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SSS program at RCC celebrates graduation


In what is expected to become an annual event, Rappahannock Community College’s Student Support Services program (SSS) gave a celebratory dinner on May 11 for the students benefiting from its help who graduated from RCC at the college’s Commencement ceremony on May 13. Those honored on this occasion were Kenneth Turner of Colonial Beach; Shawn Gaines of Essex County; Lori Abbate, Robert Ailstock, Donna Blankenship, Ashley Chandler, Kimberly Colarik, Jade Garnett, Melissa Hansen, Amanda Lacombe, Jaleesa Lewis, Hillary Saunders, Corey Warner, and John West, all of Gloucester County; Nakita Johnson, King and Queen County; Bryant Lampkin and Eric Taft, both of Lancaster County; Lani Ashberry, Stephen Morley, and Jessica Simpson, all of Mathews County; Evan LeFevre, Kristina Nelson, and Jalisa Waller, all of Middlesex County; Chelsea Caples, New Kent County; Kari Jackson, West Point; and Mautrice Fisher, Westmoreland County.

Student Support Services Dinner Participants

Student Support Services Dinner Participants

Attendees were welcomed to the ceremony by Lorraine Justice, the SSS program’s administrator. Also representing RCC’s administration and staff were vice president of instruction and student development Dr. Tresia Samani; dean of student development Robert Griffin; dean of college advancement Victor Clough; Warsaw Campus dean Patricia Bradshaw; dean of learning resources Cherie Carl; SSS assistant coordinator and counselor Roz Marcus; SSS counselor Tanya Oliver; SSS administrative assistant Karen Lewis; student services specialists Ava Lewis and Rebecca Miller.

The keynote speaker of the evening was Michael Wagner, an RCC graduate who expects to earn a bachelor’s degree in English from Christopher Newport University in December 2011, and in addition to several journalism commitments, currently holds a public relations internship with NASA’s Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholar program. “Know what you want out of life,” he said, “and match up your academic life with the reality you will be living later.” He advised the graduates to look for professors and other people they admire who will mentor them, or perhaps even champion their careers. Cautioning them not to let academic performance slide in favor of having a good time, as he did himself at the first four-year school he attended, he said, “Take ownership of what you do . . . and of what you don’t do.” His work at NASA, he said, has taught him to be proactive: “There is a measurable difference between people who have ideas and people who execute them.” He concluded, “Make sure that whatever institution you choose prepares you for life . . . be ready to respond to whatever life throws at you.”

Marcus and Oliver then singled out each SSS graduate for special recognition with a short summary of their life and plans for the future, including mention of the four-year institutions they will be attending in Fall 2011—CNU, the College of William and Mary, Longwood University, Mary Baldwin College, Mary Washington University, Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University, among others. Marcus also gave each student two ribbons printed with the words “Make a Difference”—one to keep for themselves, and one to give to a special person in their lives.

The occasion was a particularly poignant one for Marcus, who plans to retire in August 2011, after 18 years as an RCC counselor. “If you can do the best you can at something you love,” she said, “you’re the luckiest person in the world. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 18 years.” Dr. Samani added that RCC’s counselors are extraordinarily privileged in being the staff members who get to know the students best, to interact with them, and to offer them guidance in academic and occasionally personal matters.

The Student Support Services program was established by the United States Department of Education to help remove social, cultural and economic barriers to higher education, and is made available through the TRIO series of federal grant programs. For the 2010-11 academic year, RCC was awarded $303,037 to provide students who meet SSS guidelines with individualized academic and personal counseling, tutoring, and cultural and social enrichment opportunities.


Photo: RCC’s Student Support Services program recognized its Spring 2011 graduates at a celebratory dinner on May 11. First row, left to right: SSS counselor Tanya Oliver, Corey Warner, Evan LeFevre, Ashley Chandler, SSS assistant coordinator and counselor Roz Marcus, SSS administrative assistant Karen Lewis, Mautrice Fisher, and SSS program administrator Lorraine Justice. Second row, left to right: Chelsea Caples, Shawn Gaines, Kristina Nelson, and Jalisa Waller. Third row, left to right: Stephen Morley, Bryant Lampkin, Eric Taft, and Robert “Joe” Ailstock. Fourth row, left to right: Kenny Turner, Lani Ashberry, Melissa Hansen, and John West.

One Response to “SSS program at RCC celebrates graduation”

  1. Congratulations to the recent graduates of Rappahannock Community College. I hope that you prosper in whatever you undertake in the years to come.

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