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April 26, 2009
By Jon Fortenbury
The TRIO Graduation Ceremony takes place on April 29 from 7-9 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom. The goal of the ceremony is to honor students from all five of the TRIO programs who will be graduating from either high school or the University this semester.
“We want them to know that we’re just so proud of them and their accomplishments,” said Rita Escher, director of the University’s TRIO program. “I know their parents are, too.”
The University’s TRIO programs (TRIO Scholars, McNair and the three Upward Bound programs) help low-income and first generation students enter college, graduate from college and transition into the workforce or graduate school. They provide a variety of services to students including tutoring, counseling, academic advising, anything related with financial aid and more.
This year, about 50 TRIO students will be graduating from high school or college.
“The real purpose of our TRIO graduation is that our students see that this is possible,” Escher said. “You don’t have to let circumstances of birth determine where you’re going to go and what your life will be … you don’t have to stop because you have these extra challenges.”
Another reason for the TRIO graduation is to raise awareness on campus about the TRIO programs.
“It’s a great opportunity for the TRIO programs to come together and for the campus to see that they’re not isolated programs,” Escher said.
Escher hopes that high school seniors from the TRIO Upward Bound program will find inspiration from students in the TRIO Scholars and TRIO McNair Scholars program that are graduating college in May.
“They’re very believable role models,” Escher said.
The ceremony lasts for about an hour with a reception following. University Provost Marc Johnson will address the graduates. Four TRIO students graduating this year will also give short speeches about their personal journeys to graduation. The students speaking are Michael Snider, Ruth Salas, Hala Armstrong and Gretchen Hill. All graduating students will receive certificates of recognition.
Students, family, friends and other invited guests- including representatives from Nevada Congressional offices, will be attending the ceremony. The ceremony usually has between 100 and 200 attendees.