Class of 2019 Times Two

Natalina Natoli received her Solvay High School diploma and OCC associate degree in June. Next month she’ll enter Syracuse University as a junior. She’s pictured on the OCC quad.

Natalina Natoli was a freshman at Solvay when she began considering the possibility of earning her associate degree by the time she received her high school diploma. “My guidance counselor said, ‘we can try this. You might be able to get all of the credits you need to earn your degree.’”

Fast forward four years to June 22, 2019. The auditorium at Solvay High School was filled for graduation when Natoli was unexpectedly called up to the stage. There to greet her was Onondaga Community College President Dr. Casey Crabill who presented Natoli with her associate degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences: Humanities & Social Sciences. “I felt a mix of embarrassment and pride. Embarassed because I was singled out but proud of what I had accomplished. The reaction from the whole community made me feel proud. I knew I had earned my degree but had no idea they were going to acknowledge it.”

How was Natoli able to earn both her high school diploma and associate degree simultaneously? “I learned how to balance my life. The workload wasn’t unbearable as long as I paced myself and balanced it all out.” Natoli earned 72 college credits in high school, 46 through OCC’s “College Credit Now” program which allows students to take college-level classes in their home high schools. She also took three classes on the OCC campus and three more online. “There were times I had to sacrifice sleepovers or things with my friends because I had papers due or classes to take. I was able to balance it all out and still have relationships.”

All of her hard work will pay off this fall when she enters Syracuse University as a junior majoring in Marketing with a minor in Environmental Sustainability Policy. “I don’t know if I could have gone to S.U. if I didn’t save so much money on the first two years of college. Doing this really let me go to the four-year school that I wanted.”

Natoli is grateful for that conversation she had with her guidance counselor four years ago and the opportunity it presented her with. “I’m fortunate we had this option through OCC. I became a full college student before I even left high school. There were some things I missed out on in high school but it was immensely worth the experience, time, and money saved. It was unbelievably worth it.”

Lazer Models for the Mets

Josh Posnick models the Syracuse Mets new home uniform. Posnick is an Accounting major and baseball player at OCC.

Josh Posnick was pretty sure his coach was pulling his leg. Yesterday afternoon the OCC student athlete got a call from Lazers Baseball coach Bob Piraino. He told him there was going to be big media event Tuesday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium, home of Syracuse’s minor league baseball team. The team’s nickname was changing from the Chiefs to the Mets.

Piraino (left) and Posnick (right).

The big reveal included showing off the Syracuse Mets new uniforms and Posnick would have the opportunity to model the home whites. “I thought he was just messing with me like he always does. He likes to make me laugh. At first I didn’t believe it. He kept talking about it and I realized it would be a great opportunity,” said Posnick.

Piraino’s relationship with Syracuse’s General Manager, Jason Smorol made the modeling opportunity possible. “He a friend and he called me looking for a guy who would fit the uniform. Josh fit the bill. He did great. He looked the part,” said Piraino.

Posnick is an Accounting major at OCC and a 2017 graduate of Solvay High School. He started playing baseball as a young boy in Lakeland. Dressing like a professional player for all to see was a moment he will never forget. “Having the opportunity to put on a uniform like this is a dream come true. It’s just unbelievable. From the time I played in little league I’ve wanted to do something like this.”

2018 Alumni Face Honorees: Mark Re ‘85 and Nancy Pasquale ‘90

 

Mark_Nancy_Cover
Nancy Pasquale (left) and Mark Re (right) are members of OCC’s 2018 Class of Alumni Faces.

Onondaga Community College annually recognizes distinguished graduates by naming them “Alumni Faces” for their accomplishments and contributions to the community. The 2018 class will be honored during a ceremony October 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall which is located in the Academic II building. Two of the graduates we will honor that night are Mark Re and Nancy Pasquale.

