Anthony Macandile of Washington Township is not a quitter. Oh, there were times when he was feeling lost and a little unsure of the future, but persistence and perseverance have paid off for the Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) grad.
On Thursday, May 18, Macandile was one of the 470 students to participate in the College's 48th commencement ceremony, receiving his associate degree in psychology. During the ceremony the Phi Theta Kappa honor student, along with five other students, was called to the stage to be recognized by RCGC President Frederick Keating. His story — one of overcoming academic hurdles and taking a slight detour on his educational journey — serves as an inspiration to others who may also be struggling to make the grade in college. Macandile is the first Adult Center for Transition (ACT) student to graduate with an associate degree from RCGC.
"I want other students with disabilities to know you can succeed in life and strive to be the best you can be. Keep your head up," said Macandile, explaining how in 2012 he enrolled in college classes, only to not do so well. "I was depressed over my grades and losing my job. My parents were supportive. They took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with dyslexia."
Through RCGC's Department of Special Services, Macandile learned about ACT, a program designed to help young adults with disabilities achieve their career goals. He decided to pursue alternative vocational opportunities, enrolling in the ACT program two days a week for tutoring help and at the same time taking Continuing Education courses.
"Through hard work and effort, this young man successfully completed the ACT course requirements and also earned certification as a home health aide. He secured employment at a local assisted–living facility and has been working there steadily ever since," said Dean of Workforce and Professional Development Institute Brigette Satchell.
Determined to follow his dream to earn a degree in psychology, Macandile once again enrolled in college classes. This time, the result was much different. Graduating with a 3.7 grade-point average, the honor student and Student Government Association member has earned both President and Dean's List status. He is the recipient of five RCGC Foundation scholarships. In September, Macandile will attend Rowan University as a junior and major in psychology. His career goal is to earn a bachelor's degree and work in a hospital helping people with disabilities.
"I would like other students with disabilities to know that the ACT program is a good place to start. It really helped to build my self-esteem," said Macandile.
"I still remember my first advisement session with Anthony. He was nervous and apprehensive, it was all so new," recalled RCGC Counseling Advisor Tanya Johnson. "Each semester, Anthony embraced the academic challenge of success and persevered with great confidence. He has proven with hard work and determination that there is no such thing as impossible."
For more information about the ACT program, visit RCGC.edu/ACT.
Rowan College at Gloucester County's 250-acre campus is located on Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.