My GRCC Story: Sue DelRaso reflects on her father’s life, military service after laying him to rest in Arlington National Cemetery

When Sue DelRaso closes her eyes, she still hears them.

“For the rest of my days, the sound of that 21-gun salute and the trumpeter playing taps at Arlington National Cemetery will never leave me,” DelRaso said. “It was the ultimate honor paid to my father, who bravely served our nation for 22 years in the Navy.”

DelRaso shared the story of her father’s military service in honor of Veterans Day, observed annually on Nov. 11 as a tribute to military veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

DelRaso started at GRCC in 2004 as a student tutor and is now the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center Tutorial and Open Computer Lab coordinator.

Her father, Robert DelRaso, came from a large Italian family in Grand Rapids. He joined the Navy after graduating from Catholic Central High School in 1958 and later married his long-distance sweetheart, Gladys McCarthy. Throughout his 22 years as a Navy electronics technician, his wife and three children accompanied him wherever his military service sent him.

“We spent a lot of time all over the East Coast, but also lived nearly four years in Morocco when I was a child,” Sue DelRaso said. “What an amazing experience. I’m told I could speak fluent French-Arabic when I was 3 years old.”

DelRaso said she loved her childhood and the way her entire family supported her father in his service.

“I’ve had people ask me if I hated moving around my whole life. For me, it was an adventure – and my family was closer because of it,” she said. “My dad gave a lot for his country, he taught others what he knew, and he was proud of what he did.

“He instilled that pride and love of country in all of us.”

Her father served aboard the USS Intrepid during the Vietnam War and aboard the USS Barton during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He received many medals and awards during his time in the Navy.

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Wellness Wednesday: Mental wellness is sometimes overlooked or difficult to talk about. GRCC’s Counseling Services team is here to help.

Be a champion! GRCC is helping students and employees focus on all areas of health and wellness as we emerge together from the pandemic.

Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual health. That includes physical health, but so much more. During the next year we’re also looking at emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational health, and how we all can work to help ourselves and each other.

There are many resources at GRCC to help all of these types of wellness. Each week, we’ll introduce you to people and places here on campus ready to support you on your wellness journey.

The pandemic has created challenges for all of us. Mental wellness is an area sometimes overlooked or difficult to talk about. GRCC’s Counseling Services team is here to help.

“Being a student is hard enough! Adding a global pandemic, financial crisis, work responsibilities, relationships, and mental health issues makes being a student even harder. The staff and faculty at GRCC understand this struggle as we are fighting the same challenges,” said Dr. Andre Fields, a GRCC professor and counselor.

A licensed psychologist, Andre started his education here at GRCC and earned his bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University and his master’s degree and doctorate from Western Michigan University.

His areas of interest include helping students with stress management, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and challenges related to race.

“One advantage you have as a GRCC student is being connected to GRCC staff and faculty members who are educated and trained to help students in their times of need, empathy, and understanding,” he said.

Personal counseling is among the free services and resources available to GRCC students. People can connect with a counselor by calling (616) 234-4130. Information about the program and a variety of other resources is available on the departments webpage:

Workforce Wednesday: Metallica Scholar Stephany Borjas says she was ‘meant to be’ a welder

GRCC Workforce Training programs provide in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers. Each Wednesday we’ll meet students who are heading down an educational pathway and changing their lives by earning occupational certificates.

Stephany Borjas believes welding has always been her future – where she is meant to be.

“I am currently in the service industry, but every time I start to think about what I want to do with my life – it always seems to come back to welding.”

Borjas moved to Michigan four years ago from Houston, Texas. She took two years of welding classes in high school.  

“I really feel like I need a little bit of a refresher in order to feel confident going into the field.”

The GRCC Metallica Scholars Welding Bootcamp offers the opportunity to gain skills for entry level welding positions.  It is a short-term program to get welders work in West Michigan, with the goal of helping them grow into apprenticeships or other learning opportunities within the welding field. 

Borjas didn’t know much about GRCC.

“I actually fell upon GRCC because of my interest in the Motorcycle Safety program. As I looked through the offerings, I saw the info about the Metallica Scholars program and signed up to receive emails about it.”

The program goal is to build an accessible pathway into the field of welding with a focus on producing ready-to-work welders for West Michigan companies. This program works to attract, retain, and graduate individuals of different genders and racial/ethnic backgrounds to welding careers.

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Tech Tip: Macbook Spotlight

Have you ever found yourself searching for a file or an application on your Macbook that you just can’t find anywhere? Macbook has a very easy solution to assist with finding things using a keyboard shortcut.

Select command + space on your keyboard to bring up the Spotlight menu. With Spotlight you can find files, open apps, search the web, as well as search for emails. Spotlight can also be used as a calculator and can even make money conversions.

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the IT Customer Support Desk at x4357.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing 

GRCC In the News 11/10/2021

GRCC, city of Grand Rapids, and Bay College partnering to prepare people for careers in water industry 

11/10/21; La Prensa

Oct. 25, 2021 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College, the city of Grand Rapids and Bay College in Escanaba are teaming up for a project aimed at building a pipeline to careers in the water and wastewater industry.

Wolverine, Metallica foundation partner on ‘Encore’ merch collection

11/9/21; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Wolverine is partnering with Metallica’s charitable foundation on a limited-edition boot and apparel collection to benefit students of the skilled trades.

Wolverine, a brand of Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide, and Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH) are rolling out a new collection benefiting the Metallica Scholars Initiative, which provides support to community colleges to enhance their career and technical education programs for students who want to enter a trade or other applied learning program. Grand Rapids Community College was one of three trade programs nationally to receive a three-year $100,000 joint grant from Wolverine and AWMH as part of the Metallica Scholars Initiative.

Metallica reunite with Wolverine to aid trade scholars with boot + merch line

11/9/21; WGRD

Metallica have once again teamed up with West Michigan company, Wolverine, launching a new boot and merch line that will benefit aspiring trade scholars as part of Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation‘s Metallica Scholars program.

Grand Rapids Community College is one of 23 schools across the country participating in the initiative. This past summer, Metallica awarded GRCC a third grant to continue the school’s program training students for in-demand welding jobs. The hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships Metallica has provided are aimed at helping underserved community members gain skills and hands-on welding experience to land a career in the field.

“News at 4 p.m.”

11/9/21; FOX 17

(Jonathan Marshall’s guitar concert.)

GRCC planning second COVID-19 vaccination clinic with boosters after providing shots to 76 students, employees and community members last month

Student getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Grand Rapids Community College is planning a second walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic for students, employees, and community members that includes booster shots for all three vaccines after a larger-than-expected turnout at last month’s clinic.

The event is planned for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11 at Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center auditorium, 151 Fountain St. NE.  A parking pass will be provided for individuals getting the vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome.

GRCC’s Oct. 27 clinic saw 76 people getting the shots through Visit Cares, the organization partnering with GRCC and the state of Michigan to administer vaccines.

The clinics are part of an effort to help students, employees and community members have access to an effective COVID-fighting tool. All three COVID-19 vaccine options will be available, as well as booster shots for those who are eligible. Information about booster shots and eligibility is available here.

It is recommended that people bring their vaccine card if they are getting a second vaccine dose or a booster vaccine.

Additional vaccination location information is available at

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If you would like to fill out the required online paperwork in advance – to speed up the process – please scan this QR code and follow the instructions.

QR code for scanning.