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OUT of Africa

“Students Say It Best” 

Rockland Community College prides itself on its heritage of excellence and diversity. These qualities are evident in many ways including RCC’s programs, services and activities. Our college family knows how to celebrate and honor its diversity and the best example of this diversity lies in our amazing student body, one that is diverse in age, perspective, background and experience. Our student body is comprised of residents of Rockland and a very special group of international students that come from over fifty countries around the world.

OUT of Africa to RCC came Ronald Lawyer, a very special young man, in the spring of 2010. In May of 2012 he graduated from RCC with an outstanding academic record. In the fall of 2012 he will enroll at Mount Saint Mary College on a full scholarship majoring in Nursing. The scholarship is valued at $53,000 per year and is renewable for two years.

Ronald grew up in the small African village, Eremon, Ghana, which had no electricity or running water. He attended a small village school. His father died when he was three, and his mother was very ill and could no longer care for her family.

At 16, he traveled to the largest town near his village, a town called Sunyani, to seek work and shelter. He found shelter and worked in the Christ the King Cathedral, and soon the priest there recognized his intelligence. Ronald’s duties there at the parish increased and then the “miracle” happened. Benjamin Kotzker, a parishioner from St. Gregory’s Church of Rockland County, came on a mission to Ronald’s parish. Mr. Kotzer also recognized Ronald’s ability and along with his wife brought Ronald to live with them in Garnerville. Barbara was a school nurse for many years and Benjamin is a retired plumber. Isn’t it also wonderful that Mr. Kotzker is an RCC graduate and was the president of the student body during his tenure at the college? These good people brought Ronald to Rockland to live with them and sent him to RCC. I later met Ronald on campus and was able to offer him a position as a student assistant in my office. Ronald has proven himself and earned his college degree. Ronald tells his story best and here in what he says of his RCC experience:

“Rockland Community College, RCC, I will never forget its role in shaping my life. I had such an incredible love for RCC while in school to an extent that one could seldom distinguish RCC from my own home and family. I also got to recognize the commitments of RCC to its students, faculty and staff, its diversity, and it’s willingness to support me, and therefore other students, in every way possible to enable us to achieve academic excellence. In RCC, there is always somebody somewhere on campus, who is often very nice and helpful to talk to whenever I confront them with a problem. My professors also taught me a great deal of knowledge-- not just the textbook-base, but also things that made me think deeply and got to believe that everything is always possible by instilling in me the great sense of aspiration. The friends and bonds I made while in college and above all, getting to know Dr. Cliff Wood, the President of RCC, and having worked in his great office has empowered me with some experiences I will always need for a life time. I could just go on but in the nutshell, I have grown as a person and academically in RCC. And all I can really say now is, thank you RCC and God bless you.”

There are many other Ronald’s at RCC. International students add an amazing dimension to RCC and teach our residents of Rockland County that community and the good of the human spirit is a valuable lesson for all.


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