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Generational Success

Posted: August 14, 2018

Jacqueline Marquez

FM Graduate, Jacqueline Marquez, and family at Proctors Theatre

As I sat at the FM commencement ceremony this past May I watched Jacqueline walk across the stage as her family cheered from the crowd. One month later, I would do the same at her son Giovanie’s graduation, as I did three years prior for his older brother Jonathan. At FM I have the unique privilege of participating in two graduation ceremonies every year; one at FM, of course, but the other at Amsterdam High School, where my role with the Liberty Partnerships Program allows me to work with students in 6th-12th grade to help them find success on their path to graduation. It is through my work that I met this family eight years ago and interestingly all three were FM students- and at times, two of the three attending simultaneously.

How? Both sons were Smart Scholars in high school. Smart Scholars is a New York Stated Education Department (NYSED) grant program which is a collaboration of efforts among the Greater Amsterdam School District, Centro Civico and FM.   Students apply in 8th grade and follow an accelerated course of study- taking college courses at FM during their junior and senior year. On average the graduates leave high school with 24 credits earned.

Jacqueline expressed that attending FM was the “best decision” she made when moving to NY. She was able to take classes part time and online, while working full time, and raising her children. “I was so happy to see my mom pursue her dreams. It was initially hard for her, but she never gave up.” In her first semester, Jonathan remembers his mother having to translate her assignments between Spanish and English often. It was tedious but in seeing her effort to succeed, her perseverance became his driving force whenever he felt like giving up. And, his efforts paid off.

“Smart Scholars/FM made my transition to Northeastern University a lot smoother. At FM, I learned to manage my time better and better my study habits. All my FM credits transferred and I entered my freshman year with sophomore standing.” Not only did Jonathan enter as a sophomore but he did so as a Gates Millennium and Torch Scholar (both full ride scholarships).

After graduation, Jacqueline started her new job with the RCIL-Resource Center of Independent Living where she is a Bilingual Disability Rights Advocate. She is excited because “this is my passion!” Gio graduated at AHS this June and is headed into the Air Force with 22 credits under his belt. As for Jonathan, he is currently at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California helping to develop a tumor model for breast cancer. He plans on applying to graduate schools to obtain a PhD in biomedical engineering.

So whether you’re an adult looking to start down a new path, further your career or just simply “follow your passion”…or you’re a high school student considering our early admit program or figuring out where to start your undergraduate journey- FM has you covered. In fact, FM has something for everyone in your family!

This article was written by Lucas Prime, Project Director of the Liberty Partnership Program and STEP Coordinator at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

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