MCCC GED Program Reaches Milestone Of 1,000 Graduates

GED 2016 Group: Sixty-one students graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s GED program on June 15, 2016. Included in this class is the program’s 1,000th graduate.  Photo by Sandi Yanisko

GED 2016 Group: Sixty-one students graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s GED program on June 15, 2016. Included in this class is the program’s 1,000th graduate. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) General Education Diploma (GED) program reached a milestone during its annual graduation ceremony on June 15. Among the 61 individuals who earned their diplomas was the program’s 1,000th graduate.

Introduced in 2006, MCCC’s six-week GED program is among the most accelerated in the state. Students spend one week of intensive study in each GED subject—reading and language arts, science, social studies and math—then they take the respective test. The program alternates between day and evening classes every six weeks to accommodate as many students as possible.

The GED program and tests are free to Montgomery County residents, thanks to generous sponsorship from Montco Works, Montgomery County’s Workforce Investment Board. The program costs $100 for out-of-county students.

At least 20 of this year’s graduates are already enrolled in credit courses at MCCC. Graduate speaker Timothy Ream, of Schwenksville, is one of them.

“In the last nine months, I have accomplished more than I did in nine years,” Ream told the audience of graduates, family and friends during his remarks. “I’m currently taking summer classes at Montco, and I have a 3.5 GPA. I know it’s not a 4.0, but it’s better than the 0.6 GPA I left high school with.”

Following his emotion-filled speech, Ream surprised GED Program Coordinator Ed Sasek by presenting him with a plaque on behalf of the graduates.

“This man has dedicated his whole life to adult education,” shared Ream.

MCCC Assistant Professor of Geography Samuel Wallace provided the keynote address, during which he shared the story of his father, who earned his GED after surviving polio.

“My father never attended a year of school, not uncommon in a 1940s Kansas dustbowl,” he said. “After surviving polio, he realized he would never again make money with his legs and back. He got a GED and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering.”

Wallace shared that his father wrote the first set of guidelines for federal highway maintenance.

“Your career is not the one you thought you would have when you were 16. A GED is one way to get a second strike at the ball. It’s your jumpstart,” he said.

Janet Rojas, youth research and performance coordinator for Montco Works, presented the graduates with their diplomas. She was joined by Dr. David DiMattio, vice president of the West Campus; Nicole Henderson, dean of student affairs; and Peggy Schmidt, chair of the Workforce Investment Board Youth Council.

In her closing remarks, Schmidt drew applause with a reference to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” television show.

“You, tonight, have in your hands your own Mirrorball Trophy,” said Schmidt. “You are on the steps of an exciting future. So get out and DANCE!”

To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit http://www.mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.

Learn About MCCC Nursing Program During Summer Info Sessions

Nursing Lab

Students work with a simulated patient in Montgomery County Community College’s Nursing Laboratory.

Blue Bell, PA — The community is invited to explore nursing career opportunities at Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, during information sessions this summer.

Sessions will be offered on June 15 and June 21 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and on July 27, Aug. 4 and Aug. 10 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. All sessions will be held in room 218 of MCCC’s Advanced Technology Center, except for the July 27 session, which will be held in room 212. Sessions are free of charge and are open to the public. Pre-registration is not required.

During the information sessions, participants will learn about MCCC’s Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Nursing degree program, which prepares graduates for careers as caring, professional nurses who employ critical thinking skills to the nursing process in order to care for clients in a variety of health care settings. Participants will learn about the program’s admissions requirements, competitive application process, laboratory and clinical experiences, and transfer opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects a higher-than-average 16 percent job growth rate for Registered Nurses (RN) through 2024, due, in part, to increased demand for health care services by an aging population and greater access to health care as result of health care insurance reform.

To learn more about MCCC’s Nursing program, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics/areas-of-study/health-sciences/nursing.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Coming To MCCC In Summer 2017‏

Blue Bell, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will introduce a new Physical Therapist Assistant program starting summer 2017. The 70-credit Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) program will prepare graduates for employment as entry-level physical therapist assistants.

The program will integrate classroom and laboratory instruction with full-time practical clinical experiences. Graduates will be prepared to take the Physical Therapist Assistant National Physical Therapy Examination for state certification and licensure.

According to Robert Cullen, Physical Therapist Assistant program director, the program is composed of two distinct phases. During the Pre-Technical Phase, students complete their general education and foundational requirements at their own pace. Students who successfully complete the first phase may then apply for admission into the highly specialized and competitive full-time Technical/Clinical Phase.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists physical therapist assistant third among the 20 fastest growing occupations nationwide, and employment of physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 41 percent through 2024. Locally, physical therapist assistant is identified as a High Priority Occupation for Montgomery County and the surrounding four-county region.

Physical therapist assistants work under the direction and supervision of licensed physical therapists in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, rehabilitation centers, school systems, sports medicine facilities and private practice.

The Physical Therapist Assistant degree program will be offered at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell in the new Health Sciences Center, an integrated and active learning environment. Slated for completion in January 2017, the expansion will add 91,000 square feet to the existing 69,000 square-foot Physical Education Center.

