In order to qualify for the Student Honorarium Award, eligible students had to be first-time freshmen, attending a Tennessee higher-education institution, nominated by a TASSR member, submit a 500- to 1000-word essay regarding impressions of the first-year experience and speak at the Honorarium Luncheon and share the first-year experience.
“I was very excited to win this award,” stated Amouzou. “I came here last January from Togo, West Africa, a French country, so I spoke French there. I have always been very passionate about the English language — even before I came here. I love to read, but I was not used to speaking English because we don’t speak English in my country. I am much better at writing than speaking.”
CSCC English instructor Jennie Eble nominated Amouzou for the award.
“Teko is focused on working toward academic success and benefiting from his college educational opportunities. Although he has struggled academically at times, through perseverance and a positive attitude, he has used these challenges as opportunities to enrich his own education. It is obvious from his attitude that education means more to him than receiving a diploma; rather, education is a tool for his growth as a person and a member of the community.”
It was because of his dedicated approach to his academic career that Eble invited Amouzou to join CSCC’s Supplemental Instruction Program so that he could help other students who underperform academically.
Amouzou accepted the position and, according to Eble, is showing as much dedication to the other students as he does for his own academic career. It is apparent, not only from the improvement in grades, but from the student feedback that Amouzou is making a positive impact on the students.
Eble said, “Teko has been a wonderful student, and his writing shows so much creativity and thought. I am just so proud of him.”
Before enrolling at CSCC, Amouzou came on campus to apply for financial aid. On the way in, he said he noticed his country’s flag among the multitude of flags posted all around the sides of the main common’s area in the George L. Mathis Student Center. These flags represent all of the many students from different countries enrolled at Cleveland State.
“Instead of being just a discovery, that [flag sighting] increased my excitement. I had anxiety that I was not going to see students like me here, but all of that anxiety vanished when I got here and saw all the nationalities on this campus.”