Globetrotting professional women’s basketball player grateful for SC4 experience

When she joined the St. Clair County Community College Skippers women’s basketball team in 2012, Rachel Kehoe never imagined her basketball career would lead her to play with professional teams in France, Spain, Malta, Germany, Serbia, Finland, Ireland and now Denmark.

“I chose SC4 because I liked how I fit with athletics and academics,” said the St. Clair High School graduate. “I also liked that there was one central campus.”

While Kehoe was with the Skippers, the team won the league, regional and state championships twice and competed in the national tournament.

But it wasn’t just on the court where Kehoe found support and success.

“I had some great SC4 teachers who were passionate about their work and subject,” she said. “They were always available to us for questions, feedback or guidance. Kraig Archer, Charles Meeker and Mary Kennedy were a few of my favorites. Plus, the staff of the Student Center—especially Brenda Rinke—was always helpful and my work as a student ambassador allowed me to be more involved in the community as well.”

Kehoe earned her Associate of Science degree in 2015 and transferred to Eastern Michigan University where she played on the Eagles women’s basketball team and studied psychology and communication. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from EMU in 2016.

Since graduation, Kehoe has experienced great success overseas. Some of her most notable accomplishments include winning the league and the Louis Borge Cup with her team in Malta. She was also recognized on the All-Tournament team (2017) and Second All-Tournament Team (2018) in the Mediterranean Cup.

Kehoe signed with the Lemvig VP out of Denmark in January 2020 and looks forward to continued growth as a professional player.

Though a few years have gone by, she still credits SC4 for playing a large role in her success.

“SC4 helped prepare me for the next step in both my education and in basketball,” she said. “I benefitted from smaller class sizes and a warm and welcoming community. I left a lot more confident in myself and my future.”

Qatar native finds friendship, encouragement and passion at SC4

Qatar native Nasser Al-Attiyah found friendship, influential professors and a new passion nearly halfway around the world at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Mich.

Nasser Al-Attiyah graduated in 2007 from Qatar Academy, an international I.B. school in Doha, Qatar. Connected to the Port Huron area through family members who had previously attended SC4, Al-Attiyah enrolled at the college in fall 2010.

“My cousin, a Port Huron local at the time, called SC4 an excellent starting spot for pursuing higher education,” Al-Attiyah said.

While at SC4, he joined the music club and participated in various campus activities, served as a student speaker for multiple events, and started his Tang Soo Do study at PKSA Karate Port Huron.

“Clubs and campus activities allowed me to bond with people at the college,” he said. “I met a few other students whom I am still in contact with today. Being able to break the initial barrier of meeting new people in a completely new environment at that stage was crucial to my acclimation. They were some great people too.”

According to Al-Attiyah, other great people he met included college faculty and staff members.

“Patricia and Jim Frank still remain as two of the most influential professors I’ve ever had at any level. They constantly pushed boundaries and prioritize learning and engaging discussions over grades and homework quotas,” he said. “And the administration as a whole was incredibly supportive when anything got confusing or needed straightening out. Pete Lacey, Carrie Bearss, and Angel Niederkohr, in particular, went above and beyond to make sure I was settled in and had everything in order. I am forever grateful for all they did.”

Al-Attiyah transferred from SC4 to Arizona State University in 2012 to study international agribusiness (food security issues) and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 2016.

Since graduation, he enlisted in Qatar’s Military Officer Cadet Program and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant. Following that, he joined Qatar’s government-run agricultural company Hassad Qatar where he is a member of the team that oversees operations.

Al-Attiyah also continued his training in Tang Soo Do. He earned a second degree black belt in 2018 and participated in the 16th World Tang Soo Do Championship, representing Qatar for the first time in the tournament as the sole member of the team, and winning the gold medal in heavyweight sparring on his first try.

“I have since been recognized as the highest-ranking Tang Soo Do black belt in Qatar (and the Gulf region as a whole), all thanks to the Tang Soo Do school which was initially across the street from SC4 in downtown Port Huron,” he said. “I still attend and visit twice a year to train with the same instructors that have been training me for more than nine years.”

