President's Distinguished Graduate

“Life hasn’t been easy, but I still came out on top.”

They say the third time is a charm and that holds true for CCBC’s 2016 President’s Distinguished Graduate recipient Danielle Misterka. Having enrolled twice at CCBC without completing a degree, her third attempt has ended with her graduating with honors and a degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling.

Danielle is a first-generation college student. Having grown up under challenging financial circumstances, college was not a priority. She had to start working immediately following high school to contribute to the family finances.

“Although I dreamed of college, I felt selfish to ask my parents to help me pursue my dreams,” said Danielle. “It was a struggle just to survive from day to day.”

But, that didn’t deter Danielle. After a few years, she enrolled at CCBC excited to start her educational journey. But lack of support and unbridled control from someone she “thought” she loved, stopped her in her tracks. She had to withdraw abruptly. The second time she enrolled, life took a difficult turn when her son was diagnosed with Autism. Once again, Danielle put her life on pause and placed all her efforts into caring for her son.

Never one to give up, Danielle worked through her challenges, developed a plan and enrolled in CCBC for a third time. Fortunately, this time was not like before. She found her footing and excelled in her classes. She joined the Honors program and got involved. Even despite that challenges that continued to come her way, this time she had the strength and the support-system to complete her goal of earning a college degree.

“If you would have asked me five years ago if I would be considering graduating from college, I would have said ‘no way.’ Life hasn’t been easy, but I still came out on top.”

Today Danielle describes herself as a mother, wife, advocate, fighter, nurturer and survivor. She is also happy to add one more descriptor to her list….. CCBC graduate.