Pursuing a college degree wasn't easy for Josefina Cervantes.
The first-generation college student faced a language barrier and had a family, including two children, to take care of.
"Every single class was a challenge for me," she told students Wednesday at Ivy Tech Community College's Fort Wayne Campus.
Hers was just one first-generation stories featured in a panel discussion held in the Student Life Center commons.
About the same time, IPFW held a first-generation birthday celebration recognizing all first-generation students, faculty and staff for being the first in their immediate families to earn college degrees.
The events were part of a national first-generation college celebration commemorating the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act, which has helped millions of low-income students become the first college graduate in their families.
"Offering services and bringing awareness of first-generation issues is especially important here since half of our students are first-generation," Shubitha Kever, director of IPFW's TRIO Student Support Services, said in a statement. "We work hard to make sure everyone has access to higher education, no matter their background or economic circumstances."
TRIO Student Support Services at both colleges were involved in the events.
For more on this story, read Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. Thursday.