A photo of Colin an individual that has shared his success story with ISK.

Talented tech student quietly excels at overcoming challenges

Colin has smiling eyes and a polite manner, and he doesn’t talk a lot. But underneath that shy exterior is a determined young man with a remarkable talent for computers –– and a life goal that’s very much within his reach: to graduate from Kalamazoo Valley Community College with a degree in information technology support. “I’m going to be working on computers and fixing computers,” he reports. His confidence is well-founded: Currently, he gets all As in his classes, earning upper 90s and 100s on his work. He’s also on the Dean’s List!

Colin’s pursuit of higher education demonstrates his self-motivation. He initiated the process himself and handled school registration all on his own. It’s the same focus that makes him a popular employee at his job with Qdoba, where he’s accumulated an excellent attendance record in his nearly three years working there. He says, “I always get to work on time. I’m almost never late. And never miss a day.”

Colin is most proud of his academic achievement, which he attributes to his ability to focus: “I study a lot.” Yet he has many more accomplishments to feel good about, especially when it comes to overcoming challenges. He successfully manages his Type 1 diabetes today, after struggling with it in the past. He hasn’t needed to enter psychiatric care for several years, and he has successfully avoided involvement with the criminal justice system, which was a previous issue for him. Colin credits his supports coordinator, Angie, along with KVCC staff, for helping him thrive.

Angie marvels at how well Colin is handling life. “He’s doing AMAZING!” she says, adding that he even excels at caring for his pets: a turtle and a tortoise (named Michelangelo and Raphael, after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) plus a pair of bearded dragons.

Asked if he’s enjoying life, Colin grins and offers a simple “yeah.” He may be a man of few words, but you can tell he means what he says –– and that he’ll reach any further goals he sets for himself.