Racquel Henderson Develops RelationshipsMar 28, 2022 05:21PM ● By Wendy Townley
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Metropolitan Community College Success Navigator Racquel Henderson develops deep relationships with her students. Her mentoring work is designed to walk in lockstep with students who land on the MCC campus from a variety of backgrounds: students who are first generation, low income, and those just beginning their transition to college.
“My role is intensive academic support to help students reach their goals,” Henderson explained. “And it looks different for every student.”
Henderson will host tutor sessions twice a week for some of her students. For others, it’s keeping in touch via email or text message. Henderson also uses in-home visits to maintain a level of trust and partnership with her MCC students.
It all involves more than homework and exam prep. Henderson will connect her dedicated caseload of students with resources at MCC and in the Omaha community, which can extend to counseling and even mental health services. No resource is off the table, Henderson explained.
“I am so thankful to have Racquel support students at MCC and really, the entire community,” said Sheila Schoessler, executive director of MCC’s Career and Academic Skills Center. “She is ideal for her role because she pushes people to be their best and never settle for mediocracy. I love that when she works with students she learns as much as she can about them and builds a relationship. She wants to make sure students are known and valued for who they are.”
Henderson’s work at MCC and beyond hasn’t gone unnoticed. Her list of accolades include the Omaha Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Omahans Award in 2021; the Greater Omaha Chamber Change Maker Award in 2021; the International Women’s Day Award in 2019; and the Young, Black, and Influential Award in 2017.
It was through the YBI Award that Henderson met Ashlei Spivey, who developed the annual recognition opportunity in 2017.
“Racquel works in creating transformation without any acknowledgement. Her story, her passion, and her character is young, Black, and influential,” Spivey explained. “She uses her experiences to uplift and support others so they don’t feel alone or have to navigate the issues that are in the way.”
Schoessler added: “When Racquel shares her journey with others, she shares the opportunity for greatness to come to each of their lives. She reminds people, including myself, that each of our lives will come with struggles. That helps us grow as a person and determine what is most important in our lives. The way in which she lives her life and gives back to others continually inspires me and others.”
Henderson holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UNO, and is pursuing a master’s degree in the same program. She said the formula for a successful life involves a variety of factors. But hard work is just the beginning.
“Success is a culmination of things. With the right support, resources, and encouragement, we can reach our full potential,” she said. “I try to be that for other people.”
Visit mccneb.edu for more information.
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2022 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.