Development, News, Scholars Program

First Ever #ProofPointDay to Recognize First Generation College Students and Allies

Today, on May 30, 2014 first generation students and allies are helping to raise awareness of what it’s like being a first generation college student in the first ever #ProofPointDay. The idea for the campaign came from Chastity Lord, the current CEO of Achievement First Public Charter Schools in New York City. She wanted to have a day for “communities across our country where college graduation is not an expectation are surrounded by thousands of visible and vocal #proofpoint first generation students and allies – creating a new narrative about what is possible.”

FLOC is proud to support this endeavor as an ally to our own first generation college students in the Postsecondary Scholars Program and our future first generation college students in our Middle School and High School Scholars Programs. To learn more about #ProofPointDay you can visit the campaign website and to learn how you can get involved with FLOC’s Scholars, please visit our volunteer page.

We asked some of our students what being a first generation college student means to them, check out some of their responses below:

Kelsey – University of Maryland College Park

Being a first generation college student means beating the odds and achieving your dreams. It means making my mother proud; setting an example for my younger sister; and being a role model to other Latinos and undeserved minority that achieving a higher education is possible. It’s an experience that has impacted my life in the best possible way, and it would have not been possible without the help of FLOC!

Jennifer – Montgomery College

Being a first generation college student to me means ending the cycle of poverty that my family has been in.  I am setting the example for the future generations to teach them that being successful is the best thing there is and that education is the key to success.  Going back to that poverty is not the answer and I will show them that. That’s what being a first generation college student means to me.

Erica – Pace University

To be a first generation college student means that I can carry out the knowledge that I have gained from so many people.  It’s an honor to say that I made it to college and will graduate.  It will give me opportunities that I could never imagine and for that I am grateful.

Adam – Salisbury University

As a first generation college student I learned the importance of education. I see opportunities that I have in the future for me and help people as they help me throughout my struggle times.  By going to college I can succeed as an individual and become a better student.

Alayna – Penn State University

It means to me, that there is more pressure.  Since you’re the first you have to set an example for yourself and your family, to try to overcome adversity.

David –Trinity Washington University

Being a first generation college student means a lot to me, because I am opening the door for my young siblings and showing that that if I can do it they can too.  Also for them to see how an education can change someone’s life.  Being a first generation student allows me to make my family be proud of me for the great things I have achieved.  It has allowed me to go out their help inspire other kids and show them the importance of an education.

Jasmine– Washington Adventist University

People didn’t think I was going to attend college, because I was so in love with dance.  They thought I just grow up to be a dancer and nothing else.  Being a 1st generation student, allows me to show people that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.  I am glad that I am a college student; that I am a 1st generation student.

Nicholas – Sewanee: The University of the South

For me, it means that my parents aren’t able to help me in some aspects of my college life.  But it’s also a source of motivation from my parents as they want me to take advantage of opportunities they never had.

(Kate Fleischer is the Development Assistant at FLOC).

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GW Interns/Tutors, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Spotlight

Meet Juel and Julian

Juel hugs his brother Julian.
Juel hugs his brother Julian.

Juel, 7, attends H.D. Cooke Elementary School. He is in first grade. At FLOC, Juel goes to the Tuesday Night Reading program and has been at FLOC since October 2013.

In his free time, Juel likes to play soccer with his friends and build Legos. Before tutoring, in the student room, he likes to play Jenga with his brother Julian. Juel’s favorite subjects in school are gym and math.

Juel is a very energetic child, and never fails to provide FLOC staff, tutors, and his fellow students with a laugh. When I asked him what he thinks his brother should be when he grows up he said “a rock star!” When Juel grows up, he wants to be Iron Man from Marvel’s Avengers.

This year in school, Juel hopes to do better in reading in school and reach grade level. Juel enjoys coming in every week with his brother. You can always see them playing together in the FLOC student room before tutoring starts.

Julian, 8, is in the second grade and also attends H.D. Cooke Elementary School. Like Juel, he has been at FLOC for one year and attends the Tuesday Night Reading program.

Julian plays Jenga before the start of the tutoring program.
Julian plays Jenga before the start of the tutoring program.

Julian’s favorite class in school is science because he likes to learn “how things work”. In his free time, Julian likes to go outside, play with his friends, play Uno, and relax. Julian and his brother Juel are big fans of the Marvel’s Avengers. Julian told me he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up just yet.

Julian’s favorite part of coming to FLOC is “learning new things” and “having fun” with his tutor Rebecca. Julian says that FLOC has helped him advance a level in reading at his school.

(Benjamin Harris is a tutor in the Thursday Night Math program at FLOC).

