Upward Bound welcomes new Academic Coordinator

The Upward Bound team is pleased to announce that they have filled their open position. Jennifer Bryant has accepted their offer of employment as the new Academic Coordinator. In that capacity Jennifer will be responsible for the academic development of the students involved with the Grand Rapids Community College Upward Bound program.

They’re excited to add Jennifer to their growing team. She brings 10 years of increasingly responsible experience in the youth development and school to college arena. The majority of her professional work has been centered on inspiring and encouraging teens and young adults. She will no doubt make a great addition to the Upward Bound collaborative. She is eager to connect and contribute to the college’s mission of inspiring students to meet the needs of the community and beyond. Please welcome her to the college. Her office will be located in 110 Sneden Hall.


Welcome to GRCC!

  • Jeffrey Byrd, Educational Training Specialist, Training Solutions. Reports To: John VanElst. Effective Date: September 3, 2013.
  • Luis Rodriguez-Cruz, Custodian (Main/Cook). Reports to: Robert Green. Effective Date: September 30, 2013
  • Simon Kittok, Media Caption Technician. Reports To: Klaas Kwant. Effective Date: September 30, 2013.
  • David Fortuna Jr.,Custodian (Tassell M-TEC/ATC). Reports to: David Emelander. Effective Date: October 14, 2013.

Welcome back to GRCC

  • Anna Rose, ESP, Dean, Instructional Support and Interdisciplinary Studies. Reports to: Patti Trepkowski. Effective Date: October 14, 2013.

On the Move

  • Willi J. McNeal (Toy), Transfer From: ESP, Director of Library Services. Transfer To: ESP, Center for Teaching Excellence. Reports To: Jeremy Osborn. Effective Date: September 3, 2013.
  • Penni Weninger, Transfer from: ESP, Associate Dean, Instructional Support and Interdisciplinary Studies. Transfer to: ESP, Human Resources Assistant.  Reports to: Cathy Wilson. Effective Date: September 9, 2013.
  • Rhondo Cooper, Transfer from: College Success Coach/Contingency. Transfer to: Director of Upward Bound. Reports to: Diane Patrick. Effective Date: September 23, 2013.

Thank you for your service to GRCC

  • Christopher Armstrong, Police Officer. Effective Date: 9/8/2013.
  • Tara Wykstra (formerly Reitsma), Food Service Assistant. Effective Date: 9/20/13.
  • Joshua Aderholdt, Career Advancement Center Coordinator. Effective Date: October 1, 2013
  • Amr Abdel-Wahab, Senior Functional Analyst. Effective Date: October 19, 2013.

GRCC In the News, 6-10-13

‘Never going to graduate,’ Grand Rapids student finds her way at Turning Point Academy

June 8, 2013; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Darkresha Wilson, between making bad choices while succumbing to peer pressure and other distractions, considered calling an end to her high school career.

… But she is graduating today because she and her grandmother, Linda McIntosh, found Turning Point Academy two years ago. The academy, a partnership between Grand Rapids Public Schools and Grand Rapids Community College, is designed to help students who aren’t succeeding in the traditional setting and those who have dropped out.

GRCC Giving High School Grads Chance at Jobs and Internships

June 10, 2013; FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– Kent County’s youth will have the chance to land jobs and internships thanks to Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).

The event is called Ready Now! for Youth and GRCC’s Upward Bound Program and School of Workforce Development have joined forces with Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, Kent Intermediate School District, and other organizations for the event.

Daycamp Just For Grandparents And Grandchildren

6/8/13 FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Community College is hosting their first annual Grandparent/Grandchildren Wellness Day Camp starting next week.

2013 Grand Rapids Triathlon ends with marriage proposal

June 9, 2013; MLive

ADA, MI — Like every other finisher of Sunday’s Grand Rapids Triathlon, Ashley Blaszczak received a commemorative medal upon crossing the finish line.
Blaszczak, however, also received a diamond.

… (Todd) Lawrence, 24, who is a student at Grand Rapids Community College, has been coached by Dave Daprato since winning last year. He won Sunday in 1:01:11.

Painting a future: ‘I was going down the wrong road’

June 9, 2013; The Lansing State Journal

When he was 20, Josh Moore was directionless.

He’d dropped out of Lansing Community College. He was selling marijuana, so he could pay for what he was smoking.

