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Support = Success

Student Advocacy Day

Community colleges took center stage in the state’s capitol on February 11 as hundreds of students from each of Maryland’s 16 community colleges came together to take part in Student Advocacy Day. An annual event each February in Annapolis, Student Advocacy Day provides students the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their legislators.

Proudly wearing their blue Howard Community College (HCC) sweatshirts, eleven students represented the college at this year’s event, along with President Kate Hetherington and Vice President of Student Services Cindy Peterka. The students represented different majors and student clubs — from civil engineering, psychology and nursing majors to student athletes, Silas Craft Collegians, Rouse Scholars and Pathway Scholarship recipients — but they all had success stories to share. 

For student Mollie Rose Trail, the day provided an opportunity to tell legislators about HCC providing her with a “second chance” to earn a college degree. Darrell Peoples, who is transferring to a four-year university this year, talked about his goal of becoming a school counselor, and Akbar Tolbert explained that the low tuition costs ensured he could afford college. For students, keeping community college affordable was the top priority.

This year’s Student Advocacy Day came at a critical time for Maryland’s community colleges, which face state budget cuts and the prospect of reduced funding in the coming fiscal year. HCC, in particular, will see mid-year budget cuts of nearly $700,000.

President Hetherington, who first proposed the idea of Student Advocacy Day, told the Baltimore Sun that the students’ efforts have an impact. Lawmakers “see me and other presidents all the time,” she told the Sun. “But when [they] hear the impact of the community college experience on these students, that’s what really makes a difference.”

View photos from this year’s Student Advocacy Day on HCC’s Flickr stream.

Topics: Success Stories
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