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Student Path to Success

Jason Perry ’18

Jason Perry

For senior Jason Perry, UM is much more than a college. “Montevallo has been my stepping stone to success, window of opportunity and now the place I call home,” he said.

Thanks to your gifts during the 2017-2018 fiscal year (Oct. 1-Sept. 30), students like Jason receive second chances to pursue their dreams and reach their goals.

A native of Hoover, Alabama, Jason graduated from Hoover High School, where, in addition to his studies, he played football for a championship-winning team and maintained a part-time job. “Hard work has bee

n a strong foundation in my life, and my high school experience prepared me for my future at Montevallo,” Jason said.

At UM, Jason is majoring in business management with a minor in non-profit studies. Outside of the classroom, Jason is a Falcon Scholar, interning at both the Developing Alabama Youth (DAY) Program in Alabaster and in the Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs on campus. He also coaches football at Simmons Middle School, is a sales associate at Pandora and works part-time at Covenant Presbyterian Church. This past summer, Jason completed his second internship as a career coach for the Fox 6 Kids and Jobs Program with the Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services.

Although Jason balances many responsibilities, his drive to succeed keeps him grounded. “I am dedicated to my studies and take the opportunity to learn very seriously. I know there are others who don’t get the chance I’ve been given, and I don’t take it for granted,” he said. Jason has maintained a high GPA as well as perfect attendance and is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. He plans to graduate in the spring of 2018 and pursue both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in counseling.

For Jason, the University of Montevallo offers more than just academics. “Montevallo is a community where students from all backgrounds have the freedom to come and grow into the individuals they seek to become. Here, the faculty and staff push you to reach your full potential and will pick you up if you fall behind,” he said.

Jason’s road to success has not been easy, and he has overcome many barriers to continue his studies. “In the summer of 2016 my mom lost her job, my grandfather (who had stage four cancer and dementia) moved in with us and my sister (who has been battling Lupus for 15 years) moved back in with us along with her daughter. In a time where everything was looking up, my world was suddenly flipped upside down. I found myself overwhelmed with grief. I lost my room, my bed and half of my belongings to support my family. While balancing multiple jobs, and the stress of looking for a place to live, I did not know if I would be able to continue my education,” he explained.

Jason turned to his support system at the University for guidance. “I never pictured myself in that type of situation, and I found it scary at times. Being able to rely on the support of University staff members helped me push forward and turn my very negative situation into a positive one,” Jason said. “They encouraged me to stay in school and did what they could to find me the resources I needed. This led to my involvement with Students Today Alumni Tomorrow as its current president.”

Students Today Alumni Tomorrow (STAT) is a student organization on campus that supports the Student Emergency Fund and University Food Pantry through student philanthropy and alumni support. In the last six months under Jason’s leadership, the group has raised nearly $3,000, hosted six fundraisers, developed partnerships with companies like Barnes and Noble, Wal-Mart, and Buffalo Wild Wings and established a Book Emergency Scholarship for students in need.

“Through STAT, I can help students like me who struggle with the demands of work, school, and financial instability. This would not be possible without the generous support of alumni and friends who plant seeds of hope into our lives through their support. Because of their example, I have my second chance, and I now understand the importance of giving back and paving the way for future students to become alumni,” Jason said.

In his experience with the Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs, Jason has worked with faculty, staff, alumni, community members and other students. “I have witnessed the passion that alumni have for the University. My love for our rich history has only grown, leading me to become more invested in the mission of the University and the success of my fellow students,” Jason said.

With graduation only a few months away, Jason’s reflections on his college years are overwhelming positive. “I will look back on my Montevallo experience as a milestone and turning point in my life, where compassionate faculty, staff and alumni were there in my time of need. It’s a part of my story that can never be taken away,” Jason said.