Students credit Battle Creek pipeline program with helping them transition to college life

September 13, 2022 (Volume 46, Number 2)
Article by Michele Coffill

First-year student Lalro Mawii was pleased with how her first week of classes went and she credited a pipeline program for helping her feel comfortable on campus.

Mawii was one of 12 students from Battle Creek Central High School selected last year for the Battle Creek Public Schools Health and Teacher Education Pipeline Scholarship program. Now in the program's third year, students will receive funding to cover tuition, fees, housing and dining, plus a book stipend for eight semesters.

"I had a great first week of classes," Mawii said. "There are a lot of people here to support me, including past cohorts of students. We talk a lot about resources on campus and that helped ease the stress, especially about what to expect in college classes."

All three cohorts of scholars were invited to a kickoff luncheon September 2 in the Kirkhof Center. President Philomena V. Mantella welcomed students and said the program aligns with the Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan.

"This program has a special place in our hearts," Mantella said. "GVSU is not only a West Michigan university community. We serve all citizens of the state by providing access to students who might otherwise not have the means to enroll in college."

Jacob Avalos, a junior, was in the first cohort of students to receive the pipeline scholarship. He said the program, supported by Grand Valley's Battle Creek Regional Outreach Center, was a tremendous help as he learned to navigate campus. Now it's his turn to give back; Avalos is a peer mentor in the program, added this year as another layer of support for students.

"I knew almost everyone in my cohort," Avalos said. "Now, I want to be able to help others as they come up."

The scholarship program stems from a 2019 partnership among Grand Valley, Battle Creek Public Schools and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Grand Valley received a $15.5 million grant from WKKF to partner with BCPS and transform education in the district. Funding for the scholarship program comes from WKKF as additional support for students.

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This article was last edited on September 8, 2022 at 12:6 p.m.

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