May 30, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—Charles Hennessey is proof that hard work pays off.
Hennessey, of Douglasville, graduated in May from Montgomery County Community College. He is one of five Montco graduates selected to transfer to Bucknell University with a full-tuition scholarship as part of Bucknell’s Community College Scholars Program.
“You’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to know what you want. You need to be working toward something, an attainable goal,” Hennessey advised. “It doesn’t matter if you’re at Montco or if you’re at Harvard.”
For Hennessey, who will begin his studies at Bucknell as a junior, that attainable goal is to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and become a software engineer. His 3.784 GPA from MCCC is paving the way for continued success.
He got a taste of what to expect during Bucknell’s Summer Residency program last year. In six weeks, he took two 300-level courses.
It was “some of the most intensive six weeks I’ve ever done in my life,” he shared.
After quickly realizing he was floundering, Hennessey sought help. He took advantage of office hours with professors, scoured the internet for tips on reading more efficiently and effectively, got more sleep and worked on “self-improvement 100 percent of the time.”
“It’s all about hard work and staying committed,” he said. “Everybody has 24 hours in the day and you have to make use of it.”
Hard work may be his mantra now, but that was not always the case. He skated through high school by “just showing up and going home and not caring,” eventually graduating in the bottom 50 of his senior class. His computer science classes at the vocational school were the only ones Hennessey took seriously.
“By all accounts I was not a student who was ready or who would have succeeded at college,” he said.
Enrolling at Montgomery County Community College helped him build and develop skills that had been missing.
“In high school I didn’t put in any of the work,” he said. “In college, the only difference was that I actually cared about my work.”
Following the Bucknell Summer Residency program, Hennessey set a new goal: to graduate from Montco in two semesters instead of three. To reach it, he loaded up on 200-level classes, “some of the hardest courses,” in his 16-credit fall semester.
“I had to hold up my end of the bargain,” he said. “I set the stakes on myself pretty high and I maintained it.”
With the exception of a C he earned early on at Montco, Hennessey received straight As in his courses – even a Calculus II class that was not required.
“I worked extremely hard to get the things I wanted. It’s what I expected,” he said of his GPA.
“Your grades don’t just come out of nowhere. If somebody is looking to get an education they have to know it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”
- Theresa Katalinas
Montgomery County Community College Counselor and Bucknell liaison Kristin Fulmer introduces Charles Hennessey during a reception on May 17, 2016. Photo by Sandi Yanisko