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Nearly 300 attend college’s first student leadership conference

A free event proved exceptionally successful as nearly 300 area students gathered at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Center to learn more about achieving their educational goals.

Students Transitioning through Education Programs Successfully organized and led the first Student Leadership Conference, themed “Engage. Educate. Empower,” on Oct. 27.

Sessions were designed to assist community college students from the surrounding area and dual enrollment and potential dual enrollment high school students in the college’s service region. The region encompasses the cities of Suffolk and Franklin and the counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton.

“We help students be successful and stay on track in their academic endeavors, but that is only part of our focus,” College Success Coach Laura Clark said. “We take a holistic approach to addressing the needs of underserved students.”

LaQuisa McGlone, a graduate of PDCCC, shared what her life was like during her academic journey. She was the student speaker during the college’s 2013 commencement ceremony.

The morning began with optional pre-conference mentoring sessions led by PDCCC’s Men with A Purpose and the American Association of University Women. PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin and Virginia Community Colleges’ Chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois provided the welcome and opening remarks, respectively.

An unsuspecting DuBois received a surprise award kept under wraps until the right moment. The STEPS team presented a plaque honoring DuBois as a “Champion for Student Success” for his creation of an initiative that continues to positively impact students and their families across the state.

PDCCC Alumni Ellis “Trey” Cofield III, of Franklin, and LaQuisa McGlone, of Suffolk, delivered testimonials and spoke of their academic paths that began at PDCCC.

Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leadership & Learning Institute Dr. Adolph Brown, who has earned multiple degrees from the College of William and Mary, made a presentation focused on developing habits helpful to students in staying on point. The keynote speaker addressed overcoming negative, emotional issues, as they affect one’s outlook and decisions.

Other topics covered were leadership and a team-building activity with Upward Bound Director Travis Parker; entrepreneurship with Franklin Southampton Economic President and Chief Executive Officer Amanda Jarratt; and civic engagement with faculty member Wendy Miller-Edwards.

“We created a student-centered learning experience to help students develop a clear vision of their goals, to guide them in connecting daily activities to their long-term goals, and to support them in building skills,” said College Success Coach Dr. Sandra Walker.

The STEPS program was created in 2012 as a response to the Virginia Community College System Chancellor’s College Success Coach Initiative. The conference was made possible by the Excellence in Education award funding and the STEPS program. The STEPS team was awarded a $5,000 first-place prize during the Virginia Community College System’s New Horizons Conference 2017 held in Roanoke in April for their project — a model based on research and facts to use when helping underserved students.

To learn more about the program, visit www.pdc.edu/success.