First-generation College Students

Our KVCC Community participates in First-generation Celebration Days on November 8th, 9th, & 10th.  As part of this celebration, we welcome you to provide your First-generation testimonial.  First-generation college students are people whose parent, guardian, or primary care-taker did not earn a Bachelor’s degree.  We celebrate your unique experience and would love to capture it.  We are first-gen proud of all your accomplishments.

We have provided all members of the KVCC Community with an opportunity to share your perspective and experience either in writing or by submitting a video below.  We have provided some examples from our amazing faculty and staff members and alumni who are First-generation graduates!  Your story matters.

KVCC First-generation Faculty & Staff


KVCC First-generation Faculty & Staff


Melissa Clement

“My college journey began the fall after graduating high school. I always knew I wanted to go to college and my family expected it of me but I did not have a foundation for what it was really going to be like. My first attempt did not work out for me. I was so lost. I didn’t understand how to ask for help and there was so much I did not understand. I remember thinking that it would never be realistic for me to be a college graduate. After taking a break for a few years, I found myself determined to make a future for myself. I wanted to be independent and I wanted stability. I focused my energy on what I wanted and didn’t let anything get in my way. At times, my goal seemed so far away- I sometimes felt like I didn’t belong. I used that frustration as motivation and focused on what was in my control in the here and now and eventually earned my Master’s Degree. For those who are not first generation, it is easy to minimize all of the little pieces of information that get passed to you along the way. First generation college students learn more than just academics. We learn how to advocate, how to persevere. We are an example for so many that will come after us- our children, siblings, and other college students who may be feeling defeated. When we leave college, we are ready to take on anything! I am so very FIRST GEN PROUD!

First-generation college students are important to the future of Maine because they are paving the way for generations to come.”


Teresa Smith

“My mom and dad went to work and raised three daughters. They never had the chance to go to college but they were very supportive of all three of us going to college…and we did! I am the first person in my family to earn a Master’s Degree. As first generation students, you will often feel that your family doesn’t understand how hard going to college is…that’s when you talk to your support at KVCC.  We get it – and we will help. Even though it may seem a struggle at times, know this – Education Changes Lives. I believe that with every fiber of my being. You are the future teachers, healthcare providers and trades men and women of our state.  We need you to make the world run, but more importantly, your families need you to be their role models and heroes!”

Mike Tardiff

“Colleges and universities are their own cultures. They have their own practices, norms, values, and even economies. Without someone to prepare or mentor you, it’s easy to feel culture shocked and overwhelmed–if you’re brave enough to enroll in the first place! We need more first-generation college students (and graduates) so we can systematically dismantle the many barriers to higher ed. Being the first in your family to fill out the FAFSA or choose a major or transfer or apply for an internship can be daunting. We need more people who can relate to these challenges!”



Landi Wright

“Although neither of my parents held a college degree, they did understand the value of an education; so I was raised with the assumption that I would go to college after high school. I applied and was accepted to a private college in New York. I even went so far as to travel there for a two-day freshman orientation; but ultimately, I chose not to attend college then. Honestly, I was just too afraid. I felt so out of place among the other freshmen at the orientation, like I didn’t belong there. How could I relate to these kids from affluent homes with well-educated parents? How could they ever understand and accept me, a low-income, first-generation student who didn’t have the same background, ideas, experiences, social skills, and opportunities that they had? Years later, I did finally find my way back to college and completed my degree, but I have never forgotten that feeling of not belonging, of not having “all the right stuff” to be a college student. This is what drives me to always strive for excellence when serving students here at KVCC – I want every student who walks into my office to know that there is at least one person here who understands the challenges they face, accepts them where they’re at, and believes that they DO belong here.”


Share your First-generation story or quote


Share your First-generation story or quote

Your First-generation story matters to us and we would love to hear your experience.  We hope you will share with us!  Check out some of the examples from other colleges in the section below to get inspired!  We invite you to listen to listen to 2021 KVCC graduate, Laurel Dorr’s First-generation story.

Laurel Dorr

First-generation stories of the KVCC community

Please share with us your First-generation story or personal quote regarding your experiences. You can submit more than once if your experience changes or if you want a "redo."
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I hereby grant to Kennebec Valley Community College (“College”), Maine Community College System (“System”), and their respective employees and agents the right to use the submitted photo and to photograph, videotape and/or record me, and to use such videotape, picture, recording or other reproductions of my physical likeness in connection with any College or System publication, web site, advertisement, report, or other presentation whose purpose is to promote a service of the College or System. Similarly, I grant to the College and System, their employees and agents the right to reproduce for the same purpose any recordings of my voice that accompany any such videotapes. Finally, by signing this document, I hereby release and discharge the College and System, their employees and agents from any and all actions, claims and demands that I might have in connection with such use, and waive any and all rights to inspect or approve such photograph(s), videotapes and recordings.


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Examples of Testimonials


KVCC First-generation Facts


KVCC First-generation Facts


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