White House Publishes Student Retention & Completion Progress

by Denise Portner

White House logo copyThe progress that Montgomery County Community College has made in student retention and completion as part of its participation in an elite group of thought leaders in education is documented in a 2014 report presented during a presidential summit at the White House on Dec. 4. The progress report is a follow-up on commitments made at the Jan. 16, 2014 College Opportunity Day of Action, designed to expand college opportunity for all students.

“We are proud of the progress made this year, and we’ll build on that momentum in 2015 to continue improving college access for low-income and disadvantaged students,” said Montgomery President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “Montgomery County Community College’s participation in these national conversations underscores our commitment to systematic improvements in the areas of access and completion that anchor our work as an Achieving the Dream Leader College.”

The national dialogue on college readiness began on Jan. 16, 2014 during a Summit convened by U.S. President Barack Obama. That summit saw approximately 140 leaders from higher education, philanthropic organizations, businesses and local and state governments launch a plan of action for increasing college opportunity for low-income and disadvantaged students.

Through Dr. Stout’s participation in the White House Summit, the College has focused on three specific initiatives aimed at improving access for low-income and disadvantaged students. These include redesigning student entry and advising processes, developing a multi-platform model for student engagement, and expanding its minority student mentoring initiative.

All three programs are part of the College’s  Student Success Initiative, which works to expand access to higher education and increase student success through innovative process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education. In 2011, Montgomery was designated an Achieving the Dream Leader College, an elite group of 73 community colleges across the country that have demonstrated committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systematic institutional improvement. In February, the College earned the prestigious Leah Meyer Austin Award from Achieving the Dream for its continued improvement of student access and success.

The White House published the following progress report on Montgomery County Community College’s initiatives:

Montgomery County Community College (Montgomery County, PA)

College Opportunity Commitment: Montgomery County Community College committed to help low-income students successfully complete a certificate or degree at the College. First, to improve student retention and completion, the College reviewed and then redesigned the student entry and advising process. The technology integration included four components: early alert, a self-service student appointment scheduling, student academic planning, and student/faculty dashboards that support student academic planning and advising.

Second, the College is developing “New Literacy” modules designed to support student success in three areas: financial, digital, and civic literacy. The initiative is supported through the EDUCAUSE Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) Breakthrough Models Incubator (BMI13).

The third initiative, the Minority Student Mentoring program, provides each participant with a personal mentor. College faculty, administrators, and staff volunteer are mentors that support and guide their mentee throughout their College engagement. Additionally, this cohort of students receives support from the Office of Minority Student Mentoring including personal development workshops, academic advisement, and leadership development.

Progress Made: In spring 2014, the College implemented student self-service appointment scheduling and piloted a student early alert system. The early alert system launch resulted in 93% faculty participation compared to an average 71% participation in previous semesters. As of fall 2014, the early alert system has been fully implemented, with all faculty encouraged to send student alerts as needed. Many faculty are also using the early alert system to send kudos to students.

Additionally, all new fall 2014 full-time students will be meeting with their academic advisors to develop their student educational plan. Currently, the College is working on designing dashboards that include data on educational planning, demographics, and course participation.

Over the past year, the College has developed and implemented an online resource that supports financial literacy, a social media campaign to support the Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) and a series of 30 second information videos on various financial literacy/services topics. The online resource created, Montco Money Matters, is open source and available through Blackboard CourseSites.

In addition, in May 2014, the College was awarded an additional NGLC BMI13 grant to further develop financial, civic, and digital literacy online resources. Early results of this investment have shown a decrease in the number of students cancelled for non-payment. Finally, over the past year, students who participated in the Minority Student Mentoring program persisted at a rate higher than non-participants (73% compared to 66%) and 25 students graduated.

Medical Billing and Coding Class Opens Door to Rewarding Career

by Alana J. Mauger

Holly Gately, Audubon, found a new career—one that she’s “excited” about—in the growing field of medical billing and coding thanks to Montgomery County Community College.

