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Students Spend Day Advocating for Community Colleges

HCC students and staff in the MD state house

Howard Community College (HCC) students traveled to the state’s capitol on Tuesday to meet with their legislators and advocate for their support this legislative session. The group was joined by hundreds of other students representing Maryland’s 16 community colleges for the annual Student Advocacy Day event.

Thirteen students from HCC joined President Kate Hetherington and Vice President of Student Services Cindy Peterka to share how the college has impacted their lives and thank Howard County legislators for their continued support. Organized by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, Student Advocacy Day provides an opportunity for students to speak about the legislative priorities for community colleges.

Steven Dea, who was homeschooled growing up, shared that going to college was a big step for him. HCC felt like the perfect fit to acclimate into college life.

“Howard Community College really changed me,” he said. “I’m stronger and definitely more social.”

This fall, Steven will attend University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he plans to study photography.

Sha Hussain, who came to Maryland from New York, said attending HCC has not only saved her money, but has also helped her grow as a person.

“HCC gave me the financial ability to be independent at 19 years old,” she said. “I’ve just been able to find myself.”

Nursing student Naomi Narat smiled and said she couldn’t say enough good things about the college.

“I rave about HCC to everybody,” she said, adding that her younger siblings also plan to attend the college.

Naomi, who is co-president of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society at HCC, will graduate this spring with two associate degrees in general studies and social sciences. She plans to transfer to the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Ryan Young shared his journey of transitioning from Marine to civilian life.

“I wasn’t ready for a four-year institution,” he said. “Howard Community College was the best choice for me because of its location and stellar reputation.”

Ryan not only attended Student Advocacy Day in Annapolis, but continued to advocate for the college at the County Executive’s fiscal year 2020 budget hearing that evening.

He joined HCC Board Chair Kevin Doyle and Hetherington to testify in support of HCC’s fiscal year 20 request.

There, he spoke about his success at HCC.

“I am now a member of an honors society and honors program, and I have an internship in the college’s Office of Public Relations and Marketing,” he said. “Howard Community College has shown me the value of education, given me the confidence to apply to several four-year universities, and helped me transition to civilian life.

“Your continued support of Howard Community College ensures that all students have the opportunity to succeed and serve our community.”
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