‘Opening the Doors for Opportunity’ at the Brunswick Community College 7th annual Luncheon

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Roman Gabriel III with members of the Brunswick Community College baseball team. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Wassum)

BOLIVIA — Success stories of community college graduates always bring inspiration to our Brunswick Community College (BCC) community, but those stories are even more impactful when coming from individuals who call Brunswick County home.

The attendees at Wednesday’s community cuncheon had the honor of hearing two Brunswick and New Hanover County natives share how beginning their academic careers at community colleges altered their courses and set them up for success.

For most of the guests, Roman Gabriel III’s keynote address encouraging goal setting, common sense and rolling up ones sleeves for some good hard work resounded with nods and chuckles that accompany hindsight and a good dose of life experience.

For others in the audience, such as students from BCC and North Brunswick High School, his words of encouragement spoke directly to the challenges and decisions they face every day.

Gabriel advised the students to enjoy the process and never take for granted the gift of attending a community college. He shared how his own experience at community college taught him important life skills that helped propel him into the next chapters of his journey.

As a successful radio host, film maker and youth advocate, he lives out his own advice to combine hard work and passion to meet your goals while encouraging the success of those around you.

Greg Bland, dean of Continuing Education/Workforce Development at Brunswick Community College and a BCC graduate, also shared his personal story of success through his community college journey.

When Bland found himself struggling in a writing course at BCC, his professor took the time to give him additional tutoring and transformed his entire educational experience. By believing in him and giving him the opportunity to succeed, that professor helped to instill a lifelong love of learning and the ability to give back to his community through his work in Continuing Education/Workforce Development at BCC.

BCC President, Dr. Susanne Adams, shared a quote from Margaret Meade truly capturing the spirit of the foundation, donors and students attending the community luncheon. By supporting the foundation, our community is creating opportunities for student success and acting on the belief that you should “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world” because “…it’s the only thing that ever has.”

After the event, Elina DiCostanzo, director of Resource Development for BCC, said, “The 155 people attending our community luncheon demonstrated their commitment to BCC and their thoughtfulness by raising over $21,000 supporting scholarships for our students.”

BCC Foundation President, Mike Forte, recognized in his closing remarks that it takes the generosity, spirit and dedication of the community to create opportunities through scholarships, and the foundation is grateful to be able to open those doors for BCC students.

The Brunswick Community College Foundation, organized in 1982, is a charitable organization 501(c)(3) instituted to enhance the mission of Brunswick Community College to a level of excellence and purpose for students and the community. The foundation is a vital resource for the acceptance and solicitation of all gifts for the support of education and the continued growth and progress of Brunswick Community College. To learn more about creating an endowment, contact Elina DiCostanzo at (910) 755-8517 or dicostanzoe@brunswickcc.edu.

-Content provided by Elizabeth Wassum

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