While he aspires to further his martial arts training and open up his own school, Al-Attiyah really wants to lead the charge in advancing agriculture in his region.

“As one of the few people truly specialized in this field, it has become my responsibility to educate and inform as much as possible to help develop this sector,” Al-Attiyah said. “With my background and experiences at SC4 and ASU, I feel well equipped to have a great impact.”

SC4 alumnus making mark on communities and youth in Arizona, Washington

St. Clair County Community College alumnus Sean Barton is committed to providing stability and growth for communities and youth through sports and education.

Barton currently serves as director of curriculum and strategic initiatives at STEM Sports in Phoenix where he leads strategic planning efforts and manages and develops a curriculum that fuses STEM and sports for students in grades K through 8. Prior to that in Phoenix, he worked as chief operating officer at the NABI Foundation, which provides educational programs for Native youth.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be compensated financially for my work – helping others through servant leadership in the education and athletic sphere. Yet the greatest compensation comes from doing something every day that is intrinsically valuable/that I love.”

Barton also left a sizeable footprint in the state of Washington via his roles at the Archdiocese of Seattle and the French American School of Puget Sound. He worked as the assistant director of athletics at the Archdiocese of Seattle and served as athletics director, extended day director, middle school physical education teacher and summer camp program director at the French American School of Puget Sound.

“The opportunity to work in settings that provide stability and growth for communities and youth brings me immense joy,” Barton said. “I aspire to continuously embrace and capitalize on opportunities that support educators, students, and parents and families throughout my career. This includes both professional and personal/volunteer work.”

A Port Huron Northern High School graduate, Barton attended SC4 on a basketball scholarship from 1996 to 1998. He attended SC4 again in 2005.

“SC4 provides a valuable, financially responsible academic experience for an array of ambitious minds, young and mature,” he said. “I had several quality courses and instructors during my tenure at SC4, which provided a solid foundation to succeed in both my academic and professional endeavors.”

Barton transferred his earned credits in 2006 to the University of Phoenix in Bellevue, Wash., graduating in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration with a focus on entrepreneurship from Northcentral University in 2014.

SC4 a great place to start according to alumnus Dan Damman

Attorney Daniel A. Damman says there’s no debate about it: St. Clair County Community College is the best place for area students to start their higher education.

A 1994 St. Clair High School graduate, Damman (pictured above with wife Therese) attended SC4 for two years, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Michigan State University in 1999 and earned his Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School in 2002.

After law school, Damman took over a New Baltimore law firm, changed the name to Damman Law Firm, PLC, and eventually moved it to Marysville and then St. Clair. He helped form Lord, Damman and VanDrew, PLC, in 2006 with partner Ken Lord and Dana VanDrew and later Damman VanDrew, PLC.

In June 2015 Damman and Nicole Winston founded the litigation firm Winston and Damman, PLLC, where they continue to practice law, including criminal defense, divorce and family law, personal injury, wrongful death and social security disability.

Damman, 44, formerly of Marysville and now St. Clair Township, was elected to the Marysville City Council in 2011 and mayor in 2013. He served three terms before stepping down to enter the candidacy for judge of the 31st Circuit Court. He and his wife, Therese, have two children, Emily, 20, and Mason, 18.

He said he decided his senior year of high school to attend SC4 after graduation and began in the fall of 1994.

“Being the youngest of four children – and the youngest by nearly nine years, I was not ready to leave my parents’ home,” Damman said. “I also wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to go to obtain my bachelor’s degree.

“SC4 gave me some time to transition from high school into adulthood, obtain a great education at a fraction of the cost of a four-year university, get some college credits under my belt, and time to figure out where I wanted to go next.”

Damman said SC4 allowed him to obtain an excellent education from some extraordinary instructors close to home.

“I went to SC4 for two years; my wife attended SC4; my daughter attended SC4, first through dual enrollment and then for a year after high school; and my son attends SC4 right now through dual enrollment. SC4 was crucial in starting me on the path to where I am today, and I am proud to be a SC4 alumnus.”

In addition to proximity and quality instruction, Damman said SC4 is a smart financial decision for anyone considering higher education.