Mark Re and Nancy Pasquale first met in the late 70’s. Working in separate career ventures at the time, they soon found themselves longing for their real passions which led them to OCC. First, Re would return to obtain a degree in Business Administration. His success inspired Pasquale to earn one in Humanities. “We had each other and both worked really hard to get where we are today, but some of our fondest memories were when we were both starting our education and sitting across from each other at the dining room table with piles of books surrounding us,” said Pasquale.

The two adult learners felt comfortable at OCC right away thanks to a supportive environment. “The professors were terrific and I am still friends with some of them to this day,” Re said. Both of them agree their time at OCC shaped them and provided the necessary foundation and confidence to continue on and fulfill their dreams. “We both have degrees from other institutions, but our OCC diplomas are positioned in the same way and just as prominently as our others because that is where it started for us,” Re added.

Since graduating from OCC, Re completed his bachelor’s at Syracuse University and has been promoted through the real estate ranks from Branch Manager to Vice President and Regional Manager at Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. Pasquale completed her bachelor’s from SUNY Cortland and her Master’s from Syracuse University and recently retired after 22 years of service as a high school English teacher in the Fayetteville-Manlius and Solvay school districts.

Looking back on their life from when they first met, their experience at OCC and their professional careers, giving back or “Paying It Forward” has always been a central theme for both Re and Pasquale. Whether it be financially or donating their time, both of them are passionate about opening doors of opportunity to those in need, which has led them to co-chair the OCC Advantage Program. The unique college-readiness and scholarship program gives students at East Syracuse Minoa, Onondaga Central and Solvay High Schools the opportunity to attend OCC tuition free. “When Casey [OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill] came to us to chair the committee we knew it was going to be a challenge, but one we were both passionate about in order to give back not only to the institution that gave us our start, but to the area school children who never thought college was an option to them,” Pasquale said. “We are both humbled and grateful for receiving this honor from an institution we love and respect.”

2018 Class of Alumni Faces

The latest Alumni Faces honorees are recognized on the first floor of the Academic II building.

Six distinguished former Onondaga Community College students have been named 2018 “Alumni Faces” honorees for their professional achievements and contributions to the college and the community. They will be honored for their accomplishments during an induction ceremony Wednesday, October 3 at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall. Their likenesses will be added to the Alumni Faces display in the Academic II building.

The 2018 class of Alumni Faces is:

David Bamonte, ’81
High School: North Syracuse
Major at OCC: Music
Profession: Educator and Trumpet Player

David has traveled the world playing the trumpet with acclaimed conductors such as Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta. Today he is a member of the Oregon Symphony and a professor at Portland State University.

 

Jim Campagna, ’79
High School: North Syracuse
Major at OCC: Radio & Television
Profession: Television News Director

Jim is News Director at WSYR TV, Newschannel 9. Throughout much of his career he shared his expertise with the next generation of professionals, serving as an adjunct professor in OCC’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major from 2001 to 2015. Today he continues to serve as a member of the EMC Advisory Board.

 

Nancy Pasquale, ’90
High School: The Convent School
Major at OCC: Humanities
Profession: Educator and Advocate

Nancy was a founding member of the college’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges. She taught English at Fayetteville-Manlius and Solvay High Schools until she retired in 2015. Today she serves a co-chair of the OCC Advantage fundraising initiative.

 

Mark Re, ’85
High School: Bishop Ludden
Major at OCC: Business Administration
Profession: Real Estate Regional Manager

Mark is Vice President and Regional Manager of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. He has been a steadfast supporter of OCC, serving on the Foundation Board since 2004. He is co-chair of the OCC Advantage Fundraising initiative.

 

Jeremy Thompson, ’09
High School: LaFayette
Major at OCC: General Studies
Profession: Professional Lacrosse Player

Jeremy was an All-American lacrosse player at Lafayette High School, OCC and Syracuse University. He was also a two-time New York State Champion and a National Champion with the Lazers. He and his brother Jerome are the face of Nike’s line of Lacrosse gear and part owners of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse.

