It has been estimated that nearly 40 percent of present-day United States citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island. Wave after wave of European immigrants left the Old World in hope of a better life in the New World during the first half of the 20th century. Most of these immigrants worked long, hard hours in manual labor jobs and lived very modest lifestyles. Many shared the hope that their children and their children’s children would acquire an education and ultimately realize the American Dream. Some referred to this collective group of first-generation immigrants as the sacrificial generation. They collectively sacrificed so that their descendants could enjoy better lives.
The children of the sacrificial generation faced many challenges. They observed the sacrifices that their parents had made to provide them with expanded opportunities. Many shared a strong sense of responsibility to work hard and achieve the dreams of their parents. For some, the pressure to succeed was intense. Second-generation immigrants also faced the challenge of finding the appropriate balance between valuing and preserving their respective European national culture, and successfully integrating into the melting pot of American culture. Education was often the vehicle that helped second-generation immigrants to overcome language and cultural barriers.
The same recipe of hard work and educational attainment that worked for countless 20th century Americans still holds true today in 21st century America. The American Dream is alive and well in our great land of opportunity.
At Weatherford College, we are expanding educational opportunities on an unprecedented scale. We have new academic programs, new agricultural programs, new athletic programs, new bachelor’s degree programs, and expanded programs in the arts. We have a new English as a second language support program and many other new and expanded student services. The Weatherford College Foundation has recently raised millions of dollars in private donations to support student success. We have new student scholarships, new buildings, new computer labs, new high-tech medical equipment, new state-of-the-art instructional tools, new Steinway pianos, and a myriad of new technology tools.
The expanded opportunities currently available at Weatherford College are providing our citizens with a broad pathway to success, and more opportunity than ever before. It is my opinion that our home is located in the greatest state, within the greatest country, that the world has ever known. The American Dream in now within reach of more of our fellow citizens than ever before. These expanded opportunities transcend age, race, gender, socio-economic status, and almost all other perceived barriers. Just as Ellis Island once served as a gateway to a better life, Weatherford College stands as a beacon on the hill illuminating the pathway to success and inviting all to relish in her opportunity.
Tod Allen Farmer
President, Weatherford College