Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lynette Goode: Determined to Succeed and Help Others

The opportunity to attend college and have a successful career and family can signify the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for some people.  In order to achieve that dream, there is an expectation that certain sacrifices involving time and effort will need to be made.  For some people, even more may be required in the pursuit of the American Dream. 

                Reynolds alumna Lynette R. Goode knows all about the many hardships that people can encounter while pursuing that American Dream.  Although Lynette has enjoyed success as an author, motivational speaker and CEO of her own non-profit organization; she has encountered a litany of obstacles in pursuit of her goals and dreams. 

                Lynette has suffered with obesity throughout her life, stemming from her childhood years and into her adulthood.  This eventually led to bouts of depression and overall failing health because of her weight.  This prompted Lynette to pursue gastric bypass surgery.  Complications from the gastric bypass surgery required Lynette to have 48 separate surgeries over the next 12 years to correct the numerous issues she received from the gastric bypass. 

                Unfortunately, due to the numerous surgical procedures Lynette had to endure, she became addicted to opiates.  Lynette was able to persevere though and beat her opiate addiction while continuing to better herself by continuing with her studies and career as well as becoming a wife and mother.

                Lynette’s personal struggles with weight loss and opiates motivated her to take classes in Substance Abuse Counseling at Reynolds which she credits with some of the success she’s had in her career.  “Reynolds offered everything I wanted to do to help people that struggled with some of things that I have dealt with during the last twelve years of my life.”

During her time at Reynolds, Lynette earned a Substance Abuse Counseling Education Certificate followed by a Human Service Associate degree in 2014. This ultimately led to the development of Lynette’s non-profit organization Drugs, Education, Obesity and Nutrition (DEON) which provides scholarships to at-risk youth and brings awareness to childhood obesity. Lynette also uses the book she wrote “Determined to Live” as a way to share her struggles with people experiencing the same issues that she has encountered with obesity and depression throughout her life.

                  Lynette is a graduate of Southampton High school in Courtland, Virginia and lists among her many accomplishments her marriage to husband Tyrone and being a good mother to her daughter Tiffany.  Lynette also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Union University and serves as a board member for a myriad of community organizations.

                Lynette says that if there is one thing she could share with Reynolds students, it is to never give up on your dreams. Her motto is a simple one ““Away Keep Faith and Hope Alive”.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

50th Anniversary Graduating Class Breaks Records for Virginia’s Community Colleges

Virginia’s Community Colleges are off to a promising start in their quest to triple the number of credentials students earn annually by the year 2021. As the VCCS celebrates its 50th anniversary, the 2016 class was the most successful in history, reaching record numbers for both individual graduates and credentials earned. This past spring’s graduations also represented the end of the first year of the VCCS’s six-year statewide strategic plan, Complete 2021, which established the goal of tripling credentials.
All told, Virginia’s Community Colleges saw a 7.6% increase in degrees, certificates and diplomas earned, from 31,194 to 33,580 – and a 5.2% increase in the number of individual graduates, from 25,562 to 26,899. There were significant increases in certain groups driving those record numbers including:
·         A 14% increase in the number of Hispanic/Latino graduates;
·         An 11.4% increase in the number of so-called traditional-age graduates, those between the ages of 18 and 24; and
·         A 9% increase in the number of graduates who are the first in their family to attend and graduate college – in fact, first generation students earned one out of every five awards earned by the 2016 class.
There was also a smaller, though notable, increase of 6.5% in the number of men graduating. Traditionally, men pursue and complete postsecondary credentials at rates well below that of women. Today, men make up just more than 41% of the total VCCS enrollment.
The graduation numbers above do not include the more than 13,000 industry-certified credentials earned by VCCS students in short-term workforce training programs last year. Those programs operate outside of a traditional academic calendar and are counted separately.
“With a focus on student success, we are helping more individuals overcome the barriers that can prevent them from earning a postsecondary credential, the passport that is essential today to pursuing the American Dream,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Much work remains, however, if we are going to reach that tripling goal of Complete 2021 and truly prepare individuals for the new Virginia economy.”
No one, perhaps, better personifies that pursuit of the American Dream better than Josephine Iwatsubo. Iwatsubo was born in the Philippines and raised in Richmond, Virginia, graduating from Deep Run High School in 2012. Iwatsubo attend Reynolds Community College because of the academic flexibility and financial benefits the school provides. Iwatsubo, who has been able to achieve one of her childhood dreams by becoming an author with the publication of her first book “The Missing Cookie” graduated from Reynolds with a Liberal Arts degree in May 2014.

 She believes that her time at Reynolds was a contributing factor in helping her to achieve her dream of attending the University of Virginia. Iwatsubo says the Reynolds Guaranteed Transfer program was instrumental in the attainment of her academic career goals and she credits the program with helping her financially and preparing her for the transition to UVa.
Josephine Iwatsubo

“I was able to attend my dream school, the University of Virginia, so I am extremely thankful for the programs that Reynolds offered,” said Iwatsubo. “Attending Reynolds definitely is the best decision I have ever made when I decided to pursue college.  I really had the chance to explore my interests, see all the possibilities, make lifelong friends and see what I can achieve.”

Meet Reynolds Buildings and Grounds Manager Matthew E. Thompson, Sr.

Meet Reynolds Buildings and Grounds Manager Matthew E. Thompson, Sr.

How long have you been at Reynolds? MT: I have worked at Reynolds for more than nine years. 

What do you like most about Reynolds and where did you work before coming to Reynolds? MT: The people and the challenging opportunities.  Before coming to work at Reynolds, I worked at Sodexho Facilities Management… an international company.

Matthew (center in burgundy shirt) helping at the college's recent stream cleanup event.

What jobs did you have as a teenager? MT: I had numerous jobs as a teenager including newspaper routes, as well as positions as a busboy, dishwasher, grill cook and hoagie sandwich maker.

What do you like to do in your off-time? MT: I enjoy relaxing with my family, working with community outreach through ministries and working with children through my camp.  I also like to find time to create musical composition as well.

What is your favorite movie? MT: The Ultimate Gift. 

If you could have one super power, what would be? MT: I would choose the ability to fly….so when I become tired and need to get away I just get up and go!

If you were given $5 million, what would you do? MT: I would pay all of my debts and renovate my campsite to handle all-year-round retreats.  This would include paying for a training center where financially challenged and unskilled people could come to learn marketable skills for free.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? MT: As a minister, I married Reynolds Customer Service Representative Alex Cenname and her husband Nicholas last year.