The Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education Association (RACCE) recently recognized three Genesee Community College students with Outstanding Adult Student Awards at its 32nd annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet, which was held at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Henrietta on April 20, 2016. Michael Tucker, Maria Ammarell and Kelly Hubbard were among the 35 award recipients this year from 13 area colleges.
Michael Tucker returned to school at age 43 to study Fine Arts after a 21 year career in the military. Diagnosed with congestive heart failure shortly after returning home from a deployment in 2012, Tucker was forced to retire from the United States Army National Guard and used a period of soul searching to discover his true passion, art. While Michael admits that returning to school was a bit “scary,” the Canandaigua resident earned a place on the President’s List during his first semester at GCC and plans to finish his associate degree before moving on to a four-year school to obtain a bachelor’s. Tucker credits the College with giving him a sense of belonging and accomplishment and he enjoys the comradery with other veterans that attend GCC. Aside from balancing his responsibilities as a student, Michael also volunteers his time as a youth soccer coach and is acting president of the Art Club on campus. Tucker is married to his wife, Tiffany, and has three sons, Chase (16), Gavin (13) and Jaxson (10).
As a young girl, Maria Ammarell knew that she loved to teach. Her decision to return to school was a difficult one, but when her oldest son, Bradley, started classes at GCC, Maria realized how affordable college could be at the right institution. Originally focused on obtaining a degree in Human Services, her goals grew bigger and bigger as the encouragement she received and the success she earned brought back her “inner” teacher. Between running around to sporting events, band recitals and concerts and swim meets, Maria, a mother of five, still finds time to complete her coursework and even earned a spot on the President’s List. She has already been accepted to the State University of New York at Geneseo and Empire State College, and will soon decide where to further her education. Maria also finds the time to substitute teach for the Wayland-Cohocton Central School District, and is working on a 501c3 non-profit business plan as well as obtaining her tax ID number. She aspires to open a brick-and-mortar support center in Cohocton, combining her passion to teach and to provide insight and hope to others. Maria is married to her husband, David Ammarell, and is the mother of Bradley (20), Matthew (17), Leaha (15), Anna (9) and Hope (7). She currently resides in Cohocton.
Kelly Hubbard found the courage to start college 25 years after completing her high school education. Growing up in the town of Marilla, Kelly faced a prolonged illness during her senior year that prevented her from graduating with her peers, but committed herself to obtaining a GED in 1989. Although she wanted to attend college, fear and insecurity kept her from doing so until she was laid off from her job in 2013. From the moment she walked into the GCC Arcade Campus Center, Kelly knew she made the right choice and credits the friendly staff at Arcade, the smaller size of the campus and general atmosphere as factors that eased her worries. Kelly continues to work toward her degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences and has earned a place on the President’s List during each semester while attending GCC. She is a member of the Alpha Iota Upsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and carries a 4.0 GPA, despite enduring six different surgeries and cancer treatments over the past couple of years. A homeschooling mom to her son Cole (17), Kelly has applied to Buffalo State College and intends to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education with a minor in Art Therapy with the hopes of obtaining a position in a K-12 school setting while continuing to work towards a master’s degree. She currently resides in Yorkshire.
The Outstanding Adult Student award recognizes adult students that have excelled academically while successfully combining their college education with other commitments to family, job, career and service to the community.
“Our adult students continue to inspire others by overcoming obstacles and achieving great success,” said Cliff Scutella, GCC director of Student Activities. “They prove that it is never too late to earn a college education and fulfill a lifelong dream.”
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