 

Jerome Thompson, 2006-2009
High School: LaFayette
Major at OCC: General Studies
Profession: Professional Lacrosse Player

Jerome and his brother Jeremy are the face of Nike’s line of Lacrosse gear and part owners of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse. Jerome helped lead the Lazers Men’s Lacrosse team to National Championships in 2007 and 2009. Both he and his brother Jeremy continuously give back to the Native American community and are revered as icons and role models for their work.

 

Congratulations to our Alumni Faces Class of 2018! You can see a complete list of all of our Alumni Faces honorees here.

Carolyn Carbone, ’93 and Sarah Hassett, ’13

Syracuse Police Department Officer Carolyn Carbone, ’93 (left) and her daughter Officer Sarah Hassett, ’13 (right).
  • High School: Carbone – Fowler High School, Hassett – Solvay High School
  • Major at OCC: Criminal Justice

Carolyn Carbone and Sarah Hassett are the first mother and daughter duo in the history of the Syracuse Police Department. Before they became police officers, they earned Criminal Justice degrees from OCC. Carbone gave birth to Hassett while a student at OCC and utilized the on-campus day care, the Children’s Learning Center while she went to class. “I appreciate my mom more and more each day for working as hard as she did to get through school and provide for my brothers and me so we could have a better life,” Hassett said. Carbone shares a similar sentiment about her only daughter. “She makes me proud every day. I’m grateful we went to OCC and can share this experience of being police officers. It’s a bond that will be with us forever.”

Please take a moment, visit our Alumni web site and tell us how OCC impacted your life.

Mother and Daughter in Blue

Carolyn Carbone (left) and Sarah Hassett
Syracuse Police Department Officer Carolyn Carbone ’93 (left) and her daughter Officer Sarah Hassett ’13

Carolyn Carbone and Sarah Hassett are the first mother and daughter duo in the history of the Syracuse Police Department (SPD). Before they became police officers, they earned Criminal Justice degrees from OCC.

Carbone graduated from Fowler High School. Her father’s military service inspired her to go into law enforcement and the strong reputation of OCC’s Criminal Justice program brought her to campus. “As I researched the faculty I realized they were retired police officers. Being able to learn from former cops was very important to me.”

During Carbone’s time as a student she gave birth to her daughter. Carbone utilized the on-campus day care, the Children’s Learning Center while she went to class. She earned her degree in 1993.

Eighteen years later Carbone’s daughter, Sarah Hassett, graduated from Solvay High School. Once again the current generation was motivated by the previous generation. “My mom was my inspiration,” Hassett said. “She was a single mother to me and my three brothers and would tell us stories about what she did each day. I knew I wanted to become a cop.”

As a Criminal Justice major Hassett found herself drawn to two of her professors, David Owens and former Syracuse Police Officer Donna Stuccio. “When my mom found out I had them as teachers she could not say enough about them. I am sure they were pretty amused by the dynamic as well. I tried to draw as much knowledge from them as possible.”

Carbone at her daughter's graduation in August
Carbone at her daughter’s graduation in August

Today Carbone and Hassett find both humor and pride in being SPD’s first mother and daughter duo, especially when they respond to a scene together. “I tell my mom to stop creepin’ on me,” Hassett said laughing. “But I know she is only looking out for me especially if an urgent call comes in.”

Carbone knows their situation is unique and works to respect her daughter’s judgement and space. “If I come up on a call where she is already on the scene I continue to let her take the lead and work with her. We both have our ‘officer hats’ on at that point.”

That “officer mentality” has led both women to become closer since Hassett joined the force. “I appreciate my mom more and more each day for working as hard as she did to get through school and provide for my brothers and me so we could have a better life.” Carbone shares a similar sentiment about her only daughter. “She makes me proud every day. I’m grateful we can share this experience. It’s a bond that will be with us forever.”

 

 

A Family’s Plan for College

Jack Walters (center) is excited he will attend OCC tuition-free thanks to the OCC Advantage program. His mother Kate (left) and father (Jeff) are equally excited.
Jack Walters (center) is excited he will attend OCC tuition-free thanks to the OCC Advantage program. His mother Kate (left) and father (Jeff) are equally excited.

