Massage Therapist Overcomes Adversity, Receives ‘Dream Award’

Massage Therapist Overcomes Adversity, Receives ‘Dream Award’

Massage Therapist Overcomes Adversity, Receives ‘Dream Award’

Amanda Cantrell, a massage therapist, and five other Seattle-area graduates received this scholarship award, which recognizes Everest graduates who have overcome great odds to achieve their dreams through education. The award winners are selected from a pool of hundreds of Everest graduates who have persevered in their studies and found success in his or her chosen field.

SEATTLE, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Following an intense selection process lasting several months, six former students from the Seattle area have been named winners of Everest College's 2008 Dream Award. Among the winners is Amanda Cantrell of the Fife Campus.

Cantrell completed the Fife massage therapy program in May and was fully licensed within two weeks of graduating. Cantrell took on an extreme schedule when she joined the program, commuting two hours to the campus following her full-time job. Cantrell's arduous schedule continued even after she moved closer to the campus, but it was nothing compared with the hardship she faced during her third term when her brother was killed in an automobile accident. The tragedy was devastating for Cantrell who was extremely close to her brother, but she still managed to complete her requirements for graduation and successfully pass the state massage license exam.

Each Dream Award recipient receives a $2,500 scholarship to Everest College to pursue advanced programs in his or her chosen field of study. Everest is part of Corinthian Colleges, Inc. - one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America.

Everest College, which has six Seattle area campuses focusing on career training, skills attainment and job placement, offers students an opportunity to prepare themselves for careers in essential industries.

"Many of our students overcome difficult challenges in striving to get an education," said Randy Rogers, regional vice president of operations at Everest. "These Dream Award winners exemplify the very best outcome of a career college education, proving that with commitment and support, anything is possible."

The following are profiles of four of the other award recipients:

Lesa Taylor-McCabe, Bremerton Campus

Taylor-McCabe earned a diploma in medical assisting, making the dean's list with a 3.97 GPA. Taylor-McCabe's interest in joining the medical field occurred after a complex surgery to address her life-long bout with a rare disease known as Interstitial Cystitis. During a long rehabilitation process, the care she received from medical professionals inspired Taylor-McCabe to join the health care industry. Currently, Taylor-McCabe is working for a physician in her home town of Bremerton and assisting students at her alma mater.

Darell Humphrey, Renton Campus

Humphrey faced multiple challenges in his life prior to attending Everest College. When Humphrey enrolled at Everest, he was homeless, had no income, no transportation and no outside support. During his pursuit of a medical assistant diploma, the personal problems didn't end for Humphrey, who was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Humphrey's determination and positive outlook led to graduation from the Everest program and a job with an urgent care facility in Seattle.

Tanya Burgess, Everett Campus

Burgess graduated from Everest's medical assistant program with outstanding grades, great attendance and perfect marks on her externship. What makes Burgess' story unique, however, is she did all of this at the age of 17. Burgess, who completed her GED at 16, was looking to accelerate her education in order to help support her family with a higher paying job. Unfortunately for Burgess, her mother died in 2007 and the 17-year-old was required to live in a teen shelter because she was still a minor. This, however, did not stop Burgess from completing her education and pursuing a rewarding career. After struggling to find full-time employment in her field because of her age, Burgess landed a position at Everett Bone & Join Center after turning 18.

Andrea Griffis, Tacoma Campus

Griffis' life experience included parents who were drug-addicted, incarcerated and mostly absent from her life. Raised by her grandparents, Griffis did well during high school, but left before graduation out of frustration. Griffis moved out, found a job and was running with the wrong crowd. It took the birth of her first daughter before Griffis decided she wanted something more out of life and made the decision to attend Everest. Holding true to the philosophy that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, Griffis got her GED in May of 2008 and graduated from Everest's medical billing and coding program in September 2008 with a 4.0 GPA

Among Corinthian Colleges, Inc.'s North American campuses, the job placement rate in 2007 was 84 percent with approximately 34,050 students entering the workforce with degrees or diplomas in essential industries.

About Everest College

Everest College provides career-oriented diploma and degree programs in healthcare, criminal justice, skilled trades, business, paralegal, and information technology. Everest College has six campuses in the greater Seattle area - Everett, Bremerton, Renton, Fife, Tacoma and Seattle - Everest has 100 schools in the U.S. and Canada, and is owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. For more information, visit


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