HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College celebrates first-generation college students every day, but especially Sunday, Nov. 8, which marks the national First-Generation College Celebration.
First generation students are individuals whose parents didn’t complete or graduate with a four-year college degree, and Wallace State joins college campuses around the nation in celebrating students whose courage to pursue higher education changes the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their family for generations by opening doors to opportunity as only education can.
First-generation students make up a large segment of the student population at Wallace State, a demographic Rachel White and her staff can guide and advise through TRIO/Student Support Services.
“As a member of TRIO and Wallace State Community I am honored to get to work daily with our First-Generation students and see first-hand their determination, resilience, persistence, and overall grit. They are here at Wallace State Community College because they view education as the gateway to achieving the goals they have for their future.” White said. “The reality though, is that navigating the education system can often be confusing, frustrating, and discouraging; especially if there isn’t someone at home with the experience to help. That is where I, and so many other people at Wallace State come in. As we celebrate our First=Generation students, we want them to know that we are here to help them with whatever they need to achieve their dreams and accomplish their goals.”
Sophomore Emma Lovett, a Curry High grad, will complete her criminal justice degree in December as a first-generation student.
“My parents always pushed me to go to college since they couldn’t finish. Even though I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a senior in high school, I came to Wallace State and got involved in TRIO/SSS. The support I’ve received has been amazing,” Lovett said. “I’ve grown a lot as a student, including earning a scholarship through the Future Foundation, and my family is thrilled I’m almost a college graduate.”
Wallace State has a number of employees who were also first-generation students.
The Council for Opportunity for Education, in partnership with the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, announced the First-Generation College Celebration in conjunction with the 55th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act (HEA), which has helped millions of first-generation, low-income/under-resources students persist to degree completion.
In conjunction with the celebration, Wallace State’s TRIO/Student Support Services/Talent Search Department will host a Facebook Live session on Monday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m., with Amber Robinson from SSS and Dakota Nichols from Talent Search. They’ll discuss the challenges faced by first-generation students, ways to overcome them and resources available to first-generation students on campus.
The Facebook Live event can be viewed here: www.facebook.com/wallacestatecommunitycollege and first-generation testimonials from Wallace State students and employees will also be shared on social media next week.
First-generation students are encouraged to use the #CelebrateFirstGen hashtag across social media platforms on Sunday.
For more information about the celebration, visit https://firstgen.naspa.org/engagement/first-generation-college-celebration/first-generation-college-celebration.
For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.