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RCC’s Student Support Services creates well-rounded students

It is the goal of Rappahannock Community College’s Student Support Services (SSS) program to offer diverse opportunities for enrichment to qualified students, introducing them to academic, social, and cultural experiences that might not otherwise come their way. In the last few weeks, this program has sponsored two trips to four-year college campuses, including a theatrical production, as well as its Annual Leadership Summit.

On October 19, SSS sponsored a tour of the College of William and Mary, geared specifically for students considering transfer—“very informative, and answered a lot of questions,” a participant described it. Forty-two students took this opportunity to familiarize themselves with the William and Mary campus, and to speak with students who had transferred there previously. Lorraine Justice, the administrative officer of the SSS program at RCC, reported that “the students were really impressed with the history and the growth of the campus.” She feels that RCC deserves congratulations for providing sufficient academic and other support to prepare its students for transfer to one of the top schools in the country. In addition, as one student noted, the amount of financial aid and scholarships available at William and Mary is “amazing!”

While in Williamsburg, the students attended a dinner theater performance at Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant. The interactive play, “Clue,” was a murder mystery that allowed the audience to take part in determining the identity of the murderer, and to exchange views with the actors both during and after the performance—something that several of the students had never experienced before. “I really enjoyed the interaction with the actors,” said one.

The Leadership Summit took place at the Tides Inn in Irvington (Lancaster County) on November 2, and featured motivational speaker and author Jerome Love—known as the G.U.G.O.G.S. guy, for “Get Up, Get Out, and Get Something.” Love shared his story of persistence, hard work, and entrepreneurship, encouraging the 20 RCC students present to reach out to their mentors and listen to the advice they give. Two of RCC’s leading staff members, from the departments of technology and public relations, also offered inspiration to the students: RCC web solutions specialist Michael Greene and public information and marketing manager Tom Martin related examples of the importance of education and of pursuing one’s dreams. Yoga instructor Suzanne Best then demonstrated stress management, relaxation, and self-care techniques to the students.

Justice describes the student audience as “speechless” after Love’s presentation, and adds, “Mr. Love has inspired me to work harder with students”—particularly in giving them opportunities to participate in such outstanding events as the leadership summit.

“He made me realize that I can do anything with hard work and a vision,” a student said about Love’s talk. Another said, “I really got a lot out of Jerome and the other speakers. I had also forgotten how much I needed yoga back in my life!”

For another college tour, 30 students travelled to Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 9. The attendees were favorably impressed both by the school itself and by the size of its classes; most have no more than 17 students per instructor, said the tour guide. They were surprised to learn that Shaw’s tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students, and director of admissions Sydney McDougal offered further encouragement for the students to enroll by waiving application fees. Valuable internships for students majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs are another incentive to enter Shaw.

For the 2012-13 academic year, RCC was awarded $293,643 to offer assistance to its students through the Student Support Services program, which was established by the United States Department of Education to help remove social, cultural and economic barriers to higher education. The program provides RCC students who meet its guidelines with individualized academic and personal counseling, tutoring, and cultural and social enrichment opportunities. The Department of Education makes these services available through the TRIO series of federal grant programs.

 

Photo: Motivational speaker and author Jerome Love addresses RCC students at a Leadership Summit on November 2.

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