“I was a 30-something year old mother whose children were all in school for the first time. I had no career or post-secondary education,” shared Gately, who, like many adult students, was nervous about going back to school.

“I talked about it with my family and decided to try this new career. I registered for class and got my books. My life was changed. This was a path I could get excited about,” she said.

The College’s Medical Billing and Coding course—funded in part by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and offered through the Commonwealth’s JobTrakPA program—is designed for those who want to begin medical billing and coding careers or prepare for certification examinations. The course teaches students the principles of medical coding using the health industry coding manuals of CPT, ICD-9 and ICD-10 and HCPCS.

“It wasn’t always easy to get all the homework and studying done with family [obligations], but I thrived. I excelled in the course and was given the opportunity to extern for a billing company,” said Gately, who completed the course among the top in her class.

Gately went on to pass the rigorous Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam on her first try, and she is currently employed in a billing and coding position with an ophthalmology practice.

“I am so glad that I decided to take a chance on a new path. I have a new career, self confidence, amazing people that I now call friends, and, most of all, I have pride in knowing that I accomplished something big and wonderful,” she said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook cites that careers in medical records and health information technology are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2022—11 percent higher than the average occupation growth rate.

Registration is going on now for the next Medical Building and Coding cohort at MCCC. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (with a one hour break for lunch) starting Dec. 2 and running through Feb. 17 at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tuition is $1,350.

For more information about JobTrakPA programs at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

Focus on Student Learning Earns College Recertification From Achieving the Dream

by Alana J. Mauger

AtD logoMontgomery County Community College continues to position itself at the forefront of student learning with recertification as a Leader College by Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD), a national non-profit organization committed to helping more community college students succeed.

Even before joining ATD in 2006, the College was hard at work improving student learning outcomes by placing student access and success as top priorities in its strategic planning.

“Montgomery County Community College takes a holistic approach to student success,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president. “By leveraging data to align our strategic planning efforts and budget decisions with student success goals, we are able to continually make improvements and remove barriers that impact retention and completion. At the same time, we’re able to engage faculty, administrators and staff from across disciplines and departments in our student success work.”

As part of its overarching Student Success Initiative, the College’s faculty and staff systematically examine all aspects of its students’ educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom—from enhancing student services, like advising and mentoring; to identifying and developing interventions for at-risk cohorts; to redesigning developmental curriculum and placement; to strengthening its focus on completion and increasing transfer opportunities.

Several of the College’s student success projects have national appeal. For example, Barbara Lontz, assistant professor of mathematics, developed a new way of teaching basic developmental math by conceptual units rather than topics. Her curriculum, “Concepts of Numbers,” encourages active learning by starting with a problem, solving it as a group, and then learning the applicable algorithms. The method has increased basic math success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20-35 percent at the College, and institutions are adopting Lontz’s curriculum and textbook across the U.S. “Concepts of Numbers” was honored as a national 2010 “Innovation of the Year” recipient by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Another example of a project with broad appeal is “Montco Money Matters” a multimedia financial literacy prototype that helps students understand how to pay for college. The 30-minute, self-guided pilot program, funded through a Next Generation Learning Challenges EDUCAUSE grant, introduces students to the concept of paying for college through topics such as financial aid, loans, grants, scholarships and the long-term implications of current and future debt. The project’s next steps are to build out additional modules under the umbrella of financial literacy and to make the program accessible to school districts within Montgomery County and to the general population at large.

In addition to its work with Achieving the Dream and EDUCAUSE, the College’s student access and success efforts continue to gain momentum with President Stout’s participation in White House Summit for College Opportunity. First held in December 2013 and continuing through next year, the Summit has enabled the College to further develop initiatives around student advising and planning, financial literacy and mentoring—specifically designed to improve college access and completion for at-risk students.

