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President’s Weekly Messages to Students

Chase the waterfall.

 April 24, 2023

Dear KCC Students,


I know it was TLC said “don’t go chasing waterfalls” but sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to do.


In 2006, I went to Brazil to my first international build with Habitat for Humanity.  I was assigned to room with someone I never met before. Her name was Cheryl and she was from the Maryland/ DC area.  She and I were about the same age, had the same interests and this was also her first build.  As a result of the build, became more than just roommates, we became friends. 


In the years that followed, we would travel and build together in El Salvador, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Our last build together was in 2015 in Indonesia and I remember vividly on our last night there, Cheryl who had always expressed her love for baking, baked the team a cake, and it was of course delicious. Although we are connected on Facebook and our phones, we haven't seen each other since then.  Last week on my way to DC for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Award Ceremony, I sent her a text message.  She was excited to hear I was in the area and invited me to come to her job the next day any time after 4am.   This worked for me because I had to be back for a reception at 11:30am.


For the past several years, Cheryl has been working at Miriam’s Kitchen, an organization dedicated to supporting people who are homeless.  She had a few different jobs before that working both for church and for a realtor.  One day she decided to volunteer at Miriam’s Kitchen where she is now the Executive Chef. In fact, it was her posting about her love for her work, that inspired me to set up a monthly donation to the organization. 


The next day, I was up and in an Uber by 6:30 am and we reunited with big hugs.  She took me to the kitchen and introduced me to the staff and I off-handedly asked if she needed any help.  She didn't miss a beat. Seconds later I had on an apron, a hair net and gloves.  I took my place at a station to serve alongside another volunteer by handing out condiments to the many men and women who because of Miriam’s Kitchen would be able to eat breakfast that morning. I was humbled that I had the opportunity to help. 


In 2015 when I posted this picture on Facebook of Cheryl and I in Indonesia, I captioned it "who said don't go chasing waterfalls". I am so happy Cheryl wasn't listening. She chased and captured the waterfall of her dreams. She always wanted to use her culinary skills and she has a heart for service and Miriam's Kitchen represents best of both worlds. I cannot tell you how proud I was to watch her in action and how inspired I am by the work that she does and the many lives that she has touched for the better.


KCC students, sometimes dreams have a strange way of falling into place.   Your dream may not actualize immediately, or in the way you envision it; just know that every experience you have is preparing you for what is meant for you.  Truth be told, sometimes what you eventually experience, may be bigger and better than what you dreamed of.  But what is most important is that you never give up on your dreams and never give up dreaming.


Here's to chasing and catching your waterfalls.


Have a great week!

-President Schrader

Chase the waterfall