The TRiO Program at Tyler Junior College recently held its 25th annual banquet where several awards such as the TRiO Achiever Award, academic awards, contest winners and graduate awards were given. Over 30 people attended the TRiO banquet in the Rogers Nursing and Health Sciences Center on April 14.
The TRiO Program, as a federal program, has been in existence for over 50 years nationally since its foundation in 1964. Locally, TRiO has served TJC for over 25 years starting from its establishment in 1997 with specifically the Student Support Services and recently the Educational Opportunity Center. Renee Hawkins was the original grant signer for this program to be established.
At the banquet, the TRiO Program held a moment of silence for Linda Reeves who retired three years ago, but died Sept. 8, 2022. She had served the TRiO Program as the administrative assistant for over 13 years while working in the program.
Amia Philips, a member of the TRiO Program, attended the banquet and also received a certificate of achievement.
“I’d say with everything, transportation, finance, if you like, need food or anything, there’s a way for them to get food stamps and all that and they will always help you,” Philips said.
TRiO has seen a large number of students graduate through their program. Previous members of their program have earned over 1,979 degrees since its establishment. Of those degrees were 1,003 associate degrees, 558 bachelor degrees, 168 master’s degrees, and 10 doctoral degrees according to a pamphlet passed out at the banquet.
Aziel Espinoza, a staff member of the TRiO Program and a TJC tutor, came through the TRiO Program when she was in college.
“TRiO has met that standard in regards to,
you know, like actually having students who are first-generation college students, students of low income, etc. Having students with these types of backgrounds to actually excel and obtain their associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees. I for instance, I even got my master’s, and others, of course, even getting their PhDs and doctorates,” Espinoza said.
Another recent member Austin Reed shares his experiences of the TRiO Program after being a part of the organization for one semester. “I’ll say first off, I really really wish I had joined earlier. I misunderstood, you know, I just probably could have been in the TRiO Program or definitely would have been in the TRiO Program,” Reed said. Reed plans on graduating this year and said TRiO’s help has been evident when using their resources for studying and printing supplies, or just seeking a TRiO adviser for assistance.
For more information about the TRiO Program, visit the TJC website, or visit in person at the TRiO office on the third floor in the Rogers Student Center.