Graduate Profile: Sarah Grebe Balances School, Family, Work & Art to Find Success

by Neree Aron-Sando

Sarah Grebe enrolled at Montgomery County Community College in 2010, two weeks before her mother died of cancer.

“One night, she said to me, ‘There is nothing in my life I regret doing; it’s the things I DIDN’T do that I regret – one of which is going to college and getting my degree,’” Grebe said.

It’s fitting that Grebe, 26, who was inspired by her mother to go back to school and who is an inspiration to her own daughter, picked up her diploma, graduating with cum laude honors and wearing gold Phi Theta Kappa regalia, a few days after Mother’s Day this year.

Grebe, who lives in western Montgomery County, graduated from high school in 2004 and, instead of going to college, entered the workforce.

“I was very successful and received promotions quickly; however, I eventually hit a barrier because I did not have a college degree and couldn’t move up further.”

Her supervisor at the time, Carlos Sanchez, encouraged her to pursue a degree, “not only to better my career opportunities, but also to better myself,” she said.

Sanchez died last year as a result of a motorcycle accident. “I regret never thanking him for pushing me, but I feel as though I need to at least mention his name.”

“I chose to go to Montgomery County Community College mainly because of the flexibility they were able to offer me, a full-time working mother,” she said. “Between the two campuses, online courses, summer courses and a flexible evening schedule, I was able to obtain my degree in only two years.”

During her career at the College, she was a member of the student newspaper, The Montgazette.

“One of my most memorable experiences was when I was able to take a trip to the White House to cover the Community College Summit in October 2010,” she said. “During the summit, I had the opportunity to learn about the efforts Dr. Jill Biden and President Obama are applying toward their goal of creating more college graduates. I learned later that I was the only member of the press that was actually a community college student! I was very proud to be there and represent Montgomery County Community College. I was featured twice in the school paper for that particular summit. A few weeks later, I was a guest speaker on [College President] Dr. Stout’s weekly radio show!”

Grebe also participated in the Relay for Life event at the College hosted in April 2011.

“This was particularly important to me, especially because of my mom. Being on campus, connecting with fellow students and faculty really helped me cope with what I was going through. It was just a great way to honor my mom’s encouragement to me to get my college degree,” Grebe said.

Grebe plans to transfer all her credits to a Villanova University School of Business undergraduate program for part-time students toward a bachelor of science in business administration, with an intention to work in human resources.

Business is only part of her life. “I’ve been an oil painter for about 10 years now. I paint anything from landscapes to abstract art,” she said. “I recently had two of my paintings published in the 2012 edition of the Montgomery County Community College’s Art and Literature Magazine.”

Grebe is also a freelance model, working with a reputable Lancaster County modeling agency. “This has been such a fun experience for me and also a great way to express my fun and artistic side!” she said.

Businesswoman and artist, scholar and model, Grebe is also the proud mother of a beautiful little girl. “Juggling everything is extremely challenging and a true test of a person’s inner strength. I will always be incredibly proud of my decision to go to college and for choosing Montgomery County Community College as my foundation.”

“I personally honor the institution for its ability to accommodate someone as busy as myself,” Grebe said. “The College is, without a doubt, the best option for adult, career-oriented, part-time students.”

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