A Look at Campus Life at Various Community Colleges
Taking a break from their volunteer work in Houston are CCAC South Campus students, from the left: Zeynep Koc, Victor Yates, Ashok Kadariya, Kimberly Calderon Quintero and Wesley Molton-Greening.
Five students from the Community College of Allegheny County South Campus (Pa.) traveled to Houston to help residents who are still struggling to recover from the disastrous flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, which caused at least 106 deaths in the U.S. last August. The group spent four days in mid-May working with All Hands and Hearts, a nonprofit organization that responds to natural disasters by engaging volunteers from around the world to address the immediate and long-term needs of impacted communities. The CCAC students — Victor Yates, of Carrick; Wesley Molton-Greening, of South Park; Kimberly Calderon Quintero, of Scott Township; Zeynep Koc, of Greenfield; and Ashok Kadarya, of Whitehall; along with CCAC Student Development Specialist Abby Hindman — were amazed by the devastation they saw and how much work still needed to be done. The volunteers worked from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in near 100- degree heat on a variety of projects, including painting, hanging paneling, ripping up floors and “mucking and gutting” a house that had not been touched since the flooding, resulting in mold and rotting boards. The house had to be completely gutted and rebuilt in order to bring a 14-year-old boy with cancer back home to his family. The gratitude expressed by the boy’s grandmother and others for the volunteers’ efforts made a significant impact on the students.
The students also worked on the Rhodes School building, formally a school for low-income and minority students studying performing arts, which was destroyed by the hurricane. More than 80 percent of the students were displaced to another school and, since then, only 40 percent of the students remain in school due to transportation issues. For Yates, seeing smiles on the faces of the students, who were attending school in a trailer, was well worth all of the work he put in to build a handicapped ramp to the school. The CCAC students learned many new technical skills — and so much more. Although strangers at first, the diverse group, which included immigrants from Nepal, Turkey and Columbia, have become close friends through their shared experiences. Originally offered as an alternative spring break, the trip had to be rescheduled for various reasons. CCAC Student Life covered the students’ traveling expenses and also provided funds to purchase the required steel-toed boots. The group was housed in a church, where they lived communally with dozens of other volunteers from around the country and the world.
When Mykelsi Schnose pulls into Casper, Wyoming, she will do so as the first woman to represent the Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team at the College National Finals Rodeo. The honor has been both humbling and a bit of a shock to Schnose. “It’s pretty crazy,” Schnose said. “Sometimes I still can’t believe this is happening. It has taken awhile to convince myself that I’m actually going to nationals.” “I got kind of a late start,” Schnose said. “I was actually terrified of horses until I was about 8. I screamed the first time my dad made me pet one, and I didn’t swing a rope until I was 9 or 10.” She couldn’t fight her western roots forever. Rodeoing was in her blood. Schnose’s father and grandfather both team roped. Her grandfather just retired from the sport four years ago. He gave Schnose and her brother the last of his horses when he did. “He’s still very involved even though he doesn’t rope anymore. Grandpa comes to all of our competitions,” Schnose said. “My dad was also active in rodeo before he passed away five years ago. It was something he loved.” As she got older, Schnose competed in 4-H rodeos then branched into junior high rodeos, Little Britches rodeos and high school rodeos. The success translated to the college level. She placed fifth in the breakaway roping in Lincoln and third in Hastings during the spring rodeos. In Brookings, S.D. she stole the show by taking home three championships: breakaway, team roping and women’s all-around.