ACC Student Earns National Honor
ACC Foundation Offers Housing Scholarships
Alumni Basketball Game
“So much has changed…it’s amazing,” a 1962 ACC graduate softly exclaimed as he gazed at pictures of the ACC campus slowly circulating on a large video screen in the president’s office suite in Besser Technical Center.
Alpena Community College kicked off its 70th anniversary year with an open house at the Alpena campus on Saturday, September 17. Largescale photos from different eras of the college’s history were displayed around campus. Building tour guides, who were mostly comprised of students, led tours of all eight campus buildings throughout the day. An alumni volleyball and basketball scrimmage took place in Park Arena and The Hipnotones, an all-alumni jazz band, played for three hours in Granum Theatre. Archival photos were laid out in Besser Tech’s Fitzpatrick Family Commons and the library had computers available for attendees to view digital scans of campus newspapers going back to the late 1950s. A virtual tour video played on the video wall inside the newly built Fitzpatrick Hall.
The day began in the welcome tent in front of Besser Technical Center with speeches from ACC officials, followed by a cake-cutting ceremony. ACC President Dr. Donald MacMaster was joined by his two most recent predecessors, Dr. Olin Joynton and Dr. Donald Newport, for the honor of cutting into the brightly decorated confection as trustees from the college and foundation’s boards looked on.
Later, the presidents sat for a panel discussion led by ACC Director of Alumni Relations Mary Eagan, where we learned about what the first day on the job was like for each president, what course of study each would have never learned about had they not served at ACC, and how ACC finished a capital building project in the midst of a pandemic.
Faculty, staff, students, and volunteers were scattered across campus to answer questions, talk about ACC, and help attendees find their way around. There were drawing baskets at every campus building and a grand prize, which could be won by anyone who visited all eight campus buildings.
The college will be celebrating their 70th anniversary throughout the academic year, with several smaller events planned to mark the achievement of educating generations of students. The ACC Office of Alumni Relations is gathering a virtual time capsule of memories from ACC’s first 70 years. If you’d like to add to its contents, please participate by clicking here.
In a world where there seems to be an ever-expanding list of career options, it’s no surprise that freshly-minted high school graduates are sometimes confused about what they want to do in life. ACC Oscoda student Kristina Teeples was one of those undecided high school graduates back in 2005.
“Growing up I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. I studied hard in school and enjoyed achieving my academic goals while participating in sports and other extracurricular activities,” Kristina said. “I worked a part-time job all four years of high school and didn't want to spend money on college until I figured out my passion.”
Finding that passion, it turns out, would take some time. After about ten years of working retail jobs and then transitioning to the healthcare field, it was when Kristina began working with nurses in her role as a certified nursing assistant that she realized her calling was to be a nurse.
“I didn't pursue it right away,” Kristina said. There was always something holding her back--either an obstacle in her life or the little voice inside her head telling her it wasn’t the right time. A state program born out of the circumstances COVID presented, however, gave Kristina the push she needed to finally go back to school.
“Once the Futures for Frontliners scholarship was created in 2020, it was time to pursue my dream of becoming an RN,” Kristina explained.
After enrolling at ACC, Kristina excelled academically and not only earned a spot in ACC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community college students, but also recently joined the elite company of 206 other Phi Theta Kappa students nationwide to be named a 2022 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. The honor comes with a $1000 scholarship to help defray educational expenses.
Following her graduation from Alpena Community College with an Associate in Applied Science in registered nursing, Kristina knows exactly what kind of nursing she’d like to do.
“I hope to work with those that suffer from mental illness and/or addiction, as working with them as a direct care worker shaped my future into what it is now. I would like to work in a psychiatric nursing facility or rehabilitation facility upon graduating,” Kristina said.
The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in Society programs and are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential. More than 1,300 applications were received. Students were evaluated on the basis of scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential.
Michigan’s Early Middle College program has been revolutionary for community colleges and high school students alike. The program allows schools like Alpena Community College to partner with participating area school districts to offer students an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and transferable college credits, an associate degree, and/or professional certification with the addition of a fifth year of high school. It’s a program ACC has delivered well to the benefit of many.
In fact, the Early College (EC) program has been so successful in attracting students, that kids from as far away as Tawas have been participating in it. Traveling that distance to earn an education presents some challenges that the Alpena Community College Foundation is stepping in to address.
When the students reach the final year of the program (fifth year of high school) they are 100% enrolled in ACC courses. While some students may be able to take online classes, as they did earlier in the program, sometimes it just isn’t feasible. This is especially true for students enrolled in a vocational program such as machine tool, utility tech, or nursing. For these programs, students must often physically be on campus to participate. For out-of-district students, this means they either have to commute or move closer to Alpena.
While a traditional college student can apply for financial aid, EC students have not yet received their high school diploma and, therefore, don’t qualify for federal student assistance programs such as PELL or TIP, which in the case of traditional college students can help cover living or commuting expenses. The ACC Foundation is committed to helping out-of-district EC students complete the program by providing the support they need to succeed.
A generous unrestricted gift was designated by the ACC Foundation Board of Trustees to subsidize a pilot program for housing assistance scholarships for 13th year EC students. Through this program, five scholarships of up to $5,000 each were offered for the 2022/2023 academic year to out-of-district EC students to assist them in covering the cost of rent expenses.
Qualified students must be entering the 13th year of the EC program. They must also demonstrate academic success by having a minimum 2.0 GPA and have financial need, as indicated on a completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Only students living outside ACC’s tuition district are being considered for the pilot program.
Six students applied for the pilot program and four students have been awarded scholarship assistance to cover their full rent for the 2022/23 academic year. One scholarship is remaining.
The college saw an emerging need that threatened access to the education a particular group of ACC students so eagerly sought. ACC Foundation trustees were able to address that threat because of the trust donors have in their ability to direct unrestricted funds where they are needed most. With the success of the program, the ACC Foundation will be looking to expand the initiative for next year. If you are interested in making a gift to support this program or discuss other areas of need, please reach out to ACC Foundation Executive Director Brenda Herman.
Lumberjack basketball players from the past and present with gather at Park Arena next month and show off their skills—no matter how rusty they may be. The annual alumni basketball--which actually consists of several games pitting alumni against each other, current ACC basketball players, and combinations of past and present players—will take place Saturday, November 12.
Players from the past are encouraged to register as soon as possible to aid in planning for the event. Click here to sign up.