Our Voices

Anisha SaphoFull-Time Mother, Full-Time Student

As a single mother of four, MCTC student Anisha Sapho understands the challenges of raising a family on one income. For more than a decade, Anisha jumped from one entry-level job to the next. She often asked her employers about getting promoted but usually received the same response: “If you had that piece of paper, if you had graduated from college, you might have been eligible for this position.”

Aside from wanting to provide for her family, Anisha also wanted a steady career. “I didn’t want to work an hourly paying job,” she said. “I wanted to receive a salary, know my income and be able to create a reliable budget plan and savings plan.”

To work towards this goal, Anisha followed the footsteps of her mother—an MCTC graduate—and enrolled at MCTC in the fall of 2014. Her experience at MCTC has exceeded her expectations.

“I’ve had wonderful experiences in the classroom,” she said. “The instructors have all been very supportive and understanding of my situation, so when I am seeking more understanding or guidance, I’m getting it in real-time. Even with my online classes, I still get the responses I need in real-time.”

In addition to her role as full-time mother and full-time student, Anisha also works full-time at the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). According to NAZ Education Director Jaimee Bohning, NAZ “operates as both an organization and a collaborative of more than 30 service providers and schools, supported through a public-private partnership. Through NAZ, North Minneapolis is beginning a community-wide transformation towards a college-going culture.”

Recently, MCTC and NAZ have collaborated on a plan to increase student success. To help NAZ serve the community, MCTC developed the College Success Solution Plan, focused on defining clear, measurable ways for post-secondary institutions to have accelerated outcomes with NAZ scholars. The Solution Plan helps prepare NAZ scholars to graduate from high school and immediately enroll in a college program, eventually completing a credential within 150% of a program’s length.

“MCTC President Avelino Mills-Novoa is putting together a team of staff to fully implement the Solution Plan across the college,” said NAZ Education Director Jaimee Bohning. “NAZ Scholars who matriculate to MCTC are supported through implementation of this plan.”

Anisha looks forward to helping develop this relationship and to seeing NAZ’s approach adopted by schools and communities nationwide. Anisha also takes the time to encourage people to attend college and, in particular, to begin at MCTC.

“I’m broadening my horizons just by having classroom discussions with my peers,” Anisha said. “It gives me a better understanding of the world, and I think that I also have a stronger sense of what success looks like—and not just success in the financial realm, but in the realm of parenting and being a wiser adult as well.”

Published June 2015


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