“What is crystal clear at this point in my life is that SC4 is one of the crown jewels of our area and people are wise to take advantage of what it has to offer. With the soaring cost of higher education, the ability for a high school student to earn college credits at no cost to the student, or his/her family, through dual enrollment or the Blue Water Middle College should be a no-brainer.

“Attending SC4 after graduation to earn credits at a fraction of the cost of a four-year university should also be given careful consideration for those students who want to start his or her education without back-breaking student debt. I believe that viewed through just about any lens, SC4 presents opportunity for everyone.”

WPHM’s Paul Miller on right wavelength thanks to SC4 start

Port Huron’s own Paul Miller has been getting up and starting the morning with thousands of area listeners each weekday for 17 years now.

The St. Clair County Community College alumnus is the man behind the microphone as the host of the WPHM AM-1380 morning show.

A 1986 graduate of Port Huron Northern High School, Miller went on to attend SC4 and earn his associate degree in 1988. He then transferred to Central Michigan University where he received his Bachelor of Applied Arts in broadcast and cinematic arts with a minor in English in 1990.

Miller, 51, said his local community college was essential in getting him on the right wavelength.

“SC4 was a great choice for me,” he said. “I was interested in a career in media, and was able to gain experience on campus in many ways. I liked the smaller class size, the accessibility of instructors. Of course, SC4 was an affordable choice, but I also felt the quality of instruction was good and it allowed me to graduate with an associate degree and easily transfer to Central Michigan University.”

Over the years, Miller worked as news director for WGHN radio in Grand Haven from 1991-92, WPHM from 1992-96, and WCRZ in Flint from 1996-98. He later worked as a news reporter/anchor for WJR in Detroit from 1996-2001 and then account executive at Marx Layne and Co. Public Relations in 2001-02 before returning home to host the WPHM morning show.

Miller said he actually started his career at WPHM when he worked part time for the radio station while attending SC4 in 1987-88.

“I grew up listening to WPHM as a kid so it was fun to have longtime morning show host John Hill as my communications instructor,” he said. “John hired me to work at WPHM on a part-time basis while I attended SC4, and it provided me invaluable experience learning about radio and working in the business while going to school.

“John became a longtime friend, and I was honored to work with him as news director at WPHM after graduating from CMU. I eventually returned to replace him when he retired from the station and also taught some of his media classes at SC4.”

Miller added SC4’s downtown campus is small enough for students to make important connections while going to school, yet large enough to offer events for the entire community.

“In addition to the opportunity I had to work at WPHM while attending SC4, I made friends that I still have today during my time at the college,” Miller added. “I thought it was a good bridge between high school and moving away to attend Central Michigan. I like that SC4 truly is part of the community where students and non-students alike can participate in activities on campus, right in downtown Port Huron.”

Miller and his wife, Anne, live in Fort Gratiot and have a daughter, Nora, 17.

SC4 alumna realizes career and service dreams

Thanks to St. Clair County Community College, alumna Patricia F. Tibble never had to give up her dreams of joining the military and becoming an educator.

Tibble serves as the health/physical education and tech teacher at Fort Gratiot Middle School as well as a reservist with the U.S. Navy at Selfridge in Clinton Township.

Tibble grew up in a small country town in Texas. Her parents came from Mexico to the United States for a better life to support her and her seven siblings.

“I remember thinking about my future at a very young age because my parents reminded my siblings and I about their sacrifice for a better life,’” she said. “I worked hard to keep focus on the future. I had dreams about someday joining the military to serve my country that gave so much to my family and as well as going to college to earn a degree in education.”

A graduate of Sudan (Texas) High School, Tibble first attended Ventura County Community College in Oxnard, Calif., while on active duty with the U.S. Navy. She then transferred to SC4 when she and husband Justin moved to Port Huron.

She attended SC4 from 2002-04 where she completed her Associate of Arts degree.

“I attended SC4 to complete general education courses that I did not complete while on active duty in California,” she said. “I found that SC4 offered a teacher introduction course with field work and I enrolled. Based on that experience, I concluded that teaching was definitely the right career pathway for me.”

After SC4, she transferred to Saginaw Valley State University where she graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in K-12 health/physical education. She continued on there to earn her master’s degree in educational leadership for middle/high school in 2014.

