The Gettysburg Optimist Club met at Valentine Hall on the campus of the Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016.

President Daryl Aurand called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. with the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance.  Stacey Green provided her usual wonderful meal.

Our speaker for the evening was introduced by Bruce Bradshaw.  Shannon Harvey is the Vice President of the Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC,) at the Gettysburg Campus.  Shannon talked about the evolution of her position at HACC.  This community college has been in Gettysburg for 26 years and Shannon has served as a campus administrator for 18 of those years.  For 13 years she was the Academic Dean and she enjoyed this opportunity to develop curricula, hire professional staff, develop programs, etc.  She was an assistant to former Jennifer Weaver who retired and Shannon assumed her position.  Shannon is a Gettysburg girl who enjoys her current role of attending community meetings – especially at night, because she doesn’t have to cook dinner!!

The nursing program is the most prominent program at HACC and the program has graduated over 600 nurses since its inception and 85% of these graduates are working in the Gettysburg/Hanover-Adams County area.  HACC is so connected to the community.  It is the largest community college in Pennsylvania.  When we speak of current enrollment – there is a “Dual  Enrollment” of 2,000 students with 450 of those who are high school students.  HACC is very proud of this, in that, high school students, beginning in their junior year, if they are approved as “college-ready” by their principal, may take college coursework in the high school setting.  This coursework may be transferred to a college of their choice upon enrollment in college.  Most colleges will accept this credit although some “highly -selective colleges may not.

It is a statistical fact that, in 2016, college admission rates are high, however, graduation rates are low.  Only 57% of those admitted, actually graduate from college.  Student college financial debt, nation-wide, is actually greater than the country’s credit card debt……wow!  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes this problem and is supporting the idea that helping transition to college may increase graduation rates.  In Adams County, 50% of children receive free and reduced price lunches.  This is poverty, folks.  HACC has reduced tuition rates in the HACC Dual Enrollment Program to make this more affordable.

The Gettysburg Optimist Club could contribute to the “HACC Dual Enrollment Scholarship.”  This fund currently holds $20,000 in funds and hopes to endow this money.  Adams Electric and Kennies Market are foundational contributors.

Mecatronics is a new course developed last year.  It is a 1 year certification program for the Repair of Industrial Maintenance Equipment in the Hanover/Gettysburg area.  Two other new programs are “Medial Assisting” and “Physician Office Assistant (Patient Support Specialist.)

Shannon is particularly proud of the DUAL ADVISING PLANNING MODEL – which, combines the planning of a college counselor and a high school guidance counselor for a 4 year plan for an individual student so the readiness for junior year college coursework is well-understood by the student and the parents.

The average age of a HACC student is 22.  (Primarily due to the “mix” of high school students and adult students.)  Vice President Harvey presented a wealth of information about our local community college and we appreciated her presentation.

President Daryl thanked Mindy and Kris for their extensive work with our Optimist Basketball Program.  Sign-ups are Dec. 3rd and Dec. 10th at the Gettysburg Middle School @ 9-11 a.m.

The Christmas Magic Show with Chmn. Doug Miller, is all ready to go.  Dec. 9th at the Lincoln Elementary School.  Magician is highly-talented.  Great show!

The annual Oyster/Shrimp Feed is March 3rd at the Gettysburg Fire Hall.

Daryl spoke about the advisability of each of us inviting someone to be an Optimist and seeing what we are all about.

The non-profit status of the club is being explored by Sam and Rich Finkenbinder.  It was mentioned that most donors give to us irregardless of our 501(c-3) status.

The Quarterly Zone Meeting will be attended by Daryl and Gary Rappoldt.

Joe MacDowell won the 50/50.  Joe said, “Finally, I will be in the minutes!”

Meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.