On January 29, a number of Rappahannock Community College students were recognized as “A Club” members during a celebratory luncheon sponsored by the college’s Student Support Services (SSS) Office. The “A Club” luncheons, held soon after the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, single out SSS participants who were enrolled in at least two classes during the preceding semester(s), and earned an A or an S (satisfactory) in each class.
Those receiving certificates were Melissa Benefield, Doris Kendall, and Kermit LeBlanc, all of Essex County; Sissi Mise, Gloucester County; Emily Cialone and Meaghan Cole, both of King and Queen County; Hung Savio Duong, King William County; Jessica Ray, Lancaster County; and Andrea Davis, Middlesex County.
The guest speaker was the academic dean of RCC’s Warsaw Campus, Patricia Mullins, who told the story of how she started her college career in the impersonal atmosphere of a large university.
After dropping out of this institution, she began working two jobs and taking classes at her local community college. She went on to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and the next step was to “give back” by teaching at a community college. Relatives told her that her perseverance was inspiring; no member of her family had ever attended college, and she proved to them that higher education was attainable. “You never know who is watching your life,” she declared.
“I hope something you heard today will inspire you to follow your passion,” Mullins commented to the students; she then quoted a sentence from one of her favorite authors, Dr. Seuss: “Only you can control your future.”
“It can be difficult to remember,” she continued, “that you are the one controlling where you are going in life. It is really fascinating to think that the thoughts that you are having right now, during your classes and study time, and the actions you are taking today, are molding the kind of future you will have.” She ended by exhorting them, “Stay focused … stay committed to completing your educational journey. You can reach your goals. Believe in yourself, in your ability to succeed.”
The SSS program was established by the United States Department of Education to help remove social, cultural, and economic barriers to higher education, and 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.