CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College welcomed about 400 new students to college Thursday morning with its second annual convocation.
Instructors, staff, administrators and returning students helped incoming students get to know MCC with workshops, a picnic and social activities.
Returning students put on a humorous skit designed to calm nerves and showcase the college’s support services.
And several returning students spoke about their experiences.
Frank Padour, 20, a Crystal Lake South High School graduate now in his third year at MCC, told incoming students how the community college had changed his life.
Without the high school grades needed to join his friends as they went away to four-year universities, Padour said MCC was his backup plan and that he thought of it like “high school part two.” In his first semester at MCC, he signed up for a few credits, but not enough to be a full-time student.
Padour’s fledgling college career took a turn in a campus bathroom after reading a notice about the drama club in the school’s popular news bulletin, “The Flush,” which is posted above urinals and in bathroom stalls.
He joined the drama club, auditioned for a play, got a part, made new friends, and found a girlfriend who pushed him to get more involved and take more classes. More recently, he made MCC’s dean list.
“Never had I thought I would be able to accomplish this,” Padour said.
He credited his success to being a involved in campus clubs and organizations.
“MCC does have a lot to offer every single one of you,” he said. “MCC is not high school part two.”
Convocation, first held in 2011, introduces students to the college culture, easea the transition from high school, and encouragea students to join clubs and other organizations. Those themes were emphasized repeatedly Thursday.
Paola Rueda, a student member of the college’s board, said “The Flush” also helped her get involved at MCC. She formed the school’s first dance team while juggling classes and a part-time job.
Rueda urged the new students to take advantage of the college’s support services, including the Sage Learning Center, which offers free tutoring. She called the Sage Learning Center “a place where algebra made sense.”
MCC President Vicky Smith told students MCC is “a place where you will be transformed.”
After the convocation ceremony, students were able to attend workshops on a variety of topics before a picnic lunch and other activities.
A dunk tank was setup outside Building A. MCC board Chairwoman Mary Miller and Vice Chairman Dennis Adams took turns in the dunk tank along with several top administrators. Smith demurred.