WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — More than 200 Waterbury students will get some help paying for college this fall. Waterbury Promise gives tuition money and other support to qualified Waterbury students who go to an in-state college or university.
Victor Figueroa just finished his first year at Central, and he’s helping teach this summer in the Waterbury schools he went through. He says the promise is being fulfilled for him.
“I feel like I’m a prime example of that,” Figueroa said. “I wanted to be a teacher since the third grade. Now I’ve got my own Waterbury Lanyard. It’s a dream come true already.”
An event at Post University is celebrating the second year of the program. This year, 221 students will get $2,500 each in scholarship money. There are other benefits, too, designed to ensure they get through college.
“We’re making that promise to them and making sure that they have a bright future and that they’re successful, and it’s not just about the scholarship,” explained Waterbury Promise Executive Director Kelonda Maull. “It’s about checking in on them, making sure that they have mentors. Making sure that they have job shadowing opportunities.”
Promise Scholar Smith Bernard discovered that in his first year at Naugatuck Valley Community College.
“I study accounting, and I’m interning at a bank right now, thanks to Waterbury Promise,” Bernard said. “I hope to get involved in government and work in accounting, as well.”
The help from Waterbury Promise means these students don’t have to work as many hours at their jobs. They don’t have to go into as much debt and can concentrate on their studies. Post University is a major partner.
“Now there are more doors opened up for them,” said Post University Co-Provost Sandra Wilson. “Not just to get an education, but to also have the opportunity to seek out a career that they might not otherwise think about.”
It may only be in its second year, but Waterbury Promise already has big expansion plans. They are going to increase the number of students they help to around 800. Plus, over the next two years, they will double the scholarship money each student gets to $5,000.