Montgomery is one of 16 institutions in the country to be recertified as Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges in 2014. ATD also welcomed 16 new Leader College institutions to its ranks, bringing the total number of active Leader Colleges to 79. Other Pennsylvania institutions earning recertification this year include Community College of Beaver County, Community College of Philadelphia, and Delaware County Community College.

According to Achieving the Dream, Leader Colleges demonstrate the way in which data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com. To learn more about the work of Achieving the Dream, visit achievingthedream.org.

Gateway to College Receives $10,000 Grant from PECO

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College received a $10,000 PECO grant on Sept. 3 to support the College’s Gateway to College program. The funds will be used for textbooks, transportation, meal subsidies and other costs not covered by the program.

Gateway to College is a national initiative that helps students who have dropped out of high school or are not on track to graduate to earn a diploma and college credits. In November 2012, MCCC was one of only 43 colleges in the country and only the second college in Pennsylvania selected to participate in the Gateway to College National Network. In September 2013, the College launched the program, which is held at the college’s Central Campus in Blue Bell and West Campus in Pottstown.

“Montgomery County Community College is committed to helping students succeed, and the Gateway to College program provides students with a supportive environment where they can complete their high school requirements, graduate and attain their post-secondary credential,” said College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We appreciate PECO’s generous investment and ongoing support of our work and our students.”

In its inaugural year, the Gateway program had 50 participants and 11 graduates. This year, 55 students are enrolled, including returning and new students. Eighteen school districts and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board partner with MCCC and refer students for the program.

“Education is invaluable, and we know how important it is to help students develop skills that prepare them for future success,” said Mike Innocenzo, senior vice president and COO, PECO. “PECO has been a proud partner of Montgomery County Community College since 2005, and this is one of many programs we have supported to help improve access to higher education for local high school students.”

For Upper Moreland High School student William Dobnak, the Gateway program gave him a second chance to achieve his true potential.

“I was failing my classes in high school,” Dobnak told the incoming Gateway students at orientation. “I barely passed my sophomore year and was at risk for failing my junior year when my school counselor told me about Gateway. Being here and taking classes 8on a college campus helped my stress level and overall happiness.”

The college environment and caring professors and staff made all the difference, he said, noting that his GPA after his first term in Gateway is 4.0.

“We deeply appreciate our partners—the school districts, Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board and PECO—and their investment in this program,” said Dr. Stout. “Programs like Gateway to College not only transform lives but create a ripple effect of positive benefits for the community and local and state economies, too.”

For more information about Gateway to College, contact Director Keima Sheriff at ksheriff@mc3.edu.

From left, PECO Senior Vice President and COO Michael Innocenzo, Director of Gateway to College Program Keima Sheriff, student William Dobnak and College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

From left, PECO Senior Vice President and COO Michael Innocenzo, Director of Gateway to College Program Keima Sheriff, student William Dobnak and College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

50 Cadets Graduate from the College’s Municipal Police Academy

by Diane VanDyke

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell—a fitting number as the College celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

FBI Special Agent Scott A. Duffey and District Justice Paul N. Leo, who both teach at the academy, served as the keynote speakers.

Duffey told the cadets and audience members the jobs for today’s police officers are 24/7.

“You not only have to combat crime and protect the public, but you need to find innovative ways to reduce crime. . . you must be both proactive and ready to react,” he said.

Leo similarly advised the graduates to think creatively as well as proactively.

“You must think outside the box, not that you will trample any of the rights under the Constitution, but you must realize there are many ways to solve a problem,” he said.

The Valedictorian for Class 1303, Lt. David Vernacchio, reminded his classmates about three important concepts for all police officers to remember: professionalism, integrity and family.

The Valedictorian for Class 1401, Joshua Bills cited Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” drawing a comparison that the life of a police officer is often like “the road less traveled—and that makes all the difference.”

Academy Deputy Director Jude T. McKenna presented the James R. Miller Marksmanship Awards to Staff Sergeant Steven Bauman (1303) and to Christopher Sheffer (1401) and the Spirit of Distinction Awards to Josh Taormino (1303) and Sergeant Brendan O’Connor (1401).

