In late August, 2013, Dionne Williams took a chance. It had been 30 years since Williams had entered a classroom and now at age 47, she was back.
“You might say I fell through the cracks of the immigration system.” Williams said. “I was in the country for more than 16 years before I was able to get residency. I always wanted to go to college but my status made that difficult.”
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Williams and her family moved to Bridgeport. While raising her family, Williams would hear about HCC through friends and co-workers.
“When you live in Bridgeport, you hear about how great HCC is and all the interesting courses they offer.” Williams said. “I knew once my immigration status was wrapped up that I would end up there. That was always my goal.”
After Williams started classes, she heard about the Family Economic Security Program (FESP) from classmates and teachers. Williams took advantage of FESP’s scholarships and academic counseling services and credits the program with helping her graduate.
“Working with everyone from FESP was instrumental.” Williams said. “The (staff) were like coaches and it was reassuring to know that they were available to help.”
Williams will graduate on Thursday with a 3.61 GPA. After graduation, she will begin at Smith College, majoring in Sociology.
“It took a long time, but I can finally say I did it.” Williams said. “It’s never too late to go back to school.”
For more information about the FESP program, visit http://www.housatonic.edu/current-student/fesp