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Chesapeake's Freeman speaks for state's community college students

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


 

ANNAPOLIS – It was less than three years ago, but it seems like a lifetime for Chesapeake College student Kimberly Freeman.

"In the summer of 2003, at the age of 35, I found myself in another dead-end job," the Stevensville resident told a statewide audience Wednesday morning. "I knew that I needed to go back to school and get my degree."

Freeman will have that degree – an Associate of Arts in Elementary Education from Chesapeake College – in May. After that, she plans to continue on at a state university to get her bachelor´s degree and teach in Maryland.

"I look forward to giving back to our students what I have been so grateful to learn," Freeman told an audience that included legislators, other Maryland officials, and students from community colleges across the state.

Freeman spoke on behalf of nearly 400 Maryland community college students assembled at the Miller Senate Office Building as part of the annual Community College Student Advocacy Day.

Dr. Stuart M. Bounds, Chesapeake College´s president, said Freeman "was a superb advocate for both the College and for all 120,000 credit students in Maryland´s community colleges."

"Kim epitomizes the high level of motivation and commitment to services that is typical of many of our students," said Dr. Bounds.

Chesapeake College had the largest delegation, with its 40 students representing more than 10 percent of the total number of students present.

"We consider Student Advocacy Day one of the most important outreach efforts we conduct," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Chesapeake College´s vice president for student success and enrollment services. "It´s a wonderful opportunity for our students to personally interact with their legislators and learn more about the legislative process."

Dr. Midcap praised Chesapeake College Counselor Amy Childs and Director of Multicultural Affairs Dana Bowser for their efforts in assembling Chesapeake´s delegation.

"Amy and Dana didn´t just put together the state´s largest delegation," said Dr. Midcap. "They also put together a talented, diverse group of students who did a fantastic job representing community colleges in general and Chesapeake College in particular."

For the second time in his term of office, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich spoke to the students. On Wednesday, he addressed the exuberant student delegations from the steps of the Governor´s Mansion. Governor Ehrlich praised the role community colleges play in Maryland´s higher education system and congratulated the students..

"You make your voices heard in Annapolis," told the cheering crowd. "We´re listening to you and know how important you are to Maryland´s future."

The student delegates, representing each of Maryland´s 16 community colleges, spent the first part of Wednesday morning together celebrating their common mission and listening to a host of speakers, including Senator Paula Hollinger, who is chair of the Education, Health and Environmental Issues Committee. Each college´s delegation then met with their individual legislators.

Chesapeake´s delegates were able to meet with Senators Richard F. Colburn (R-37) and E.J. Pipkin (R-36), and Delegates Mary Roe Walkup (R-36), Michael D. Smigiel, Sr. (R-36), Richard A. Sossi (R-36), Rudolph C. Cane (D-37A), Adelaide C. Eckardt (R-37B), and Jeannie Haddaway (R-37B). Heather Sterling, a Chesapeake College student who resides in Preston, said meeting with the Mid-Shore´s legislators was a valuable experience.

"It was exciting to meet our state leaders, and they all seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say," said Sterling. "The delegates, the senators, the lieutenant governor and the governor all understand the challenges we face as community college students."

Delegate Haddaway said she enjoys the annual visits from the Chesapeake College delegation.

"All of you will take your educations out into the community and do great work. We support you," said Delegate Haddaway to a group of Chesapeake students..

Chesapeake´s students thanked the local legislators for their support of the college´s capital projects, including the nearly complete renovation of the Caroline Student Center and plans to begin renovating the Talbot Science Building. The students also asked the legislators to press for reinstatement of planning funds for the Kent Humanities Building renovation in Fiscal Year 2007.

The students also voiced their support for plans to increase need-based financial aid for college students and a proposal to increase the percentage of higher education funds earmarked for community colleges beginning in FY08.

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