Funds provide future, transition for Travis Huffman

Mar. 06, 2014 @ 10:54 AM

Travis Huffman was born and raised in Caldwell County. When the time came for college, he wanted to stay.

“I didn’t feel ready to leave yet,” he said. “So I decided I would go to the community college, and I’m really, really glad I did.”

Huffman now attends Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, working toward an Associate in Arts degree. He’s a first-generation college student. He was home-schooled from third grade until his high school graduation in 2012. On Wednesday, he spoke at the Foundation of CCC&TI’s Annual Fund drive kickoff.

After finishing his associate’s degree, Huffman plans to transfer to either Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk or Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. There, he hopes complete a bachelor’s degree in public relations. He has always been energized by people and wants to build a career around that, he said.

It’s important to Huffman to pursue his bachelor’s at a small university that, much like CCC&TI, can offer a low student-to-teacher ratio. But small, private universities can come with not-so-small price tags – and that’s where the Foundation of CCC&TI comes in.

Huffman has received help in paying for his CCC&TI tuition through the foundation’s Wilson Family Scholarship. In turn, that gives him the ability to save for the future he dreams of at a private, four-year institution.

That’s not to say he won’t miss CCC&TI when that dream becomes a reality. It has been the right choice for him, he said, for a whole list of reasons.

There’s the math refresher course he took through the college’s basic skills department the summer before he enrolled, which gave him the skills he needed for the college-level math courses that came later.

There’s his involvement with the TRIO-SSS program, which is designed for first-generation college students, and with the college’s Ambassador program.

There’s his favorite professor, the English department’s Matt Williams.

If asked to give advice to upcoming high-school graduates – first-generation or not, home-schooled or not – Huffman said he’d advise them to give the community college route a try.

“Go and get your two-year degree,” he said. “You’re getting the same thing you would get at a university for a whole lot less, and the quality is the same.”