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We want to publicly express our sincerest appreciation to President Larry Dietz and the Illinois State University community for sponsoring the annual Successful Student Seminar for students in the “Stay 4” Project, held on campus April 27.

Students in this program are low income and considered at risk for dropping out of high school, yet they demonstrate the aptitude and ability to finish school and pursue a post-secondary education. When they graduate, (and we’re proud to say that 97 percent of them do), they are typically the first in their families to do so, and virtually all will be first-generation college students.

For most, this seminar is the only opportunity they will have to see a major college campus, but above all it is an inspiring day that lets them understand the significance of continuing education and how they can attain it. It gives them a glimpse of college life and what they can do to become a part of that picture.

The president’s office at Illinois State has played an important role in this program from its inception in 2008, and remains a valued partner helping us transform young lives today. Because of their commitment, these at-risk youth have gone on to become alumni not only from ISU, but some 30 colleges and universities from around the country. Thank you, Illinois State University.

Paul Segobiano, Normal

The writer is director of development for Great Plains Life Foundation.

Elizabeth Skinner, Normal

The writer is director of public relations for Great Plains Life Foundation.

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