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ASU student saved by campus program after death of mother

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 10:46 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting students across the country, including at Albany State University.

Some have even become homeless, but Albany State University’s COMPASS program is saving them.

COMPASS is an Albany State University program that helps potentially at-risk students. Those students could have faced things like homelessness, foster care and more.

In only its second year of existence, the pandemic hit, but didn’t slow down participation. In fact, officials said they saw an increase in students coming to COMPASS. Right now they have 64 students in the program.

Mildred Polite is a COMPASS retention specialist and said the reason for that might be because the pandemic ”impacted their well-being, I guess you could say, a lot harder than it would have had if they had a place.”

Mildred Polite
Mildred Polite(source: WALB)

Two students who got in the program during the pandemic told us their future would have looked a lot different without COMPASS helping them along the way.

“I would have struggled,” said Carmail Cooper about the program.

Carmail Cooper
Carmail Cooper(source: WALB)

The program is geared to help retention and graduation rates. It helps students academically, socially, physically and mentally.

The program did all that and more for Bahamas native Darius Thompson.

Darius Thompson
Darius Thompson(source: WALB)

“I would not be here no longer,” said Thompson.

Thompson lost his mom not long after coming to ASU and he ended up in the program.

Losing his mom, his rock and financial support, hit Thompson hard.

“Not going to classes, was not eating, didn’t care about anything else,” Thompson told WALB.

From that, his grades, GPA and mental health spiraled downward.

However, COMPASS and his own motivation helped him climb out of this dark time in his life.

“Pushed myself every day to do better and improve myself as a student here,” said Thompson.

Thompson was able to bring his GPA up, making COMPASS officials and mom proud of the young man who came hundreds of miles to call ASU his home.

Officials said they expect this program to grow because at-risk students are learning they too can succeed, just like any other student on campus.

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