When Molly and Carroll Smith married almost 10 years ago, Molly describes it like marrying her best friend. And like best friends, they built their relationship through shared passions — like community involvement.
Before the two tied the knot, they served on many community boards — from chambers of commerce to YMCA, Salvation Army, and more. In fact, they met through the Rotary Club and sat at the same Rotary table for a decade. At the time, Molly was serving as a justice of the peace, and Carroll managing Monument Chevrolet, which he founded in 1974.
“We had a mutual friend at Rotary who was a judge,” Molly said. “He tried to connect us, thinking Carroll could help with my political campaigns financially.”
But it was their mutual passion for making a difference in the community and beyond — plus a little chemistry — that drew them together.
The two also shared a connection to San Jacinto College. In 1975, Molly (née Essary), a Galena Park High School graduate, had attended San Jac on an athletic scholarship. She played on the golf team and performed Rockettes-style kicks with the San Jac Jans. Carroll has supported the San Jac’s General Motors Automotive Service Education Program by hiring College interns and graduates to work at Monument Chevrolet.
Today, Carroll manages the dealership alongside his two sons, while Molly manages community relations. Carroll encourages his high school interns to continue their education at San Jac. In fact, most of Monument’s technicians hold associate degrees from the College.
“Involvement with San Jac is the gift that gives,” he said. “We’ve been blessed to use the College as a training platform. San Jac graduates have turned out to be our most qualified and most loyal employees.”
Beyond partnering with San Jac’s auto program, the Smiths have found a new way to partner with the College: giving as Promise Partners. At the San Jacinto College Foundation’s gala in 2022, they learned about the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship, which provides a debt-free certificate or degree to all high school seniors in the College’s taxing district.
Molly, who now serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, calls Promise @ San Jac “opportunity wrapped in dignity.” Her children attended San Jac, and now her granddaughter is attending too, thanks to the scholarship.
“She’s transferring next year to UHCL, and she’s able to do that because of this scholarship,” Molly said. “Yes, we could have helped her ourselves, but she wanted to do it on her own.”
Carroll also sees the scholarship’s impact, helping students like the waitress they’ve befriended at a favorite restaurant. While not a Promise Scholar, this single mom is pursuing her GED so she can enroll at San Jac.
“Watching the excitement of this young woman getting her associate degree — that makes you understand why it’s so important,” he said.
For both Molly and Carroll, Promise @ San Jac represents generational change, transforming students’ and their families’ lives.
“This is a feel-good thing for us,” Molly said. “It’s balm for the soul when you know you’re doing something to change people’s lives.”
Learn more about becoming a Promise Partner.