Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholars Website Celebrates Scholars

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Amid an unprecedented and tumultuous year, Helios Education Foundation proudly launched the Helios Education Foundation First-Generation Scholars website to highlight the inspirational stories of our 2019-2020 Helios Education Foundation First Generation Scholars. 

Seeded by endowments with both the Florida State College System Foundation and the State University System of Florida, Helios provides scholarships that support the postsecondary completion goals of numerous first-generation scholars. In partnership with Florida’s colleges and universities, Helios seeks to shape the kind of impact that changes lives, empowers students to connect their potential to limitless possibilities, and strengthen communities by leveraging the transformational power of education. 

“My career goal is to work in law enforcement after receiving a degree in criminal justice. The Helios [Education Foundation] scholarship has made college possible for me. As a first-generation student, I am well aware of the importance of an education. Without the scholarship I would be facing additional hardships making my journey way more difficult” said Broward College student, Thomas Quintero. While all students benefit from the transformational power of education, Helios focuses on serving first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students, thus addressing the education equity gap that often prevents these students from connecting their potential to possibilities.  

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated numerous challenges traditionally faced by underrepresented students, including access to reliable technology and career mentorship and counseling. Numerous students who financially support themselves suffered unemployment, food insecurity, and struggled to remain engaged with challenging college curriculum, now delivered virtually. These challenging financial times highlight the impact of scholarship support, particularly upon a student’s commitment to degree completion. “The Helios Scholarship played a huge impact on my life and in my career. I am now a Registered Nurse helping my community in this COVID era” said Jonquil Pompey, Valencia College. “I am also the first nurse in my family. I am now working on my bachelors at UCF and hoping to continue on with my masters in either informatics or education” Pompey concluded.

“Helios believes a high-quality education should be within reach of every student – this belief in equity motivates us to invest in partnerships that create the most direct line between potential and achievement” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation. “In partnership with the Florida State College System Foundation and the State University System of Florida, we are proud to support postsecondary completion among first-generation students throughout Florida” concluded Luna.

Please visit the 2019-2020 Helios Education Foundation First Generation Scholars website to be encouraged by their accomplishments and inspired by their potential. These students, and their stories, illustrate the transformational power of education.