‘Everything gets easier after the first class’

WCC graduate Marcel Henderson (left) works with Chris Young, a member of the group study session Henderson runs for new computer programming students. (Photo by CJ South)

WCC graduate Marcel Henderson (left) works with Chris Young, a member of the group study session Henderson runs for new computer programming students. (Photo by CJ South)

Henderson goes from dropout to graduate to small business owner

Washtenaw Community College alumnus and soon-to-be Eastern Michigan University graduate Marcel Henderson has come a long way.

In between completing his final semester at EMU and developing web applications and running a group study session at WCC for new computer programming students, it’s hard to imagine how Henderson finds the time to operate his new business, Go Time! Technologies.

Even harder to imagine is a time when Henderson didn’t take his studies or future seriously.

Henderson first enrolled at WCC eight years ago but soon dropped out. He tried his hand at nursing and plumbing careers but quickly found that neither field suited him.

“I didn’t do well my first semester,” he said. “Right after I graduated from high school, my father died and I think that was a big part of why I wasn’t focused. I just wasn’t ready. I always liked computers, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

After taking a few years off, his 4-year-old daughter, Natalie, inspired him to give school another chance in 2012.

“My family grew up without a lot of money, and I didn’t want my daughter going through that,” Henderson said. “I knew the only way to do that was to go back to school and find a career I was passionate about.”

At 26, Henderson came back more determined than before. The first thing he did upon returning? Sign up for the same computer science course he failed the first time around.

“I didn’t have any problems the second time I took the class,” he said with a smile.

Seeing how passionate his instructors were about computer science was all Henderson needed to know he was heading in the right direction.

“The professors at WCC are unmatched. They over-prepared me in many ways,” Henderson said. “The smaller classes and hands-on learning gave me a jumpstart that other students didn’t have.”

Henderson earned an associate degree in computer science with a concentration in Java programming and graduated from WCC with an impressive 3.9 GPA. Now he’s on track to graduate from EMU this year with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

He looks forward to growing his business, Go Time! Technologies, with his business partner Matt Bolin and building a solid clientele that will eventually allow him to work from any-where, including the beach.

Go Time! Technologies has a device that uses a thermometer that’s able to send data readings on medical tissue samples from the thermometer through the internet to the website they’re designing.

Many departments around campus played an integral role in Henderson’s success, including the Entrepreneurship Center.

Like many new business owners, Henderson had no idea where to begin, but through one of the Center’s free workshops, he was able to establish a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).

“I know a lot about computer science; I know nothing about business,” he added with a laugh. “It’s great to have people who are willing to help you.”

Henderson’s story is a classic example of “it’s how you finish that counts.” Nevertheless, he’s grateful to have started his educational journey at WCC and wishes more students under-stood the value of a community college education.

He also had some encouraging words for other non-traditional students: “It’s never too late to follow your passion. Everything gets easier after the first class. Don’t give up.”

This story originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of On The Record.

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