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Hard work and success in the classroom combined with her role in the Owls’ fantastic basketball season earned Joy Morton an “H” award for her athletic and academic excellence on and off the court.
Although she wasn’t always a big fan of school, Joy Morton knew that in order to play for the Fighting Owls basketball team she would need to maintain good grades. As a freshman, Joy was a shy student who did not know anyone very well. Her grades at the beginning of her first semester weren’t as good as they should have been so Joy enrolled in the My College Success Network, a program designed to empower and support African American students at Harford Community College. All students, regardless of ethnicity, are welcome to participate. Academic Success Coach Jenny Jakulin helped Joy navigate all the resources available to help her succeed academically. Jenny introduced Joy to the College’s Learning Center, and Joy spent at least four hours a week there. “The Learning Center is one of the best things at Harford because there is a tutor for every subject in there, so if you don’t understand anything, you can go there and get help,” said Joy. Taking advantage of the Learning Center helped her to get much of her work completed before the due dates and provided Joy with some free time to hit the gym before practice.
The personal attention and academic coaching paid off. “With Jenny J helping me, I finished the semester with a 3.5 and that gave me a cumulative GPA of 3.3.” Joy highly recommends My College Success Network to others coming to HCC.
She found the faculty at the College to be dedicated and want to see their students achieve their goals. “The teachers are engaged in what they are teaching and engaged with the students. They set you up to be successful, and that’s what I loved most about Harford,” she said.
One of the reasons she decided to come to Harford was because of the excellent reputation of the basketball program. She exclaimed, “The sports at Harford is lit!” Joy said everyone shows team spirit and supports all the sports when there are home games. The Fighting Owls women’s basketball team had a fantastic season, winning its fourth straight conference championship. Joy said, “We swept our conference being regular season champs, conference champs, and district champs. We also made it back to nationals down in Lubbock, Texas. Unfortunately, we lost the first game which ended our season, but it was a great experience. I led the MD JUCO Conference in triple doubles. My average for the year was 8.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and 7.0 apg.” Joy received an “H” award for the women’s basketball team. The “H” award symbolizes someone who shows athletic and academic excellence on and off the court consistently. According to head women’s basketball coach Mike Seney, “We as a staff chose Joy due to her incredible effort in the classroom and on the basketball court.”
Joy had such a good experience at HCC that she is sad to leave. “I enjoyed it so much I wish it were a four-year school! Harford provides a great academic environment. The teachers are cool and also, you’ll meet some great people.” She was surprised to see so many international students on campus and enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. “At Harford I met some great people and made life-lasting memories.”
Joy graduated with an AA in general studies. Although she is still undecided on which institution to choose (she was accepted at several), she plans to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a degree in business management with a concentration in sports management and minor in photography. She then hopes to pursue a master’s degree in sports management and eventually land a job in that field.
Her advice to other students, especially athletes, is to learn time management. She said that by completing assignments on a schedule, rather than waiting until the last minute, students will be under much less pressure. Joy also said students should not hesitate to ask for help when they need it.
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