In his own words, Wright College was Kenny’s second chance at an education and he was grateful for the opportunity to prove himself academically. Kenny dropped out of high school and headed into the working world in Chicago as an electrical technician working on industrial electrical equipment. He found himself wondering how the equipment he was fixing actually worked. He also thought he’d like to be the person designing it. He looked around and thought that it was too easy to keep letting time slide by, and decided to get his GED. After passing the GED exam, he headed to Wright College at the recommendation of some of his coworkers.
There, he found himself a part of a community of classmates and faculty who were passionate about what they were teaching. “Wright lets you connect with your professor and classmates more than you would at a larger college. At Wright, you build a lot of relationships with fellow classmates and teachers.”
These close relationships and access to faculty helped Kenny overcome his biggest challenge: believing he could go back to school and do well. “I don’t really think I believed that I was capable of things. I didn’t believe in myself. I dropped out of high school, so I started with small goals and kept building: get my GED, go back to school, figure out what I want to do, figure out where I want to transfer. I finally realized I wasn’t giving myself enough credit and learned that if I truly set my mind to something, I could do it.”
This dedication and hard work has led Kenny to study computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he began classes this semester. He says the transition has been smooth and he feels as though his classes at Wright prepared him to jump into classes as a junior. He also thinks that community colleges don’t get enough credit. “The theory is that if you start at a community college, you aren’t going to succeed, but students need to get past that stigma – going this route can be just as fruitful and lead to the same success as starting at a 4-year institution.”
Overall, Kenny says he wouldn’t change anything about his educational journey. “I want to give a huge shout out to Wright College. It opened doors for me – I wouldn’t be at U of I and I wouldn’t have been able to follow my passion. I was given a second chance and I was welcomed with open arms – not all schools would do that.”