N.J.-- It was an evening of cheers and applauds as the MCCC PASS
program (Program for Academic Services and Success) saluted its
top students for their academic accomplishments on April 30. Graduating
student Tajh Laster served as master of ceremonies for the celebratory
banquet, which included a dinner buffet prepared and served by members
of the MCCC Hospitality Club.
Addressing the enthusiastic crowd of students and families, Dr.
Donald Generals, vice president for academic affairs, noted that
PASS students should take a moment to acknowledge their personal
accomplishments. "Your hard work has gotten you where you are
today. Adversity makes you stronger," he said. Also part of
the program was Associate Professor and Counselor Maria Rodriguez.
Among the students who participated was Estefania Castro, who will
graduate this month with a degree in Education. "Mercer has
been challenging and the professors are serious about teaching."
she said. Pushing herself to excel while at Mercer, even taking
summer classes, Castro discovered an oasis in the PASS program.
"I could always find a place to study there, to work with tutors,
and to see friends," she said.
Arts major Ishiya Hayes also spoke. Starting at MCCC in 2008, she
considered the choice before her. "I could either be someone
who sits in the audience and watches other people get awards or
I could get the awards myself." She chose the latter, Hayes
told the crowd.
to campus for the event was alumnus James Walters, a 1990 graduate
of the Criminal Justice Program who is a police detective in Hamilton
Township. In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of the PASS
program. "It reaches down, grasps you by the collar and pulls
you up," he said. Initially lacking academic focus, Walters
said PASS gave him the guidance and support he needed to achieve.
Walters continued his education after Mercer, earning his bachelor's
degree from Rowan University and his master's degree from Seton
Hall in 1998. "Continue to strive," he told current students.
Embrace your college experience."
In a special presentation, the Central Jersey Network of Black Women,
Inc., presented scholarships to five students: Stacy Bryant, Virginia
Hinton, Melanie Livingston, Sherry Robinson and Barbara Simmons.
MCCC students who earned President's List honors in fall 2009 were
Ashley S. Baker and Malvinkumar C. Gandhi. Dean's List students
for the fall 2009 semester include: Hanan Agyapong, Crystal Brandt,
Simone Bryant, Stacy A. Bryant, Jennifer Candelario, Estefania Castro,
Javier Colon, Ian Conley, Judith Dabrows, Friasia Goldware, Ishiya
Ashley Hayes, Sharon Herrera, Ariana Jones, Bushra Khan, Sikander
Khan, Tiffani Mabry, Fozia Malik, Catherine Martinez, Tiffany Mason-Wells,
Donovan McCleese, Dymonique McCleese, Tatiana Medina, Prince Nabi,
Deborah Rhett, Shelly Robinson, Shanique Stoddard, Ansley Varela
and Shamirah N. Williams.
Under the direction of Dr. Khalida Haqq, PASS is a comprehensive
retention program that nurtures student success. "Our vision
is to open doors for students who are disadvantaged by low income
and lack of access to quality public school education and to help
them succeed," she said. Among PASS' services are individual
and group counseling, financial aid assistance, peer tutoring, academic
advisement, summer enrichment, leadership training, mentoring and