Innovation Central, Ottawa Hills high school valedictorians choosing GRCC

May 20, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The highest-achieving high school students often have their pick of four-year colleges and universities to attend. Three top Grand Rapids Public Schools graduates say they know Grand Rapids Community College is their best choice.

Innovation Central High valedictorian Shamsho Abdi, Ottawa Hills High valedictorian Syena Moore and her twin sister, salutatorian Taina Moore, all are attending GRCC in the fall.

The three met with President Bill Pink on Monday to talk about their decision to attend and their plans for the future.

“We’re proud of our mission as an open access institution, but we’re also a top destination for high-achieving students who know GRCC is an affordable option to gain credits without sacrificing on quality,” Pink said. “Students will find rigorous courses taught by some of the very best in their fields – in smaller class sizes than what they’ll find in many four-year schools.”

Abdi came to the United States as a refugee from Kenya when she was four years old. She graduated from Innovation Central’s Health Science Technology program, plans to attend Grand Valley State University after graduating from GRCC and plans a career in biomedical research.

She said GRCC’s smaller class sizes and helpful resources were a big factor in her decision to enroll.

“The class sizes at a university are going to be so much bigger,” she said. “At GRCC, I’ll have more one-on-one time with teachers and there will be help for me if I need it.”

Both Syena and Tiana Moore are planning to major in criminal justice and also study Spanish. They will consider transferring to Ferris State University or Alabama A&M University after graduating from GRCC.

Both said they selected GRCC because of its strong programs, and are interested in helping people turn their lives around.

“There are all kinds of new things coming to light about how we can help people,” Taina Moore said. “If we can work with people, we can help them change their ways.”

GRPS counselors said all three students participated in dual enrollment programs to earn credits at GRCC while still in high school, an option that makes a college education more affordable for many students.

GRCC was the top destination for 2018 grads in 24 of 26 Kent County high schools, and in six of 11 districts in the Ottawa County Area Intermediate School District, according to the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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