Atlantic Cape Participates in Statewide College Completion Challenge

Atlantic Cape Community College is one of 19 community colleges across the state hosting a series of campus-based activities during statewide NJ Community College Completion Challenge (NJC4) this week.

Sponsored by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ (NJCCC) Center for Student Success and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the NJC4 initiative is an effort to increase the number of community college students completing their associate degrees and certificates so they have the credentials they need to successfully transfer to four-year colleges and universities to earn their bachelor’s degrees and enter careers that provide family-sustaining wages.

Alumna Indira Pearce discusses the importance of completing her associate degree.

Alumna Indira Pearce discusses the importance of completing her associate degree.

“Finish your degree. Life happens, but get your associate degree,” alumna Indira Pearce advised students. The Somers Point resident was Atlantic Cape’s High Honor Speaker in 2013, and she is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University’s Atlantic Cape location.

“We are excited that the students of Alpha Delta Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at our college are leading this effort,” said Dr. Peter L. Mora, Atlantic Cape president. “NJC4 is a terrific program where our Phi Theta Kappa honor students will work directly with other students to encourage college completion.”

The NJC4 initiative included speakers, events and campus activities such as students signing pledges to complete their credentials and/or degrees and agreeing to help other students complete college. This year’s event also incorporated CollegeFish.org, a website designed to help students transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Each day, students were invited to sign a pledge committing to complete their college degree in less than three years on a banner displayed at each campus and a rally closed out the activities Oct. 30.

As part of one of the week’s activities, more than 20 students entered a college-wide essay contest on the subject: Why is it important to choose the correct major initially, and how will it help you to complete your degree in three years? The winner was Mary’ana Harmon of Atlantic City.

Student Mary'ana Harmon wins the essay contest for the second year in a row.

Student Mary’ana Harmon wins the essay contest for the second year in a row.

The national Community College Completion Initiative began in April 2010 when leaders from the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of Community College Trustees, the League for Innovation in the Community College, and the Center for Community College Student Engagement signed Democracy’s Colleges: A Call to Action. The Community College Completion Challenge website, www.cccompletionchallenge.org, showcases the missions, action plans and strategies developed by each organization to involve their constituents to produce 5 million more associate degree and certificate holders by 2020.

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for community college students. Its mission is to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide them with opportunities for individual growth and development through service, leadership, honors, and fellowship programs.

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers 50 career and transfer programs to nearly 7,000 students at its campuses in Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May Court House.

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