During the ceremony, Karen and John McGowan IV presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to Lauren Hart, North Wales. The scholarship honors East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010.

Hart, 23, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Delaware Valley College and then enrolled at the Police Academy. She has done internships with the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, Upper Dublin Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security. She started her new job as an officer with the Whitemarsh Township Police Department on July 21.

Director Frank Williar, who has led the academy since 2005, congratulated the new graduates saying, “No matter how many times I stand here, I find myself awed and even humbled by the quality of the graduates. You have done yourselves and us proud.”

The 33 graduates of Class 1401, who attended the 22-week full-time program, are Joshua Bills (Pocono Summit, Pa.), Eric Blood (Philadelphia), Andrew Burrows (Doylestown), Ralph Burrows (Bellingham, Wash.), Raymond Clayton (Philadelphia), Brett Cortis (Boyertown), Kyle Crawford (Collegeville), Thomasz Czarnuszewicz (Yardley), Peter Gubicza (Holland, Pa.), Elliott Guffey (Royersford), Justin Harris (Philadelphia), Lauren Hart (North Wales), Justin Johnson (Harleysville), Kevin Junod (Glenside), William Kane (Harleysville), Matthew Maciejewski (Buffalo, New York), Kevin Marvill (Ambler), Greg Meinhardt (Harleysville), Lauren Mergen (Harleysville), Brendan O’Connor (Conshohocken), Nick Ratschof (Southampton), Imran Raza (Warrington), Shaun Roberts (Fallsington, Pa.), Erich Rumsey (Doylestown), Gregory Sedgwick (East Norriton), Christopher Sheffer (Bridgeport), Robert Steck (Warminster), Adam Szewczyk (Lansdale), Vincenzo Tucciarone (Perkasie), Zachary Waltman (Feasterville), Douglas Wang (Levittown), Greg Waters (Churchville) and Joel Williams (Horsham).

The 17 graduates of Class 1303, who attended the 42-week, part-time evening program, are Brian Armstrong (Lansdale), Steven Bauman (Sellersville), Michael Cantrell (King of Prussia), Albert Chan (Philadelphia), Carlito Cortez (Richboro, Pa.), Brad Craig (Conshohocken), Anthony Long (Bethlehem), Lora Martin (Bethlehem), Brandon Martinez (Philadelphia), Jonathan Matthews (Horsham), Randall Pompei (Quakertown), Brittany Rosenfeld (Hatfield), Joshua Samuels (Quakertown), Alana Stanziano (Harleysville), Josh Taormino (San Jose, Calif.), Michelle Williamson (Levittown) and David Vernacchio (West Norriton).

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken, PA 19428.

The Academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,800 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16. Photo by John Welsh

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16. Photo by John Welsh

National Award Recognizes College’s Commitment to Student Success

by Alana J. Mauger

AtD 2Montgomery County Community College was honored for its ongoing commitment to student access and success on Feb. 24 during the annual Achieving the Dream Strategy Institute in Orlando, Fla. The College was one of two institutions presented with the sixth annual Leah Meyer Austin Award by Achieving the Dream.

The Leah Meyer Austin Award, sponsored by The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was established in 2008 to recognize outstanding achievement in supporting and promoting student success through the creation of a culture of evidence, continuous improvement, systemic institutional change, broad engagement of stakeholders, and equity, with particular attention to low-income students and students of color.

Austin, whose visionary leadership shaped the development of Achieving the Dream, is the former Senior Vice President for Program Development and Organizational Learning at the Lumina Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Achieving the Dream.

Montgomery County Community College, Pennsylvania, and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), Massachusetts, were each awarded $25,000 to support their ongoing student success efforts. According to Achieving the Dream, both institutions were recognized for “building whole-college solutions to improve student success and equity, which have resulted in noteworthy increases in student success.”

