Joliet Junior College, in collaboration with the Illinois TRIO Association, hosted roughly 500 junior high, high school and undergraduate students Saturday to commemorate the 32nd Anniversary of National TRIO Day. The annual event, which is celebrated across the country, highlights the importance of educational opportunities for low-income, first-generation students.
The celebration at JJC included several breakout sessions and workshops, and inspirational messages shared for students and created by them.
“It was very imperative that we provided our TRIO students with an exceptional experience that honors the paths and history of TRIO programs while celebrating and enhancing their knowledge to continue towards their success in the future,” said DeAndre Butler, JJC Project Achieve/TRIO Programs director.
Federal TRIO programs are designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. JJC students have benefited from these services for 35 years, according to Butler.
This year's theme was “Moving Forward: Deliberately, Diligently, & Dutifully,” and focused on college readiness, student leadership, and engagement and career development.
“Our goal in relation to the theme was to really encourage our TRIO students by reiterating that their life has purpose, their individual stories are important, their dreams count and their voices matters because we were all born to make an impact,” said Butler.
The more than 20 breakout sessions offered information on transitioning from high school to college, how to prepare for tests, dealing with anger, and offered hands-on STEM education, among others.
Butler, along with JJC President Dr. Judy Mitchell and Vice President for Student Development Dr. Yolanda Farmer shared opening remarks with students. The keynote address was provided by Cameka Smith of BOSS (Bringing Out Successful Sisters). The day also featured proclamations by Congressman Bill Foster and State Sen. Pat McGuire, with a speech and performance by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and the Jesse White Tumblers.
Students also took time to create a mural as a show of support for victims of sex trafficking. According to Butler, the creation offers a mix of kind words and poems and will be shared with Joliet nonprofit Hope and Divine Purpose Transition Living Home, Inc.
For more information contact Scott Harvey, communications and media coordinator, at 815-280-2844 or firstname.lastname@example.org.