First-generation college student encourages others not to give up

WATCH: First generation U of M college seniors hope to inspire high school seniors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The goal of students who are the first in their families to go to college is not to give up.

The First-Generation Scholarship programs have helped support many students get through college despite several obstacles.

The most recent setback students have faced is the cancellation of the commencement ceremony in May.

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Garciela is one of the students the First-Generation Scholarship program has helped.

“With each sending our video we were able to still be put together and combine and everything,” Garciela said. “There were obstacles that we couldn’t get together but that’s fine.”

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High school seniors are in a similar situation since they won’t have graduation ceremonies either.

“There are much more worse things are happening across the world than just to postpone the graduation,” Garciela said. “It is a big accomplishment that we’ve made but it’s not something that is not going to happen and if I get to the point it’s for the safety of us and our families and society were doing our part.”

Just last week the Tennessee Department of Education approved a series of graduation changes like reducing the number of credit hours for seniors to graduate and waving ACT and SAT requirements.

The Vice President of Southwest Tennessee Community College said high school students on track to graduate shouldn’t worry because colleges and universities are looking into their admissions process.

“We don’t want students to feel that they are going to get a lesser experience where that college in universities are not prepared to respond to them and receive them in the fall. We will continue to work with students to ensure that their plans can continue and that they continue to get the high-quality education.”

Garciela wanted everyone to finish strong.

“The whole going into dorms and set up your dorms, your first day of classes, meeting people on campus,” she said. “I know how important and how memorable those moments are but I wouldn’t let all those define how your college career goes. There’s gonna be so many other opportunities that are going to make up for it and f you just put yourself out.”

She hoped her story would encourage other students to continue their own journey.

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