Cooke Scholar's Huffington Post Article: A Meaningful Graduation
May 15, 2015
Every May, millions of Americans file into gymnasiums, auditoriums, or outdoor venues to participate in college commencement ceremonies. Degrees are conferred in front of friends and family, advancing the potential of so many individuals and adding incalculable value to the nation’s future.
Community colleges account for at least one million of those degrees annually. While that number by itself is impressive, what is truly special about community colleges is that they provide opportunities for countless students who would otherwise have few options: low-income students and many others whose paths in life have been difficult.
I should know–I am proud to have been one of those students. Growing up in Western Ukraine, the opportunities available to me were extremely limited. Not only were well-paying, professional jobs out of reach, at times simple comforts that others may consider commonplace were things I could only dream about. That’s why I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to come to America and find a second home at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Normandale gave me a way forward. It was affordable, local, and allowed me to demonstrate my ability to succeed at the postsecondary level. The courses were challenging and the faculty and staff provided excellent guidance. As I neared graduation, I learned that I had received an Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which provided me with the support I needed to be successful at one of the world’s most selective institutions, Cornell University.
To read the rest of the article, vist the Huffington Post.