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 rally Oct. 16 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. 19 at the Mays Landing campus, included remarks from Holly Schultheis, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) club adviser; Dr. Denise Coulter, dean of Liberal Studies at Atlantic Cape; Cynthia Correa, director of Student Services and Institutional Career Services at the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus; and Atlantic Cape PTK President David Smith.
David Smith of Cape May Court House announced winners of the student essay contest and read the first- and second-place winning essays written by Gabrielle Ancheta of Hammonton and Glendys Taveras of Pleasantville. Students wrote about how they chose the right major. Third-place essay winner Isabella Aristizabal of Egg Harbor Township was present to read her own essay. Students wrote about their dream job and “fallback” job was.
Aristizabal recited, “My dream job is to become a registered nurse working in the emergency room, but my “fallback” plan is to become a therapist. Steps I am taking to prepare myself for this job is going to college, here, at Atlantic Cape. I am enrolled in the nursing program, one of the best in the county, and I study constantly.”
She concluded, “To me, nursing is a way I can catch my dreams without falling asleep.”
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 fall 2013, New Jersey was the first state in the nation to implement a statewide community college completion awareness program. Since then, 20 other states have used NJC4 as a template for similar college completion programs.
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.
See more photos HERE.