Spokane Falls Community College graduate Tracy Fejeran will be honored with a Transforming Lives Award from the Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) on Jan. 22 in Olympia. Only five students, out of 388,000 students across 34 colleges, are selected for this prestigious award each year.
Coordinated through ACT, the seventh annual Transforming Lives Awards recognize current or former students who have had their lives transformed by attending a community or technical college. The honor also comes with a $500 scholarship.
Fejeran has overcome numerous health obstacles on her way to an education, but she hasn’t let it stop her from achieving her dreams. She returned to school later in life despite completely losing her vision. She also received a kidney transplant after five years on dialysis. In her first year at SFCC, she suffered a heart attack and has had multiple heart surgeries. Through it all, Fejeran has persevered and never stopped her studies. She worked closely with Disability Support Services at SFCC, which made sure she had the tools and access to materials she needed to be successful.
She said she feels the community college environment was exactly what she needed—understanding and accommodating. She graduated last spring and has moved on to Eastern Washington University where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in disability studies.
“I want to contribute to my community despite my disability,” she said.
“Ms. Fejeran could have given up many times, but she continues to be a shining example of what someone can accomplish with motivation and the right support system,” said Beth Thew, chairwoman of the Community Colleges of Spokane Board of Trustees.
Spokane Community College’s nominee Rick Clark will also be honored at the ceremony along with nominees from all 34 colleges. Clark graduated from SCC last spring and is now attending Gonzaga University on a full scholarship where he is studying communications. A Spokane native, Clark grew up in poverty and dropped out of high school 28 years ago. Although he later earned his GED, Clark said he felt destined for a “subpar life.” But after years of driving past SCC, he decided to stop at campus and enroll. Clark also is also the founder Giving Back Packs that has given backpacks full of personal supplies to more than 1,500 homeless people in Spokane.