BC TRiO hosts reception and speakers

Photo courtesy of BC TRiO

As a chapter of Student Support Services many students on campus are members of Bellevue College’s TRiO program, a program created as a direct result of the Federal Economic Opportunity act of 1964 as well as the Higher Education act of 1965. Since then 2.2 million TRiO students have graduated high school.

There are multiple programs created from the funding these acts provided such as: Talent Search, Upward Bound (for high school students), Upward Bound (Math/Science), Veterans Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the McNair Scholars (PhD) program.

This is a premier example of the phenomenal results achieved when people who are born within certain socio-economic brackets (not fitting the otherwise “typical” credentials of a college graduate) are provided with institutions for support.

The program is arranged under three simple guidelines to walk these students upon a lifelong path: Educational opportunity, educational access, and educational success.

On Feb.  23rd, 2012 Bellevue College’s TRiO Program hosted their quarterly Winter 2012 academic awards event as well as National TRiO Day Celebration.

That is correct. Governor Gregoire proclaimed Feb. 23 2012 as Bellevue College TRiO Day, urging all citizens to join her in “this special observance.” It seems as though the effectiveness of this program could no longer be disregarded by the masses.

Ninety-nine percent of BC’s TRiO students complete their degrees, and a whopping 85 percent of them stay in Washington State to complete their higher education.

The program, all-in-all, is a truly kin-based network of students, faculty, and TRiO alumni who have returned to work towards the sustainability of this powerful program.

Since 2001, TRiO has served over 1,000 students here at Bellevue College offering personal support, academic assistance (with a computer-lab and tutoring), as well as financial aid reinforcement.

Today it serves 180 students or more  a year here at BC. As the popular Assistant Director Ron Holland and Director Barbara Brodsky, are dedicated to supporting students work towards college degree completion.

“Where else can you look forward to coming to work everyday – working towards your students’ success?” said a very empathetical Barbara Brodsky at the celebration.

The program    hosted  a   very  enthusiastic presentation by communications professor Alan Yabui, who spoke of his personal college experience.

When he was a sophomore his GPA was a 1.8, although his success and perseverance later in life could only be attributed to the support provided by his friends as well as opportunities provided by his elders.

In 1962 he enrolled as a graduate student at San Diego State University, and then enlisted in the Air Force where his status and capabilities would emerge and flourish through 25 years of service. He urged the audience that “education plus knowledge is the key to future success.”

Yabui’s perspective provided further reinforcement of this concept that the Student Support Services exists to exemplify.

Yabui compelled the students to never underestimate the power of support, in all of it’s plethoric forms. “Somebody took a chance on me! Just like TRiO takes a chance on you!” he said.

Now, Yabui is resting upon a life full of substance, three masters degrees and a PhD. “Education gives you the opportunity to do stuff you never imagined,” said the professor. He closed his segment with a few gems of advice: “Work hard, study hard, trust your professor, and always study in groups!”

Next, a TRiO alumni and now BC faculty member, Jennifer Rucker, shared her TRiO testimonial. She rekindled painful memories of hardship as a 24-year-old mother, just finalizing a divorce.

She claims that if it had not been for this program, she doesn’t know where she would be today.

“TRiO provides a family” said Rucker.

The TRiO program recognized 19 gold awarded recipients with a 4.0 GPA for the fall quarter of 2011, as well as many silver and bronze recipients. It continues to inspire and create a haven for future successes as students can finally call some place on this campus a home.

TRiO directs brilliance and not only provides hope, but access, for what truly matters: Sharpened intellect and the ambition to achieve one’s goals sometimes feels a world away without support. However, this combination can take students farther than they could possibly imagine.