Pennsylvania’s community colleges kicked off Community College Month in Pennsylvania Tuesday with a rally in the Main Capitol Rotunda, and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges’ annual Lobby Day event.
The House and Senate have both passed resolutions proclaiming April to be Community College Month, and community college students and staff from across the Commonwealth met with their legislators to discuss the critical role that community colleges play in supporting their local communities throughout the State.
The colleges also had displays set up in the East Wing Rotunda, with students displaying the various skills they have acquired at their community colleges, including broadcast TV production, medical assisting, culinary arts, and more.
The Lobby Day events concluded with a rally in the Main Rotunda of the Capitol Building, featuring community college Presidents, trustees, staff, and students from across Pennsylvania.
Dr. Nick Neupauer, President of Butler County Community College and Board Chair of the Commission, opened the event, and Montgomery County Community College Board of Trustees Chair Mike D’Aniello provided an impassioned plea for the Commonwealth to recommit to investment in community colleges, which has fallen off dramatically in recent years.
Two students, Tyler Friel of Butler County Community College, and Heather Welsh of Delaware County Community College shared their experiences at community college, and the positive impact it had on their lives.
Tyler is a communications major and aspiring sportscaster at Butler, and Heather is Pennsylvania’s 2014 Coca Cola Silver Scholar. Senators Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester) spoke in their roles as Chairmen of the Senate Education Committee, as did House Education Committee Chairmen Representatives Paul Clymer (R-Bucks) and James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia), a Community College of Philadelphia trustee.
The festivities began in earnest Monday, with the 45 members of the 2014 All-PA Community College Academic team being honored on the floor of the House. The All-PA Team consists of outstanding community college students from across the Commonwealth, and the program is administered by Phi Theta Kappa, the national two-year college honors society. Later that evening, the students were honored at the 20th
Annual All-PA Awards Banquet, hosted by former WITF Smart Talk host Nell McCormack Abom. Caitlin Brown of Lehigh Carbon Community College, Pennsylvania’s 2014 New Century Scholar, delivered the keynote address.For more information, visit the PA Commission for Community Colleges’ website.