When she was a youngster, Shanae Roberts was left to care for herself and her two siblings when her mother was hospitalized.
“We were all we had. I slowly began to realize that when things are good, everyone is your friend. When they are bad, you’re all alone. After my mother’s return, I vowed to never be that vulnerable again,” said the now 21-year-old Limerick woman.
Getting a degree was the means to keep her vow. “Education is the only way to secure my future and that of my siblings. Providing a safe and secure life for my siblings is my sole motivation in life,” she said.
But it wasn’t easy. Roberts enrolled in a four-year institution, but the tuition was burdensome.
“All my friends had gone off to universities and were having no problems paying for college,” she said. An uncle, who noticed that she was distracted, told her about “a great community college that was near him. So I packed my bags and moved to Limerick, where I decided to attend Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown.”
Roberts graduated with an associate’s degree in Business Administration in December.
While she is working hard at her studies – she has been named to the Dean’s List – she also takes full advantage of extracurricular opportunities offered at Montgomery County Community College. She is Student Government Association president, a peer mentor, and a member of Doug’s Corner community service club.
“I have tried to get involved with pretty much everything I can,” Roberts said. “Montgomery County Community College is a wonderful college, filled with so many wonderful people. I have had chance to meet great friends and excellent staff.”
In Fall 2012, Roberts participated in an “Issues and Insights” Town Hall meeting, a program intended to enhance the understanding of Democracy in the United States. “I was extremely honored to be a part of that. I was able to shed a positive light on the discussion, and it was just great,” she said.
Roberts also participated in the annual Lasagna Dinner, a fundraiser for scholarships, over the past two years. “Last year, I simply volunteered, serving lasagna. However, this year, I was much more involved. I was a part of doing the opening introductions, as well as, a short reading,” she said. “It was a really lovely event.”
After graduation, Roberts will transfer to a four-year university. “I have not decided what college I want to attend, but I am narrowing down my list.” Her inclusion in the All- PA Academic Team grants her a scholarship to attend a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education college for two years, tuition free.
“Right now, I work at a nursing home, as a caregiver. I plan to continue working there during my college career. I enjoy working with elderly people, and my employer encourages growth, Roberts said. She takes care of residents that can no longer care for themselves – people who are vulnerable, like she once was.
“As a caregiver, I become the eyes, ears, hands, and legs for those who have lost those capabilities.”
Phi Theta Kappa, two-year college presidents, and community college state associations co-sponsor All-State Academic Team recognition programs in 32 states. Each two-year college in Pennsylvania may nominate two students per campus to the All-USA Academic Team. Nominations are based on outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community.
The College’s nominees to the All USA Academic Team are named to the All Pennsylvania Academic Team and may be awarded a scholarship that may be used at any one of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions.
“In life, simply being smart can only take you but so far. However, using your intellect to benefit not only yourself but your society as well will take you to unimaginable levels,” Roberts said. “In my opinion, the All USA Academic Team acknowledges that and helps you in the process. By allowing me to go to college tuition free, I will be able to focus my energy on different activities that will benefit others, like volunteering. Being in college means the world to me, if I couldn’t go because of tuition expense, I would be devastated.”
~ Neree Aron-Sando