The mission of the Health Sciences Center is to position MCCC as the regional leader in health and wellness education to be the catalyst that transforms lives. The center will house MCCC’s athletics programs and wellness center, as well as its existing Health Sciences programs—Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Medical Laboratory Technician, Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy, Radiography, Surgical Technology, Exercise Science and Wellness, Health and Fitness Professional, and Personal Training, among others. A certificate program in Massage Therapy is also being developed.

To learn more about MCCC’s Health Sciences programing, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics/areas-of-study/health-sciences.

Accreditation Information

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone; 703-706-3245; accredition@apta.org, is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Montgomery County Community College is seeking accreditation of the new physical therapist assistant education program from CAPTE. The College will submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on March 1, 2017. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the Technical Phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in PTA courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted CAPTE accreditation.

‘GROWL!’ At Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre‏

Allentown, PA —For the past two seasons, the theatre company Doppelskope has created world-premiere musicals for young audiences at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. In 2014, they presented “Gruff!” a troll’s eye view of the story of the three billy goats Gruff, and last season it was “Grimm!” a tale of the storytelling Brothers Grimm and their quest to chase down their escaped stories with the help of a rambunctious little girl.

This season, MSMT and Doppelskope will complete the “Grilogy” with another new show, “Growl!” — playing June 29 through July 30. “Growl!” brings Doppelskope’s energetic, innovative puppetry, lively music, and interactive theatrical spirit to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Co-authors Ora Fruchter and Christopher Scheer describe “Growl!” as a “zany reinvention” of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in which a group of woodland creatures has come together to solve a series of break-ins by a certain mysterious blonde figure. They are led by an imaginative young bear who likes to be known as Danger Bear, and who has no time for breakfast while the world needs a hero to make freedom sing in the hearts of all animal-kind.

“Our inspiration always comes from a lot of different sources,” Scheer says. “For ‘Growl!’ we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what made us laugh as children, and what still makes our inner-children laugh now. So as we got ready to write the show, we spent some time researching the cartoons we grew up watching — Chip and Dale, Roadrunner, Bugs Bunny, and lots of other classic cartoons. We like to create comedy that works on at least two levels, so that we can engage adults just as much as we engage kids.”

The eight-member cast of “Growl!” plays an ensemble of woodland animals, who in turn present the story of Goldilocks and the Bear family through puppetry. The cast members also play all the music themselves, on instruments ranging from washboard and stand-up bass to banjo and accordion — all while selling the audience a variety of woodland merchandise such as Hats, Buckets, Porridge, and Four-Month Energy Drink (the alternative to hibernating).

“We want our audiences to laugh in a deep, satisfying way,” Fruchter says. “And we want them to walk away amazed by the possibilities of live theater, puppetry and imagination.”

“Growl!” features a script by Fruchter and Scheer, with music composed by Tony Singer, who also serves as musical director. Fruchter, Scheer and Singer also made up the core creative team for both “Gruff!” and “Grimm!” The team’s show has evolved from recorded musical accompaniment, the first year, to live piano accompaniment last year, to this year’s approach of letting the actors accompany themselves.

“Toby has created this super-catchy, playful score for us,” Scheer says. “And because of our actor-musicians, we’re able to have fantastic live music throughout the show.”

Scheer says that the group’s puppetry has also evolved, both in the design and in performance. The show uses both tabletop puppets, created by Fruchter, and detailed shadow puppetry, projected on giant screens to create “surprisingly cinematic moments” throughout the show.

“We’re really exploring and innovating what’s possible with puppetry on stage,” he says. “We’re learning quite a lot as we experiment, with some really exciting results. Ora’s puppets are beautiful and hilarious. They’re like cartoon characters come to life, and they create this fantastic connection with the audience.”

Young audiences members can participate in a free 45-minute Imagination Workshop, following every performance of “Growl!” Participants will join members of the cast to explore the themes of the show through movement, storytelling, and creative play. Participants can register in advance through the box office or on the MSMT website.

Cast members are available after the show to meet the audience and sign autographs.

A Sensory-Friendly Performance of “Growl!” will be presented on Saturday, July 23 at 1 p.m. The performance will be followed by an interactive Imagination Workshop. Sensory-friendly performances are designed for children with autism and other sensory challenges. At these performances, sound levels are reduced, and startling sounds are avoided; lights remain on at a low level during performance, and strobes and other flashy lights are omitted; patrons are free to talk or leave their seats during the show; and attendance is limited. Social stories will be available in advance from the MSMT website, and the theater staff and cast will receive special training in meeting the needs of patrons with autism and sensory issues.

American Sign Language interpreters will interpret the 10 a.m. performance on Saturday, July 23. The interpreters will be available prior to the show and following the show at the meet-the-cast session and Imagination Workshop. All patrons are welcome to attend.

“Growl!” runs June 29 through July 30 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. All tickets to “Growl!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.

Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.