Award recognizes students whose lives have been transformed through their experience at a Washington state community or technical college
TACOMA, Wash. –Bates Technical College student Raymond Power will receive a $500 Transforming Lives award from the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges at an event in Olympia on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
The annual award honors and recognizes five students and alumni from the state’s 34 community and technical colleges who have overcome significant barriers to achieve their higher education goals. The award demonstrates how Washington community and technical colleges help transform lives through support and education.
Bates Board of Trustees Chair Theresa Pan Hosley said, “Raymond is an exquisite example of what one can do for his community as soon as he finds himself, and what education can do for each individual.”
In his nomination essay, Power, a Facilities Maintenance Engineer student, recalls growing up on Tacoma’s east side with a younger sister and their mother, who was disabled. “We had no father and no real guidance,” wrote Power. “It got so bad one Christmas, we had nothing. So, I wrapped up my toys for my little sister. But this was hard on me…I turned to the streets.”
Power searched for what was missing at home, joined a gang, and found a false sense of family. After suffering a gunshot wound, an addiction to prescription drugs, and spending time in prison, Power said, “I knew this life was not what I wanted.”
But prison wasn’t enough to keep him away from the dangers of his former life. Without a family support system following his release, Power “ended up right back where I didn’t want to be.”
He reached a turning point when he met his wife, and, a year later, the couple learned they were expecting their first child. “Right then, I knew I had to change,” Power remembers.
The Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region’s WorkFirst community jobs program led him to Bates. After earning his GED through the program, he recalls how invigorated and motivated he felt. Power enrolled in Bates, gained confidence, and is currently on schedule to graduate with his associate in applied science this year.
Also active in the Associated Student Government, Power said, “While at [Bates Technical College], my life changed, and I had a good role model, my teacher, someone who believed in me and gave me confidence that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. That was what I needed—confidence in myself so I can begin excelling,” he said.
In addition to his dedication in pursuit of higher education, Power has begun to share his story through activities at Goodwill, and helping at-risk youth in the community.
“Bates Technical College has changed my life…I want to tell my story, and let everyone know you can change your circumstances for the better if you try hard enough. I went from having no goals and no plan to having a list of goals and lots of ambition,” said Power.
To learn more about the Transforming Lives award, go to sbctc.edu.
About Bates Technical College
Founded in 1940, Bates Technical College offers certificate and degree opportunities in nearly 50 career education programs, and serves approximately 3,000 career training students and 10,000 more community members annually in extended learning, distance learning, high school, and other programs. For more information, go to www.bates.ctc.edu, or call 253.680.7000.
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