ruth said. ”I learned algebra and percentages by shopping sales and figuring out the amount things cost before she let me buy them.” Not every person can cope with such tragedy the way Ruth has; her strength has been built from personal battles with her own health. After graduating from Durant High School in 2006, Ruth planned to attend the Culinary Institute of America. She had been granted a scholarship and was ready to pick up and move to New York, but before she could leave her life was turned upside down. “Three weeks after graduation she lost her depth perception and three points off her vision,” said Brett Bordeaux, Ruth’s close friend. “Then began the medical tests, and by the end of our freshmen year, she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which kept her from leaving.” Being diagnosed with an incurable disease would slow many, but Ruth’s strong religious belief is her glue. “I’m a Calvinist, so I believe that everything happens for a purpose. I believe there’s a plan, and that God’s timing is perfect,” she said. Ruth is now a liberal arts major at HCC and plans to transfer to the University of South Florida to study marketing. “It’s like my dad always says,” Ruth added, “it’s not where you’re going; it is where you have been.”