During this time of year, many high school seniors and their families are attending graduation ceremonies and celebrating the accomplishment of this education milestone. At Montgomery County Community College, 19 high school students recently received their high school diplomas, too, through the Gateway to College program.
Only a year ago, these students were not on track to graduate, but MCCC’s Gateway to College program changed their future. Part of a national network, Gateway to College enabled them to complete their high school requirements, receive their diplomas and continue taking college courses, all with the guidance and support of MCCC’s dedicated faculty and staff.
Since MCCC launched the program in 2013 at its campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, 135 students have earned their high school diplomas. Because of its success, the Gateway program at MCCC is one of 10 community college programs nationwide to be named a finalist for the prestigious 2018 Bellwether Award in the Instructional Programs & Services Category.
“Only 30 schools in the nation are named as finalists, and Montgomery County Community College was recognized for this program. This is the premier Gateway to College program in the country,” said MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollock.
“When we talk about student success, we’re talking about you,” he told the graduates. “You should be proud of what you accomplished because it is remarkable.”
The graduates are Giana Berrios, Upper Perkiomen School District; James Breinig, Jenkintown School District; Dominick Clark, Cheltenham School District; Camiyyah Cousins, Pottsgrove School District; Samantha DeJoseph, Boyertown Area School District; Aspen Fiorentino-Alberto, Upper Merion School District; Janeth Galeana-Bruno and Tierra Green, Wissahickon School District; Kristian Heard and Dennis Knox, Pottsgrove School District; Stephanie Marburger, Commonwealth Diploma; Zachary Myers, Phoenixville; Aliyah Rocco, Wissahickon; John Everett Seavy, Souderton School District; Nathan Schultz, Phoenixville School District; Toné Thompson, Wissahickon; Carlos Vieyra, Upper Moreland School District; Karl Vondra and Jada Young, Upper Merion.
“It’s not going to get easier; it will be harder,” Gateway Director Keima Sheriff told the graduates as they received their diplomas. “But, you have the tools you need and the support system. Most importantly, you believe in yourselves now, and that’s what you need to keep going.”
Thirteen graduates will continue their education at MCCC in the fall. The other graduates will be entering the workforce or continuing their education at another institution.
MCCC collaborates with 18 school districts, who refer students to the program. Additionally, partners Waste Management, PECO, Wells Fargo, Univest, TD Bank, the Kahn family, Maguire Foundation, Malik family, Ambler Savings, Thompkins VIST Bank, First Priority Bank and the Gateway to College National Network have provided financial support for the program and student scholarships.
“I believe the true success of the program is the tireless dedication of the entire Gateway team, and I cannot thank them enough for their work in supporting our students,” said Sheriff. “We work together to make the goal of student completion the primary focus of the program.”
The team includes Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Nicole Henderson, Program Director Keima Sheriff, Resource Specialist Jezerey Weiderman, Resource Specialist Esau Collins, Administrator Michelle Kulla, English Assistant Professor Diane McDonald, Reading Senior Lecturer Karen Harding-Tasca, Math Senior Lecturer Tracy Halsey and Math Senior Lecturer Donald Slaughter.
About Montgomery County Community College For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.
As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.