Kennedy-King College student Gerardo Franco has always known he wanted to work in film, but didn’t know how he would afford his education. Then, his high school counselor told him about the Media and Communications program at Kennedy-King College. He started classes the fall after he graduated from East Aurora High School in 2018. Because he was paying for his tuition out of pocket, Gerardo was working full-time in retail as he studied.

“My experience at Kennedy-King has exceeded my expectations. I was always excited to head to the U Building where all my media classes were. I learned so much,” he said.

He started out wanting to focus on film, but built skills he didn’t even know about – like video editing, TV and radio production. In addition to his classes, he was part of the Gamers Club, the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and had his own radio show on the WKKC radio station.

Gerardo was in his last semester at City Colleges when the pandemic hit. His job at the time was not considered essential, and was closed indefinitely. He started delivering pizzas to be able to make his scheduled tuition payment, but with less income for him and his parents, he needed help. One of his City Colleges instructors told him about the CCC COVID-19 Emergency Fund, and he applied right away. The funding he received helped cover his tuition expenses as he and his family adjusted to less income.

Now, Gerardo has transferred to Columbia College Chicago where he will earn his bachelor’s degree.

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