He began to turn his life around in 2005, he said, after being arrested for marijuana possession and now is a full-time artist and apprentice for internationally recognized Grand Rapids-based artist Paul Collins.

(Sidebar about Paul Collins includes comment from GRCC’s Nick Antonakis.)

White Lake festival helps amplify guitar skills for Lakeshore area musicians

June 9, 2013; MLive

MONTAGUE, MI — The faint strum of a musical chord filled Montague’s Book Nook and Java Shop Sunday, June 9, amid chatter and the sound of a coffee machine as a guitarist sat atop the hub’s stage to practice a composition.

… The festival, which began on June 7, featured master classes with local artists and experts, including classical guitarist Brian Morris, a faculty member at Grand Rapids Community College and an associate of the Michigan Arts and Humanities Touring Program.





GRCC In the News, 6-7-13

Radio interview

May 16, 2013; WJRW

Interview with Mike Faber, associate director of GRCC’s Older Learner Center, about the Senior Leadership and Grandparent/Grandchild Summer Wellness Day Camp programs.

GRCC fast tracks incoming students with free summer program

June 6, 2013; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Want to go to Grand Rapids Community College for free this summer?

It could happen by using GRCC’s Fast Track program, a three-week session that helps incoming students become college-ready in the areas of reading, writing and math. It allows students to save time and money by bypassing remedial courses.

GRCC to help prepare graduates for jobs with Ready Now!

June 6, 2013; The Holland Sentinel

Grand Rapids — Grand Rapids Community College will be working with other organizations to give Kent County youth employment skills and training to interview for jobs and internships.

Paddling to the next level: Jeff Neumann, avid canoer, kayaker, opens business

June 7, 2013; MLive

Jeff Neumann is no stranger to canoes. He got his first taste of paddling as a 10-year-old boy, in Quincy, Ill. That’s where he and a cousin lashed two canoes together and spent idyllic days floating in protected waters along the Mississippi River.

… Today, at 53, Neumann still loves the allure of a quiet paddle, the natural scenery along rivers in Michigan. So much so, the former Grand Rapids Community College electronics instructor launched a guided canoe and kayak business upon retiring from teaching.

GRCC In the News, 6-6-13

High school graduates or young adults: Employment workshop could help you land a job

June 5, 2013; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Is your high school graduate in the process of looking for a job? An upcoming four-day youth employment workshop can help them tweak their resume, fill-out job applications and practice for job interviews.

… Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Rapids Community College, Upward Bound, Kent Intermediate School District (KISD), Kris Mathis Enterprise and Express Employment are hosting the event, which will be held June 10-13 at various locations.

Graduation 2013: Wavecrest Career Academy

June 5, 2013; The Holland Sentinel

Holland — Overheard: What’s your favorite high school memory?

… Top grads: Nathan Weenum was awarded the Staff Scholarship and Principal’s Award, Jasmine Torres was awarded the Community Scholarship, and Nathan Minnema and Jake VanSuilichem were honored for earning college credits at Grand Rapids Community College.

Record-setting season comes to end for Saugatuck softball squad

June 5, 2013; The Commercial Record (Allegan County)

A record-setting season came to an end for the Saugatuck softball team on Saturday, June 1.

… Perez-Pala ended her career on a personal high note, collecting two of the Indians three hits. (Nikki) Kupres, who will continue her softball career at Grand Rapids Community College next season, had the other.

Raider Salute for help with Middle School Conference

Sara Brooks, Urban Enrollment and Dual Enrollment coordinator, has a Raider Salute:

I’d like to send a Raider Salute to Chef Luba and the ATC Catering Services, Bayard Brooks, Eric Mullen, Sandy Gregory, Angela Salinas, Francisco Ramieriz, Domingo Hernandez, Sarah Laylock, Erika Bailey, Chris Sain, Ennis Young and Raynard Ross for their assistance and flexibility in helping to make the Middle School Conference a HUGE success. The public schools were pleased and the students gained beneficial information about: why college is important, their options and what they should do now to get to college. We hosted roughly 80 students and it couldn’t have been done with out all those people named.

