For half a century, Cecil College has been transforming lives through learning and creating career pathways for county residents. For one young lady from Perryville, choosing Cecil College has opened doors to a passion of service she could not have foreseen.
“I love working with my students, and that wouldn’t have been possible if not for Cecil College. It afforded me a chance to discover what I wanted to do and the classes were as challenging and rigorous as any four-year college,” said Dezzarae Crosler, who is a Special Education teacher focused on language and literature for sixth graders at Glasgow Middle School in the Fairfax County Public School District in Virginia.
Crosler, the daughter of Ronald and Quinna Crosler of Perryville, is excited and passionate when talking about her students. She works with more than 100 special-needs students daily, specializing in autistic children. She has three co-taught classes along with two self-contained and one reading intervention class.
“It is exciting to be a young-adult in front of a classroom who is taking what I learned at Cecil College and Towson University, and putting it into practice,” said Crosler, a Perryville High School graduate.
Crosler attended Cecil College from August 2012 through May 2015 with the assistance of the Pythian Sisters Scholarship. She went on to complete her bachelor’s degree at the Harford County Campus of Towson University, where she excelled and was recruited for her position even before graduating. She graduated with dual degrees in Special Education and Elementary Education.
“If not for Cecil College, I don’t know if I would have accomplished everything I have. The faculty, staff, and students gave me the confidence and the time to discover what is best for me,” said Crosler.
Crosler entered Cecil College as a general study major with an eye on law school. After working a semester at a local law firm, she realized practicing law wasn’t for her. While exploring other avenues, she began talking with education faculty only to discover a real love for teaching and helping others.
“The first semester I went to Cecil College I didn’t get involved. But then, I started talking to my professors and other students. They opened my eyes to all the possibilities and the benefits of getting involved. Attending Cecil College and living at home relieved the pressure of being on my own. It gave me unique opportunities that I don’t think I would have found at a four-year college,” said Crosler.
And get involved she did. Crosler joined the Student Leadership Council, worked as a Cecil Student Ambassador in admissions, and presented to the Board of Trustees. She also traveled to Annapolis as a student advocate to address state lawmakers on the importance of supporting community colleges.
Back in the classroom, her elementary education instructors became a significant influence on her career path and desire to be an even strong advocate for education.
“We were taught by a lot of adjuncts who came from a teaching background. They worked in elementary and middle schools and were able to provide more than just theory. They gave me insight on what to expect, what to look forward to, and how I can make a difference in the lives of so many,” said Crosler, who turned 23 this year. “I always tell people going to Cecil College was the best decision I made and it opened doors that otherwise wouldn’t have been open for me. I am now a huge advocate for the community college.”
The other aspect of community colleges she feels passionate about promoting is affordability. While her co-workers struggle to pay their student loans, she appreciates how attending Cecil College helped her get established in her career without significant debt.
“I don’t think I would have been able to afford to move to and live in Virginia if I had all the debt that comes with going to a four-year college right out of high school,” said Crosler. She is hoping to have the opportunity to come back and talk with Cecil County high school students about the benefits of going to college locally.