Going to college is truly a dream come true for Antonio Morales and his family. He's the first person in his family to ever go to college.
"I felt like it the best way to advance in today's economy. I feel like you need a degree," Antonio said during study time on the campus of the University of South Florida.
Antonio is thriving at USF in part because of a program at the university that helps students who are so called "First Generation College Students."
Mack Davis is the director of the program.
"They don't even understand what advising is, what housing is, how you are going to pay for all this expense, so we have to prepare those students for those challenges once they arrive here on campus," Davis said.
And they are doing a very good job of it, too. Because of this program, USF ranks high for minority graduation rates. Students like Clinton Coutain say it's made college a smooth transition.
"They try and make it seem like college is not as hard as it seems. They want to make sure you're here for a purpose. You have a purpose, and you can do great things," Coutain said.
So many stories of success for these students who are blazing the trail to college for their families. Jonathan Geneus is a senior at USF and going to law school.
"They showed me that anybody can succeed. You just have to be willing to apply yourself and not give up," Jonathan said.
Mentors in the program meet with the students on a daily basis, making sure they take advantage of all the resources on campus and making the grades. Student Nekesha Nash says it is a big help.
"This is a big university and they showed us around the whole university. If we had any problems, they told us to come to them and they would solve everything," Nekesha said.
Spending valuable time helping first-generation college students navigate the road to success.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?