News, Scholars Program, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Caroline Fichtenberg

caroline

Caroline moved to DC five years ago to start a new job. She grew up in Paris; her father is French and her mom is American. Caroline currently works at the Children’s Defense Fund, a national child advocacy organization. She places high value in education and helping children succeed in school.

FLOC seemed like a great program and a perfect fit for her. She joined our team last fall. Since then, she has been in the Scholars program every Wednesday as a Program Assistant where she assists Jessie, our 10th grade instructor, to facilitate fun workshops for the students to help them start thinking about their future academic and professional goals.

Caroline enjoys spending time at FLOC because of its fun environment “where I see the Scholars’ positive energy of possibility and achievement.” For Caroline, spending time with youth has been a refreshing and inspiring experience.

One of her favorite activities while working with the group of 10th graders is when they play Jeopardy, which helps them to “talk about issues and reinforce ideas that we’re working with. They work together and you see what they have learned and what they are thinking.”

For Caroline, the Jeopardy game “is a good way to see their curiosity to learn and share what they know. There is a balance of competition and support for the other team, which I think shows a lot of maturity.”

Caroline represents Princeton University, her alma mater, during FLOC College Night.
Caroline represents Princeton University, her alma mater, at FLOC College Night 2013.

During this school year, Caroline has shown a great commitment to help our students in different dimensions. She represented Princeton University, her alma mater, and participated in a speed networking activity with the post-secondary Scholars during the last College Night, held on December 18th. We are glad to have her on board with us and thankful for her willingness and passion to work with our students.

(Lisvette García is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Associate at FLOC).

News

11th Grade Scholars Spend Spring Break on Annual College Tour

Rosa, an 11th grade Scholar, enjoys some complimentary cotton candy at UPitt.
Rosa, an 11th grade Scholar, enjoys some complimentary cotton candy at UPitt.

Fifteen FLOC 11th grade Scholars took advantage of their week off from school to join myself and two other FLOC staff members on a five-day college tour. During the week, we visited six schools and traveled through five states.

Our first stop was Pittsburgh where we visited the University of Pittsburgh (UPitt) and the Community College of Allegheny County. For some students, this was their first opportunity to spend substantial time on a college campus. We had a great time in Pittsburgh and were able to enjoy some of the campus festivities happening on UPitt’s campus during our visit.

Pennsylvania State University at Altoona was our next stop. Despite the drizzle, we had definitive backwards-walking tour guides who shared their love for Penn State Altoona with our students. Students asked a lot of questions and loved seeing the contrast between a very large school, UPitt, and a smaller school, Penn State Altoona.  We broke up our drive by stopping by the main Pennsylvania State University campus in University Park to enjoy ice cream from the on-campus creamery before traveling to Syracuse, New York.

One tour group of students with their St. Joseph’s University guide.
One tour group of students with their St. Joseph’s University guide.

After a run in with a sudden April blizzard, we awoke to fresh snow in Syracuse which luckily melted as the sun joined us out on our tour of Syracuse University. Students enjoyed seeing the indoor stadium and hearing about the on-campus flight simulator. Once we were done comparing the food at Syracuse with our previous cafeteria visits, we headed to Philadelphia just in time to attend a Phillies baseball game.  We spent the evening cheering on the home team and ended our trip by visiting the beautiful St. Joseph’s University (SJU), where we heard all about Hawk Basketball and voted SJU as having the “best cafeteria food” of our trip by a landslide.

Students enjoy a chilly Phillies Game.
Students enjoy a chilly Phillies Game.

At all of the colleges we visited students asked a lot of questions, ate in the on-campus dining halls and gained knowledge about different types of post-secondary institutions. I was impressed with the information our students retained about each campus visit and appreciated hearing the progression in the complexity of their questions as the week passed and we visited more schools.

This week also gave me the opportunity to witness friendships blossom between our students and get to know them outside of the FLOC building. When the time comes for these 11th graders to begin applying to colleges next fall, FLOC’s high school class of 2015 will know what to look for when deciding what colleges might be right for them. I am excited for the roller-coaster year that awaits them!


Test your knowledge of some of the schools we visited with trivia we learned on our tours!

1. Which college that we visited is Bob Costas an alumnus of? What international event does he take undergraduates from this university to every two years?

2. What two Pennsylvania counties does St. Joseph’s University span across?

3. What is the capacity at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus stadium, Beaver Stadium?

4. On which campus that we visited are ducks federally protected?

5. At what college was a famous children’s TV show (involving sweaters!) filmed at? What is the name of the TV show?

Answers: 1. Syracuse; the Olympics 2. Philadelphia and Montgomery  3. 107,282    4.  Penn State University – Altoona   5. UPitt; Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

(Lauren Ballinger is a Scholars Program Instructor at FLOC).