Sen. Geraldine Thompson Meets with Bridges to Success Students


A message from Falecia Williams, President, West Campus

We were pleased to welcome Sen. Geraldine Thompson, founder of the Bridges to Success program, to the West Campus on Friday, January 8, 2016, for a roundtable discussion with our Bridges students.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Sen. Thompson back to Valencia and to introduce her to students who are benefitting today from the Bridges to Success program that she started at Valencia over 30 years ago,” shared Joyce Romano, vice president, student affairs. “Always the educator, it was fun to watch and listen while Sen. Thompson engaged the students in a lively discussion about how to get involved in a political life and the meaningful work that can be done through public service. We are so fortunate to have her as a long-time friend of Valencia.”

Geraldine Thompson has a rich history with Valencia, and provided leadership for several years as head of the College’s first Office of Equal Opportunity and special assistant to the president, providing local and statewide leadership on equity and diversity issues. In addition to founding the Bridges to Success program, she also launched the CROP (College Reach-out Program) at Valencia, designed to prepare educationally disadvantaged minority students from Orange and Osceola counties in grades 6-12 to plan and successfully complete a postsecondary education.

Valencia students were inspired by the senator’s visit and enjoyed the opportunity to speak with her directly.

“Meeting Sen. Thompson was a very empowering experience,” conveyed student Margarita Bassil. “She made me realize that anything can happen if you’re determined and motivated. I anticipate applying what I learned from Sen. Thompson in order to make a difference in the community and succeed throughout my life.”

Student Karilys Gomez agreed that Thompson’s advice was invaluable. “She provided a group of us with advice that we are the builders and that it is in our hands to make things happen and not wait on others. I took it into consideration coming from a woman of many achievements and accomplishments, and I hope someday to follow into her footsteps in becoming a person people could look up to.”

Jay Galbraith, vice president, public affairs and marketing, believes that The College and the Central Florida community are fortunate to have the senator’s focused and principled leadership. “She is a champion for her district — for education — for children and regional economic development,” he said. “Moreover, she serves as a wise voice of the Senate helping to remind The Chamber of the rich deep history of Florida … and the role of African Americans in that history.”

“When the history of this generation of Florida leaders is written, Geraldine will hold a special place of compassion — disciplined — respected leadership. We all stand on her shoulders,” Jay concluded.

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