‘Whatever it takes’ means exactly that for SSS students at MCTC
“Whatever it takes” reads the sign in Kathy Reed’s office on the Maysville campus of Maysville Community and Technical College.
She says that mission statement exemplifies the attitude that she and her three colleagues take toward students who seek help through the TRIO Office of Student Support Services (SSS) on all four MCTC campuses.
They do the job so effectively that the U. S. Department of Education just renewed the College’s competitive federal grant of $275,105 a year for five years, a total of $1,375,525.
“I am thrilled that we can continue these important services for our most vulnerable students,” Reed said. “Our SSS students face an array of daunting challenges. This continued funding makes us available to provide assistance in identifying and addressing barriers to their success”.
The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of about 160 students each year at MCTC. But these are not the average students who enroll. SSS participants come from the ranks of low-income families or are first-generation college students or are individuals with disabilities.
As director of TRIO Student Support Services, Reed is justifiably proud of the program’s long history of success at MCTC. In a recent academic year, the retention rate of SSS students from fall to fall was 89 percent. Moreover, 91 percent of the academically at-risk students were in good academic standing.
The second percentage is especially pleasing to the SSS staff because many of the students they serve come to the program for help after finding themselves on academic probation.
Serving with Reed in SSS are Tonya Arnett, Ellen Bowman and Courtney Myers.
“We tell our students that we will be with them each step of the way from the moment they enter the SSS program to when they cross that stage to receive their credentials,” Reed added. “They and their families will see us cheering from the audience at each pinning and graduation ceremony.”
Reed and her counseling staff are not deterred when their grant funding doesn’t cover all of the unmet needs they encounter. Two examples of their resourcefulness are a student food pantry started seven years ago with private gifts and an annual winter coat drive inspired by two sisters who shared a coat during cold weather.
“If there is a student need, it is addressed as quickly as possible,” she stated. “We are very proud of what we do today and what we have done to create an inclusive environment where students feel welcomed, supported, and challenged, the essential building blocks for student success.”
For more information about how you can find personal success at MCTC, go to maysville.kctcs.edu