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NVCC’s Community College Scholars Program Promotes Team Building

First-year Naugatuck Valley Community College students can expect to build confidence and gain leadership qualities while participating in NVCC’s Community College Scholars program (CCS).

 CCS is a free program helping students succeed through academic support and personal enrichment activities. Those enrolled in the program receive a free summer class with field trips, university tours, monthly workshops, academic counseling and mentoring.

CCS students learned teamwork skills first hand during a recent field trip to Riverfront Recapture in East Hartford in mid-July. Riverfront Recapture teaches participants to overcome mental and physical challenges while working together as a team. Students enjoyed climbing towers, dragon boats and other group activities designed to teach leadership, communication, problem solving, goal setting and teamwork.

“It really improved my communication skills by having to listen to your teammates, brainstorm with them and overcome obstacles,” CCS student Gemma Sanchez said. “Once we did that, we finished our tasks faster. I never thought I would have so much fun while learning so much.”

CCS program coordinator Nicole Ariyavatkul said the CCS program has been very successful since its inception in 2011. The program is comprised of 50 students who want to be successful academically and to build personal relationships with faculty, staff and students during their time at NVCC.

“The program has been very successful so far,” Ariyavatkukl said. “Our retention rates have looked really good, and students seem to be getting a lot out of what we offer.”

CCS student Lizzie Robles said she joined CCS because she wanted to get the most from her first-year experience at college.

“I felt like I needed a step up into college, because I had no clue about what kinds of help they offered,” Robles said. “The program has been a really big help for me so far. It helped me get acquainted with the college, and I’ve been able to get to know people, and network a lot more than I would have.”

CCS Program Coordinator Andrew Pelletier said the program is rewarding for students who take an extra initiative in pursuing more from their education.

“They want to set themselves apart by being a more involved, more conscientious student, not just succeeding academically, but socially as well,” Pelletier said. “It’s a tight-knit group because the cohort stays together until they graduate from here.”

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