Angel Peterson Points to Galesburg Promise as Reason She Wanted to Return to Hometown

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, March 27, 2020 3:27 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Angel Peterson understands the desire for most teenagers to escape their hometown after graduating.

“By all means,” Peterson said, “I was one of them in high school.”

But rather than giving in to that urge, Peterson is back to her hometown of Galesburg. She has a job as a third grade teacher at Silas Willard Elementary School, bought a house earlier this year and can point to one reason all those things happened: Galesburg Promise.

Galesburg Promise is one of two promise programs available to students who attend Carl Sandburg College. It started in 2014-15 — Peterson’s first full year at Sandburg — and is open to students who graduate from Galesburg High School, Galesburg Christian School or are homeschooled in Galesburg. It covers a percentage of a student’s tuition at Sandburg, based on their length of attendance at Galesburg schools. A similar program, Sampson Promise, is available to students who graduate from Monmouth-Roseville High School, United School

or are home-schooled in those districts. Peterson, having spent all of K-12 in Galesburg District 205, had 100 percent of her tuition covered through Galesburg Promise.

“That just sealed the deal for the reason why Sandburg would be a great place to start,” said Peterson, a 2016 Sandburg graduate.

While seven out of 10 graduates leave Sandburg debt-free, Peterson said she knows people who have more debt from one year of college than she did through all of hers. She credited Galesburg Promise and attending Sandburg with putting her in a position financially to afford purchasing her own home at 23 years old.

“I can’t emphasize that enough,” Peterson said. “Galesburg Promise really took off that burden that many students feel when they’re going to college to financially afford it. I didn’t have to worry about that component so much. I hear other people’s debts, and it just stresses me out for them. I don’t think they understand the weight of that.”

Peterson used her time at Sandburg to explore what field she wanted to eventually go into and was actively involved on campus. She was a member of Phi Theta

Kappa Honor Society, TRIO Students Support Services, Women of Character, a student ambassador and a student worker. The money she saved from Galesburg Promise also helped her take part in several of Sandburg’s study abroad opportunities.

“If I had started at a four-year college, I don’t think I would have been able to be as successful outside of the classroom,” Peterson said. “I wouldn’t have been able to join as many clubs and really figure out who I was outside of academia.”

After graduating from Sandburg, Peterson transferred and earned her bachelor’s in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa. She spent time student teaching in Iowa, Texas and even Costa Rica, where she lived for four months, but she found herself wanting to come back home.

“These are my roots, and I wanted to come back and serve my roots, where I started,” Peterson said. “I think it’s a cool, full-circle thing, and I get to grow more here. I’m putting down my own roots and continuing my own story. I’m just continuing on where I left off.”


2020 Sandburg magazine cover

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Aaron Frey