Join the First Scholars Network!
Become a Network Member to transform your institution for first-gen student success.
First Scholars Network Member logo

York Technical College's First Generation College Celebration

Caroline W Canty Ph.D., York Technical College / The Center / December 09, 2022

Student and staff member shaking hands across table set for meal

Our First-Generation College Celebration was held November 7-11 this year. The Celebration highlighted our first-generation students, alumni, faculty, and staff. We created an interactive presentation to display photos and embed videos from our events.

TRIO Programs and the Office of Student Leadership and Events hosted the activities throughout the four-day week. November 8th was Election Day, so no event occurred because the college was closed. We partnered with other campus offices and departments to form and cultivate robust and affirming experiences for students. Other on-campus collaborators included Workforce Solutions (Continuing Education division); College Advising; Alumni Affairs; and College Marketing.

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators attended the following events:
Day 1 – November 7th

Kickoff Celebration – Students enjoyed food and fun, played games, and won door prizes. They visited our campus resources tables (Counseling and Support Services; Career Services; TRIO Programs; the Registrar’s Office; and Financial Aid). Also, we had a display honoring TRIO alumni and current participants and acknowledged the legacy of TRIO programs on our campus.

Day 2 – November 9th

Power of Networking – Attendees participated in activities that showed them how to develop a network, which is crucial for garnering recommendations for scholarships, employment, and promotion opportunities. We have included videos from students and one of our community partners who participated in the event.

Day 3 – November 10th

Mentoring at Mealtime – We hosted a catered luncheon with campus leadership, students, faculty, staff, and community partners. Students were allowed to ask questions of representatives from Workforce Solutions, Duke Power, the City of Rock Hill, Career and Transfer Services, and the Dean of Student Engagement. The professionals offered encouragement and guidance on navigating career choices and the workplace. Our Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs gave remarks at the occasion. Each student was given a folio for use in subsequent interviews.

Day 4 – November 11th

First Fridays – The new First Gen Club launched its monthly meetings. A continental breakfast was served for York Technical College students and their first-gen allies. Students participated in icebreaker activities before learning more about the new campus organization and engaging in social time with other first-generation students and members of the faculty and staff.

Because of the events, more students are reaching out to those resources to receive the assistance they need to be successful.

The College committed $3,000 for decorations, publicity, refreshments, and door prizes to ensure the success of the sponsored activities. In addition, other college-affiliated partners provided additional funds to upgrade the quality of portfolios given to students. We had over 100 students who participated in the events held throughout the week-long celebration. Feedback from students, faculty, and staff alike was favorable. Several students new to our campus were unaware of the resources available to first-generation students. Because of the events, more students are reaching out to those resources to receive the assistance they need to be successful. Further, students utilized their conversations with our community partners. They seized the moment and felt affirmed.


Through these activities and others, we anticipate the First Fridays initiative will cultivate community on an ongoing basis and develop into a first-generation student club and an honor society to highlight the achievements of first-generation students. A support group like this can only enhance the student experience here at our institution. We look forward to it flourishing for years to come.

York Technical College's 2022 First-Generation College Celebration was made possible by a $500 grant from the Center for First-generation Student Success and the Council for Opportunity in Education. Learn more about their celebration here!