Kalamazoo Valley Community College student Adrian Tigues readily admits that he wasn’t a serious student in high school. He was more interested in socializing than studying. But the 2009 Kalamazoo Central High School graduate wasn’t about to let the offer of tuition coverage through the Kalamazoo Promise go to waste.
“I really didn’t like school, but I personally don’t want to live in poverty. I’m going to school to get a better job,” he said.
Tigues’s study habits and resulting grades have steadily improved and he has been accepted as a transfer student to Western Michigan University, where he plans to study social work and psychology. Tigues has taken five classes with Kalamazoo Valley psychology instructor Anora Ackerson. In her first class, he had a GPA of 1.5. In his last class with Ackerson, Tigues received a 4.0. “You seemed not to give up,” Ackerson told Tigues. “There’s some determination there.”
Tigues said he stuck with Ackerson’s classes because he liked her teaching style as well as the topic. “The fact that I love those classes was just a bonus,” he said of Ackerson’s instruction.
Ackerson said that once Tigues began to apply himself, his grades began to improve. She said Tigues seemed to realize that she and her colleagues genuinely care about their students’ success. “Sometimes I don’t think students realize that teachers are interested in why they don’t do well,” Ackerson said. She said Tigues has done well because he’s not afraid to ask questions and he has slowly gained momentum and motivation.
Tigues said he has enjoyed taking classes at Kalamazoo Valley and has primarily been at the Arcadia Commons Campus. “I’ve been able to find teachers who enjoy teaching and who have helped me with one-on-one time,” he said. “Here at the Arcadia Commons Campus, teachers have more time to connect. They’ve helped me achieve my goals.”
Tigues will take one more class at Kalamazoo Valley and will attain his Associate of Arts degree before transferring to WMU to work on his Bachelor’s degree and later attend graduate school. “After going to school here for that long, I want that associate’s degree,” he said.