By Emily Eskridge, CFO
“You must do well in school so that you can get a good job.” For as long as I can remember my mom drilled that lesson into my head. She would always remind my sisters and me that you couldn’t always rely on a spouse to bring in all of the family’s income. Something could happen – divorce, illness, or worse yet, death. And then it would become very important to have your own education and your own job. Something to fall back on.
Her insistence on this came from her own childhood. I’m sure it is something that my grandparents told her as well. They were immigrants from Greece. Their first language was Greek and their second language was English. My grandfather worked on the railroad and my grandmother made sure that her daughters succeeded in school. Mom told me that she spent her childhood in a library. As the oldest daughter in her family she was the first to venture off to college and earn a degree.
As I grew up there was never any doubt that I would go to college. First you graduated from high school and then you went to college. We didn’t even talk about other options. We were encouraged to keep our grades up with hopes for a scholarship. And with my parents support, I did just that. I went to college and earned a degree. I thought that was all that was needed until I started applying for jobs. Then employers seemed to not only want a degree, but experience. I can remember feeling disheartened. For me, this was my first real hurdle that I encountered. I was lucky.
For many of our students, this is not the case. Their first hurdle happened much earlier. Though my role is not one of direct service, I have heard many stories of students who didn’t have the support and encouragement from their family members like I did. Or students who had to experience the realities of life before they were able to focus on their schooling. This is why what were are here to do is so important. We want to be the support that our students need. We want to help them when their life opens the opportunity for them to focus on their education.
We will be here. We will make the jump together.