First Generation College Student Discovers Debt Free Education at CMC
Isela Saucedo has lived in Leadville, CO her entire life, and she knows what it takes to thrive at 10,200′ above sea level. Isela is in her second year at Colorado Mountain College, and holds three jobs at Lake County Vision, Elevated Eyewear and is also a translator for Mountain View Developmental Services. As a first generation college student, Isela’s parents have instilled the importance of education, and CMC has made a debt-free education possible for Isela.
Isela began taking classes at Colorado Mountain College Leadville through the CEPA dual enrollment program before she graduated from Lake County High School in 2016.
“The school paid for the classes, and I was able to enroll at no cost,” says Isela, “It was a great opportunity to get a head start and take college classes. I started taking one class at a time.”
After high school, Isela continued studying at CMC to finish out her associate of arts degree that she began in high school. She will graduate from CMC in May 2018 and plans to transfer to Colorado Mesa University and enroll in the radiologic technology program.
Debt Free College
In two years at Colorado Mountain College, Isela and her family have not paid any money out of pocket. As the recipient of multiple scholarships and the benefactor of various college resources, she has written many thank you cards in the past few months.
“I have been very fortunate to have received so much help from numerous resources,” says Isela, “I would have to say that the TRiO program and scholarships have been the biggest help. TRiO gave me a platform to begin my college career. It made me feel less intimidated about college.”
Isela credits CMC’s helpful staff for guiding her through her last few years at CMC. Special thanks go to Acacia Fike-Nelson, Kelli McCall, and Jennifer Speight for their support in everything from buying textbooks to providing affirmation and assurance.
“Little actions like these were the ones that shaped me as the college student that I am today,” says Isela, “CMC staff are there to help, it is just a matter of asking. At first I was very shy and did not want to seek help but I learned that asking for help actually helps you learn and grow.”
In addition to CMC supportive services and staff, Isela has been the recipient of many scholarship opportunities that have paved the way for her debt free education.
“I would like to thank the Lions Club, P.E.O, The Summit Foundation, Leadville Boom Days Committee, The Catholic Daughters, Ski Cooper, Leadville Race Series, as well Colorado Mountain College who all have provided scholarships that have helped me through my journey at CMC and will continue to be of great help when I attend Colorado Mesa University.”
First Generation College Student
Growing up as the eldest of three, Isela wanted to set an example to her younger sisters. She also knew it was important to minimize education costs for her parents, who were not fortunate enough to attend college.
“My parents and my sisters motivate me to excel in school,” says Isela, “My parents have inspired me to go further with my education and build a better future. I am grateful for all the support that they have given us.”
CMC’s student resources help first generation students every day. Whether it is answering questions, helping with scholarship applications, or navigating the transfer process, CMC staff are there to help.
“Being a first generation student and being clueless about college is not the best feeling in the world,” says Isela, “But CMC was there to help me along the way. Now to be able to look back and see how much I have grown is absolutely amazing.”
“As a first generation hispanic student I want to prove that going to college and having a career is possible regardless of financial status or ethnicity,” says Isela, “and at CMC I was able to do this without student loans.”