Perspective Online

Students Share Success Stories with A DAY Leadership

by Sheryl Marlar

Student success stories were shared with A DAY leadership members at the recent A DAY Leadership kickoff event. A DAY is UWG’s annual scholarship campaign. Drs. Kyle and Jane Marrero opened up their home for the event, which highlighted the ever-growing need for scholarship opportunities at the University of West Georgia.

Students Share Success Stories with A DAY Leadership

Dr. Kyle Marrero stands with Ethan Brown, A DAY co-chairs April Brewer and Artagus Newell, and Carina Arellano-Garcia.

A DAY co-chairs Artagus Newell and April Brewer spoke eloquently of the need, highlighting their own experiences at UWG. As the owner of the Squire Shop, a successful Carrollton men’s clothing store, April credits UWG for her success. “Today I am living the American dream. I own my own business and a clothing line. None of this would have been possible without West Georgia,” she says. “This is why A DAY is so important, because it gives so many students’ opportunities. I don’t know what I would have done if someone had told me no to my dream, so let’s say yes to the dream,” she added.

“The University of West Georgia is unlike any place I've ever been in my 20 plus years in academia,” says Dr. Kyle Marrero. “It’s a place where we truly believe in the ability to transform lives. UWG’s population is growing. It is one of only about five institutions in the University System of Georgia that are growing."

He went on to thank the volunteers and community leaders here in Carrollton. “It’s because of people doing incredible work, our marketing, the perception and the belief in this institution, the belief that if you come here, your life, like April’s will be transformed,” he adds.

According to Dr. Marrero, 40 percent of UWG’s students are first generation students, the first in their families to attend a college or university. Eighty percent are on some type of pell grant or federal financial aid. “Scholarships, that access, that ability for them to obtain higher education transforms their lives as difference makers, not just for them but for the economy of our region because education will bring new companies here. The education of the workforce will make the difference,” he adds.

Co-chair Artagus Newell also shared some of his background with West Georgia. He thanked the volunteers who were present, some of them having been volunteers 20 years ago when he was a student at West Georgia. Many of them have become his good friends over the years. “It’s wonderful to see the same folks and the same smiling faces. Thank you, and we appreciate the help you bring to the students at West Georgia who are now pursuing the same dream that I pursued 20 years ago. We want that cycle to continue,” he says.

Carina Arellano-Garcia, a junior from Stone Mountain majoring in early childhood education, is the first in her family to finish high school and attend college. Her dream from the very beginning has always included going to school. Her parents instilled in her as the first born to always be focused on education. Since they were unable to finish their education, Carina felt the need to pursue that goal not only for them, but for herself as well, so that she could then instill that in others that she met.

During her senior year in high school, she filled out multiple applications for colleges and scholarships. She never really thought about how she was going to pay for school. “I was just so excited that I was going to school,” she explains. She assumed that her parents had funds put away for her to go to school. She soon discovered that she was going to have to rely completely on scholarships.

Once she was accepted to UWG, she applied for and received the Goizueta Scholarship and the Hope Scholarship, and still others beyond that. She says, “West Georgia has been able to make me a leader through the opportunities given to me, opportunities that would not have been possible without the donors to West Georgia.”

Ethan Brown is a business major from Tallapoosa. His parents, who are divorced, had no means to pay for his education. They let him know in high school that his education was his responsibility. They told him that if he succeeded in high school, he could get the Hope Scholarship to pay for his college. “During my senior year, I realized that my parents didn’t know the whole story and that tuition was only part of the cost to attend college,” he adds. As he looked further, he realized that he wasn’t eligible for scholarships at UGA or Berry, two schools he looked to attend.

West Georgia offered him the Emerging Leader Award and the Freshman Foundation Scholarship. He planned to attend West Georgia for two years and then transfer. “But there was a slight problem with that. West Georgia became my home and has provided me with all the opportunities I needed to succeed,” he explains. “I’ve served in various service organizations, and I’m involved in a one-of-a-kind program called the Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program,” he adds. “Next year I’ll be studying in France as a foreign exchange student earning a dual degree in international business while earning credit toward my double major in marketing and management.”

To the donors, Ethan says, “Your work brings in students from the large institutions where only a small percentage receive institutional scholarships. When these students come to West Georgia, they bring their talents, their passions and their dreams, and they too, make West Georgia their home. These successful and talented graduates go out into the world showing everyone what West Georgia has to offer.” He goes on to say, “Because of you, I made the right decision to Go West. Because of you, I can achieve my dreams and so can others who are awarded scholarships and make the right decision to Go West.”

For more information on the UWG Annual Fund or how to donate, visit


Do you have a comment or opinion about this story's topic? Perspective Online wants to hear from you. Submit a letter to the editor today.

Letters to the Editor Policy

Share this story!

FacebooktwitterLinkedInYouTubePinterestInstagram Give WestUniversity of West Georgia