Project Success students celebrate National TRIO Day

Project Success students take part in a game to demonstrate that starting a few steps behind everyone else doesn’t mean you’ll finish in last place.

Students in MCC-Penn Valley’s Project Success program celebrated National TRIO Day on Saturday, Feb. 23, with activities including a potluck lunch and a canned food drive to help others in the community.

The eight Federal TRIO Programs, grants administered by the U.S. Department of Education, include an initiative called Student Support Services. TRIO’s mission is to help first-generation college students, low-income students and individuals with disabilities successfully complete their college educations. Metropolitan Community College calls its TRIO Student Support Services program Project Success.

On Feb. 24, 1986, a congressional resolution declared that the last Saturday of February should be designated National TRIO Day to commemorate the annual achievements of federal TRIO programs across the country. The theme of MCC-Penn Valley’s National TRIO Day was “TRIO Changes Lives.”

To demonstrate how Project Success has changed their own lives, participants shared testimonials about the program, both in person and on video.

Project Success member Daniel Goodman (from left), student support specialist Fern Payne, chemistry tutor Elisa Wetz, program assistant Yasmin Faiz and intern Jessica Gomes

“I’ve been a part of this program for a few semesters now, and when I first got to Penn Valley, I really didn’t talk to many people,” said Project Success student ReNia Lucas. “But ever since I’ve been involved in Project Success, I have really blossomed. I say that because it has allowed me to feel like I have a family here. It’s just great to have that support.”

Project Success members Adam Franks (from left), Emilio Espinoza and Daniel Garcia-Roman

Yasmin Faiz, a student and part-time staff member of the program, said she appreciated how quickly she was welcomed into the Project Success family: “Back in Malaysia, we don’t have support programs like these, so I think this provides a really great opportunity in helping students transfer to four-year universities.”

The students also took part in an activity called “Race for the Non-Privileged,” which allowed everyone to appreciate what they have and realize that just because they’re a few steps behind the starting line, it doesn’t mean they’ll finish the race last.