Your Impact

When you support the Montgomery County Community College Foundation, you ensure that our mission is carried out in the following key areas:

Student Support

Your support is helping deserving students obtain financial aid through scholarships.

Charlie Mayer Zagdanski was recently named the recipient of one of these scholarships. The prestigious Ryan Johnson, PhD., Endowed Scholarship was given to Charlie, a graduating student who has displayed academic excellence, a passion for history coursework, commitment to ongoing education and resilience in overcoming obstacles.

“I felt very honored and humbled by receiving the scholarship,” said Charlie. “To be able to meet the parents and learn about their son was very impactful, especially finding out some commonalities shared between us. Also, it makes a big financial difference to me as it will help with buying textbooks, while also helping me create a positive learning environment for the time I’ll be at Penn State.”

Read more of Charlie's story

Ever since he was a little boy, Charlie Mayer Zagdanski has been a student of history. Growing up he can remember being fascinated with historic documentaries and was an avid fan of The History Channel.

“I remember that while my other friends would be watching the latest film, I would be at home engulfed in the period I was watching,” he said.

Little did he know that one day his passion for the past would serve him well in the future. Zagdanski, 24, of Bala Cynwyd, is a Criminal Justice major at Montgomery County Community College and was recently named a recipient of The Ryan Johnson, PhD., Endowed Scholarship.

This prestigious award is given to a graduating student who has displayed academic excellence, a passion for history coursework, commitment to ongoing education, and resilience in overcoming obstacles. Each year, the funding is awarded directly to the recipient’s student account at the four-year institution to which they are transferring to celebrate the journey of continued education.

In 2013, Dr. Ryan Johnson, a beloved professor of History at MCCC’s Pottstown Campus passed away at 32 years old. Dr. Johnson was a dedicated educator with a passion for history and a belief in the importance of higher education and lifelong learning. Students eagerly signed up for his courses and fellow faculty and staff enjoyed working alongside him. It was a significant loss to the College, his loved ones, and the community at large.

In honor of Dr. Johnson’s love of history and devotion to education, his family and friends established the scholarship.

“I felt very honored and humbled by receiving the scholarship,” said Zagdanski. “To be able to meet the parents and learn about their son was very impactful, especially finding out some commonalities shared between us. Also, it makes a big financial difference to me as it will help with buying textbooks, while also helping me create a positive learning environment for the time I’ll be at Penn State.”

Zagdanski’s story begins when his family moved from the United States to Israel when he was 9 years old. He comes from a Jewish family and his family felt a connection with the country. They settled in a predominantly English-speaking American community and stayed there for about seven years.

“I spent most of my upbringing there and enjoyed long hikes, going to the beach with family and friends, and camping,” said Zagdanski. “In short, if it has to do with the outdoors and nature then count me in.”

When he was about 16 years old, his dad moved to New York for business. His mother followed shortly there after to be closer to family. Zagdanski said he finished high school in East Brunswick, N.J.

As a result of his dual citizenship with Israel, Zagdanski, like all Israeli residents was drafted into mandatory two-year, eight-month military service. Rather than wait until after college to fulfill his duty, Zagdanski decided to move back to the country and complete his service.

Military service was challenging. At 19 years old, Zagdanski served under a lone soldier status, meaning he had no immediate family in the country to support him, which permitted him money for an apartment for himself. However, there would be days where he’d be awake for over 30 hours and then have to come home to run errands and do chores around the house. The experience though was rewarding.

“I made lifelong friends,” he said.

As a machine gunner and pointman, both highly coveted positions, Zagdanski learned valuable lessons leading platoon formations. He was stationed primarily along the Jordanian border but also spent a fair amount of time by the Egyptian border. In addition to border patrol, Zagdanski worked joint missions with special forces units where they searched for illegal firearms; he was also part of many other night missions that led to the arrests of wanted terrorists and people in question.

His time leading troops inspired him to go to the Small Tactics Leadership Course, where he was selected to become a squad leader and was later put in charge of eight soldiers.

“During one of my other roles, I taught as an instructor at the very same leadership school that I went to,” he said. “This was truly a life-changing experience as through long nights, and early mornings I learned a lot about myself, about leadership, and about how much potential we truly have.”

After his military contract expired, he flew home to the United States. In the fall of 2020, six months after returning home, he enrolled at MCCC as a Criminal Justice major. Due to the pandemic, he completed all of his coursework online.

“My family joked that the first time I stepped on campus was for graduation,” he said.

During his time at MCCC, Zagdanski rediscovered his love of history, starting with U.S. History I with History Assistant Professor Dr. Catherine Parzynski.

“I would ask for external reading material from the teacher and saw myself buying diaries of Marcus Aurelius, Henry David Thoreau, and Emerson,” he said. “As someone who had a diary in the military, I was drawn to other people’s words and views from the past as it helped me feel like I was there alongside them, seeing what they had seen.”

He followed that course with U.S. History II and then Ancient History as an elective with Professor Powell, where he found himself watching many of the same documentaries he watched as a child. He said he enjoyed learning about the foundations of various societies and religions.

Overall, his experience at MCCC was extremely positive.

“I really enjoyed it. I had high quality instructors and courses. It was a very good experience overall,” he said. “It was very rewarding. I had to work very hard for my grades and ended up doing OK.”

This fall he’s transferring to Penn State University as a Criminal Justice major and History minor.

