My Story Started at GRCC: Hector Belmont’s family sacrificed so he could attend college, be successful

Hector Belmont was at a crossroads: He wanted to go to college, but he’d have to make sacrifices and hard choices to make that happen.

“From a very young age, I knew I wanted a college degree, but I didn’t know the work it would take to attain it,” he said. “Having the identity of being an undocumented student, I was not able to receive financial aid.”

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

When fear of deportation prompted his mother and siblings to move back to Mexico, Belmont made the difficult decision to remain in Michigan and pursue his college dream.

“I told my ama (mother) that I was staying in Michigan because I was going to make their sacrifice count,” he said.

GRCC, with its affordable tuition, was the perfect place to start.

“My experience at GRCC was valuable for many reasons,” Belmont said. “First, I was able to finish my Associate of Arts degree in two and a half years. The affordable cost of tuition at GRCC was one of the main reasons I was able to attain a college education. Secondly, GRCC laid a strong educational foundation for me.”

The times he spent hanging out with friends at the Raider Grill are among his favorite memories – topped only by learning of the GRCC scholarships he had been awarded.

While it was difficult navigating college without his family, Belmont became part of an extended family of friends who were ready to help when needed.

“From giving me rides to school and buying me food when I didn’t have the money, to giving me a place to sleep – these are just some of the things that they did that helped me move along!” he said. “Every time any of them did something for me, it was the fuel that kept me going. They didn’t have to help, but they did, and I felt that it was only right to pay them back by doing and accomplishing what I said I was going to do, which was graduate!”

After earning his associate degree in 2010, Belmont transferred to Grand Valley State University, graduating in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature. He is working on his master’s degree in higher education with an emphasis on adult education at GVSU and expects to graduate in December.

In 2020, Belmont was hired as a program advisor for GVSU’s TRIO program, which provides academic advising, tutoring, mentoring, financial guidance, counseling and other support services to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This month, he starts his new position as an academic advisor with GVSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Belmont, who plans to earn a doctorate someday, is proud of his educational journey and grateful to those who helped him along the way.

“I knew that staying in the USA would take me out of my comfort zone and, at times, make me homesick,” he said. “However, my determination and tenacity allowed me to keep moving forward and allowed me to navigate the unknown, while conquering so many new things.”

His first degree, from GRCC, “will always have a special spot in my heart.”

“GRCC gave me the opportunity to start my goal of being a college graduate,” he said. “This institution helped me understand that I had the potential to be more, and it gave me the tools that helped me be successful in the rest of my educational journey. GRCC is a great place to start.”

Let GRCC help you start your story. The first chapter starts at

GRCC golfers Arie Jackman, Matt Denharigh, and Conner Oman earn postseason honors prior to national tournament

Three players on the Grand Rapids Community College golf team earned postseason awards after success at the MCCAA/Region XII Championships this week.

Arie Jackman finished first among 40 golfers, earning medalist honors and back-to-back All-Region and All-MCCAA honors.

Matt Denharigh was fourth overall and earned All-Region and All-MCCAA for the first time.

Conner Oman finished his freshman campaign in 10th place and become the final member on the All-MCCAA team.

GRCC will be heading to the national championship tournament for the fifth year in a row, and the second straight year for Jackman.

Last year, GRCC won the region and finished 11th amongst 19 teams at nationals.

The team tied for the conference championship this year, marking their 13th straight title. It also finished runner-up in the MCCAA and region.

This year’s four-round national championship will take place in Joplin, Mo. starting on May 17. 

CTE Summer sessions

If you’re looking to balance your rest and relaxation with some professional development, the CTE is here to help. This July, we will host three virtual workshops.

July 13, 4-6 pm

Fostering Community in Virtual and Face to Face Classrooms 

Increasingly, students and faculty report feelings of disconnection. We can blame it on the anonymity of masks or the “black hole” of the Zoom screen, but what can we do about it? This workshop will provide a space for sharing strategies and equip faculty with some tools to cultivate community in online and face to face classrooms.

July 20, 4-6 pm

Approaching Course Policies with an Ethic of Care 

It’s easy to administer the policies of our syllabi from an Ethic of Justice rather than an Ethic of Care. This workshop will consider the varied experiences and circumstances of our GRCC students and critically examine how our classroom policies can set up our students for success or failure.  Discussion will begin with the philosophical and end with the practical application of this perspective.

July 27, 4-6 pm

Organizing your Course Materials 

What makes a well organized course? This workshop is part OHCC review, part Google Docs workshop, part idea exchange. Come prepared to learn and share your strategies for keeping your Blackboard course well organized for your students (and yourself).

