Here’s a true story of hope that begins with a newborn girl found abandoned in a trashcan in China. With this nearly hopeless beginning would she have a future?

The infant was found by a family who provided care for five years until she was passed on to a different family. In their “care” for the next six years she took care of herself mostly on the streets of China. Had she gone from little hope to no hope? Surely there was no future for her!

Then at age 11 she was placed in an orphanage. How much hope could be in this situation now? What about her future?

Just prior to turning 14 she was adopted and brought to America, which seemed like heaven to her. Her life’s vastly different situation brought changes where hope could be found and dreams of a positive future finally could be realized.

Speaking no English and barely literate, she was now homeschooled by her “forever” family who provided not just an education but love and care. She earned an Associate’s degree at a community college, dreamed of a Christian education, and applied for College of the Ozarks, where she was placed on a waiting list.

Although it didn’t appear hopeful that she would be accepted right away, she was. It wasn’t easy, but she faced the struggles, which already had been so much a part of her life.

“While at College of the Ozarks there were a couple of times I felt like giving up, but  I gained a lot of perseverance…. I learned to ask for help even when I didn’t want others to see me struggling,” she expressed and acknowledged the support and prayers of others that helped her succeed.

She studied. She learned. She worked. She became stronger. She experienced growing hope and enjoyed planning for her future.

She graduated from College of the Ozarks with honors in May 2018. It was a worthy accomplishment but even more importantly, she had learned to trust God who spoke these words found in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… plans to give you hope and a future.”

Congratulations, Katelynn Corkern!

(Did you know that C of O students participate in a Work Education Program to pay for their education and an opportunity to graduate with a 4-year degree without student debt? For more info about College of the Ozarks — called “Hard Work U” by Wall Street Journal — go to

7 Replies to “COLLEGE of OZARKS GRAD: HOPE and a FUTURE”

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