Huntington, Ind.—Huntington University sophomore Adrian Feiertag has been named an outstanding first-generation college student by the Independent Colleges of Indiana.
Made possible by a grant to the ICI from the Lilly Endowment, “Realizing the Dream” recognizes the triumphs of first-generation students in their first year of college. The student honorees are Indiana high school graduates who demonstrated superior academic performance during their freshman year and exhibited leadership in campus or community activities. A $1,000 grant will be mailed to the institution to be deposited into the student's account and applied toward the cost of his/her education.
“Honestly, I guess I never considered not going to college. I hate to pull a, ‘in this day and age,’ but it’s probably appropriate here. Plus, I have always done well in school. I guess it just seemed the natural thing to do,” Feiertag said.
The program also celebrates the roles played by teachers and parents in shaping student aspirations for a college education. After being chosen by their college, the students then named the elementary or secondary teacher or counselor who most influenced them to attend college. These mentors will each receive a $1,000 professional developmental award.
Feiertag acknowledged Pamela Teegardin, a teacher at Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“Mrs. Teegardin -- despite my brief time in her class – was able to convince me of the wonders of literature. I am now profusely in love with philosophy, books, and theatre, and this would not have been, save for her guidance,” Feiertag said.
Though undecided about his major, Feiertag said he is considering English and philosophy.
Students from 32 independent college campuses in Indiana as well as their mentors were honored at a banquet in Indianapolis on Saturday, October 15. The keynote speaker at this year’s dinner was Olgen Williams, executive director of the Christamore House Family and Community Center.
Dr. Hans Giesecke, president of ICI, praised the accomplishments of those honored in past years. According to Giesecke, “Recently completed studies of the previous classes reveal an 89 percent graduation rate, which is almost double the national collegiate graduation rate. There is no better incentive then this success story to encourage college attendance by others who do not have the benefit of a family college tradition.”