Early College of Muskegon County Celebrates 2019 Cohort

ECMC 2019 Completers

©2019 Lindsey N. Boden

Early College of Muskegon County (ECMC) recognized its 2019 cohort of 43 students, who successfully completed the rigorous three-year program, with a special celebration in Muskegon Community College’s Overbrook Theater on May 1.

The event included student speakers, a certificate presentation, and a reception. A highlight came when the students simultaneously unveiled placards on the Overbook stage revealing the next step in their respective educational careers.

The 2019 cohort hailed from several county high schools: Mona Shores, Montague, Muskegon, North Muskegon, Oakridge, Orchard View, Ravenna, Reeths-Puffer and Whitehall. The students, who took courses at MCC while extending their high school graduation by one year, started the program as high school juniors and all 43 students are now eligible for an associate’s degree.

“This group of students worked hard,” said Early College Dean Val Shelby. “Completing this journey is not easy. With an average of 62.4 credits, most will enter their four-year university with junior or close to junior status. Many faced financial barriers that would have made it difficult, if not impossible, to attend college. Many are the first in their families to attend and complete college. They made sacrifices to reach this milestone and dedicated themselves to their education.  I am very proud of their accomplishments.”

Collectively, the students achieved a GPA of 3.1, completed 95 percent of the credits they attempted, will receive more than $800,000 in financial aid/scholarship funds for their future education, and saved $580,000 on college tuition, books and fees.

Shelby and Early College Mentor Denise Brown coached and supported the students during their three years in the program.

“The students are pursuing a variety of interests including technical degrees and careers in education, health sciences, business, technology, engineering technology and many others,” added Shelby. “All of the students have been accepted to a four-year university, will continue their degree at MCC, will pursue vocational training, or are beginning their work career.”

The list of transfer colleges includes Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, Michigan Technological University, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, and out-of-state schools Colorado State University, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Wayne State University.

“Completing Early College gives our students an advantage in the talent development domain,” noted MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “With this important credential in hand, success at a transfer institution or in the workplace is that much more certain. Thank you to our brilliant students, along with their families and supporters for making Early College Muskegon County an ongoing success.”

Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Superintendent Dr. John Severson added, “We are incredibly proud of our Early College students and their accomplishments during the last three years. Their ability to successfully complete this special program demonstrates that they are well positioned to meet the next opportunity before them. We wish them the very best.”


In 2018, the program expanded by adding the Accelerated Technical Institute, which now covers many areas of applied technology. High school students have the option of taking classes at their home high school, the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center, and MCC’s Sturrus Technology Center while working toward obtaining a degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology or another STEM related field.  The Institute also has an articulated agreement with Ferris State and Western Michigan University, allowing students to easily transfer their credits to these institutions.

ECMC recently announced the selection of its eighth cohort of 80 students that will begin the program in August 2019 with Early College Orientation Camp on the MCC campus. This fall, 200 students representing all public schools in Muskegon County will participate in the program. To learn more visit www.muskegoncc.edu/ecmc.

The list of the 2019 Early College of Muskegon County completers follows:

  • Laney Baldwin, Reeths-Puffer
  • Joseph Barringer, Reeths-Puffer
  • Shaina Benedict, Oakridge
  • Trinity Bentley, Mona Shores
  • Emma Berends, North Muskegon
  • Katelyn Broughman, Muskegon
  • Dareae Brown, Muskegon
  • Samuel Brunink, Whitehall
  • Alexis Carroll, Oakridge
  • Zaria Coleman, Mona Shores
  • McKenna Davis, Oakridge
  • Megan Delgado, Reeths-Puffer
  • Corinn Dykes, Reeths-Puffer
  • Rylee Eklund, Orchard View
  • Ethan Epplett, Oakridge
  • Jenel Erickson, Reeths-Puffer
  • Lauren Erndteman, North Muskegon
  • Teresa Hall, Oakridge
  • Tia Harris, Whitehall
  • Ruth Hernandez, Muskegon
  • Renee Hirsch, Reeths-Puffer
  • Joseph Like, Orchard View
  • Alexx Lohman, Montague
  • Katherine Mitcheltree, Reeths-Puffer
  • Kaylynn Moschke, Reeths-Puffer
  • Mickayla Munroe, Reeths-Puffer
  • Vanessa Padilla, Muskegon
  • Delaney Parmley, Whitehall
  • Hunter Pilkington, Reeths-Puffer
  • Kacey Pittmann, Orchard View
  • Madison Rigby, Whitehall
  • Sunny Ross, Oakridge
  • John Rybik, Whitehall
  • Ethan Schaeffer, Whitehall
  • Calvin Smith, Reeths-Puffer
  • Tamera Smith, Mona Shores
  • Maya Straley, Reeths-Puffer
  • Kayla Thompson, Orchard View
  • Zachary Tindall, Oakridge
  • Marie Townsend, Ravenna
  • Samantha Vallier, Reeths-Puffer
  • Makayla Villanueva, Mona Shores
  • Christopher Wyatt, Mona Shores