Charles Yarnall (1990): I knew I made the right choice
At six years old, Charles Yarnall could see his future. "I grew up in Blue Bell, looking at the field that became the College." The family moved, but Charles came back, "From my first class, I knew I made the right choice." That choice was the biology sciences. After acquiring the needed courses, Charles was one of only six students accepted annually among the 300 applicants for Hahnemann Hospital's cardiovascular perfusion program. This specialty provides full life support temporarily replacing circulatory and respiratory functions during procedures like open-heart surgery. Today, he's a published author, teacher and a co-creator of a device that transports Macro Molecules to organs such as the heart. This device was awarded a patent by the United States just last year. He practices regularly at Abington Hospital.
William Ziegler (1991): Will the next Bill Ziegler please stand up
Dr. William Ziegler, yes, Dr. Ziegler, is the first to admit that he didn't see himself as college material. He laughs when he tells you that he didn't even register himself for his first semester. His father did! "My parents wanted a better life for me than they had," Bill remembers. "I didn't know what I wanted to do. Montgomery County Community College planted the seed that led me to teaching." Today Bill is principal of Pottsgrove High School and was president of the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary/Secondary School Principals. These days, when he thinks of the College, it's as a stepping stone for his students. "We participate in the College's 'Gateway to College' program to help students struggling in school. We send a lot of kids to Montgomery County Community College." Maybe one of them will be the next doctor, lawyer, dentist, engineer, architect, nurse, etc.
Jeannine McKnight (1993): Expanding her world
After a stint as an Arabic cryptologic linguist in the U.S. Air Force, Jeannine McKnight came to the College to build experience and explore possible careers. "The classes were excellent," she remembers. "The faculty, especially Pat Nestler and Charles Reilly, put no limits on what I could do." From strobe lights to the earliest "selfies" (with film!), to creative writing and poetry, Jeannine expanded her world far beyond what she expected. She went on to own a successful book packaging company and worked as a fire performer and Middle Eastern dance instructor. Now as senior editor and literary magazine adviser at Widener University, she is grateful to Montgomery County Community College for the most energizing years of her life.
Tracy Reinhart (1993): I truly found my love for dentistry
From an orthodontic assistant right out of North Penn High School to her associate's degree in dental hygiene from the College to her Doctorate in Dentistry from Temple University School of Dentistry, few have been as deeply involved in dentistry throughout their profession as Tracy Reinhart. "The experiences I had at Montgomery County Community College still stay with me today," she says. "I had teachers who had their finger on the pulse of what was happening in my field to guide me. It was there that I truly found my love for dentistry." Besides her busy practice, Tracy sits on the College's Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee and its Leading Women in Philanthropy initiative. She also established the Tracy Rossi-Reinhart Endowment fund that honors dental hygiene students with annual scholarships.
Rodolfo Tellez (1993): Translating life
"I was 15 years old when we arrived," Rudy Tellez says. As immigrants from LaPaz, Bolivia, family money was tight. Starting at the College made sense. After graduating, he continued his education at West Chester University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Communications. He then earned his master's degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Kutztown University. He became a professional interpreter, now certified for medical, court and conference work. "I worked for Attorney General Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, Nobel Prize winners, Congress and ambassadors," Rudy says. He also teaches at LaSalle University. While Montgomery County Community College was instrumental to his success, Rudy reminds himself daily of his parents' role in his accomplishments. "They're my biggest heroes. It's because of their courage and love that I became the man I am." Rudy serves on the College's Alumni Board.
Megan Kratz (1994): Teaching, acting and life
"The teachers at Montgomery County Community College are some of the best I've ever had," Megan Kratz tells us. "Their dedication, wealth of knowledge, and approachability are why I'm a proud alumna." As a 1997 Cum Laude graduate at West Chester University in Elementary Education, Megan knows about quality teaching. She practices it regularly at the College, teaching Acting Fundamentals for the last 15 years in the continuing education program, in addition to substitute teaching for the Wissahickon School District. Megan's also an actress for TV, movies and local theater. She's held leading roles at the Walnut Street Theater's productions of "The Sign in Sidney Burstein's Window," and "Golden Boy." "In my free time, you can find me hanging with my husband of 14 years and our four beautiful children. I am a proud stay-at-home mom, who loves to cook with my family, run with my friends, and write and perform skits," she says.
Alan Porter (1999): Safe
Alan came to the College focused on a career: baseball. Coach Lou Lombardo's reputation is a magnet to up-and-coming players. But nobody, even Alan, considered the path he ended up taking. "That's when I heard of 'umpire school.'" The odds were against him: of his class of 150, only 25 started in the minors. Each season, though, Alan moved up. "There are fewer and fewer slots. To get a full-time Major League job someone has to leave one of the 74 positions." That's exactly what happened. "The Minors aren't anything like the Big Leagues," he reflects. The off season gives Alan a chance to bond with his and Alison's (also a graduate of the College) two kids. He's also on campus. "I help Lou out with an umpire clinic," Alan says. What does he tell them? "No matter what your goal is, don't shy away."