Wallace Community College Awarded Federal Grant to Fund TRiO Talent Search

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Wallace Community College will receive a federal Talent Search grant of $323,420 to help more low income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees to prepare for and enroll in college. Talent Search will provide five years of funding to help over 500 local students find their path to college. Wallace Community College has been the recipient of this grant since the early 1990’s. The College was one of seven Alabama institutions awarded in the first slate of funding for 2021.

One of the Federal TRIO Programs, Talent Search identifies and assists middle and high school students who have the potential to succeed in higher education. Wallace Community College serves students at Barbour County Intermediate (6th grade), Barbour County High School, Admiral Moorer Middle School, Eufaula High School, Abbeville Elementary School (6th grade), Russell County High School, and Abbeville High School. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Talent Search program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree. Talent Search provides these students with counseling as well as information about college admissions requirements, scholarships and various student financial aid programs so that they can better understand their educational opportunities and options.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 80% of Talent Search participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In FY20, more than 309,000 students are enrolled in 473 Talent Search TRIO projects in the U.S. Locally, Wallace Community College sees similar results. “Our students go on to graduate from college in whatever type of post secondary education they desire,” says Tameka Owolabi, TRIO Educational Talent Search Director at Wallace Community College. “They become successful.”

Recent Wallace graduate Breshayla Franklin is a local Talent Search success story. Breshayla was a 2021 Honor Graduate from Eufaula High School and has been involved in Talent Search since 6th grade. Through the dual enrollment program at Wallace, she graduated in May of 2021 from the Phlebotomy program and afterwards secured employment at Medical Center Barbour. Breshayla was also the recipient of numerous scholarships including one from the Alabama Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel, an organization consisting of TRIO professionals. She will attend the University of Alabama in Birmingham this fall.

“Over the years, Talent Search has played a huge role in my educational career because it provided guidance and the steps to take to get to college,” says Breshayla. “One of the college tours I took the during the 2019 summer enrichment program is actually how I found my dream school that I attend today. I owe a huge thanks to Mrs. Owolabi, Ms. Pierce, and the TRiO program for their contribution to my success. I couldn’t have done it without them. I am beyond excited and ready for these next four years of my educational career!”

For more information on Wallace Community College’s Talent Search TRiO program, please contact Tameka Owolabi at towolabi@wallace.edu or 334-687-3543, ext. 4280; Mary Pearl Morris at mmorris@wallace.edu or 334-687-3543, ext. 4281; Catherine Pierce at cpierce@wallace.edu or 334-687-3543, ext. 4283; or Dorothy Hawkins at dhawkins@wallace.edu or 334- 687-3543, ext. 4226.