Kiesha Lewis isn’t just the first person in her family to attend college. She is the first person in her family to graduate high school.
The Brooklyn native is a second-semester freshman at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, studying human services with the goal of becoming a social worker.
Her transition from high school to college was not a smooth one, however. Lewis said her teachers recommended she apply to Student Support Services, a federally funded Trio Program at FMCC.
Lewis said the program has made a big difference in her grades and confidence in college.
“I work with a tutor now and everything is a lot better,” she said, “my grades are much better and my focus is better.”
As a display of her appreciation what the program has done for her, Lewis manned the table Thursday at the Trio-sponsored Red Cross blood drive inside the College Union building.
Trio students and staff at FMCC were marking National Trio Day, which is a day for students across the country to show their appreciation for what the federally funded programs have done for them.
Trio Programs work to give first-generation, low-income students access to college and the ability to succeed when they get there. FMCC supports two federally funded Trio programs: Student Support Services, which assists students already at the college, and Upward Bound, which prepares 50 qualifying students at Amsterdam High School for college, according to Trio counselor Debbi Bartman.
FMCC Trio students also expressed appreciation for the program through hand-written messages on a National Trio Day sign displayed in the College Union.
“Trio lab provides students with a community to get you through the tough times,” Sabrina Bather wrote along with a handful of other student messages.
Besides manning the Red Cross blood drive table Thursday, Trio students also sold lapel pins in the colors of the Haitian flag as a fundraiser for the Le Flambeau Foundation. The Le Flambeau Foundation, which works to improve Haiti through education, was founded by a former Trio student. The non-profit foundation also give college scholarships to high school students in Haiti to attend college in the United States.
Trio students are encouraged to give back to their communities and take leadership roles in society.
Lewis said she was “working on her speaking skills,” as she directed the blood drive registration table.
“She doesn’t really need any help,” Bartman said with an encouraging smile.
Categories: Schenectady County