Student Story – Latasha Smith
March 17, 2023
Latasha Smith will graduate on May 7, 2023 with an associate degree in arts and science. Her science professor at Cincinnati State has lovingly nicknamed her Chatfield because of how much time she spends talking about her former alma mater and the good-natured jabs she gives him when he’s late for class. “At Chatfield College,” Latasha tells him “the professors were never late. They were always on time!”
It’s all good fun, of course. In Latasha’s usual, tender nature, she tells us how her professor recently welcomed his first-born son, who is eight months old. She knows what he’s going through. She’s the mother of five children and a first-time grandmother to an eight-month-old grandbaby.
My barrier was not being able to go to class regularly
Latasha wanted to complete her education for years. But the realities of raising five children and working two full-time jobs made it nearly impossible until a gift came from above – the pandemic.
“I always wanted to get my GED and go back to school. But I always had to work. Before COVID, you had to go to the main campus to take the classes in person. I’d start the classes, but because I had to catch the bus to get to work, I’d never be able to stay. It wasn’t convenient. It wasn’t until the pandemic that I could do everything online. I thought I was daydreaming when I heard you could do it all from home.”
Latasha said she knew she was being given her chance. “I had prayed, and somebody heard my prayers. God stopped the world for me.”
You have to go for it. So that’s what I did. I just leapt.
When Latasha passed her Ohio Graduation Tests, she called Chatfield to enroll in her associate degree courses. Her goal is to be a social worker. She dreams of opening a safe house for anyone who needs respite care or shelter in a convenient place – close to the courthouse, the justice center, and the casino.
“I like to be around people. People are just everything. I love talking to people. I could talk all day. It keeps me energized.”
Energy is a commodity Latasha is in no short supply of. Latasha still has four kids under the age of 18 for whom she is caring. In addition, she has two full-time jobs – the first as a paraprofessional in the Cincinnati Public Schools and the second manning the phones at the Talbert House suicidal hotline on the second shift. Yet, she still has the energy to care.
Latasha is the Sittenfeld Family Scholar and recipient of The Bob and Esther Freking Scholarship and the Garry-Muething Families Scholarship
Generous donors to The Chatfield Edge help us support first-generation and non-traditional students like Latasha. Services we provide include assistance in completing postsecondary education applications, registering for classes, applying for financial aid, one-on-one mentorship, and scholarships to help close the gap after other financial aid options have been exhausted.
One such scholarship is The Bob and Esther Freking Scholarship, created by donor Sue Showers , to support a woman with a drive and desire to improve her life through higher education. Latasha fits that description to a tee.
“I’m already talking about my bachelor’s degree, and I haven’t gotten my associate degree yet,” laughed Latasha. “But I’m putting it forward. That’s how I keep the energy. I set small goals, and they turn into big goals. One day at a time.”
Attend the Celebrate Our Scholars Brunch
You can meet Latasha and seven other deserving Chatfield Scholars as we celebrate our first cohort of The Chatfield Edge Scholars. These students attend universities throughout Greater Cincinnati but are still actively supported academically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually by their Chatfield family.
The Celebrate Our Scholars Brunch takes place at the former OTR Cincinnati Campus, 1544 Central Parkway, on April 15, 2023, from 10 a.m. to Noon. Join The Chatfield Edge as we support our first cohort of Chatfield Scholars and raise money for future scholarships and operating expenses. Register now or contact Kelly Watson at 513-875-3344 x—117 or Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.