The Story of Your Support — Alyssa ’23

Alyssa ’23 by Xavi Khera ’23

The way to becoming an educator starts here for Alyssa ’23

Growing up in West Virginia, Alyssa ’23 always dreamt of helping others, just like her late grandmother had done through daily kindnesses toward people down on their luck. Even with such a generous role model, generational poverty made Alyssa’s goal seem too far out of reach.  

Then in high school, Alyssa met a teacher who impressed upon her and her classmates how important it was to understand the systems that govern large parts of their lives. His lessons helped Alyssa see that the economic inequity she and her family faced was not their fault, but he also showed Alyssa another path toward her dream of helping others—becoming an educator. 

“He was just so caring for all of his students and had a really great impact on me,” she said. “He was my favorite, and he showed me how helpful a teacher can be.” 

So, Alyssa chose to become an elementary school teacher one day, though she wasn’t certain how. She learned she’d need a college degree, but since no one in her family had ever attained one, the process of getting into college, let alone paying for it, again felt out of reach. Thankfully, Alyssa only had to go to her mailbox to find help when a Berea College brochure showed up in the mail one day. Alyssa quickly applied, and her teacher wrote her a glowing letter of recommendation.  

“We were so excited,” Alyssa said, recalling the day her acceptance letter arrived. “I wish my grandma would’ve lived to see me get into Berea, but I knew she was excited no matter where she was.” 

Now, Alyssa is thriving in the supportive environment at Berea College. In addition to making the Dean’s List year after year with her excellent grades, she is also gaining valuable experience through two separate Labor Program positions. As both a teaching assistant and a library attendant in the Education Department, Alyssa is building skills that will prepare her for her own classroom. 

“Every day my work excites me,” Alyssa said. “But honestly, I’m most excited about getting out in the world and helping people. There are a lot of people in need.” 

And Alyssa is absolutely right. No matter how excellent Alyssa and her classmates are or how successfully Berea College meets their needs, there are so many more students like her who are worth far more than the tuition they can afford. They are full of academic promise, just like Alyssa, and their household income should not determine their futures. These students need your help so they can earn their own high-quality education at Berea without the burden of paying for tuition. And with your help, Berea College will continue to be an engine of upward mobility for its students.  

Help us continue to build upward mobility for Berea College students, like Alyssa ’23. Give today.

67% of students hail from Kentucky and the Appalachian region 33 majors and 39 minors available to all 1,412 students at Berea College, and no Berea student has paid for tuition since 1892 67% of student body are first-generation students, meaning they will be the first in their families to graduate with a four-year college degree (11% above national average)