Saint of Santa Fe | Victoria Coggins

Saint of Santa Fe | Victoria Coggins

Santa Fe College student and employee Victoria Coggins photographed at the Davis Center for the Saints of Santa Fe College series on Aug. 2, 2022 in Archer, Fla.

“Santa Fe College has enabled me to change the entire trajectory of my life. Statistically, with the recidivism rate, I would have returned to drugs and a life of crime. I remember the day I was in the advisor’s office signing my son up for classes and I asked if I could go back to school. The advisor encouraged me to apply, and after a meeting with a review board I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  

My short-term goal for the future is to graduate with my AA. I’ve never graduated from anything but rehab, so I am very excited about walking across the stage. I’m inspired to become a social worker because of a counselor I had at Meridian. My counselor had a similar background as me regarding recovering from drug addiction. She made me realize that I was holding myself back. My abusive ex-husband had convinced me I was stupid, dumb and would never amount to anything and I believed him for too long. My counselor inspired me to go back to school and achieve my goals.  

Long term I would like to further my education and apply to a university. I’d also like to get an apartment or home in the near future, as a convicted felon I have had a really hard time finding a place to live. I currently live in a shed in my parents’ yard. More than anything though, I desire to be a symbol of hope for other women faced with similar challenges. I want other women to see strength and power in overcoming addiction, rape, molestation, sex trafficking, prostitution, mental illness, domestic violence and street life. I was a teen mom, having both of my sons by the time I was 19. I would like to be an inspiration for other young mothers.  

I would not have had such success without the assistance and guidance of others who supported me along the way. Nicole Keith was my son’s advisor and now mine. She has the best advice and is passionate about every student. Shellie Banfeild is the director at the Davis Center and worked one on one with me teaching me math. Ryan Keith is the psychology professor that would counsel me in the lobby of the Davis Center between classes. I relied on these three for advice, inspiration guidance and most of all encouragement. Without their help I would not have made it.  

During the pandemic I became a work study student for several semesters before applying and receiving full-time employment at SF.  I feel privileged to work at such a great job with great people. I worked hard at getting off drugs and obeying the law and Santa Fe recognizes that and encourages my recovery. I am surrounded everyday with positivity and hope for my future, that’s what Santa Fe College has done for me.” 

Victoria Coggins, current first-generation student and SF employee. 

Hometown: Newberry, Florida 

Victoria Coggins is a recipient of the Patricia Blount Scholarship. The Patricia M. Blount Scholarship was established to provide educational and training opportunities to female students throughout Alachua and Bradford counties.