Polina Saran

December 21, 2023

Arts and Culture

VIDEO: First-generation student dances her way to graduation

Rachael Haynes reflects on her journey as a first-generation student and soon-to-be mom.

Polina Saran

December 21, 2023

Rachael Haynes has dreamed of being a dancer since she was a child and would spend her time at the Boys and Girls club practicing and perfecting her moves. Her passion led her to Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Dance Program, where she became the first in her family to attend college.

Nearly 60% of undergrads at MSU Denver are first-generation students like Haynes.


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On the eve of earning her bachelor’s degree and attending Commencement, Haynes, who is pregnant, reflected on her educational journey, her passion for dancing and how she plans to balance motherhood with her dream to own a dance studio.

 

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