Maynard Bland is about to do something which for most of his life seemed impossible. He’ll walk across the stage inside SRC Arena and receive his Mechanical Technology degree. “It’s all pretty amazing. It’s been a long road and I made it a long road.”
Bland grew up in a home with an alcoholic mother, quit school in 9th grade and spent much of his adult life in and out of jail. “I was out of control. I ran the streets for days at a time. I did drugs for the fun of it but eventually it wasn’t fun anymore. I had to lose everything to get straight.”
His sobriety began April 2, 2013. Bland took classes while incarcerated in the Jamesville Penitentiary and earned his GED through the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES. Then he came to OCC where every time he encountered failure, he started over and worked harder. He failed English twice, then passed it the third time. He failed Pre-Calculus twice, then passed it the third time.
“Maynard Bland works harder than any student I know,” said his adviser, Steve White. “I have the utmost respect for Maynard and what he has overcome to get to this point. Through his example Maynard inspires me and anyone he comes in contact with.”
On May 13 at the age of 47 Maynard will finally receive his college degree. “I never let what I did to myself stop me. I did what I had to do. I’m approaching the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s right here!”