PHILADELPHIA, April 3, 2014—Community College of Philadelphia students Deborah Fine and Victoria Moore, both from Center City, have been named to the 2014 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team—an honor that recognizes 45 students for scholarly achievements and community involvement.
Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges paid tribute to the All-Pennsylvania Scholars on March 31 in Camp Hill, Pa. Both Fine and Moore are South Philadelphia residents.
Fine, 55, enrolled in the College after she was laid-off from a hospital where she had worked for 30 years as a diagnostic technician. She saw the job loss as an opportunity to realize her dream of working with the mentally disabled. With the help of a government grant, she began taking classes in behavioral health and human services.
The honor student, who has a 4.0 grade point average, is scheduled to graduate on May 3 with an Associates of Applied Sciences degree. While Fine has been taking classes, she has also worked as a team leader for an agency that supports individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. She also holds a second part-time job and cares for her elderly father.
Despite her hectic schedule, Fine has volunteered once a month for the past 24 years at a homeless shelter. “Helping others has helped me as well,” she said. “I am fortunate to work with individuals with intellectual and behavioral challenges. They inspire me with their courage, humor and ambition,” she said.
For the past three years, Fine also has served as the leader of a group that volunteers each week at the Kairos House, a transitional residence in North Philadelphia for adults diagnosed with mental illness. “I think that when you don’t volunteer, and you don’t see what’s out there in the world, it closes you off,” Fine said.
Her community service has netted her numerous awards including the Points of Transformation Award in March 2013, which honors outstanding work with individuals living with disabilities. She also received the College’s Ruth Rovner Scholarship, which recognizes academic achievement in an individual who has overcome barriers. She plans to attend West Chester University in the fall, earn a bachelor’s degree, continue through to a master’s degree in social work and eventually work as a behavioral counselor.
Moore, 31, a first-generation college student, enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia following personal challenges. Now a student in Behavioral Health and Human Services, Moore maintains a 4.0 grade point average. She is planning to earn a graduate degree and to work as a licensed clinical social worker. On May 3, she is scheduled to graduate with both an Associates of Applied Sciences and certificates in both Recovery and Transformation, and Human Services.
“It is my goal to promote positive ways of life to the youth in our communities, and to assist people with addiction challenges in turning their lives around. I have a passion for learning and helping others, knowing through personal experience that change is possible,” Moore said.
She currently works as a recovery coach at a nonprofit residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. Moore has been active in the College’s student leadership training program, Philadelphia LEADS (Leadership Education Achievement Diversity and Success), serving on the scholarship subcommittee. She also interns as a counselor at an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol program.
Moore has received other awards and honors as well, including the Community College of Philadelphia Foundation Scholar Award, which recognizes students who demonstrate great ability and have overcome barriers to success and the Juliette Forgione Scholarship, which rewards students who have encountered hardships and still demonstrated great academic ability. She also received a Ruth Rovner Scholarship.
Moore, who plans to become a licensed clinical social worker, plans to transfer to a four-year college in August, where she will major in social work. “My education here has built a strong foundation as I continue in the social work and addictions field. It has enabled me to improve myself so that I may be a more effective helper for others,” Moore said.
To be named to the statewide academic team, students must maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher. Team members are eligible for scholarships offered by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education that may be used at any of the system’s 14 universities. The scholarships fund up to two years of tuition in a baccalaureate program.
The College will hold its 48th commencement at 10 a.m., on May 3 at the Liacouras Center, 1776 North Broad Street. Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Director for Voting Rights and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the NAACP, will discuss the importance of civic engagement, voting, and the benefits that accrue from public service.