By Rashida Jones
Michael Culp, 47, felt like he wasn’t smart enough to go straight to college, let alone one day hold the position of Board Student Scholar here at Cuyahoga Community College.
Culp thought the military would be more suitable for him as an alternative transition from high school to college. He joined the Air Force straight out of High School and from there he was sent to Panama for two years. He felt as if he was a part of a family there and enjoyed the time he spent. Because of his service in the Military it made him eligible for the Tri-C Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), a program that helps Military Veterans go to school, get a trade and become more productive.
The Role and Responsibilities of Culp are defined as, “The board student scholar is intended to help the board receive perspectives and other information from students about their needs, suggestions, and concerns. The role is also to provide board student scholars with a learning opportunity related to organizational governance and leadership. The board student scholar is not a trustee, has no voting rights, and does not participate in decision-making or executive sessions.”
He worked for a beer distributing company for 12 years while taking care of his father who eventually became sick and later passed away after a great deal of suffering. At that time he lost his job because of having to care for his ill father and didn’t know what to do next.
Although he doesn’t consider himself religious, he said he was spiritual. “God will take your darkness and make it light,” he said.
He says being a part of VRAP here at Tri-C was a building block for him, which allowed other doors to open. From there he stayed in school and never looked back. If it wasn’t for their help and support he believes he wouldn’t be where he today.
Culp, a Human Services major, wants to be a social worker helping people with drug and alcohol dependency. Because of his career choice he understands that to be a good leader you have to be a good follower first, taking bad situations and turning them into good, by using it as an opportunity to learn and grow from it.
As a representative of our voice to the Board of Trustee’s he wants the student body to be informed decision makers by getting all the facts that you can possibly get before you make a final decision, valuing everyone’s opinion, helping them to be informed so that each and every individual can make a difference.