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RSU Athlete Tossed a Better Life

By student Kayci Collins

Lilly Nevarez is one of the many lives that RSU has changed over the past one hundred years. Lilly’s life was changed by a new addition to RSU – the athletic department. Thanks to RSU Lilly will not only be able to graduate college, but she will be able to do so without having to work 40 hours a week to pay for school while furthering her softball career. Lilly had a rough life growing up. Her family was very poor and she lived in an atmosphere filled with drugs and alcohol. Her parents both had several addictions and were rarely there for her or her siblings. Her parents did not care how she did in school and without their encouragement; Lilly struggled to make good grades. When she was six years old, she found a release when she began playing recreation softball. Lilly says it kept her from seeing and hearing the fighting that was a constant at home. Her father began coming to her games and this gave her time with him without the drugs.  But softball gave Lilly more; she began winning numerous awards and for a short period of time her parents even tried to turn their lives around. Unfortunately, after time they fell back into the drugs and alcohol. Lilly began relying on softball and a newly developed relationship with God. Softball and God were all she had and Lilly strongly believes softball is what kept her out of trouble.

When Lilly graduated High School, she was recruited by Sierra Junior College in California to play softball. To continue playing, she worked full time, was a full time student, and a part of the softball team. It was hard and after her sophomore year of junior college, she realized she was going to have to give up her love – softball, and work full time just to pay for school. However, she was fixing to get tossed a life changing opportunity. Two weeks after her sophomore year, she received a phone call from Sierra College’s softball coach. The coach informed her that a school in Oklahoma had been seen her stats and was wanted to offer her a full scholarship to play softball. Lilly then received a call from Coach Dawn Reed, the Rogers State University Softball coach, offering her the scholarship. She took a huge leap of faith and decided to leave California and be a part of the RSU softball team. This year, Lilly led both her team and the conference in stolen bases. She has had no second guesses about her decision to relocate stating, "the decision just felt right and I have no regrets.” Lilly states RSU as a whole, the school, and the athletic department have changed her life. This opportunity has allowed her to follow her dreams of continuing to play softball, and graduate college. Additionally, she says joining the Rogers State Fellowship of Christian Athletes not only kept her on the right path but it introduced her to some amazing people who were able to support her. Not only that, but she says the program also helped her find herself. She states softball kept her on the right track and from living the life that she was heading towards back home. During this time her parents have since also turned their lives around and now been sober for thirteen years. They have even become Lilly’s heroes. Lilly believes everything happens for a reason and there was a reason she was brought to RSU and she is grateful for everything this school has done for her.


Kayci Collins is a junior at RSU, majoring in corporate communications with a minor in business. Presently, Kayci works at Couch Pharmacy in Tulsa, but is excited about an internship with the United Way this summer.  Kayci wanted to go away to college and never considered RSU located just fifteen minutes from her home. However, RSU offered her an academic scholarship she could not turn down and she is very glad she chose this school. Kayci heard Lilly’s story and many like it last year in Speech. RSU has changed several lives, even Kayci’s. The program has offered so many classes with such a great staff, that Kayci will graduate May 2010 with a 3.9 GPA, just three years from when she stepped foot on campus.  Kayci is engaged to marry a Jenks Fire Fighter in August. Her early graduation will allow them to move to the Jenks area after graduation to start their lives together a year sooner than they expected. Kayci could not have chosen a more perfect school saying RSU gave her so many more opportunities than any other school could have!