With the excitement of G1DPR students recently traveling to Northern California for their first College Exploration Tour and the arrival of college acceptance letters this spring, I can’t help but be reminded of what an important step this is for our first generation college students.
For many of our students, they’ll be the first in their family to attend college. Along with the personal satisfaction of developing their own talents and the potential to make a significant income, comes many other long-term benefits – including, increased civic engagement, better long-term health outcomes, and the opportunity to pursue advanced degrees.
I think of it as a generational launch to greatness. Our students pursue a higher education, they obtain a great career they thought would never be possible, their lives are enriched, their family is impacted, and in the long run, their success strengthens the entire community.
Of course, nothing so important can be achieved without a degree of challenges. For first generation students, the thought of leaving home and going to college can be overwhelming, especially in our culture. Our foundations are built on strong family ties and, often, we stay close to family to help repay them for all the sacrifices they’ve made for us. I can tell you that the best way to repay them is by getting your college education. I’ve seen this firsthand through colleagues who have attained their degrees and are now an incredible support system for their families.
To be the first in anything takes sheer courage and will.
Thank you to each of our first generation students, for having the tenacity to be the first to persevere and work hard through the college application process, for attending essay workshops and test prep sessions, and for being a role model for your younger peers on campus, your siblings, and neighborhood friends.
I’m a firm believer that when you see someone who looks a lot like you, achieving things you’d never thought were possible, it gives you the encouragement to believe that you can do it too. Don’t forget to come home and share your success with our Generation 1st Degree Pico Rivera family. Let’s keep this generational launch going.