“I am also planning on participating in the ROTC program where I will surely use the life lessons and the reason why I decided to further my education in history is not only because of my love for it but because I think it will be an integral part of where I tend to apply myself,” he said. “While it is true that in any profession history could be useful, I think that looking at both the criminal justice system and the military that there is a specific affinity that relates to the discipline of history. So, ultimately through my experience, knowledge, and love for history I hope to better shape the people and places that I become involved in.”

Faculty Support

Grants for faculty projects, equipment and technology are made possible by people like you.

Montco’s faculty members are dedicated to helping our students achieve bright, productive futures. They come from a variety of backgrounds, including academia, business, health care, the arts and industry. Well-schooled and equally well-traveled, they bring a range of work and life experiences to the classroom. Understanding the value of a real-world skill set, our faculty not only share their expertise but also assist you in gaining your own hands-on experiences and knowledge.

Watch how your support is making Montco a place where faculty, staff and community members can gather to explore meaningful, educational experiences, workforce solutions and cultural opportunities.

Program Support

Support is given for enrichment activities and financial resources for other college programs and activities.

Because of you, Montco can accommodate a wide range of clubs, athletics, art events and other student-driven activities students can meet new people, make friends, broaden their horizons and just have fun.

Jared Drabick found an opportunity to be a dual enrollment student through his high school and decided he should have a goal in mind instead of taking classes haphazardly. Since then, he has become a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member and regularly participates in the programs and activities around campus. You help create the quality education and enriching environment that students, like Jared, can learn and grow from.

Read more of Jared's story

Jared Drabick, 18, is in the final stretch of two significant educational milestones. As a senior at Boyertown Area High School, he’s rounding out his final year with his graduation set to take place on June 3. But before that happens, Drabick wore his first cap and gown to Montgomery County Community College’s Commencement on May 19, where he graduated magna cum laude and received an Associate Degree in Business Administration.

“He earned his associate degree before he gets his high school diploma,” said Jared’s mother, Wendy Moyer-Drabick. “This is awesome and I’m very proud of him – he put a lot of work into it.”

Moyer-Drabick, who is a Computer Science Senior Lecturer at MCCC where she has worked for the past 25 years, discussed how a conversation during a Christmas vacation in 2019 eventually led to Drabick’s dual graduation three years later.

“We started talking about college, and he asked if he could take a class at Montco just to see what it’s like, so he took an Intro to Business,” Moyer-Drabick said.

Eventually they learned of a dual enrollment opportunity through his high school and decided he should have a goal in mind instead of taking classes haphazardly.

“There is a list of approximately 25 classes, and they have an agreement between two community colleges,” she said, adding MCCC was one of them. “I asked him to think about how his classes could fit together if he was going to eventually get a degree and since he has always been interested in going into business, we used that as our template.”

Through hard work and determination to get his degree, which involved many weekends being devoted to homework, Drabick will be headed to Syracuse University in the fall.

“It’s bittersweet because I really do like high school and enjoy it, but I’m excited for everything,” he said. “I’m most excited for college and the new opportunities.”

Drabick’s current dual enrollment at both his high school and MCCC has given him an opportunity to get a taste of what’s to come when he attends a four-year college.

“Taking classes at Montco has given me a really good insight on what it’s like,” he said. “I’m excited to step into that fully.

He said his experience at MCCC is what convinced him that college would be a good fit for him.

“I had this weird idea in my head that I’m not going to like it,” Drabick said. “When I took classes in the subjects I enjoy, I was like, ‘oh wow, this is actually really cool, and I actually really enjoyed learning about it.’”

One of his favorite courses at MCCC was his Business Law class, which was one of the first classes he took when he began the Dual Enrollment Program. He had to juggle his online MCCC classes with his full high school course load on top of other involvements that included marching band and the school musical, in addition to being an Eagle Scout.

Drabick, who is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for community colleges, has gotten used to people asking him how he pulled off this dual-degree accomplishment. He credits keeping a strict schedule that has enabled him to manage everything, but there were also times when it could be overwhelming keeping up with everything.

“There was a time when I was taking four classes at Montco, plus my high school courses and still being involved in everything I’m involved in at school,” he said. “I never felt to the point, ‘I can’t do this.’

Drabick, who was accepted into a dual major in the schools of communications  and business at Syracuse, plans to pursue his interest in Film/TV production and management. He also intends to pursue a minor in theater.

“It’s something I’ve always liked, and I feel like I have a business background now, so I’m not dead in the water if something doesn’t work out in the future,” Drabick said.

He said his teachers have expressed excitement over him getting his degree and high school diploma between this and next month.

“The few teachers who I have, who know about the dual enrollment, think it’s very cool,” Drabick said.

Special Initiatives & Capitol Projects

Your impact enhances special initiatives that ensure our campuses are effectively designed for the evolving needs of our community.

One of these special initiatives for our entire community, is the Challenger Learning Center at Montco Pottstown. We’re excited to offer three unique, hands-on learning opportunities for students and teachers alike, in-person simulation missions, virtual missions, classroom adventures and astronaut camp.

Watch how children and adults are able to experience firsthand the wonders of science and other STEM subjects.

“I view the scholarship that MCCC awarded me as an investment in my potential. It was important for me to pay it forward to the next generation of students and the school when I had the chance to do so.”

Dan Kunze ’06, MCCC graduate and donor

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