Forgot how to register? Here are the instructions. Once you are registered, you’ll receive a calendar invite with the Zoom link.

Looking forward to learning with you,

The CTE Team

Tech Tip: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

GRCC Information Technology will be requiring a  new security measure to protect your GRCC Google Account! Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) adds an additional layer of security in verifying your identity. It also helps to prevent attackers from logging into your account in the unfortunate event that an attacker obtains your password.

There are few ways to verify your identity while logging into your GRCC email account such as receiving a verification code via SMS to your established phone number or selecting Yes on your phone when prompted by Google.

Once you have successfully logged in using 2FA on a trusted computer/device that you designate, you should not be prompted with 2FA again. However, if you login via VMware, you will be prompted to verify your identity each new VMware session.

Turn on 2-Step Verification

As a reminder, all staff Google account users will be required to enroll in 2FA by June 2, 2022. Starting May 16th, all users that do not have 2FA setup will receive a prompt to do so upon login to their Google Account 

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 05/16/2022

Students can explore careers through hands-on summer experiences


Students in grades six through nine can explore careers through hands-on activities and tours during a series of summer camps offered by the Grand Rapids Community College Workforce Training team.

Just like 1977: Doug Wabeke returning to JUCO World Series, and here’s why

5/13/22 MLive

The day was nearly 45 years ago, but Doug Wabeke recalls it with crystal clarity.

Wabeke coached Grand Rapids Community College’s baseball team to four national championships, but that was after he played for the Raiders.

Roger B. Chaffee 2022 scholarship winner is looking forward to college to ‘find out my passion’

5/13/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Wayne He, a senior at Forest Hills Northern High School, is the 2022 winner of the Roger B. Chaffee scholarship.

… He is preparing for his postsecondary education by taking dual-enrollment math classes at Grand Rapids Community College. After graduation, he wants to attend Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science in Pittsburgh but is currently waitlisted. However, He says he has been granted early acceptance to the University of Michigan to attend the College of Engineering.

Western Michigan Christian all-stater Kyla Wiersema heading to Grand Rapids CC for basketball

5/13/22 Local Sports Journal (Muskegon)

NORTON SHORES–Dual-sport athlete Kyla Wiersema has signed her national letter of intent to pursue a volleyball and basketball collegiate career. On Monday, Kyla signed to attend Grand Rapids Community College.

250+ volunteers help repair 22 Kent Co. veterans’ homes

5/13/22 FOX 17

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Heart of West Michigan United Way (HWMUW) and the Home Depot Foundation teamed up to repair the homes of 22 Kent County veterans and service members on Friday.

HWMUW says more than 250 volunteers from Home Depot, Steelcase, GRCC and Grand Valley State University participated, with financial help from the Home Depot Foundation and Fifth Third Bank.

Three Petoskey students awarded Judge Ned Fenlon Scholarship

5/14/22 Petoskey News-Review

PETOSKEY — The Emmet County Democratic Party recently awarded three Petoskey High School students, Brooke Bixby, Marisa Hoover and Greg Koontz, a $500 scholarship presented during the school award assembly on May 11.

… Judge (Ned) Fenlon helped pave the way for the construction of the Mackinac Bridge, promoted the construction of the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie. He attended Grand Rapids Community College, transferred to the University of Notre Dame and earned a law degree from LaSalle University.  Fenlon lived on Mitchell Street in Petoskey and died in September 2010, 18 days shy of his 107th birthday.

Waebke returns to Suplizio after 45 years

5/15/22 The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colo.)

Sometimes, 45 years ago feels like yesterday.

For Doug Wabeke, May 28, 1977, is forever seared into his brain. Grand Rapids (Michigan) Community College — Grand Rapids Junior College at the time — opened the Junior College World Series at 8 a.m. against St. Louis Community College-Meramac. A teenage Wabeke stepped onto Suplizio Field for the Raiders.

Dozens more Alaska high school athletes commit to competing at collegiate level

5/15/22 Anchorage Daily News

Twin brothers James and Billy Reinbold were standout athletes and students at Dimond High School and have intentions of doing the same at the collegiate level. Both recent graduates, Billy Reinbold will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and James is heading to Cornell University in the fall. Both will play on their respective school’s football teams.

… Lily Hulst will be playing volleyball at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

25th Annual Wege Speaker Series

The 25th Annual Wege Speaker Series will take place on Thursday, May 26 at 4 p.m.  

This year’s lecturer will be Dr. Beverly Wright, award-winning environmental justice scholar, advocate, author, civic leader, and professor.

She is the founder and executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in New Orleans.

Please register by May 25, 2022, at: