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Coming from a rural background poses difficulties to first gen college students


“I didn’t think I was going to college until I made it. I’m from a poor  family, I’m from the lower class and  college is big, money-wise,” Lundy  said. “I’d always known in my head  ‘We don’t have the money for this;  we’re not going to be able to pay for it.  So unless they give me something, I’m not going.’”

From elementary all the way through high school, Lundy remained in the Mount Pleasant education system. He considers himself lucky to have had the experience he did.

“I had a pretty good experience with Mount Pleasant. Some people who are a part of the LGBT community who are out don’t, naturally. I really don’t know how I had an okay experience,” Lundy said.

Creative-writing student Thomas Lundy, 22, sports shoulder-length brown hair framing a round face with a short moustache and goatee. Hefty  leather boots make him appear a few inches taller than he stands, his broad  shoulders cutting him a large figure.  His many rings and shiny silver chain  complete with a metal cross shines  prominently against his pale skin.  


Lundy hails from Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, a small town of a little more than 1,600 people. Going any where requires a fair amount of travel. Twenty minutes to Concord, 40 or 50 minutes to Charlotte.  


“It’s a very tight-knit little community,” Lundy said, a slight Carolinian  drawl accentuating every tenth word. “I remember when I was little it was  always a long drive to go to the store.” 


Out of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 80 are rural, according to Public  Schools First NC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on issues  surrounding public education. The organization also notes that North Carolina houses 568,000 rural students–the second highest rural population in the  United States after Texas. 


PSFNC figures show 64 percent  of North Carolina’s counties have  high rates of child poverty, a statistic  directly attributable to a readiness gap  which worsens as students grow older. Students living in poverty are more  likely to not only drop out of college, but possibly never attend.  

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My name is Ezra, I'm a journalist and investigative reporter based in Chicago, IL. This website contains some samples of my latest work.


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I currently do my reporting as a freelance journalist and graduate student at Northwestern's Medill Journalism School in Chicago, IL. 

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