2020 Graduate Reflects On Time At Agnes Scott College, Pandemic, Her Goal To Fight For Education Equity

First-generation college graduate Christine “CJ” Montgomery reflects on her time at Agnes Scott College and discusses why she majored in Africana studies with a minor in education and what she hopes to accomplish in the years to come.

Courtesy photo

Agnes Scott College recently held two separate commencement ceremonies on the same day: One for the Class of 2020 and the other for the Class of 2021.

Christine “CJ” Montgomery, the 2020 senior class president of the Student Government Association at Agnes Scott College, says she was heartbroken when school officials had to cancel the in-person commencement ceremony last year due to the ongoing pandemic.

But her emotions quickly changed when she learned that she would get the opportunity to walk across the stage to get her diploma.

Montgomery, who majored in Africana studies with a minor in education, was a guest on Tuesday’s edition of “Closer Look.”

The first-generation college graduate, who gave a speech at her commencement ceremony, talked with show host Rose Scott about the support and the encouragement of her parents along her undergraduate journey and the recent passing of her father.

“For me, it was a big milestone to kind of finally take that walk and just kind of honor him,” Montgomery said. “He was really one of my biggest champions for pushing me to just go as far as I can go.”

Montgomery also talked about the importance of valuing and loving yourself, how she discovered the power of confidence and the importance of using her voice.

“The sky became a barrier — like people say, ‘The sky is the limit,’ and Agnes Scott was like, ‘Nah, the sky is in your way; you gotta keep going,’” said Montgomery.

The rookie first-grade teacher also talked about how she’s using her degrees to make sure education is equitable for Black and brown students.

“I don’t want to change the world,” said Montgomery. “I want to change little minds — one person at a time.”

To listen to the full conversation, click the audio player above.