Former vendor, now student, gives thanks for a good year

By Sean Walsh, Former Street Roots Vendor

Hello to all of you. I hope that you are all having a wonderful holiday season. It has been a wonderful time for my family, as we are celebrating our first anniversary in housing.

Some of you may have read my prior article, “My journey from the streets to university.” This article is an update about how things are going in my Computer Science career path.

I have been a student at Portland Community College now for nine months and so far I have been received Honors placement for every term I have taken. In Spring 2010, it was Honor’s List, Summer it was Dean’s List, and this term was the doozey.

I took a total of 18 credits. Well, I passed this term with a 3.77 term GPA, which gave additional honor’s standing as President’s list, as well as giving me a cumulative 3.61 GPA, which brought an invitation to Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society.

Today, I put in my application to Portland State, in an attempt to join their bachelor’s of science, computer science program, with eventual hopes to achieve a master’s of science/software engineering degree from the Maseeh College of Computer Science and Engineering.

If you had asked me a year ago where I thought I would be in a year, I probably would have told you that I would love to live at Dignity Village in North Portland.

Where I am now is beyond my wildest dreams. Next week, we are celebrating Melissa’s 32nd birthday and Christmas with friends from the college. It is hard to believe that just a year ago, I was having seizures, unemployed, and unsure of what would ever come.

Now I am pursuing an internship with the Washington County GOP office, learning how to implement Enterprise webpage technologies and databases, as well as a designing a webpage for a local frozen yogurt startup, Tartberry, Inc.

The websites can be found at: and

Life is looking like there is hope at the end of the tunnel after all.

I am also tutoring in Mathematics and Computer Science at the Rock Creek campus.

While all of my work may be unpaid, there is something to be said for volunteer work, and that is that when you have had nothing — and I mean nothing — being able to help out in any way is extremely rewarding.

My wonderful wife of six years, Melissa, continues to sell Street Roots across the street from the Central Library in downtown Portland. It is through your support of her and through her efforts that we have kept ourselves afloat. Please continue coming through with your kind compliments and support through buying papers.

Many of you may think that a dollar doesn’t go far, but they all add up and sometimes it is just the friendly compliment that can make someone desire to pursue their dreams instead of just talking about it.

This story is for anyone who has ever had a dream and not followed through with it. Ever since I was 6, I told my parents that I wanted to be a computer scientist. That dream never left. My only regret is that I waited until I turned 26 to pursue it. It is never too late to follow your dreams.

As you go about your day, please pray for me and my wife, because while there may be rewards along this path, it is still a very difficult road to walk. There are many tears shed, both of pain and of joy.

I just rest in knowing that in the end it will all pay off, and that maybe someday, I can help someone else in need.

From Melissa and I, God bless you all, and may you have a wonderful holiday season!


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