April 19, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Sydney Doornbos was ready to drop out of college before a Grand Rapids Community College professor pushed her to explore her talents and apply herself to reach her goals.
Doornbos came to GRCC feeling a little lost. After graduating from Grand Rapids Christian Schools, she signed up with the Global Gap Year program because she didn't know what she wanted to do next. She dropped her spot in that program and enrolled at GRCC to audition for theater programs. She joined the Honors Program with the goal of transferring to the University of Michigan to study linguistics.
After failing a semester, Doornbos decided to drop out of GRCC. But Tom Kaechele, the head of GRCC's Theater Department, objected to that decision.
"When I failed that one semester and decided to drop out, Tom Kaechele gave me the 'tough love' speech that made me want to keep going," Doornbos said. "His kindness, drive and encouragement made me want to continue working, even when I thought I was done."
Kaechele said Doornbos just needed encouragement.
"Oh, I'd love to take a little bit of credit for Sydney's academic accomplishments, but that success was in Sydney all the time," Kaechele said. "She is a bright and talented woman who realized she had more to offer in the classroom and decided to show it."
Doornbos will receive her Associate of Arts during GRCC's commencement, which starts at 7 p.m. April 27 in Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE. She's been accepted to UM -- but she's not going to study linguistics.
"I've decided to pursue education," she said. "I'm excited to study but also excited to graduate and start modeling the great educators I've encountered.”
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.