No Greater Odds — League for Innovation Opening Session

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No Greater Odds — League for Innovation Opening Session  

This session began with a Welcome Address from  Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges. She introduced us to James McCoy, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at the College of Southern Nevada , and Executive Producer of No Greater Odds. She also introduced Charlene Gibson, Communication Instructor at College of Southern Nevada and Associate Producer, of No Greater Odds.

Keynote Presentation 

No Greater Odds Documentary Screening and Panel 

The documentary, No Greater Odds, follows the inspirational stories of five community college students. Their stories of complicated family issues, financial difficulties and other personal obstacles are the stories of millions of students who attend community college in the hopes of bettering their lives and futures through higher education. By sharing these stories of struggle and triumph, these students will understand that the way their story ends depends on how it begins – because for them, there are No Greater Odds. Highlighting the mission of access and student success of community colleges everywhere, No Greater Odds underscores the unique and integral role of these higher education institutions.

She requested the we join her for a special screening of the acclaimed documentary, No Greater Odds, which follows the inspirational stories of five community college students. Their stories – of complicated family issues, financial difficulties and other personal obstacles – are the stories of millions of students who attend community college in the hopes of bettering their lives and futures through higher education. By sharing these stories of struggle and triumph, these students understand that the way their story ends depends on how it begins – because for them, there are No Greater Odds.  Highlighting the mission of access and student success of community colleges everywhere, No Greater Odds underscores the unique and integral role of these higher education institutions.

Movie Screening

If you’re interested, view the trailer and share your story at http://nogreaterodds.com.

Panel Discussion

Immediately following the special screening of No Greater Odds, we got to meet members of the cast of the film to provide a more intimate look at each of the students’ inspiring stories featured in this powerful documentary. The No Greater Odds movement and how the film was created was discussed in greater detail, and the cast and producers answered questions about this film.

Panel Members

  1. James McCoy, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs, and Executive Producer, College of Southern Nevada
  2. Charlene Gibson, Communication Instructor and Associate Producer, College of Southern Nevada

Cast Members: 

  1. Barbara Ayarza
  2. Carlos Holguin
  3. Jaklin Guyumjyan
  4. Monique Makhlouf
  5. Tyrone Foster, College of Southern Nevada. (He was unfortunately called away for a family emergency)

Thoughts on the Session

Determination is not enough. For many students, just being determined is not enough to succeed, as family problems, monetary issues, and lack of resources can quickly stop them from succeeding. This movie was a great example of how individual attention can lead to success in the college space, however sometimes that’s not something every college can bring to bear. Student success is so vital to our mission at community colleges, but Want is not all it will take to succeed.

One of the interesting things they discussed was the use of TRIO, a federal program for students. I’m not familiar with this program or how it might be utilized at our school. Looks like I have some work to do.

Some students have no computers at home, and so the labs at school can really help. Many students are overwhelmed and underprepared, and that’s an issue that must be taken into account early in the process, or at least as early as possible.

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