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ECC North hosts diversity and retention in higher education seminar

Posted at 5:04 PM, Feb 28, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The classrooms of ECC North were packed Friday for a special seminar. The college says the goal is to promote the success of students of color when it comes to retention, and higher education.

Alanda Gethers says she knows these struggles first hand.

“I started with homelessness at the age of 14,” she said. “I dealt with addiction, running the streets. My mother was a single mom raising three children—it was a struggle.”

Gethers says she remembers being a young girl, growing up in Brooklyn. She was faced with addiction issues when she was just 9 and says she never made it to high school.

When she was 23, she says she learned she was at about a fifth grade learning level. She says she had just had a child, and realized how important higher education would be in her life.

“I got my GED,” she said. “I had a learning disability. I learned I struggled with dyslexia. I never really had a learning environment that was conducive to my personality.”

“We have them come in, and they drop off. We want them to come in, stay in, understand it’s a partnership.”

ECC’s Chief Diversity Officer Tracy Archie says retention of students of color in higher education is a growing issue. She says a lot of times, many are first-generation college students. Archie says it’s important the campus provide students the resources they need to succeed, and stay with their higher education.

“Many students come to the college from many different backgrounds with no idea of what to do next, and how to stay in spite of what’s going on in their personal lives,” said Archie.

Gethers says she’s proud of what she has accomplished and is not giving up.

“When I realized my greatness came from within, that’s when I began to thrive,” she said.