Access to Education

Debra Van Camp

From a young age my parents always encouraged me to get good grades and be engaged in academics. My dad has worked in a factory most of his life and my mom has done various jobs as well.

I remember times in our house, it sounds awful, but where we didn’t know where grocery money was going to come from the next month. And my family always struggled to provide for all of us. There were five kids at one point, so.

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, where I was going to go to college, how I was going to pay for it, but I knew it was going to be something differently than what they had done, and that’s something that they always emphasized to me.

My mentors in high school were Rich and Cindy Brill, and they’re the agricultural education teachers at Canal Winchester High School. The most amazing thing that they did was opened up their home to me my junior year, when my family split up. They gave me an opportunity to stay in their house and stay in the school district and graduate from the high school where I had put in so much work in and I had friends there.

I was just appointed by the governor to The Ohio State University Board of Trustees. As a student trustee, I’m just bringing a student perspective to the board. My dad is very excited. He’s e-mailed my whole family. When you become a trustee they put your picture up on the OSU Board of Trustees website.

I’d never been to an OSU graduation before, and I was able to—because I was appointed in May—I was able to be a part of spring graduation. And just sitting there and seeing all of the graduates, it was overwhelming, just the sense of accomplishment.

I think it’s going to be an amazing day, I think my family’s going to be really proud, just that I completed something, such a great thing, and it’s going to open up so many opportunities. It’s going to be overwhelming. It’s going to be really exciting.