The Walters family knows an outstanding opportunity when it sees one. The new OCC Advantage program is as good as it gets. “It’s a gift. It’s incredible,” said Kate Walters. “We’re thrilled for all the hard work everyone did for us to be able to participate in this.”

Walters and her family live in the East Syracuse Minoa (ESM) School District. ESM and Solvay are the first two school districts taking part in OCC Advantage, a new and unique college-readiness and scholarship program. Students who earn a “C” average and show improvement while achieving other benchmarks will be eligible to attend OCC tuition-free. The program contains three main components:

  • Performance – Students need to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and show gradual improvement throughout high school.
  • Attendance – Students will be required to meet attendance goals throughout their four years.
  • Community Service – Students will perform community service as part of the OCC Advantage program.
Jack Walters in the TV control room at ESM.
Jack Walters in the TV control room at ESM.

Upon graduation from high school each member of the Class of 2020 who has successfully completed the program will have the opportunity to attend OCC tuition-free. Once enrolled in the College students will have two years to complete work toward an associate degree or certificate, preparing them for a career or transfer to a four-year institution. During their time on campus students must continue to meet minimum grade point average requirements and perform community service.

For the Walters family the timing couldn’t be better. Their daughter Robin will graduate from ESM this year and attend Ithaca College in the fall. Their son Jack is a freshman at ESM and future member of the graduating class of 2020. OCC Advantage will take care of his first two years of college tuition costs. “I thought it was pretty cool people could go to college for free,” said Jack Walters. “It will help me save money for where I want to go after OCC.”

It’s too soon for Walters to know for sure what he’ll major in. Outside class he works at the school television station, participates in dance competitions and is a hurdler and long jumper on the Track & Field team. His father has taken classes at OCC and understands what a value OCC Advantage is. “It’s a great opportunity. We’re pretty excited about it,” said Jeff Walters.

ESM and Solvay Join the “OCC Advantage” Program

East Syracuse Minoa celebrates joining the OCC Advantage program.
East Syracuse Minoa celebrates joining the OCC Advantage program.

When East Syracuse Minoa (ESM) Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna DeSiato analyzes the benefits of the OCC Advantage program she’s reminded of one of the most popular plays in history. “I had the privilege of seeing Hamilton on Broadway. Lin-Manuel Miranda who plays Hamilton is well recognized for a famous line in a song which says, ‘I am not going to miss my shot.’ It’s important that our freshmen have this opportunity and we want to make sure they do not miss their shot.”

Dr. Donna DeSiato, ESM Superintendent
Dr. Donna DeSiato, ESM Superintendent

DeSiato, who is both an Onondaga Community College alumna and a member of the College’s Board of Trustees, shared those comments with the ESM school community November 29 as it celebrated joining OCC Advantage, a new and unique college-readiness and scholarship program. Students who earn a “C” average and show improvement while achieving other benchmarks will be eligible to attend OCC tuition-free.

ESM is the second school district to become part of OCC Advantage, joining Solvay which held its own celebration November 9. “We’re educating our students and our families about the opportunity this program represents because it’s amazing. We’re thrilled to be a part of it,” said Solvay Schools Superintendent Lawrence Wright.

Students in Solvay’s and ESM’s freshman class will be the first to benefit from OCC Advantage. The program contains three main components:

  • Performance – Students need to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and show gradual improvement throughout high school.
  • Attendance – Students will be required to meet attendance goals throughout their four years at ESM and Solvay.
  • Community Service – Students will perform community service as part of the OCC Advantage program. “We want students to understand that education in life is about going beyond yourself. We’re using community service through the high schools for students to reflect on their skills, their interests, their community and see ways they can exercise the education they have already. It’s about what the student gets through reflection in service. So many students come to college undecided. If you’re undecided you can waste time and money. Those are precious commodities,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.
Lawrence Wright, Solvay Superintendent
Lawrence Wright, Solvay Superintendent

The college-readiness program will also include helping students learn the types of behaviors that will lead to success both during their years in high school and in college. Upon graduation from Solvay and ESM each member of the Class of 2020 who has successfully completed the program will have the opportunity to attend OCC tuition-free. Once enrolled in the College students will have two years to complete work toward an associate degree or certificate, preparing them for a career or transfer to a four-year institution. During their time on campus students must continue to meet minimum grade point average requirements and perform community service.

