MCCC Gateway To College Graduates Celebrate Their Achievements

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Gateway partners MCCC graduation
Image via David DeBalko.
Since Montgomery County Community College started the Gateway to College Program in 2013 at its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses, 231 students have earned their high school diplomas.
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Nineteen students from 14 school districts proudly received their high school diplomas following completion of the Gateway to College Program at Montgomery County Community College. Their families, friends and supporters applauded as they crossed the stage and moved their tassels.

“Graduates, you should be proud of yourselves today and every day. Your perseverance to change the course of your lives is admirable,” said Dr. Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez, MCCC President. “You can trust that your education through the Gateway to College Program has given you a solid foundation to confidently continue your journey, whether you are pursuing further education, heading into the workforce or developing other plans.”

The Gateway to College Program and its dedicated faculty and staff help students stay on track to complete the requirements they need for their high school graduation and earn college credits.

Since MCCC launched the program in 2013 at its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses, 231 students have earned their high school diplomas, transforming their pathways. Gateway is part of the Achieving the Dream national network that promotes community college reform and student success.

The recent graduates include Taofiq Adedokun, Colonial; Latavia Andrews, Pottsgrove; Noelle Baehr, Wissahickon; Marquis Bartlett, Daniel Boone; Braden Calabretta, Wissahickon; Asarel Carroway, Upper Merion; Aiden Coughlin, Wissahickon; Alexandre Edelstein, Cheltenham; Theo Estes, Phoenixville; Carolina Fajardo, Pottsgrove; Shane Fowler, Colonial; Angela Holmes, Upper Perkiomen; Gabriella Martinez, Wissahickon; Taylor Miller, Spring-Ford; Tyler Moccaie, Daniel Boone; Aidan O’Connor, Perkiomen Valley; Arnaya Pendergrass, Wissahickon; Dariana Rojas, Upper Merion; and Kirsten Wnuk, Phoenixville. 

Fourteen of the graduates will be continuing their education at either MCCC or another college, and five will be entering the workforce.

Students who earned a 3.5 high school GPA and/or 3.0 college GPA received a certificate from Achieving the Dream and Gateway to College National Network. Recipients are Taofiq Adedokun, Noelle Baehr, Braden Calabretta, Aidan Coughlin, Carolina Farjado, Alexandre Edelstein, Gabriella Martinez and Arnaya Pendergrass.

Special awards were presented to several graduates. The Most Determined Award, which is presented to a transition student who maintains enrollment in all courses despite challenging academic courses and/or life circumstances, went to Asarel Carroway.

The Change of Heart Award, which is awarded to a student who changes their approach to learning and becomes a successful learner, went to Tyler Moccaie.

The Perseverance Award, which is awarded to a student who continues to demonstrate a steady commitment to learning regardless of circumstances, went to Dariana Rojas and Latavia Andrews.

The Overall Foundation Award, which is awarded to a student who has a strong GPA, attendance record, class participation, positive approach and attitude to learning and participates in campus activities, went Noelle Baehr.

The John Lewis Good Trouble Award, which is awarded to a student who demonstrates advocacy, honesty, accountability and positively contributes to classroom culture, was presented to Aidan Coughlin.

In addition, Wissahickon High School presented the Triple H Scholarship, a two-year scholarship to MCCC, to Arnaya Pendergrass. The scholarship is awarded to one student in each graduating class who demonstrates a strong potential to succeed at MCCC and who is morally grounded and has high character.

Photo 1: Nineteen students earned their high school diplomas through the Gateway to College Program at Montgomery County Community College. Photo by David DeBalk
Photo 1: Nineteen students earned their high school diplomas through the Gateway to College Program at Montgomery County Community College. Photo by David DeBalk.

MCCC’s Gateway Program is one of only two programs in Pennsylvania and is among 31 national programs in 19 states across the country.

It is one of the first colleges to be a Bellwether finalist, a national award that recognizes programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning. MCCC’s Gateway program earned Achieving the Dream’s Program Excellence Award for four consecutive years for its success in helping students reach their goals.

A total of 20 school districts – Boyertown, Cheltenham, Colonial, Daniel Boone, Exeter, Hatboro-Horsham, Jenkintown, Norristown, North Penn, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, Phoenixville, Pottsgrove, Souderton, Spring-Ford, Upper Dublin, Upper Merion, Upper Moreland, Upper Perkiomen and Wissahickon – and Montco Works, the County’s workforce investment board, collaborate with MCCC, referring students to the program.

Additionally, partners Waste Management, PECO, Univest, TD Bank, the Kahn family, the Maguire Foundation, the 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.

PECO, who has been a longstanding partner since 2013, provided funding to secure laptops for all Gateway students who needed them and for lunches two days a week for students who were able to come to campus for hybrid classes.

MCCC’s Gateway team includes Program Manager Michelle Kulla; Resource Specialists Esau Collins and Jezerey Weiderman; faculty Michael Brown, Karen Harding-Tasca, Stephanie Wuertz, Tracey Fida, David Pica, Dr. Victoria Vetro and Dr. Durrell Jones; and Administrative Support Secretary Constance Stebbins.

For more information about Montgomery County Community College, visit here.

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