Graduating seniors Jenny Mottl and Seenia Thao were asked to pose for a photo before Saturday’s commencement ceremony to mark a UW-Green Bay milestone: the first diplomas awarded to alumni of the University’s heralded Phuture Phoenix Program.
Back in April 2003, the two young women were fifth-grade participants in what was then a still-new program called Phuture Phoenix.
Now, they epitomize the promise of the University’s signature college attainment program — to show youngsters from at-risk schools that college is possible, to help them see themselves pursuing higher education, and eventually, to support them in achieving college acceptance and completing their university education.
“I love UW-Green Bay and every day I appreciate it even more — especially today,” Thao said Saturday. “It’s a very, very great day for everyone at UW-Green Bay.”
Mottl majored in Spanish. Thao received her degree in Social Work. Thao says she was always planning on attending UW-Green Bay, and her four-year experience confirmed those plans made at a young age were the right choice.
“”I think (my college education) made me see the world more globally,” Thao said before the ceremony. “You know, Green Bay is a small college and it’s very community-oriented — and I grew up in Green Bay — but everything offered here really stimulated all my experiences and really made me see the world differently.”
You can see more on the first Phuture Phoenix alumni to receive bachelor’s degrees, and quotes from Phuture Phoenix director and co-founder, Kimberly Desotell and Ginny Riopelle, respectively, in our original feature story post here.