“Montgomery County Community College takes a holistic approach to student success,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president.  “By leveraging data to align our strategic planning efforts and budget decisions with student success goals, we are able to continually make improvements and remove barriers that impact retention and completion. At the same time, we’re able to engage faculty, administrators and staff from across disciplines and departments in our student success work.”

“The College’s selection as a Leah Meyer Austin Award recipient underscores our continued commitment to advance the areas of student access, success and completion that anchor our work as an Achieving the Dream Leader College,” she continued.

In addition to building college-wide solutions and engaging in data-informed decision making, Achieving the Dream commended the College for its work to improve developmental education outcomes, college readiness, and student persistence.

One highlight is the College’s efforts to reduce the number of students who place in developmental English by 31 percent, without impacting their subsequent success in college-level English courses. This was achieved through a combination of adjusting placement cut-off scores, moving from an ACCUPLACER placement test to a WritePlacer exam, and allowing students with SAT scores of 500 and up to enroll directly in college-level English. In fall 2011, more than 900 students benefited from these changes, successfully completing Composition I (ENG 101) at the same rate as those students who placed in college-level English under the old cut score.

ENG Placement

MCCC also continues to build momentum in its efforts to improve success in developmental mathematics. The College was previously recognized by Achieving the Dream for the complete redesign of its basic arithmetic curriculum, which increased student success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20 to 35 percent. MCCC also developed two-week accelerated basic arithmetic and beginning algebra “boot camp” review courses for students whose ACCUPLACER test scores are close to the cutoff. To date, 300 students have completed the accelerated courses, outperforming students who follow the traditional path.

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MAT b

Achieving the Dream also noted MCCC’s efforts to improve the college readiness of students from feeder high schools through a variety of initiatives. Among these is MCCC’s participation in the national Gateway to College Network, designed for young adults ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school or who are significantly behind in credits and are unlikely to graduate. The program enables qualifying students to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credits toward an associate’s degree or certificate. In addition, MCCC developed a College Pathway Academy for Health Professions in partnership with the Phoenixville School District and Phoenixville Hospital. The Academy enables students to earn college credits in the health sciences while completing their high school graduation requirements.

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Another highlight is the College’s success in improve persistence rates for minority students. In 2009, the College first launched its Minority Male Mentoring Program (MMMP) to close the nationally documented achievement gap for African-American male students. The program connects participating students with caring mentors for guidance and support while providing opportunities for civic engagement, academic advisement, personal development and leadership development. Between 2009 and 2013, participants showed a term-to-term persistence rate of close to 80 percent – significantly higher than the 63 percent for non-participants. This spring, the initiative was expanded to include African-American and Latina female students and was renamed the Minority Student Mentoring Initiative (MSMI).

MMMP

To learn more about MCCC’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com.

Achieving the Dream, Inc.
Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – helps nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust 
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services.  Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. Through its National Education Program, the Trust views education as a lever to advance both American economic competitiveness and individual social mobility.  In K-12, the Trust focuses on ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college or careers by supporting teacher effectiveness and the adoption and implementation of high academic standards. In postsecondary education, the Trust is primarily interested in increasing the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates who can participate in high growth sectors of the economy.  The Trust also focuses on policy levers that improve postsecondary completion, particularly for underrepresented populations.

First Student Graduates from Gateway to College Program

by Diane VanDyke

Brittany Harding of Hatboro-Horsham School District completed her high school requirements and received her diploma.

Brittany Harding of Hatboro-Horsham School District completed her high school requirements and received her diploma.

Montgomery County Community College’s Gateway to College Program hosted its first Awards and Graduation Ceremony recently at its Central Campus in Blue Bell.

After participating in the Gateway to College program for the fall semester, Brittany Harding completed her high school requirements and received her diploma from Director of Curriculum Dr. David Weber on behalf of the Hatboro-Horsham School District. It was a proud moment for Harding and her family.

“After I became a mother, people told me I would not be able to finish school,” Harding said. “But, my daughter inspired me. I want the best future for her, which means I have to finish my education and get a steady job. . . Making the decision to follow my dream is one I will never regret.”

