Atlantic Cape Community College was one of 19 community colleges across the state hosting a series of campus-based activities during the statewide NJ Community College Completion Challenge (NJC4) this week.
Sponsored by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ Center for Student Success, Kean University and the New Jersey Education Association, 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.
Atlantic Cape hosted a kick-off roundtable and rally Oct. 17 at its Mays Landing Campus, where students learned about the C4 initiative. The Atlantic City and Cape May County campuses held similar events throughout the week. A closing rally, held Oct. 20 at the Mays Landing campus, included remarks from Dr. Peter L. Mora, president; Mitchell Levy, vice president of Student Affairs & Branch Campus Management and dean of the Cape May County Campus; Holly Schultheis, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) club adviser; and PTK officers.
Christine Martinez, PTK president and nursing major of Little Egg Harbor Township, announced winners of the student essay contest and read the top three essays written by Alicia Riddick of Pleasantville, first place; Hunter Judd of Buena, second place; and Radames Portalatin of Mays Landing, third place. Students wrote about how they chose the right major.
Riddick, a psychology major, wrote, “I would really love to be a counselor and to work with young kids that suffer from depression and abuse. I just want to be able to impact someone’s life in a positive way. Earning a degree in psychology is the best way for me to accomplish my dreams and to make enough money so I can live comfortably.”
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, http://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.
In three years, New Jersey has become a national leader in student completion initiatives and more than 30,000 students have signed the pledge to complete their degrees and certificates.
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 46 career and transfer programs to more than 6,000 students at its campuses in Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May Court House.
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