Residents will take that bold step as new CCC students this fall

7/21/10


By President Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe

Many people begin their educational experience at Cumberland County College by taking one course, but they often continue to enroll in courses after discovering the fulfillment of studying at a college with an outstanding atmosphere for learning. As they say, one thing leads to another.

Two years ago, when Robert Atha was a junior at Cumberland Regional High School, he enrolled in a continuing education fencing class taught by long-time CCC professor William Olivero. Robert was a natural, and he took several more fencing courses, and even placed second and third in prestigious fencing tournaments held in Maryland.

This summer, Robert is sharing the skills he learned at CCC by teaching fencing courses for 8- to 16-year-old students in the college’s Summer Academy for Kids. And Robert, who graduated from CRHS in June, will begin as a full-time student at CCC in September.

The key word is “begin.” There comes a time in the lives of people, whether they are young or older, when they need to make the decision to begin to change their lives. It takes courage and commitment to take that first step, for part-time and full-time students. And students choose change for a variety of reasons.

Many residents realize that post-secondary education is required to obtain entry-level jobs in family-sustaining career areas such a health care, criminal justice and education. Many residents don’t want to work in menial jobs. They want a better life for their families. They want careers, and they look to CCC as the means to success.

That’s why fall semesters are so exciting at CCC. More than 4,000 students are expected to begin classes Sept. 7, and a good number of these students will be first-time college students. Many of these students are pioneers, since they may be the first in their families to attend college. Everything is new for them: the campus, other students and the professors. It can be intimidating at first, even though this is a friendly college.

There will be obstacles along the way: juggling family and job responsibilities with coursework, learning to learn effectively, taking courses after being out of school for a decade, and a hundred others. But there is also support because it is very important for the college to engage, retain and graduate students. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: student success is our success. We promote student success because our graduates provide valuable professional services and leadership for our community.

That’s why CCC offers more that 90 programs of study in career areas that are in demand. The college’s professors challenge students, then help students learn to pursue goals they didn’t think were possible. Our counselors and advisors are knowledgeable and empathetic. And this September CCC is opening the Center for Academic and Student Success, which will provide counseling, workshops, tutoring and other services to assist students on their journey toward graduation.

CCC’s student body consists of people with varied backgrounds and ages, but they have all shared the excitement, and sometimes apprehension, of taking that first course, or group of courses. We admire their courage, and look forward to this inspiring cycle continuing in about a month.

There’s still time to join the college’s community of learners this fall. Please contact us if you’re interested.