An education is more than just a degree to hang on the wall.
This was one of the messages which was promoted during Completion Day at JCC.
Completion Day is a statewide event which is celebrated every year at all 37 SUNY and CUNY community colleges. It was established in proclamation by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and its purpose is to send a message to all prospective students that completing an associate degree ensures greater opportunities for scholarship and transfer throughout their college career and generates more job prospects following graduation.
From left, JCC?students Chanel Eddy, Amanda Campbell, Bre Gates and Tom Tracy sign a pledge banner to promise to complete their associate’s degrees.
P-J photo by
"This day is to shine a light on the importance of completing a college degree," said Eileen Goodling, vice president and dean of student development. "(Completing a degree) will impact our students financially over the course of their careers, it will give them more career choices and it will help them in transfer situations. If a student completes a degree from a SUNY community college, they are guaranteed to transfer into a SUNY four-year college. It may not be the college of their choice, but they are guaranteed into one of our SUNY four-year schools."
Additionally, any student who completes an associate degree at a SUNY community college can apply to up to four SUNY four-year colleges free of charge.
"If a student actually completes a(n) (associate degree), statistics show that that student will, on average, earn $400,000 more over their lifetime than someone who only has a high school diploma," said Goodling. "The student will have much greater opportunities for a smooth transfer (to a four-year college) and that student will have many more career options which open up for them."
To promote Completion Day, all JCC professors and employees were asked to wear a shirt which gave the name of their first alma mater.
Not surprisingly, shirts which gave the name of SUNY schools were very easy to come by.
Additionally, Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, asked students to sign a pledge banner to complete their academic programs. The banner will be displayed in the student union for a period of time to remind the students of their pledge.
"Students are asked to sign the banner if they can commit to completing their college education," said Goodling. "The first two people to sign were our student trustee and our president of our student senate: Erin Kress and Cody DeLong."
As part of Completion Day, information booths were set up around the student union to offer advice on different aspects that come with completing a degree. One of the more visited booths was the financial aid booth.
"No matter how good of a student someone may be, the best laid plans can go awry when the ramifications of borrowing and repaying loans are not fully understood," said Laurie Vorp. "The information that we're providing to students is a tool that can be used for the rest of their lives. We say that all educational plans need to be supported by a financial plan. The information we have available ... helps students to learn about budgeting, saving for the future and many other milestones they will reach throughout their lives."
"Some students, even some adults, don't fully understand the value of setting up a budget," said Rachel Phillips. "Some students just haven't had that training, so learning how to budget now can make a student aware of where their money is going. Keeping track of money can also encourage responsibility in other aspects of a student's life."
To conclude the event, JCC president Greg Decinque gave a short address to those in the student union, and a short video created in cooperation with all SUNY community colleges was aired.