Quarterly TRiO awards ceremony

TRiO is one of the many programs at BC that guides students on their path to success. On Tuesday Nov. 4, BC held the TRiO Awards to congratulate students for their diligence during the spring and summer quarters. Vice President of Student Services Ata Karim, BC President David Rule and many other faculty members were present to award students for their high GPAs. The TRiO Award Ceremony also presented two keynote speakers: Sean Allen, English professor, and Sanaz Moshfeghe, a student at BC who gave her inspiring testimony about TRiO’s benefits.

At the beginning of the ceremony, TRiO director Barbara Brodsky gave a brief informative speech about TRiO and its tradition of awarding diligent students. Since its dawning in 1964, TRiO has maintained a 50-year mission of granting underprivileged or first-generation college students an extensive and personal path to success. During her speech, Brodsky drew a comparison between TRiO students and non-TRiO students by displaying the statistics of the percentage of students who complete their degrees. Brodsky mentioned that with the TRiO program, “97 percent of students persist to complete their degrees and 67 percent graduate in three years.” Students who meet the TRiO requirements but are not part of the program have a significantly lower rate. Brodsky stated, “13 percent of students complete their degrees and only 25 percent graduate in three years.”

Following Brodsky, Sean Allen began his keynote speech about persistence, motivation and success. He gave a short anecdote about his father and the importance of patience. Allen then connected his story to TRiO and its many benefits. During his talk about persistence, Allen told students to find their motivation and he explored their main reasons for going to college. He ended this speech by asking “Who are you doing this for besides yourself?”

The final speaker was Sanaz Moshfeghe, who told her story about her life and how TRiO gave her hope. Being of Bahá’í faith, Sanaz was restricted by her religion from attending university in Iran. Nevertheless, because of her will to learn, she took online classes and even taught children who couldn’t attend school. She yearned to go to a university, so she traveled to Turkey and told her story to UN officials in order to convince them to send her to the U.S. She spent about a year in Turkey until she finally moved to the U.S. and began attending Bellevue College. She spoke of her hardships while trying to learn English and balancing school and work. Moshfeghe also stated,“If you sometimes think you don’t have the opportunity, think about other people who don’t have the same things as you.” She ended her speech with the simple words, “Be hopeful.”

At the end of the ceremony, Dr. David Rule and Dr. Ata Karim joined Brodsky in handing out awards to the students with high GPAs. Students were encouraged to continue persevering and to attend the next TRiO Awards Ceremony.