Press Release from Mt. Hood Community College
"We have value and we create our own opportunities in life." That was just one of the many powerful messages delivered Dec. 6 to 19 students as they celebrated their graduation from the Transitions program at Mt. Hood Community College.
Angela Arriage, the student who reminded her classmates about opportunity, joined other speakers at the podium: Elizabeth Perry, Transitions coordinator, Eden Isenstein, instructor, Carmen Butcher, a Transitions graduate, and students Desiree Zenor and Maria Vilma Leathers.
Speaking to a roomful of graduates and supportive friends and family, Butcher described Transitions as an important experience that helped shape her future. As a Ford Scholarship winner and master's degree candidate in social work at Portland State University, she is an example of how the MHCC program can have a profound effect on women who have been abused and have forgotten their own sense of worth.
"Hold on to what you have accomplished in these classes. They will remind you of how far you have come," says Butcher. "Remember – the answers are always within you."
Zenor added, "It is because of our past experiences and the lessons we have learned here in Transitions that we are who we are today." Leathers, her fellow graduate, thanked everyone for "helping me to spread my wings and explore new horizons."
Isenstein has worked as an instructor in the Transitions program for two terms, or about five months. When asked for her thoughts on graduation, she said, "It was incredibly moving to see the close-knit relationships that developed among the students. I am inspired by their success in turning around their self image from one of worthlessness to one of power, confidence and achievement."
Transitions is a career planning and college preparation program for single parents, displaced homemakers and women who speak English as a Second Language. Students learn how to apply for scholarships and develop life-long career skills.
For more information, please visit mhcc.edu/transitions or call the program at 503-491-7680.