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Three and RCC is Still a Charm

May is Older American’s Month.  This year, President Barack Obama wrote the following about this special month:

“Our seniors make countless contributions as active participants in communities across America. From our parks and schools to our faith and service organizations, the generosity and talents of active seniors augment our children's education, bring our families together, and strengthen the fabric of our society. This year's theme for Older Americans Month, "Never Too Old to Play," celebrates the accomplishments of older Americans and encourages them to find even more ways to stay engaged.”

Staying engaged embodies the actions and spirit of this year’s recipient of the award for Rockland County’s Outstanding Contribution by a Senior, Margaret McKee. Ms. McKee received her award on May 23, 2012 when RCC hosted Senior Awareness Day, an annual event of Rockland County’s Office of the Aging.

Margaret graduating in 1986
“Ms. 4.0” Margaret graduated
from RCC in 1986 with all As.

Margaret McKee is an 87 year old senior who never misses an opportunity to advocate for her senior peers. She is constantly looking for ways to involve seniors in intellectual and stimulating activities to keep their minds active and add joy to their lives.

Impulse cover

Margaret’s award winning essay appeared in the Spring 1985 edition of Impulse.

Margaret's essay in Impulse

Margaret was responsible for getting the Pearl River Library to allocate their community room each Monday for four hours for seniors to engage in a game and card playing. Currently approximately 32 seniors enjoy this activity. She was also responsible for having the Adult Education Department at Pearl River to offer mahjong courses, and she encouraged a group of seniors to take this mind-stimulating course. It is a new challenge they now enjoy. This contribution has helped alleviate loneliness for many seniors and keep their minds active.

Margaret McKee has been an advocate for seniors as far back as the 1970s. Her mother, who lived to be 93, was her inspiration. Margaret saw her mother needed activities to keep her mentally and physically alert. She was instrumental in having aerobics classes included in the Adult Ed Program. Ten years ago, she started a book discussion club at the Pearl River Library. It still meets today.
In receiving her award, Ms. McKee said she was thrilled the honor was awarded on the stage at RCC because “RCC felt like home” and she recalled other times she was honored at RCC. Ms. McKee then told her RCC story of why the College is still a choice for her.

Ms. McKee came to RCC in her mid-fifties to pursue her degree after her children were grown. Margaret described the RCC experience in the following way:

Rockland Community College was the springboard for my projects. As a mature student eagerly devouring all my classes, I found pleasure in the world of education. Honors classes were “frosting on the cake”…failure was not in my vocabulary. RCC teachers encouraged me to excel. When I found myself on the same stage of RCC for the third time, I wanted to raise my fist and shout “YES!” The first time was in 1984, accepting the Henry Larom Award for Best Fiction and reading the last chapter of my story “The Decision”; then in 1986 receiving my diploma with honors and a 4.0 GPA.”

Dr. Wood and Margaret McKee
President Wood and Margaret McKee, ‘86,
Awarded Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen,
Senior Awareness Day

Margaret returned to the RCC stage a third time in 2012 to receive the award for Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen and to say, “In lasting gratitude to you, Dr. Wood, and Rockland Community College. I am Margaret McKee and I am engaged in life!!”

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