Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'Thank you for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself'

Anita Newhouse of Culpeper didn't believe she was smart enough. She was wrong ...

I came up with every excuse I could think of:

“I have a child.

“I work full time.

“I wasn’t a good student in high school.”

The truth is, my self esteem and confidence were so low that I honestly didn’t think I would be successful in college. I thank God I listened to a friend who pushed me to enroll at Germanna Community College in 2000. She suggested taking one class at a time until I was used to that, and then later taking more than one class each semester. As each semester passed, my confidence increased and I held my head a little higher.

I couldn’t believe that I was going to college and that I was working towards an associate’s degree! No one in my family had ever attended college, and now I was. It felt amazing.

One of my professors at GCC, Randy Martin, encouraged me to check with the University of Mary Washington to find out what classes that I had already taken would transfer as well as what other classes I could take at Germanna that would transfer. I humored him, still not believing it was realistic. Mr. Martin checked with me periodically to see where I was in the process. He even said that he was not going to let me stop at an associate’s degree.
One day I realized that if he believed in me and he thought I could do it, maybe I should pursue it. But I didn’t have the money to continue my education. And though my self esteem had increased during my time at Germanna, I was still not confident enough in myself to believe that I could also be successful at a university. I simply thought I was not smart enough.

I met with an advisor at UMW and was able to take a lot of classes at GCC that would transfer. Germanna provided me with educational assistance for tuition for these classes as well as for the books.

In addition to working full time and attending school, my husband and I are small business owners, and this takes a lot of my time. I was only able to take one class a semester at UMW. I didn’t really have the time or money to devote to any more than that.

In April of 2009, an email about a fellowship program was sent to all state employees. I quickly closed the email without really reading it because at the time I didn’t realize what it was. Later that day my wonderful supervisor, Sarah Somerville, came to me and asked if I had read the email. I told her I looked at it briefly but that I didn’t really know what it was or if it even pertained to me. She explained to me that it was the Chancellor’s Fellowship scholarship and she encouraged me to apply for it. If she hadn’t brought it to my attention, I would never have applied. I did, and I was awarded the scholarship which provided me the opportunity to be a full-time student for the first time ever.

Not only could I be a full-time student and not have to balance work, but I also had no worries about the cost of attending the university as my salary and tuition would be taken care of during the academic year in which I was attending school. Dr. David Sam, Germanna’s president, called to tell me that I was awarded the scholarship and when I hung up with phone with him, I cried. I cried because I was so grateful for the opportunity and I couldn’t believe that I was going to be receiving my Bachelor’s degree.

As a full-time student, I was able to network and build relationships. This was something I was never able to do before while balancing other things in my life. When I finished classes at Germanna, I would always rush home to my family. As a full-time student, I was able to stay after class to discuss my thoughts on various things and build relationships that I will continue to maintain.

On May 8, 2010, I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with my Bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Management. I am forever grateful to so many people for supporting me through this journey and providing me with this opportunity.
Thank you, Chancellor Glenn DuBois, for providing such a scholarship. Thank you Sarah Somerville, for being such a wonderful and selfless person and encouraging me to take advantage of this opportunity though it would mean I would have to leave the counseling office. Thank you Randy Martin for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Also, thank you Pam Frederick for being so supportive of me at all times.
I can’t tell you how much it means to have such wonderful supervisors who encourage growth and want the best for their employees. Joan Fischer, Kelly Wolfe, Katey Denner, and Dean Rowe, thank you all for always believing in me! Dr. Sam and Victoria Waldron, you both were willing, without hesitation, to write letters of reference for me and I am so grateful for that as your opinions and insight are extremely valued.

Thank you as well to every single employee at Germanna who has believed in me, and shared in my exciting journey.

God bless you all!

--Anita Newhouse

Monday, June 28, 2010

Germanna's on-site Apprenticeship Program makes career ladder easier to climb; doesn't require students to leave work

After spending the last six years making airplane parts at Euro-Composite in Culpeper, 29-year-old Doug Bray saw a chance to advance his career when the company began an apprenticeship program in partnership with Germanna Community College's Center for Workforce and Community Education. The program opened the door to an associate’s degree and a journeyman’s license in industrial maintenance.
The four-year Workforce apprenticeship program combines classroom work with on-the–job training at the work site. It’s designed to meet the need for trained industrial maintenance technicians and intended for those who wish to work as maintenance employees or those who have recently been hired as maintenance employees. It also allows current employee to upgrade the skills necessary to support and maintain high-technology equipment.

