Grossmont College student Sheila Vanmourik-Manosh has dealt with more than her share of challenges. She is the single mother of a 21-year-old daughter who suffers from multiple sclerosis. A 13-year-old daughter was hospitalized for several weeks in the spring. Vanmourik-Manosh also cared for her mother last year following heart surgery and her father who lives with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vanmourik-Manosh herself is challenged by a learning disability that makes it difficult to remember lessons taught in class. Yet despite the setbacks, the La Mesa resident has earned more than one associate degree at Grossmont College and plans to earn one more before transferring to San Diego State University.
She’s looking to secure a bachelor’s degree in accounting and perhaps open her own business.
Her perseverence recently led to her being named a Grossmont College Student of Note, an honor bestowed on students who have overcome a plethora of challenges to reach their educational goals.
She credits Grossmont College, and its Disabled Students Programs and Services, with playing a critical role in her success.
“Grossmont is a really, really good school,” Vanmourik-Manosh said. “The faculty here really knows how to teach and the DSPS program is really wonderful.”
DSPS Counselor Marlene Barr credits Vanmourik-Manosh’ determination for her success.
“Because of learning disabilities, Sheila has had to work much harder to earn her degree than is true for the average student,” Barr wrote in nominating Vanmourik-Manosh for Student of Note honors. “Sheila has committed herself to completing her education, no matter what.”
This isn’t Vanmourik-Manosh’s first time at Grossmont College. Born and raised in La Mesa, she enrolled at the college in 1988 after graduating from Grossmont High School. Vanmourik-Manosh earned two associate degrees, in photography and media graphics.
“I always thought I was just really stupid,” she said. “But it turned out I had a learning disability.” The disability makes it hard for Vanmourik-Manosh to concentrate, enabling her to take exams in quiet settings and with additional time. She earned an associate degree in business administration in June, but returned to summer school to complete the classes needed to transfer to San Diego State.
Asked why she continues to push ahead despite the challenges, Vanmourik-Manosh said, “I don’t really have a choice.”
She added: “I also keep going because of my martial arts training I earned my black belt in 1988 and my strong belief in God.”