“It was an advantage to attend SC4, because it was close to home and convenient to get to the campus library for project meetings and individual research,” Tibble said. “SC4 prepared me to be successful at the university level.”

Tibble said it was 2009 when she decided to return to the Navy Reserves to finish what she started years ago. Since enlisting as a reservist, she has served 14 years of active and reserve duty and plans to serve her country up to retirement.

Today Tibble’s daughter, Candelaria, is following in her mother’s footsteps by attending SC4 through the Blue Water Middle College.

“As a parent and an educator, I know the importance of education,” Tibble said. “When my daughter, Candelaria, and I found out about the Blue Water Middle College at SC4, I knew it was the key to my daughter’s future. She is now in her 13th year and, like me, she is grateful for SC4 because it builds the foundation needed to face challenges at a university.”

“SC4 helped me prepare for academic and personal growth challenges, all which I faced at SVSU,” she added. “While attending SC4, I was a mother and a wife. It was a struggle at times; however, I was able to overcome many obstacles with the help of my husband and mother-in-law, Barb. Thanks to their help, my worries were minimized because I knew my daughter was being taken care of while I was in class and daily chores were being done at home.”

She added, “I am extremely grateful that the instructors at SC4 were understanding and showed that they cared about my goals and accomplishments. I want to be someone my daughter looks up to. My advice is to never give up.”

SC4 honors life of Dr. Mark Setter (1954-2019), names him Alumnus of the Year

Dr. Mark Setter, who passed away on Feb. 2, 2019, has been named the 2019 St. Clair County Community College Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Setter attended SC4 following graduation from Port Huron Northern High School in 1972.

He completed his associate degree at SC4 in 1974, graduating summa cum laude, before earning a degree in dentistry from the University of Michigan with a post-graduate degree in periodontics.

Dr. Setter married his wife, Susan, his sophomore year of dental school and, upon graduating, returned to Port Huron to start his private practice in 1981. There, he enjoyed caring for his patients for more than 30 years.

An avid adventurer, Dr. Setter’s childhood was spent waterskiing, playing tennis and working at Black River Marina where he quickly developed a lifelong love for boats and the water. He and Susan raised children Dr. Michael Setter and Dr. Jill Bresler in Port Huron and traveled together to many exciting places around the globe.

Throughout his lifetime, Dr. Setter credited his time at SC4 for helping to prepare him for his future. He was an advocate for the college and the entire Blue Water Area community.

Read Dr. Mark Setter’s obituary

SC4 alumnus flourishes thanks to faculty connection, support

For St. Clair County Community College alumnus Jake Louks, SC4 offered the chance to connect with faculty in an invaluable way.

“At another university I attended before SC4, I felt like one of thousands,” Louks said. “I felt like college wasn’t for me because I didn’t like the big lecture-style courses I had at the university. At SC4, I was able to connect with faculty. My experience was totally different—small discussion-based classes with approachable faculty. It was more aligned with what I wanted.”

The Port Huron Northern High School graduate attended SC4 in 2009 and again from 2010 to 2012. While at SC4, he focused on taking transferrable credits and benefitted from faculty committed to his success.

“Faculty members are such an important resource. My SC4 professors did a great job bridging the gap and building a relationship, which allowed me to reach out outside of class for clarification and to bounce ideas around,” Louks said. “They gave me the space to become a self-advocate. They went above and beyond to make sure I could see the path I wanted to travel—both in their course and in life.

“Jim and Patricia Frank in particular had a big impact on me. They created a sense of community with my classmates and with them. They really helped me explore topics from separate viewpoints and disciplines.”

Louks transferred credits from SC4 to Western Michigan University, where he studied public history and earned a bachelor’s degree in 2015.

Upon graduation, he put his degree to work with service at an archival library and a national park. He then served as a career and college planning advocate with AmeriCorps and is now working as an organizer for a labor union that represents educators.

According to Louks, who is preparing to take the LSAT and has legal aspirations, his experience at SC4 helped him on his career path immensely.

