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All in the Family: Committing to Complete

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Jacqueline Champs and her 10-year old son made an agreement: If she would go to college, so would he. This week Champs, her son Jacquan and daughter LeToya made another commitment, pledging to complete college, during ceremonies honoring the All-Mississippi Community College Academic Team.

Family commitment signers LeToya Champs, Jacquan Johnson and Jacqueline Champs

Champs, a one-time high school dropout, is now an All-Mississippi Academic Team member. Currently enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Natchez Campus, she plans to transfer to a university and study marketing.

Giving a "thumbs up" to completion are All-Mississippi team members John Biffle and Rachel Voss, Northwest Mississippi Community College

A total of 82 students, their families, college faculty and administrators signed a commitment to support college completion during the All-Mississippi Academic Team recognition. Several speakers acknowledged the importance of completing a college credential, including Dr. Eric Clark, Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board, and Dr. Rod Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa.

"I am so proud of our students for their efforts to promote college completion," Dr. Risley said, reminding the audience that President Obama has called for an additional 5 million community college graduates by 2020. He praised the work of the Community College Completion Corps, the student-led group created by Phi Theta Kappa, and noted that many of the All-Mississippi Team members had been involved in completion events on their campuses.

Dr. Risley also announced that CollegeFish.org, Phi Theta Kappa's transfer planning and college completion platform that was introduced in Mississippi, will go nationwide thanks to a near-$3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "This program has the potential to help every community college student in the United States move on to complete a baccalaureate degree and find a rewarding career."