Malvern resident Denise Rohr-Williams, 51, not only graduated but also received an award for academic excellence in her major, General Business. As a child, Rohr-Williams, traveled from country to country in Europe with her grandparents, who raised her and spoke only Polish.
In her culture, she said, women were not raised to think that a college degree was something they could attain. Much later in life, she decided to go back to school and enrolled in an English as a Second Language course at the college because she did not speak English.
“Deep down inside, I always wanted an education,” she said.
Nearly 12 years later – after taking courses part-time while working full-time as caretaker of a Malvern estate, and after overcoming the death of her child and her grandmother, her husband’s cancer, several learning disabilities, and her own bout with cancer – she graduates as one of the top students in her class.
“I just stuck it out,” she said. “I said: ‘This is something I need to do.’”
In the future, she plans to pursue a career in medical billing and coding.
Yesenia Diaz (Lopez), of Kennett Square, is a straight-A student and one of 46 community college students statewide selected as All-Pennsylvania scholars, an honor that includes free tuition for two years at any of the state’s 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities.
Diaz graduated from the college last December but participate in this commencement. She currently attends West Chester University. A native of Mexico, she was instrumental in re-establishing and substantially increasing the membership of the college’s student-led LatinX Student Association, which fosters understanding of Hispanic cultures and helps raise money for the college’s Dream Today scholarship.
Diaz is interested in becoming an entrepreneur and owning her own business.