Sharing Our Stories: Alumni

Sara Knoester

Sara Knoester: Alumni Spotlight

According to Knoester, she wasn't predicted to succeed after high school. After graduating from GRCC in 2008, the same determination with which she graduated college helped her become a successful entrepreneur.

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GRCC Alumni in Action

Teresa Weatherall Neal

Teresa Weatherall Neal

2019 Distinguished Alumna

Retired GRPS Superintendent

“I had so many fears that paralyzed me and stopped me from moving forward. But I realized I could do it. It lit a fire in me. And I was now on the journey and the road to change. It was ignited right here at Grand Rapids Community College.”

Rodney Van Lagen

Rodney Van Lagen

Associate of Arts, 2019

Wege Teachers of Tomorrow and GRCC Faculty & Staff Centennial Scholarships

“With the scholarship awarded to me through the foundation, I was able to keep a semester’s worth of tuition and provide for my family as I completed my studies. Without the help of the scholarships, it would have taken me double the time to complete my college experience as I would have had to work full time and attend college part time. I just want to thank the many donors who make scholarships a primary concern in their personal budgets.”

Parzinder Ghavri

Parzinder Ghavri

Associate of Business, 2019

Campaign 75 Discretionary Scholarship

“GRCC has been a life-changing experience! I didn’t know an education could happen in such a friendly, welcoming environment. In this journey, donors have played an essential role in helping me succeed while alleviating the financial stress. I cannot thank the Campaign 75 Discretionary Scholarship donors enough for their support and belief in me.”

 Vince Reilly

Vince Reilly

Associate of Arts, 1991

Captain, Grand Rapids Police Department

“GRCC is a great opportunity for people like me, who either can't afford, or can't get into another institution. We can get a re-set and set ourselves up for lifelong success.”

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Alejandro Ramos and Emily Ramos

Alejandro: Attended GRCC for one year | Emily: Associate of Arts, 2019

Alejandro: Teacher in Rockford Public Schools | Emily: Recipient of GRCC's Alumni Scholarship

Alejandro: "I wanted to go to MSU, but felt that I was not ready to leave home, so I went to GRCC for a year."

Emily: "I have so much pride to call myself a GRCC alumni and to follow in my father's footsteps — not only with a choice of school but also a teaching career — it means a lot to me."