“This initiative provides access and opportunity to families which otherwise may not be able to afford it,” said Wright. “We have very capable students. We graduate over 90% of them. The majority will go onto college but the majority of them will also struggle to pay for it. That’s a big part of why this relationship is so special.”

Members of Solvay High School's class of 2020 who are enrolled in the OCC Advantage program.
Members of Solvay High School’s class of 2020 who are enrolled in the OCC Advantage program.

The OCC Advantage

These members of Solvay High School's Class of 2020 are the first students to benefit from the OCC Advantage program.
These members of Solvay High School’s Class of 2020 are the first students to benefit from the OCC Advantage program.

A new and unique college-readiness and scholarship program is bringing together Onondaga Community College and families in the Solvay School District. It’s called “OCC Advantage.” Students who earn a “C” average and show improvement while achieving other benchmarks will be eligible to attend OCC tuition-free. “We’re educating our students and our families about the opportunity this program represents because it’s amazing. We’re thrilled to be a part of it,” said Solvay Schools Superintendent Lawrence Wright.

Students signed the OCC Advantage banner.
Students signed the OCC Advantage banner.

The program and partnership were celebrated during an event November 9 in the auditorium of Solvay High School. Students in the freshman class will be the first to benefit from OCC Advantage. The program contains three main components:

  • Performance – Students need to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and show gradual improvement throughout high school.
  • Attendance – Students will be required to meet attendance goals throughout their four years at Solvay.
  • Community Service – Students will perform community service as part of the OCC Advantage program. “We want students to understand that education in life is about going beyond yourself. We’re using community service through the high schools for students to reflect on their skills, their interests, their community and see ways they can exercise the education they have already. It’s about what the student gets through reflection in service. So many students come to college undecided. If you’re undecided you can waste time and money. Those are precious commodities,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.
Celebratory cupcakes!
Celebratory cupcakes!

The college-readiness program will also include helping students learn the types of behaviors that will lead to success both during their years in high school and in college. Upon graduation from Solvay each member of the Class of 2020 who has successfully completed the program will have the opportunity to attend OCC tuition-free. Once enrolled in the College students will have two years to complete work toward an associate degree or certificate, preparing them for a career or transfer to a four-year institution. During their time on campus students must continue to meet minimum grade point average requirements and perform community service.

“This initiative provides access and opportunity to families which otherwise may not be able to afford it,” said Wright. “We have very capable students. We graduate over 90% of them. The majority will go onto college but the majority of them will also struggle to pay for it. That’s a big part of why this relationship is so special.”

The East Syracuse Minoa School District will be joining the OCC Advantage program later this month.

Emory Haynes

TOP OF STORY Alyssa Haynes

Emory Haynes experienced one of those transformational moments during her senior year at Solvay High School. As secretary of the school’s Key Club she was invited to a regional conference in Albany. “The main speaker was a representative from the Thirst Project which is a non-profit, college-based organization that goes to places in Africa that don’t have access to clean, reliable sources of water and builds fresh water wells. His presentation was very powerful.”

That day helped her decide she’d like to pursue a career in environmental activism. During the fall 2015 semester Haynes was named president of the Whole Earth Club. Her outstanding academic performance led to her induction into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). She’s majoring in Mathematics and Science with an Honors minor and is PTK’s vice president of leadership.

Haynes has benefited from her involvement with OCC’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, known as C-STEP. “It’s fantastic. It gave me access to resources that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have. With C-STEP you have an advisor who knows you, knows what’s best for you, what classes you should be in, what you’re capable of taking and genuinely cares about the outcome of your success.”

Haynes will earn her OCC degree in December 2016, just three semesters after enrolling. She plans to transfer to SUNY-ESF.