From Humble Beginnings To National TRIO Achiever’s Award
Upward Bound and Forward Moving
By Hamil R. Harris
It’s a great thing when hard work is recognized.
Prince George’s Community College President Dr. Charlene M. Dukes was among eight people honored for rising above their circumstances and paying back through their professions by the Council for Opportunity in Education as 2018 National TRIO Achievers. The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) is a nonprofit organization, established in 1981, dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, veterans and students with disabilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, Guam, and Puerto Rico. TRIO began with the Upward Bound program in 1964 as a key element of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty; the program motivated and tutored low-income, first-generation high school students in families where neither parent held a college degree.
Dukes said Upward Bound helped her focus on pursing a higher education in a way that has helped her assist and support low-income, minority, and first-generation students. She has been dedicated to educating disadvantaged for more than 30 years.
A native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Dukes was second in her family to participate in the TRIO program, joining in 1968 during her high school years. Dukes then attended St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Despite her humble beginnings, Dukes became the first in her family to graduate from college and today she is the first female president of Prince George’s Community College.
Says Dukes, “I am proud that students at Prince George’s Community College are able to participate in TRIO programs, and I hope that one day a former student can receive this same recognition.”
TRIO program alumni include: Oscar award winner Viola Davis; best-selling author Wil Haygood; ABC Primetime host John Quinones; Congresswoman Gwendolynne Moore; Democratic National Committee Interim Chairperson Donna Brazil and former astronaut José Hernández
“These former TRIO program participants have distinguished themselves and are making remarkable contributions in their chosen professions,” said Maureen Hoyler, president, Council for Opportunity in Education in a statement. “It is an honor to congratulate them on their accomplishments and acknowledge how TRIO has helped make a difference in their lives.”