2020 Scott Wright Student Essay Contest Winner Julia Riser

Julia Riser photo

2020 SEC Winner
Julia Riser

2016 SEC Winner Paloma Marinelarena

Penny Taylor

I know that many students will be highlighting teachers or professors who have “taught them all they know,” or an advisor who steered them in the right direction, or a coach who pushed them to meet their optimum potential. But though all of these are great examples of those who inspire, there are many different people on the campus of Pensacola State College who are there to help students and give out much-needed, selfless love and assistance.

In the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) office there lives a wonderful woman by the name of Penny Taylor. Penny is the Administrative Assistant for SSS, and I am convinced that she is some mythical being sent here to this campus to be everyone’s helping hand. She is quite possibly one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. She helps in any way possible whether it be monetarily, emotionally, or spiritually. She is constantly at the ready for wayward students that often walk into the office in search of any help they can find. One of those students happened to be me.

Though I was not one of the aimless wanderers that often ends up in the office, I did come onto the TRIO SSS scene just as hapless and lost as anyone else. I was assigned to this office as a work-study student, and it quickly became my home, which would not have happened if it weren’t for Penny and her welcoming nature and signature tagline for every new student: “We are all family now, we’re here for you whenever you need us!” You see, I’ve always been leery of letting people in, and I’ve always found myself to be on the watch for the “next bad thing”, but at this office, all of that washed away.

Penny helped me through rough emotional patches with my family. She held me as I cried and never once asked why, silently knowing I’d tell her in my own time. She rooted for me through all my academic successes. She did a happy dance every time I made an A in a subject I was worried about and told me she knew I would be fine and that I had no reason to worry. She showed me that I could trust in people again and that people that are of no blood relation can become the family that you need so desperately.

If it weren’t for Penny and her indomitable light, I don’t think I would have made it through many semesters. Though she doesn’t teach any classes here, she gives out amazing life lessons, advice, and is an exemplary human being. Teaching us all that everyone deserves help and you might be that one person, that one being, that is keeping them afloat. She somehow does all of this without expecting anything in return and continues forward touching as many lives as she can along the way.