Reaching the ‘Peake’ – The Student Speaker for MCCC’s Drive-in Commencement

Mass Media Studies and Production major Donnell Peake will be the student speaker during Montgomery County Community College’s 2020 Commencement drive-in ceremonies on Friday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell. Image via Montgomery County Community College.

Donnell Peake has been named the student address speaker at MCCC’s drive-in Commencement ceremonies Friday, Oct. 2, at 10AM and 2PM.

After the 27-year-old Dayton, Ohio native graduated in 2011 from a charter high school, Peake briefly attended St. Claire Community College in Downtown Dayton before joining a band as a guitarist and traveling around the country playing gigs.

But by 2015, his music career had dried up and a devastating Achilles tendon injury had sidelined his basketball dreams to the couch for recovery. It was then Peake had a conversation with his cousin, MCCC Senior Director of Cultural Affairs Brent Woods, which would ultimately change his life.

After touring MCCC’s Blue Bell campus, Peake volunteered for a year with the campus radio station, Montco Radio, and Communicating Arts Production Group (CAPG), the video production club at MCCC.

“I wasn’t taking classes,” he said, “but the experience as a volunteer landed me a job as a radio engineer in my hometown, Dayton, Ohio.”

The job lasted a year before Peake left and decided he wanted to return to MCCC. This time he’d pursue an associate’s degree as a Mass Media Studies and Production major.

Peake is a past recipient of The Patricia Nestler Excellence in Creative Writing Award, for his original song, “I’ve Got Time.” He also received The Toby and Herman Kessler Humanities Award.

He took over as station manager of Montco Radio for two years beginning in 2017 and was a driving force behind several of the fall and spring events for the station, including the charity event, Rock N Cans, and the Montco Radio Alumni Broadcast.

Peake also became a member of other organizations on campus including The Black Student Union and The Communicating Arts and Production Group (CAPG). Additionally, he was a student worker in the Athletics Department, where he was in charge of game-day operations.

Peake also regularly volunteered for events on campus and in the community, including the visit from the Harlem Globetrotters and the Whitpain Township Community Festival. Most of the time, though, you’d find him editing footage in the video production lab.

Peake’s nontraditional story inspired many incoming students, after they listened to him tell it as a panelist during new student orientation. Now as the 2020 Commencement student address speaker, Peake hopes to inspire many more.

“I want to talk about being able to persevere through challenges,” he said. “Being consistent. Being motivated. That was heavily present in my mind and heart during my time at Montco.”

In June, he was accepted into The Ohio State University, majoring in Film Studies with a minor in Motion Pictures. He is studying to become a videographer with the hope of one day launching his own media production company.

For now though, Peake said he’s ready to return to make the trip from Ohio to Blue Bell one more time. This time with a healed ankle and a bright future ahead.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MCCC rescheduled the 2020 Commencement from May to Oct. 2.  To comply with CDC and state COVID-19 guidelines, two identical drive-in ceremonies will held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Morris Road parking lot at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell.

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