Small-Town Students Experience Big City Life: TRiO Program’s Cultural Trip to New York City

From rural landscapes to towering skyscrapers, students from North Central State College’s TRiO program had the chance to experience the vibrant sights of New York City this past summer. Brothers, Clay and Chase Easterday, both part of the TRiO program, shared their adventures and how the experience changed their perspectives.

The North Central State College TRiO program takes students to at least one to two leadership conferences or workshops during the academic year. These opportunities are provided for our TRIO students who aspire to be leaders in our community.

Clay, an integrated engineering technology student, and Chase, a business management student, began their college experience at the North Central’s Crawford Success Center.  “We are so grateful to have the Crawford Success Center in our local community,” Clay says.  “It makes it a lot easier to get your education in one spot and then being able to take that education anywhere you wish to take it.”

The brothers came from a small town, so visiting New York City was a huge change. They got to see museums, eat at world-famous restaurants, and experience the hustle and bustle of city life.

For Chase, the experience was a testament to the program’s commitment to broadening horizons. “We’re small-town kids. Some of the students are from other small towns, we would never be like, ‘Hey. We’re going to New York,'” Chase remarked. The brothers never thought they’d go to a place like New York City. But the trip wasn’t just about sightseeing; it was about learning and growing. They visited iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Apollo Theater, and the Twin Towers memorial. They even got to go to the top of the One World Trade Center and see the amazing skyline of New York City.  “You just don’t realize how high up you are in the elevator and see it all,” Chase reflected.

Their trip wasn’t just about the tourist spots; it was about the people and the connections they made. Despite being from a small town, they felt connected to the city and its diverse culture. Chase shared how they watched as the city lit up at sunset, a sight they wouldn’t have experienced back home. “We got to see New York come to life,” Clay recounted.

The TRiO program’s support extends beyond sightseeing, offering indispensable assistance tailored to students’ academic needs. The TRiO Student Support Services program provides and coordinates a variety of educational services for students who are first-generation, low-income, and/or students with disabilities. Clay Easterday emphasized the program’s role in alleviating financial burdens, sharing, “They saved me over $600 on books this semester.” Through initiatives like a used book library stocked with TRiO resources, students find solace in the program’s unwavering support, ensuring academic success and support for all of its members.

“The cultural activities are provided to allow students to experience programs, events, and activities they may not otherwise experience like sporting events, theater productions, museum visits, etc.,” Amanda Windom, TRiO specialist explains.  “By TRiO sponsoring these activities, our students are also given the chance to explore possible internships and job opportunities.”

In just one week, the students went beyond their rural backgrounds and fully embraced the diverse culture of New York City. When they came back from the trip, they were filled with memories of a journey that exceeded what they thought possible. Chase reflected, saying, “The trip exposes you to different cultures and lets you meet new people.”

The New York City trip is a perfect example of the real-world experiences offered at North Central State College and the power of education and exploration. From small towns to towering cities, the pursuit of knowledge knows no bounds.