For the second year, State Fair Community College’s TRiO program has participated in the nationwide recognition of first generation students and graduates by hosting a reception in Yeater Center on Sedalia campus.

SFCC says that students and employees who are the first in their family to attend college or earn a degree were invited to attend; graduates were invited to wear shirts with their alma mater’s logo. Each were given special stickers to wear for the day – First Generation Strong or First Generation Proud.

“Nov. 8 is the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which addressed the need for resources to help more students earn college degrees,” said Sonya Bowman, TRiO program director at SFCC. “Through this celebration, we want to elevate first generation students and graduates and recognize their achievements in overcoming challenges to earn their degrees.”

The college’s TRiO program is called STEPS, or Students in TRiO for Educational Preparation and Success. It serves 160 eligible students each year, with a goal to help each one to successfully transfer to a 4-year institution and earn a baccalaureate degree. Participation in STEPS is free, according to SFCC.

In September 2000, the U.S. Department of Education awarded SFCC a five-year grant to begin a STEPS program. Since then, the program has qualified for continued funding, and in August 2015, the DOE renewed SFCC’s funding for five more years.

“TRiO helps first generation students overcome fears about going to college,” said Mary Wright, who participated in TRiO and earned an Associate of Arts degree at SFCC. “I relied on my TRiO advisor when I needed help understanding my classes and enrolling each semester.”

Wright is a staff member in SFCC’s Adult Education and Literacy program and is completing an Associate of Fine Arts degree at the college. She also is taking classes on campus from Central Methodist University to earn a bachelor’s in psychology.

For more information about TRIO, visit

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

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