May 4, 2022, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It was the kick in the butt Seth Noyes needed.
It was 2017 when Noyes tore open a letter from Grand Rapids Community College saying his grades were so bad the college had placed him on academic suspension.
“Honestly, I hadn’t really taken college seriously up to that point. But I decided then that I wasn’t going to give up,” said Noyes, now 24.
“I took that letter and I hung it above my light switch so I would see it every single day before I left my room. I told myself over and over again that I’d wear that letter on my cap if I ever graduate.”
And that’s just what he did.
On April 29, Noyes walked across the stage at GRCC’s Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse and proudly accepted his diploma for a Management and Supervision Associate Degree.
Pasted to the top of his blue mortarboard was a copy of that suspension letter.
“That letter really triggered a change within me,” said the Rockford native. “I contacted the academic advisors at GRCC and they pointed me down a path … but it was the change within me that really helped me travel down that path.”
Noyes first enrolled at GRCC in 2015 after graduating from Rockford High School.
“But I didn’t have my head in the game back then. It was bad,” he said.
After his suspension, Noyes re-enrolled at GRCC in 2018, got help from the college’s academic advisors, and studied hard to raise his GPA. He worked full time at several jobs and paid every penny of his tuition out of his own pocket.
Noyes retook several classes he’d failed earlier. Even though he already earned an associate degree, he still has a few more classes to retake to boost his GPA high enough to enroll at Grand Valley State University.
But he’s hopeful.
“I’d tell other people not to let bad stuff define you. It’s about how you respond to those challenges that shows the kind of person you are.”
This story was reported by Beth McKenna.