PIQUA – Edison State Community College in partnership with The Edison Foundation recognized more than 110 students during the annual scholarship recognition dinner on Oct. 4.
The event provides recipients with the opportunity to meet the patrons that made their scholarships available.
Following networking and dinner, Dwayne Thompson, Edison State alumnus and Piqua City Schools superintendent, talked about some of the obstacles he had to overcome as a first-generation college student.
“I’m a first-generation college student in my family,” Thompson said. “No one in my family had gone to college prior to me, I had no blueprint, and I had no real knowledge of how I was going to pay for college at that time. I knew college was important to my goals, and I simply did not have the means.”
As a lifelong resident of Piqua, Thompson was well-aware of Edison State but initially chose a different route, pursuing education from a four-year university.
“My first college application after high school was actually accepted to another university,” Thompson said. “But after speaking with a mentor to help me fully understand the transition process from high school to college, it caused me to cancel my placement and seek a job that I thought would provide me with a stable income.
“I could not stop thinking about college, however, with a goal to become an educator so I reached out to a counselor at Edison State for the first time. After my first visit, my unsure, reluctant, emerging young self left with confidence, hope and a plan for my future. I realized after that one meeting that I could afford my education and I would personally have to fund it, but I could work while I was taking classes here at Edison State.”
Thompson credited Edison State for setting him on the path to success.
“Simply put, my positive experience at Edison State served as a strong foundation to my post-secondary education and was everything that I needed as a first-generation college student,” he said.
After graduating from Edison State, Thompson went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio University and most recently completed a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as Superintendent Certification from Wright State University.
“Even when I transferred to Ohio University, I would continue to enroll in classes at Edison State when I would come back and work over the summer break,” Thompson said. “This ultimately allowed me to earn my bachelor’s degree in just two-and-a-half years, saving me both money and time.”
Thompson has since served as a teacher, principal, curriculum director, assistant superintendent and now superintendent over the past 26 years – all in the Piqua City Schools system. He was selected as the Piqua Teacher of the Year in 1999 and was a finalist for State Teacher of the Year in 2000. His wife, Merrianne, is a teacher at Piqua Central Intermediate School where their sixth grade twin daughters and fifth grade son also attend as students.
Made possible by The Edison Foundation, Edison State Community College and local organization sponsorships, recipients honored were awarded a total of almost $130,000 in academic and need-based scholarships. Scholarships awarded will aid in students’ pursuit of higher education at Edison State Community College.
Founded in 1993, The Edison Foundation has raised millions of dollars, primarily giving through scholarships to Edison State students. For more information about The Edison Foundation and scholarship opportunities, visit www.edisonohio.edu/Foundation.