Now that the Alamo Promise initiative has officially started, I wanted to focus a little more on the Alamo Promise and share more about my hopes and fears about this opportunity. It is fair to say that the Alamo Promise has enormous potential to change the face of district 2 for the better. The opportunity to end generational poverty through education and workforce development throughout the eastside is profound. By providing TUITION – FREE college, financial barriers are no longer an obstacle for eastside high school graduates to attend college.
A D2 high school graduate from Sam Houston high, Wagner high, and Judson high school can enroll in Alamo Colleges and pursue hundreds of work force certification programs that Alamo College offers, or pursue an Associates Degree, or even take the first two years of college courses before transferring to a four year university. Ultimately, all that is needed is the desire and the commitment to work hard.
My hope is that students in D2 will pursue this opportunity and commit to enrolling at Alamo Colleges. It is critical that this initiative serve as a spring board to erase generations of inequities in our district’s pursuit of the American dream. Minorities, students of color, have been playing catch up in attending college and earning degrees. The Alamo Promise is our commitment to change those inequities forever in San Antonio.
My fear, which has kept me up late at night, is:
1. That high school graduates from our participating high schools may not have the interest to pursue college due to the necessity of having to find a job.
2. Our institutional support at Alamo Colleges for first generation students is not strong enough to support incoming students.
3. A student may lack a belief in their ability to succeed in college.
Let me elaborate on both points. Students in D2 are diverse and their needs span the social and economic spectrum. The necessity for high school graduates to support their families or simply support their own welfare is important. A student should know that there will be opportunities to do a work study program and/or take classes that balance a work schedule. Our advisors can truly help maneuver through those issues.
I know that my Alamo College colleagues, our Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores, and our Administration and Staff are working diligently to be prepared. I will continuously work with our team to ensure we are exceeding our ability to meet the needs of our incoming freshman. I was a first-generation college student, and my initial experiences at Alamo Colleges were horrible. I failed every course I took for the first 3 semesters. I periodically refer to those experiences when evaluating our programs. That is why I am adamant about support systems being in place. I want every student to succeed.
The last point is the most challenging. A student must believe in themselves first and foremost. Belief in your ability begins early, and sometimes, support is not strong enough to support children early in their development. We must collaborate and work together in helping our students in elementary and middle school. Seeking opportunities to create partnerships and programs designed to support character development and social emotional support early is imperative in order to ensure that Alamo Promise initiative is successful.
Thank you for reading my commentary, it is a privilege to share my perspective on issues as your Alamo College Representative for district 2. If you have additional questions or comments, feel free to call or text me directly at 210.386.0075. I truly enjoy talking about Alamo College and education.
Have a great week.