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College Possible Minnesota celebrates student alumni and the class of 2024

Cheers to New Chapters, College Possible Minnesota’s annual year-end gathering in June, celebrates the successes of the past academic year and features a College Possible student alumni panel. Ranging in age and experience, the panelists recount their proudest college moments and reflected on the ripple effects that getting a college education has had on their families and communities. Led by Douachee Lee, incoming College Possible Minnesota Advisory Board Chair and student alumni, this year, the panelists shared their college experiences and reminded the audience that the work of College Possible doesn’t stop after college graduation.

“Now I’m able to give back to my community, to the students that I work with, to the staff that either served me in the past or to new peers, teaching them about special education,” shared Xai, an event panelist. “I’m able to give back and teach families and communities and parents about what special education they need and what that means, and how it can impact kids who have educational disabilities.”

Xai, a high school graduate of Saint Paul Central High School and college graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, is a first-generation college student that pursued graduate school for school psychology. With the support and encouragement of her College Possible coach, she applied for as many applicable scholarships as she could find and graduated with minimal debt. When asked about what positive impact her college diploma has had on her community, she said that having the opportunity to study abroad during her undergrad made her realize that people who looked like her didn’t often have the opportunity to travel. Xai’s story made it possible for others in her community to imagine having similar experiences. She made the idea of earning a college degree more attainable to her family and community members and continues to give back through the Saint Paul Public School system as a school psychologist.

“Again, it really goes back to the relationship I built with my coach and wanting to provide that same sort of service for future generations of students,” says Alex, another panelist. Recognizing the benefit that I got out of just being part of the program and knowing how much it did for me, I wanted to be able to provide that for another set of students.”

Alex, a high school graduate of Highland Park Senior High School and college graduate of Hamline University, is a first-generation college student that served for two years as a College Possible AmeriCorps coach after obtaining his degree. He recognized the huge benefits he got out of the program and wanted to provide that to the next generation of students. The strong relationships he formed with his College Possible coaches were instrumental to the success he had in college, and being a coach allowed him to form the same relationships with the students he served. Alex now works in the admissions department at Hamline University and enjoys helping the next generation of students figure out what they’re passionate about and what they want to do.

“I didn’t know that I could get into college and with the help of College Possible, I got into all seven schools that I applied to,” shared Gabriela, another College Possible graduate. “As difficult as it was, all the support I had and the knowledge I gained helped me make an informed decision. I’m so thankful and track back my successes to College Possible.”

Gabriela, a high school graduate of Roseville Area High School and college graduate of St. Catherine University, recently graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with her master’s degree in social work. She felt like she had succeeded in meeting the expectations she set for herself during her undergrad, and knew that with a master’s degree, her employment opportunities would greatly expand. Thanks to her College Possible coaches she knew how to connect herself to campus resources and had a strong network of mentors. Since graduating college and graduate school, Gabriela has helped several members of her extended family and friends with FAFSA and college applications. She credits College Possible with providing her with the knowledge to help others on their own college journey and will continue to share what she knows with her broader community.

Congratulations and thank you to the Cheers to New Chapters student alumni panelists and to the class of 2024. College Possible is proud of your monumental achievements and looks forward to supporting the class of 2025!

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