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QCC Has Become A Legacy for the Ralph Family

February, 2021
  • From left: Laurinda, Thomas, Elena, Joseph and James Ralph.
    From left: Laurinda, Thomas, Elena, Joseph and James Ralph.

Quinsigamond Community College is a familiar place to the Ralph family, of Webster. All five siblings have taken classes (or are currently taking classes) at QCC. Laurinda is the oldest, followed closely by brothers Thomas, Joseph and James. Youngest sibling Elena is following in her older siblings footsteps. She is the last to attend the college and is currently taking online courses.

“We all started taking classes before we could drive. QCC allowed us to be close enough to home to take public transportation or to receive rides. The small campus was more comfortable for us to manage, as we started attending as high school students. And the online options allowed us to take classes from home, as well,” Laurinda said.

The siblings said they chose QCC because of the “amazing faculty and staff,” as well as the support they received when they had an issue. The family used a variety of support services that included the student center and library, as well as utilizing faculty office hours.

“Office hours were pivotal to helping me understand the content being taught and allowed me to forge friendly relationships with several of the professors,” Thomas said.

“I loved writing for the Open Door newspaper and I had a lot of great professors. My art professor (Art 131, Spring 2012) and I wrote a grant to get easels for the school, which was a really amazing experience for me,” Laurinda said.

One faculty member who is very familiar with the Ralph family is Mathematics Professor, Steve Zona, who has had four of the five family members (Laurinda was the only one who did not take a course with Professor Zona).

“All are hard-working, motivated students, all of whom got A's in both my college algebra and pre-calculus classes (Elena completed the college algebra class and is presently in the pre-calculus class).  Often in online classes, I need to send out some nudges here and there, because students do not see me every week, and, thus, they can put the online class on the back burner. However, this did not happen with the Ralph family. If anything, they were ahead of where they needed to be during any week of the semester,” Professor Zona said.

According to mom, Christina Ralph, Professor Zona made quite an impression on her and her children as well.

“I have recommended him to other high school students taking QCC courses and know that several have gone on to take his courses,” Ms. Ralph said, making sure to add the valuable assistance the family received from Senior Enrollment Counselor Rebecca Brownstein.

“Rebecca Brownstein has been amazing, year after year. She is knowledgeable, helpful and approachable.  She has helped the last four kids get their testing and get registered for classes,” Ms. Ralph continued.

“It was my pleasure to provide advising and enrollment services to members of the Ralph family at the QCC Southbridge location over the years, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to help them realize their academic and lifelong goals. I am so pleased to have made such a positive impact on their lives,” Ms. Brownstein said.

While only one of the Ralph siblings is currently attending QCC, the impact it has had on all of them is significant.

“I went on to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and graduated with degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering and International and Global Studies. The credits I earned while at QCC were instrumental in allowing me to pursue dual majors at WPI,” said Thomas, an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.

Younger James is also currently attending WPI, and Joseph graduated UMass Amherst on May 2020.

Yet for older sister Laurinda, the lure of QCC is still strong.

“I now have my Master’s degree but hope to attend QCC within the next few semesters to increase my American Sign Language (ASL) skills,” Laurinda said. “And I think that is the best thing about QCC. It was a great fit for me when I was in high school and is still a great fit for me after graduate school, because it offers such a wide variety of awesome classes. I really loved QCC. I had really amazing professors and learned a lot.”

The siblings have a bit of advice for anyone considering attending QCC.

“QCC has amazing faculty, a beautiful campus, and great classes at an affordable price,” Laurinda said.

“The faculty at QCC are friendly and want to help you succeed.  Take the time after class to speak with them and be friendly. The relationships you make will pay dividends in the future,” Thomas said.

Younger brother James said that he recommends attending QCC.

“I attended and some of my friends have also gone there, and I have only heard good things about the college. I also suggest asking lots of questions of your teachers. They are extremely friendly and also very helpful. If you decide to go to QCC, I don't think you will regret your decision,” he said.  

Elena gives high praise to the professors, adding,” is very accommodating if you take online classes.”

Ms. Ralph said attending QCC was a great way to save money on college expenses.

“If a student isn’t sure about college, they can try a few classes before deciding whether to attend a four-year program.  In our case, all the kids have credits that have transferred to their four-year college. It allowed Laurinda to take extra classes to explore her interests at UMass Dartmouth, allowed Thomas to get a double major at WPI, and allowed Joseph to graduate UMass Amherst in three years ("which is a huge cost savings,” she said. “I am also of the belief that taking QCC classes has helped the kids get into college, since their success at QCC is a good indication that they will be successful in their chosen 4-year college program.”

By the look of things, it appears Ms. Ralph is right.