GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT The first Man on the moon, first African American president, first woman in space… Famous Firsts is something Colorado Mesa University celebrated today in their first generation students.
Even though Colorado is one of the most educated states, only 30% of Western Coloradans have a bachelor’s degree. As jobs are requiring more and more education, awarding first generation students is important in addressing that disparity. Geting those scholarships can make a huge impact.
“I bawled my eyes out. I was so happy. I couldn’t believe it, it was like a life changing experience going from not knowing college was an option to getting one scholarship and then a full ride right after. It was just crazy, it was life changing. It was magical,” says first generation student Jesus Ruiz.
“Getting some college, and when we talk about college, it isn’t that everybody is going to get a PhD, but it realizes that a certificate, an Associate’s, a four year degree, a Masters or a Doctorate, anything along that range is going to improve your life,” says Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster.
The event also brought in a group of local high schoolers that counselors identified as being good candidates for college, but would be first generation students themselves and might identify with the stories told today.