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More than Education

July 2016

Crystal Montgomery

Crystal Montgomery has dreamed of being an English teacher since she was in fifth grade, but having lived off of food stamps, government checks, and Section 8 assistance, she never thought she could afford to go to college. 

But she was determined, and she didn’t let the financial struggles of her family deter her focus on academic goals. “I took AP classes, stayed up late each night doing homework, got a lot of As, and submitted college applications,” she says.

The effort paid off when she was accepted to her first-choice, Brigham Young University. But she still didn’t have enough money. Although she had worked at a law office during high school, she knew she couldn’t possibly save enough money to pay for tuition, housing, books, food, and health care.

It wasn’t until Montgomery learned that she had been awarded a BYU donor-funded scholarship that her future became clear. With the addition of federal student aid, college finally seemed within reach.

“I was overjoyed when I read the email informing me that I had been awarded a BYU scholarship,” she remembers. “Miraculously, the numbers added up. I could go to BYU, and scholarships have paid my way for the last four years.”

Montgomery’s faith played a big part in making her dreams come true. “Clearly Heavenly Father guided my life,” she says. “I have no explanation other than Heavenly Father wanted me to be here.” 

During her freshman year, Montgomery was called to be her ward’s Relief Society president, which challenged her to focus on other people while keeping up with school assignments. “My confidence level changed dramatically,” she says.

BYU was the place where Montgomery found herself. “It was much more than just getting an education so I can earn money,” she says. “I realized who I am, and that I do have worth, testimony, and purpose.” 

All of this was possible for Montgomery because of the generosity of people who donate to fund scholarships at BYU - and she couldn’t be more grateful. “I’d like to thank them for listening to the promptings to give,” she says. “I am evidence of the good they’ve done. And how often do we get to see evidence of the good we do?”

After finishing her teaching internship at a junior high school, Montgomery will begin teaching seventh-grade English full-time. She says, “Just the thought that I will actually make a difference, be a teacher, be a part of the community, and have a purpose is pretty exciting.”

Read Crystal's thank you letter to her scholarship donor.

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