“It was definitely a good opportunity for me, going to Germanna,” said Bray, who has a wife and child. “I think it’ll allow me to look at my job a little different. It’ll help me to excel at what I’m doing. It could mean promotions, raises. It’ll just benefit me all around and look at different things I’m doing and come up with new ideas to do my job that maybe I wouldn’t without taking the program and without getting my license.”

“It’s been a little bit of a learning experience,” Bray said. “It’s taught me things I never knew and also helped me refresh on things I learned in high school and never really used while I was working. It will definitely help me to think more critically. It’s been a little tough at times, but it’s definitely been enjoyable.”

Call 540/891-3012 or go to www.germanna/workforce/.edu for more information.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GCC honors Sen. John Chichester

Karen Chichester, Sen. John Chichester and GCC President David Sam at the Distinguished Person of the GCC Educational Foundation of the Year banquet.

Retired Sen. John Chichester, long a supporter of higher education in Virginia, is Germanna Community College's Distinguished Person of the Year for 2010. He was honored at a GCC Educational Foundation Banquet for which Mary Washington Healthcare was the major sponsor. Speaker of the House Bill Howell, VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois and Germanna President David A. Sam were among the speakers at the event.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Students missing out on Pell Grants simply because they don't apply

Too many Germanna Community College students are leaving money on the table because they're unaware they're available for Pell Grants.

In the 2007-08 academic year, 58 percent of Pell Grant-eligible students who attended community colleges either full or part-time applied for federal financial aid, compared with 77 percent of eligible students at four-year public institutions

During the two-year period from fall 2007 to fall 2009, full-time enrollment at U.S. community colleges increased by 24.1 percent

Students are reluctant to apply for aid in part due to a lack of basic understanding. Click here for the rest of the story.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Above, philanthropist Doris Buffett, 'The Sunshine Lady,' with Sunshine Lady Foundation board member Diane Grimsley.

Click on graph below to see Nightline report

Nightline visited Germanna recently to capture the moment when philanthropist Doris Buffett surprised Aundrea Handy, who had been homeless before attending GCC's Middle College, which helps high school dropouts get their GEDs and prepares them for college.
Buffett also recently donated $150,000 to the GCC Educational Foundation's Germanna Guarantee Scholarship program and donated the profits from a booksigning at the Fredericksburg Campus to the Middle College.

At a November GCC Educational Foundation dinner, Ms. Buffett heard three Germanna students on scholarships speak and decided to get involved with GCC: “I thought, ‘These are exactly the people we want to help.' I have a high regard for what Germanna's doing. They're into the real world. They're helping people to a good life through a good education."

Carolyn Bynum, director of the Middle College at Germanna, wrote in a letter to Ms. Buffett:

"I can tell you that Aundrea is a remarkable young woman. I knew it from the first moment I met her. She was homeless but not discouraged; down but not out. She knew then and knows now that education is the key to a better life and she is taking on the challenge to ensure a better life for herself and her children. I have no doubt that your foundation made a wise choice in selecting her to benefit from your generosity.

"I would also like to thank you for donating the proceeds of the sales of your book at the recent event at Germanna. These funds will help more young people as they come through Middle College and strive to change their lives as well. I can truly say that working with this program and helping my students find their way to a better future has been the most rewarding experience I have ever had in my professional life. So I can appreciate the warm feeling you must get when you know you have helped so many that may not have otherwise made it through whatever trying situation they may encounter."

Doris Buffett is the big sister of Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest men. She has donated over $100 million of her own money, much of it to individuals like Aundrea after talking with them one on one. At 82, she says her goal in life is to give all of her fortune away to those in need and hopes that her last check bounces

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

GCC student on Nightline Monday

Germanna student Aundrea Handy will be featured on ABC News' Nightline Monday night, June 7, at 11:35. That's all we can tell you. The rest is a surprise.