GRCC In the News 11-16-12

A look through Grand Rapids’ garbage

November 15, 2012 WZZM
The tour starts at the Waste to Energy facility on Market Ave. SW in Grand Rapids, where participants learn that Grand Rapids’ garbage gets burned…

Should ‘chronically disruptive’ Grand Rapids students be in a more regimented, structured environment?
November 15, 2012 MLive
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – School board member Raynard Ross wants his colleagues to consider a pilot program for students who have exhibited behavior problems, so they are in a more regimented and structured learning environment.
“I am concerned about a minority of chronically disruptive students, who come to school unprepared and not focused on achievement, and the negative affect they have on other students,” said Ross, director for Grand Rapids Community College’s Upward Bound program for low-income and potential first generation college students from Grand Rapids high schools.


GRCC Upward Bound Honor Roll Students Medieval Times Dinner Theater

Upward Bound Honor Roll Students at Medievel Times

The GRCC Upward Bound Program took Honor Roll students to Shaumburg, Ill on Saturday, February 5, 2011 . The activity was in recognition for students who achieved Honor Roll status by maintaining a 3.0 GPA or higher for the first semester of the 2010-2011 school year. Upward Bound has 33 students on the Honor Roll, which is 52% of the program participants! In Illinois, students enjoyed a tremendous show and meal at Medieval times, visited downtown Chicago Water Tower Place shopping center, Hershey Candy Store, The Cheesecake Factory and the Woodfield Mall, one of the largest malls in the United States with over 300 stores and restaurants within 2.7 million square feet of shopping space.

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Photos: Upward Bound “Making the Leap”

GRCC Upward Bound Program Participates in "Making the Leap"

On November 19th 2010, students from the GRCC Upward Bound program participated in the “Making the Leap Program.” The Making the Leap program is a service learning project that helps build students leadership skills, confidence and presentation skills. Before students could participate in the program they had to attend a number of workshops that helped prepare them to make a solid presentation.

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The program was designed and coordinated by the VISTA volunteer Brian Williams who had a vision, “The students wanted to do a project that would give back to the community before they graduated, and they wanted to target younger students. With the help of the Upward Bound students we came up with this idea to have the college bound students give advice on making a good transition from middle school to high school. I wanted the students to share experiences that they thought should be handed down and useful for those incoming freshmen.”

GRCC Upward Bound students had to design a 10-15 min presentation on a topic that they felt should be middle school appropriate. The students really enjoyed the experience. We are planning on doing a tour across the city of Grand Rapids to help motivate and encourage students to make healthy choices on staying in school and becoming great leaders.

GRCC Upward Bound Volunteers Cook Soul Food Lunch

Upward Bound Soul Food Lunch

On Nov 13, 2010, students in the Upward Bound program cooked a wonderful soul food lunch for the families staying in the Ronald McDonald House of West Michigan (RMHWM). The Ronald McDonald House of West Michigan is a non-profit organization that houses families, free of charge, that have a child in their family seeking medical attention. Most of the services provided to the house are volunteer driven. They includes maintenance, upkeep, meals, etc.

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On the day of the community service event the students were paired into teams of two consisting of an upper class and a lower class. In these teams students had to create a soul food dish from scratch. For some students this was a difficult challenge because it was their first time cooking anything besides Ramon Noodles and pizza rolls, so the finished result was a rewarding experience.

The soul food menu included greens, mac & cheese, Bar BQ and baked chicken, cornbread, Kool-Aid, homemade cookies and tossed salad. Yummy. The families and volunteers were very grateful that the students fixed the wonderful lunch for the house and invited the students back for another opportunity to help out. Upward Bound will make a trip to the Ronald McDonald house 2 more times as a community service project.

Photo: Upward Bound Volunteers at “In the Imagine”

Upward Bound Students Volunteering at "In the Imagine"

On September 2, 2010 students from the GRCC Upward Bound program volunteered with “In the Imagine,” for their yearly “Shoes Help Our Elementary Students” (S.H.O.E.S.) event. This year S.H.O.E.S. provided more than 8000 pairs of shoes to at-risk elementary students in the Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids School System. Upward Bound accommodated In the Imagine by distributing tons of brand new shoes to 1st thru 5th graders as they strolled into the building with their families. While a majority of the students enjoyed volunteering, one student was so excited about the experience stating, “I love seeing the kids and the smiles on their faces when I bring them a pair of brand new shoes.” Next year as students go back to school, Upward Bound students hope to continue partnering with In the Imagine and their efforts of giving back to the Grand Rapids community.