Now that she has completed this first milestone in her educational journey, Harding looks forward to taking college courses during the 2014 Spring semester at Montgomery County Community College. She plans to get her associate’s degree in Mathematics and then get her bachelor’s degree so she can be a math teacher.

Harding is one of 21 students in MCCC’s first Gateway class that started in September 2013. MCCC is only 1 of only 43 higher education institutions in the country (and one of only two in the state) selected to participate in this program, which offers at-risk high school students a second chance to earn their diplomas and pursue college degrees. To date, 13 school districts and the Workforce Investment Board have partnered with MCCC, creating one of the largest collaborations in the Gateway program.

“My Gateway students are some of the most resilient and capable young people I have had the pleasure of supporting on their academic journey. Many are faced with incredibly difficult life circumstances yet they consistently attend school, participate in a rigorous learning environment and meet the expectations of the program. While this program is designed for students who are at-risk of not completing high school, my students prove that if given the opportunity to excel they can and will rise to the occasion. They are dreamers who have found a dreaming space at the MCCC GtC program,” said Keima Sheriff, MCCC’s Gateway program director.

In addition to celebrating Harding’s milestone achievement, Sheriff, along with Gateway Resource Specialists Lori Davidson and Esau Collins and MCCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Kathrine Swanson, recognized students for their achievements. Fourteen students completed the Foundation Semester portion of the program and will now transition as mainstreamed college students and continue taking classes while learning to work more independently.

The students with the highest GPAs were Brittany Harding (Hatboro-Horsham School District) and Dejah McMillan (Pottsgrove School District).  Carlas Rich (Phoenixville Area School District) and Khary Harris (Norristown Area School District) earned the Most Improved (GPA, attendance and attitude) awards.  Marcus Gordon (Pottsgrove School District) and Rosemary Lux (Norristown Area School District) received The Most Determined awards.  Isaiah Heverly (Phoenixville Area School District) and Peter Edwards (Norristown Area School District) received The Change of Heart (improved approach to learning). Anthony Hall (Phoenixville Area School District) and Amber Keys (Norristown Area School District) earned The Most Courageous awards. The Perfect Attendance award was presented to Dejah McMillan.  The overall Gateway to College award (GPA, attendance and participation) was presented to Rachel Voltz (Upper Merion School District).

Several students were recognized as Gateway Achievers (average GPA of 2.5 or higher):  Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens, Anthony Hall, Marcus Gordon, Rachel Voltz, Rosemary Lux, Amber Keys, Khary Harris, Brittany Harding and Yasmin Rich. The 14 students who completed the Foundation Semester and are transitioning to mainstream college courses are: Khary Harris, Amber Keys, Rosemary Lux, Yasmin Rich, Michael Sharky, Nicole Snyder, Rachel Voltz, Marcus Gordon, Anthony Hall, Isaiah Heverly, Alexandra Johns, Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens and Carlas Rich.

Recipients of the Gateway to College Achiever Awards included (front row, from left) Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens and Brittany Harding and (back row, from left) Rosemary Lux, Khary Harris, Anthony Hall, and Rachel Voltz. Standing with the group are MCCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Kathrine Swanson (left) and Gateway Program Director Keima Sheriff (right). Missing from the photo are Marcus Gordon, Amber Keys and Yasmin Rich.

Recipients of the Gateway to College Achiever Awards included (front row, from left) Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens and Brittany Harding and (back row, from left) Rosemary Lux, Khary Harris, Anthony Hall, and Rachel Voltz. Standing with the group are MCCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Kathrine Swanson (left) and Gateway Program Director Keima Sheriff (right). Missing from the photo are Marcus Gordon, Amber Keys and Yasmin Rich.

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Montgomery County Community College hosted its first graduation and awards ceremony for its Gateway to College program on Dec. 19, 2013. Photos by Sandi Yanisko