Tusculum College welcomed Congressman Phil Roe to campus on Monday, June 21. Roe visited the campus to learn more about the college preparation programs offered by Tusculum College through the TRIO programs.
TRIO includes three federally funded programs, Talent Search, Upward Bound and Student Support Services (SSS). These programs serve regional students who are from low-income backgrounds and if they attend college, will be first-generation college students.
Roe represents Tennessee’s First District and currently serves on the federal Education and Labor Committee. He expressed a great deal of interest in programs that encourage young people to continue their education.
“The answers to our education issues are complicated,” said Roe during a meeting with Tusculum College President Nancy B. Moody and Jeanne Stokes, director of TRIO programs. “It is even more important now for young people to get a higher education or some skill in order to be successful.”
Of the three programs, Talent Search begins the earliest, with students entering the program in the sixth grade.
“We begin monitoring the courses that they take, work with students on attainable goal setting, and we recently took 60 of our Talent Search students on a trip to Nashville,” said Stokes.
The student trip allowed for an educational experience, but they also visited several college campuses as part of the program’s effort to encourage students to begin thinking of college as an option at a young age.
“Whenever I talk to these students,” said Moody, “I don’t talk about Tusculum College specifically, we just want them to believe that college is a genuine option for them and begin working toward it now.”
Upward Bound, which serves high school students and is currently in summer session on the Greeneville Tusculum College campus, brings the students to the college to learn and experience life on a college campus. Students take courses and live on campus. They learn to deal with roommates and experience eating in the cafeteria.
“Our programs are very much set up like a college program,” said Stokes. “We offer courses for them to choose from, including “Creative Writing,” “Forensic Science,” “Navigating Math” and “Destination Space.”
She added that the “Destination Space” program is linked directly with NASA and focuses on the study of space.
The third of the TRIO programs is Student Support Services and provides a wide array of academic support services to at-risk students once they are enrolled as a Tusculum College student. Services include tutoring and counseling, among other services.
While on campus, Congressman Roe visited several classes of Upward Bound students, encouraging them to stick with their education and continue on to higher education.
He shared with the high school students statistics regarding earning potential for college graduates that included that a high school graduate will make an average of $500,000 more in a lifetime than a non-high school graduate, and a college graduate will make an average of $1 million more in his lifetime than a non-high school graduate.
“What you’re learning now are the basics that will help you continue to learn throughout your lifetime,” he said. “Knowledge is power - it allows you to understand, to explain and to convince others of what you believe is the right thing to do.”
“We are trying to break the cycle of poverty with these programs,” said Stokes. “We are doing everything we can to let them know there is more they can do if they go on to college.”