Celebrating First Generation Students


Savannah Richards knocking out multiple assignments to get one step closer to graduating // PHOTO Cameron Graham

Cameron Graham, News Editor

Finishing college is a huge accomplishment for students. However, for some students coming to college at all is a significant milestone. Some of Piedmont’s students are starting a new path for their families by being the first to receive a college education.


“It was always an expectation,” said student success advisor, Maurilia Oldham. “From the time I was little my mom got me workbooks to do basic math and reading to get me ready for college.”


Everyone comes from a different household, where some people have to overcome challenges that others don’t encounter.


“Since no one in my family has ever gone to college I really didn’t have anyone to talk to about what to expect, so it felt like I was flying blind for a while,” said junior mass communications major, Savannah Richards.  


The college process can be stressful for anyone. With numerous steps involved, it can intimidate some people from reaching the finish line. Having no one to turn to for college advice can make things harder to complete the process, which can turn some students away.


“There are times where I have gotten down on myself. However, I think back to my goal of graduating from college,” said sophomore sports communications major, Brett Loftis. “This has been something I have strived towards since the first time I held a pencil in my hand. So, that is what keeps the drive inside of me alive. “


Reigniting that flame to push through the most challenging times can work for some people. However, having that helping hand during a stressful journey can do much more. Piedmont College is creating that with the First Generation Celebration event, where students get that extra boost they need to graduate.


“The importance of this event is to give those first generation students the knowledge, guidance, and resources to be successful,” said Oldham. “I also think it is important that first generation students feel supported and recognized because it is very difficult to make it through a college experience when you don’t have the same resources as others.”


It is for this reason that Piedmont is trying to create the support system first-generation students need to make their college experience less stressful.


“I’ve always known that I would need a college education to do whatever I chose to do with my life, and I’ve really enjoyed my time at Piedmont,” said Richards.