“I don’t like the word networking, but SC4 helped me learn how to build relationships professionally, and when you have more people helping you it is much easier to succeed,” said Louks, who reversed transferred back to SC4 in 2016 and earned an associate degree. “I don’t think I would have completed an undergraduate degree without my experience at SC4.”

He added, “Community colleges represent the American Dream to me. I believe that the American Dream means that anyone should be able to settle and make a living where they want. That could be New York City, or it could be the rural thumb of Michigan. Community colleges help make that happen.”

SC4 alumna writes future, drives change in region

St. Clair County Community College alumna Michelle Eberle is using her experience and expertise in marketing and communication to help drive change in her community.

Eberle currently works for the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce where she is responsible for social media efforts, email campaigns, event support and website management. She also published her first book, the “31 Day Wedding Prayer Journal,” under The Rebel Bride brand.

Prior to transitioning to the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, she served as a communications specialist at Woman’s Life Insurance Society in Port Huron. There she managed email campaigns and did graphic design work on fundraising flyers for members. 

“I am a connector,” Eberle explains. “I connect people to resources or people to people to help them achieve their goals. I love introducing people with gifts and talents that I know will be mutually beneficial for both parties.” 

According to Eberle, she has been able to find success in her career due to the solid foundation and community she found at SC4. 

“I chose to go to SC4 because of my family’s connection and because it made the most financial sense,” said Eberle, a Marysville High School graduate and third-generation SC4 student. “Going to college in my local community allowed me to continue making money, save more money by not relocating, and feel a sense of comfort in knowing some familiar faces around campus.” 

With aspirations of becoming a writer and public speaker, Eberle started at SC4 in the fall of 2008. She graduated in 2010 as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society with her associate degree in liberal arts transfer studies. 

Eberle then transferred to Taylor University in Upland, Ind., where she majored in professional writing and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2012. Still determined to best position herself professionally, she enrolled at Walsh College and earned a master’s degree in management in 2018.  

Now that she’s at the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, she looks forward to making this new chapter the best it can be. Of course, she continues to look back fondly on her journey and her decision to attend SC4.

“I’m a huge proponent of financial responsibility and utilizing the community college in your backyard,” she said. “Students should consider the long-term benefits of enrolling at SC4 when considering education after high school.” 

Washington, D.C.-based alumna credits SC4 for changing worldview

Growing up without public schooling, Grace Haskin didn’t think she had a chance of going to college.

“I received a homeschooling education of sorts, but it was heavily biased and severely lacking,” Haskin said. “Higher education, especially for women, was not valued. Aside from the Internet, my siblings and I were very isolated from the outside world.”

Haskin, who knew she wanted to go to college from an early age, was able to find solace and inspiration online. She researched many college websites and learned most required a high school diploma and SAT/ACT scores.

“I didn’t think I had a chance of getting either of those things,” said Haskin, who did attend Marine City High School for one year.

Haskin turned to St. Clair County Community College for help.

“While I was attending Marine City High School in 2007, I was playing violin with the International Symphony Orchestra,” Haskin said. “The ISO practiced in the Fine Arts Building at SC4 every Tuesday night, so I was already familiar with the campus. The SC4 admissions team was very gracious to work with me.”

Haskin attended SC4 from 2008 to 2010, graduating magna cum laude with an Honors Associate of Arts with a concentration in music education.

After SC4, Haskin worked for a few years and moved to North Carolina where she attended East Carolina University and received her Bachelor of Science in communication in 2015. She then went to graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and received her Master of Arts in conflict management and resolution in 2017 with a focus on national and international security.

Today Haskin, 29, lives in Washington, D.C., working as an analyst for the Government Accountability Office on the contracting and national security acquisitions team. There, she examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and activities; and provides analyses, recommendations and other assistance to help Congress make effective oversight, policy and funding decisions.

According to Haskin, her time at SC4 changed her worldview and gave her a new perspective.

“SC4 was truly my first exposure to so many different ideas,” she said. “The critical thinking skills I learned from Professor Thomas Obee’s class, for instance, are skills I use at my job every day in order to assess information in an objective and unbiased manner. My experiences at SC4 very much prepared me for the next steps in my education and career.”