KLAMATH FALLS — An awards luncheon held on Thursday, May 11, recognized students enrolled in the TRiO program at Klamath Community College who earned academic honors during the current school year.

A grant-funded supplementary support program active at many colleges and universities, TRiO functions as added support services for qualifying students that are disabled, low-income, or a first-generation college attendee. Services provided include tutoring, computer access, academic advising, workshops, and transfer assistance. TRiO also provides direct and peer-led support, scholarship assistance, and regularly coordinates cultural and social experiences for its students.

As an organization, TRiO provides a positive learning and support environment ensuring student success in the classroom and community. The results of the support provided are tangible, with 75 of 140 enrolled TRiO students (53%) achieving academic honors in fall or winter term of the current academic year. The average age of TRiO students is 30.

The awards keynote speaker, KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez, shared his successful college experience thanks largely to the support provided during his initial attempt at earning his GED and later higher education success. Vice President of Student Affairs Gail Schull shared similar sentiments, detailing her experience as a community college graduate and first-generation college student.

“That experience at community college gave me self-esteem to move on,” Gutierrez reflected about his own higher education experience and the value of support programs. “I moved on to getting those other degrees, but if it wasn’t for the caring staff and people at that community college I wouldn’t be here today. They gave me that strong foundation to succeed.”

Students were also given an opportunity to share their personal experiences. Kevvin Tiefenback highlighted how TRiO and KCC have helped him turn his life around following many years of incarceration. Annabela Mendoza explained how TRiO has helped her build resiliency, and Maria Fonseca-Bigham gave insight into her lengthy journey from Mexican migrant picking fruit to becoming a soon-to-graduate nurse.

Each honors student was presented with a certificate and congratulations from Pres. Gutierrez and KCC TRiO Director Zach Jones. Many of the honors recipients will get to duplicate the experience next month at KCC’s

Commencement Ceremony, scheduled for Friday, June 16, presented in-person and live-streaming on the KCC YouTube channel.

For more information about TRiO visit http://www.klamathcc.edu.

CAPTION: Klamath Community College students enrolled in the TRiO program gather following a luncheon on Thursday recognizing students who achieved academic honors.

CAPTION: Jose Manuel Monreal Arevalo (middle) hugs KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez after receiving a certificate of academic honors achievement during a luncheon for KCC TRiO students on Thursday. Arevalo will graduate in June with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice