Message from the Director


 WINTER 2019

Photo by  on  Unsplash

The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” —Gary Zukav

As I reflect on this quote and as the solstice passes with the days just a little longer now, I am reminded of our recent December graduates whose future college classes are just ahead of them, and of our team having prepared them well this past semester.  Just like the monarch butterfly, they have flown from the comforts of our TTC program to the bigger world of the Community College with so much ahead of them, some things expected and yet many things still to learn. I wish them all well in their new journey.

As each TTC program ends, a new one begins with the same hopes, the same dreams, and the same expectations that the new group of students will learn and benefit from the experiences that TTC provides for them.  As we begin a new year, TTC is a new beginning for so many. It is always exciting to plan for a new semester, having learned from the past one and by creating new opportunities to support our pending students. It is also a time of letting go, knowing that TTC has provided its best for our graduates, and looking forward once again to supporting and educating our new students. Before they know it, January will be here, and they will be using Google Classroom, submitting assignments, and texting me, making sure they understood they correctly.  So it begins, again- - how to teach and how to learn, too, and how to support and build a new community of learners who are like the butterfly, extracting themselves from the unknown into the verdant pastures of TTC.

Welcome to our new class!


Marie Crecca-Romero

FALL 2018

yellow leaves.jpg

Autumn, also known to many as fall, is a time of transition from summer to the cooler temperatures of the season. It is also a time to become aware of the natural beauty that surrounds us as the leaves begin to change colors from green to bright yellow, to red, to orange, and ultimately, fall to the grown to enrich the soil. The days are still warm, while the nights turn cooler, allowing for ease of sleep and clearing the mind of stress. It is also a time to begin again.  It is a time to nurture ourselves and make plans to start a new journey.

For our June graduates, so many have continued on at CCRI, working toward their college degrees and using the skills learned to continue their journey. For our new students, who are also in transition, they wonder just how they will manage to take three classes, complete their work responsibilities, and still have time for family and friends. However, in the process, they learn how to transition into successful students. According to Google, the term transition is the process of changing from one state or condition to another, just as the falling leaves. For our students, some make this change easily while other still need to understand the realities and expectations of becoming successful college students.  

Through our supportive community of learners, our students undergo a period of transition, which with determination and hard work, will ultimately lead to their college success. They challenge themselves to be more and prove that they can do and be whatever they intend.

Enjoy the beauty of fall as you transition into a new condition.

Marie Crecca-Romero

SUMMER 2018!

Jamestown, RI Photo by  Aaron Mello  on  Unsplash

Jamestown, RI Photo by Aaron Mello on Unsplash

For many people in the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice, which took place on June 21, marks the beginning of summer, a time for fun and relaxing in the sun. But, for many, such as our ambitious students, it is a time to take summer classes and attain a few more credits toward their degrees. Many of our TTC graduates take summer classes at the community college and should be applauded for their ambition. It is no small feat to accomplish a full semester in just six weeks when they could be relaxing in the sun at one of Rhode Island's beautiful beaches!

At TTC, a new cohort of students will start their road to a college degree in July when the summer is in full swing. Every Saturday, instead of a day at the beach, they drive to our Learning Center in Woonsocket to begin their college journey. Kudos to them! To me, a day at the beach is a tough thing to give up! However, doing so marks the commitment and dedication our students show as they move forward toward their goals.

If you missed the chance to apply to our July program, don’t worry. Info sessions will start up again in August. You can apply online and will be notified as to when you can learn about our next semester that starts in January.  

Many congratulations to our new TTC graduates!

Happy summer!

Marie Crecca-Romero


Happy spring, 2018!

Finally, we feel the warmth of spring although a bit later than we’d like.  As I look outside, the beautiful yellow daffodils have finally bloomed, such a bright spot in the season of new beginnings. As they lay beneath the soil during the long, cold winter, they always commit to blooming again.

So, what does it mean to commit to something? According to Google, commitment is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. RIRAL TTC is committed to the cause of serving its students who are compelled toward higher education and who need some support to follow their dreams of enrolling in college. In turn, the students who do enroll in the program are committed to getting their college degree and benefit in many ways from the support TTC provides. As they form a cohort of learners who band together to study as part of a group, that commitment grows stronger.  
The benefits of working together towards a common goal are many. Enrolling in college takes not only commitment but the determination to succeed and much hard work. Sometimes students feel overwhelmed, as the academic workload and necessary study time takes hold and competes with family and job responsibilities. This is where the cohort experience is of most importance. As students bond into a community of learners, they motivate, support, and encourage each other’s individual progress and learn the true meaning of commitment, not only to themselves but to the TTC program as well.
Additionally, working together as a group provides a dynamic that sets the stage for the students to not only understand their strengths and weaknesses but also to build upon their knowledge and skills, which encourages them to stay committed to their common goal of that college diploma. As the students move forward, they learn to function in such a way that the rigors of college require... if they stay committed. 
As we move from spring into summer, knowing that another semester will unfold, I congratulate our current graduates and invite new students to learn about RIRAL TTC. As another cohort is established, it will enable them to learn and to study in a supportive and motivating community of learners!
Happy spring and soon to be summer!
Marie Crecca-Romero


It has been just over one year since we launched our new TTC website. Thank you to the many people who have checked us out to learn what the TTC program offers. Clicking the APPLY BUTTON on the top right corner has made it easy for us to receive your contact information, so we can invite you to attend one of our information sessions. Technology definitely has its benefits!

This past December, we celebrated yet another graduating class and are currently preparing to applaud another group of amazing students this June. It is such an honor to be part of so many students’ lives, as they prepare for and follow their dreams of a getting college education.

Now as we finally feel the warmth of the spring sunshine, we begin to see new life appear all around us, and as I write this blog, spring has rapidly turned to summer with 95 degree temperatures in the air!  The seasonal changes also bring new beginnings for our TTC students; change and a sense of hope happens each time they make the commitment to enroll in the TTC program. By doing so, they create a foundation for success for their personal, academic, and career choice, which is the primary mission of TTC.

As more people learn about our amazing program that supports students’ academic endeavors, more lives will be transformed. It is our belief that higher education is truly the key to a valued and successful career.

Happy spring and summer!

Marie Crecca-Romero

Thank you Sidonie for sharing your success story!


With each new year, we have an opportunity to reflect on TTC.  We look back to 2000 when the program first began as a pilot program and realize just how much the program has grown. It is also a time to plan the future, as more and more students continue to come through our doors.

Each semester, as we say goodbye to our recent graduates, we are introduced to a new group of students with new hopes and dreams for a better life. It is always encouraging to know that TTC continues to change lives for the better. We have enrolled hundreds of students over the years, many of whom have gone on to completed their Associate’s Degree at CCRI, transferred to a four year university for a Bachelor’s Degree, and for some, continued on for a Master’s. 

Justina Fermin, RIEOC, Keynote Speaker

This past December, TTC graduated eleven students who are now settled into their next semester at CCRI.  They are excited to continue their college journey, and they are motivated to begin their new courses, for they know TTC prepared them well.

We continue to hear from our graduates over the years and are humbled with the credit given to TTC, as a means to reach their goals and dreams. 

At graduation this past December, Sidoinie Gbazale, a former TTC graduate, addressed the group and told her story as an immigrant from West Africa who was seeking the American dream.  Her story was truly inspiring. When Sidonie first arrived in the United States, she spoke no English, but she quickly began to learn the language.  She was determined to make her dream of a college degree come true in her new homeland.  After taking numerous ESL classes, she enrolled in the National External Diploma Program (NEDP) and received her high school diploma within six months.  Hearing about how TTC would continue to support her as she began college at CCRI, she enrolled immediately and was a model student.  Five years later, she graduated with honors from the nursing program at CCRI, with R.N. proudly at the end of her name.

2016 TTC Graduates

Sidonie’s journey was not without struggle, like many of our students, but her hard work, determination, and dream of making a better life for her family drove her to succeed.  In her speech to our graduates, Sidonie quoted Tommy Hilfiger who once said, "The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive, and passion, it's possible to achieve the American dream."  She believed this with all her heart, as so many others have come to understand. Hard work, persistence, and the passion to succeed, in fact, will enable you to reach your goals. 

It is that same hard work, determination, and passion to help others that the staff at TTC is honored to be part of so many lives.  Good luck to all our graduates . . . and thank you for choosing TTC to begin your college journey. Continue to work hard to make your dreams come true!


On behalf of the RIRAL Transition to College staff, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our new website. I am especially grateful to Kim Libby for her expertise in website design and for her dedication to making our new website a reality. Whether you are a current student, alumni, employee, mentor, or community partner, we hope you enjoy perusing through the site.

Our primary mission is dedicated to helping students reach their personal, academic, and career goals through the pursuit of higher education. Since 2000, our TTC Program has served hundreds of adult students, many of whom have gone on to graduate the Community College of Rhode Island and transfer to four-year colleges. 

As Program Director, it is a privilege for me to have worked with so many dedicated teachers, mentors, professionals, and determined students. Together we have turned dreams into realities. 

I hope you enjoy our new website as much as we have enjoyed creating it. If you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Marie Crecca-Romero