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Tatum Tanner is your typical Texas Tech University (TTU) student, whose dream is to teach school. One detail makes her story different.

Tatum has cerebral palsy. This condition affects the motor skills on the entire right side of her body.

“I am missing so much of my brain, I should be a vegetable,” she said. “I lack the motor and vocalization parts of the brain–I was born with that.”

Amazingly, she has overcome it. So much so, that after graduating from high school, she entered a university in Dallas. It didn’t work out.

“It bummed me out so much I thought I couldn’t go back to school.”

But then, Tatum returned to Fredericksburg, where she met with Kristi Kothe at Central Texas College in the Hill Country University Center. Together, they laid out a plan for Tatum’s path to graduation. It changed her life.

“I went in to that meeting thinking I was not going to have a future. In 30 minutes we had everything figured out. It was really, really good.”

Tatum’s “biggest challenge” was not the academics, but her ability to provide for the financial costs. By attending HCUC, Tatum was able to live in a house owned by her family, so her only costs were tuition.

Fortunately, CTC is one of the most affordable colleges in Texas, and Tatum had the opportunity to receive several scholarships from the HCUC Foundation.

“They were my saving grace!” she said. “Every time I think something is not going to happen, it is there completely! It has been provided for each time, miraculously!

Tatum is happy to be able to earn her education in her hometown of Fredericksburg, surrounded by family and “a solid group of friends.” She is now in TTU’s Tech Teach education program, on track to graduate in 2020. She is doing her student teaching at Fredericksburg Elementary School, the same school she attended as a child.

“It’s been so amazing coming back and student teach here,” she said. “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I want to not just teach the subject matter, but all areas that might help them out to have a better life.” Her students will find no better example than Tatum Tanner.


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