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North Lake Student Dragana Reflects on Her Trip to Washington, DC

Last updated on October 4, 2019

This post is written by Dragana Repaja, a North Lake College student.

DCCCD has provided me with many resources to achieve success. My campus, North Lake College has a variety of clubs and organizations that improve leadership skills and help students grow academically.

dcccdlife Instagram graphic for Dragana, a North Lake student
Dragana ran the @dcccdlife Instagram account for a week during the Fall 2015 semester. Find out more about the @dcccdlife account.

This month, I attended the Association of Community College Trustees National Legislative Summit along with students Fabiola Chavez and Eian Gallegoes, along with Vice Chancellor Justin Lonon, Chief Talent Officer Susan Hall and Chancellor Joe May. As described, “This summit shines a spotlight on the importance of our nation’s community colleges for Congress and the administration.” At the summit I was made aware of programs such as: Perkins Career and Technical Act and the Higher Education Act for access and affordability.

As a student receiving financial aid, I know the benefits and importance of having Pell grants to alleviate my student tuition cost. On the trip, speakers such as Catherine Rampell and David Baime discussed community college priorities and gave helpful tips for meeting with congressmen. We met with Congressman Veseay first from the 33rd district. It was really exciting to meet him because I belong to this district.

Along with Congressman Veseay, we met with Congressman Sessions and Senator Cornyn. We advocated for a more accessible education and a year-round Pell grant. Many students, such as myself, take classes year round. Many students also know that the path in college is not linear; most students change their majors and take a variety of classes. Having the year-round Pell grant could help students finish faster, and with more semesters covered by the Pell grant, students could pursue their educational goals more easily.

The congressman and senator were very supportive of the educational achievements that community college students are working to receive. Throughout the trip, I was also able to explore the beautiful district of D.C. Faby, Eian and I became pro-metro riders after two days, and enjoyed vising the Smithsonian, monuments, exploring restaurants and having Olivia’s (delicious) macaroons.

DCCCD students Dragana, Eian and Fabiola meeting with Congressman Sessions.
The Supreme Court chambers in Washington, DC.
DCCCD students Dragana, Eian and Fabiola and associate vice chancellor Isaac Faz meeting with Congressman Veseay.
DCCCD students Dragana, Eian and Fabiola and associate vice chancellor Isaac Faz, executive vice chancellor Justin Lonon, and Chancellor May meeting with Congressman Sessions.
DCCCD students Dragana, Eian and Fabiola meeting with Congressman Sessions.

It was such a pleasure to be in the company of the district faculty. One of my favorite parts of the trip was enjoying a nice dinner at the Tavern Inn with everyone. Getting to know my board members more and students from other colleges has made me reflect on how community college has given me such wonderful opportunities. I look forward to continuing my advocacy for making higher education more accessible.

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