#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Melissa James, 35, Taylor, TX

Coming from a family of 16 children, most of whom had children by the age of 15, and none of whom have a high school education, James made it her personal goal to break the cycle of her family tree. Her first step after getting her GED was to join the U.S. Army and begin online college classes. However, after serving two months in the Middle East shortly after 9/11, she learned her mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. So James returned home with an honorable discharge to take care of her five-year-old son and eleven-year-old brother.

Now that her son has graduated from high school and plans to attend college, she has set a deadline on her goal—to complete college before her son.

Now that she is paying tuition for her son, her younger brother and herself, she will use the scholarship funds to finance for the last 12 credits of her degree at Temple College.

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