Colleges mark 50 years with contest for alumni

Published 3:23 pm Friday, January 3, 2014

To mark the 50th anniversary of its founding, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) is launching a scholarship contest that aims to capture inspiring real-life stories of success from former students of its 26 colleges.

“For five decades, the community college system has educated Alabama’s leaders, innovators and workers,” ACCS Chancellor Mark Heinrich said. “The stories that these people can tell will inspire the next generation of students to accomplish great things and make Alabama’s future even brighter.”

The roots of ACCS date back to 1963 when the state Legislature passed a series of acts that gave the State Board of Education oversight of junior colleges and trade schools operating in Alabama. Since then, the system’s institutions have become a pathway to a university degree, filled a critical workforce development role and helped adults earn their high school equivalency credential.

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To share student success stories, the system today launched, a website where alumni can submit their written or video testimonial to describe how their Alabama Community College System education has helped them to succeed in their career and influenced their impact on the community. One alumnus who submits a story will be honored with a $5,000 scholarship in the alumnus’ name to benefit a student from his or her Alabama high school alma mater who plans to attend an ACCS college in 2014.

The real-life stories of nearly 20 ACCS alumni already are included on the website, including tales of people who used a community college education to overcome long odds, land their dream job, start a new business or launch a new career.

LBW Community College President Dr. Herb Riedel said this is an opportunity for a local person to have a positive financial impact for a future student.

“This is an outstanding new program that allows LBW’s alumni to tell their story of success, while competing for a scholarship in their name to benefit one of LBW’s future students,” he said. “I encourage everyone whose life was positively affected by their experiences at LBW to submit an entry and add to this valuable resource.”

Stories captured on will be shared on the ACCS Facebook page and official Twitter channel, and those who enter are encourage to share their stories with family and friends through their personal social networks as well.

The winner of the scholarship contest will be selected based on the answer to the following question: How have you used the education you received as an ACCS student to strengthen your life and your community?

Submissions will be accepted on the site through Jan. 10, and a list of finalists, selected with input from a panel of six ACCS college presidents, will be posted by Jan. 24. (Testimonials can still be submitted after Jan. 10, but they will not be eligible for the alumni scholarship contest.) Participants must have attended an ACCS institution for at least two semesters.

The contest winner will be announced in February. For more information on the contest or to submit your story, go to