Rogue Community College is proud to announce Lynn Eccleston as the 2020 recipient of the RCC Outstanding Citizen Award for distinguished service to the college and community.
Eccleston was recognized during the RCC Commencement on June 13.
Eccleston is principal of New Bridge High School in Grants Pass. This unique school is a partnership between the Three Rivers School District and Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility, run under the supervision of the Oregon Department of Education with support from the Oregon Youth Authority. New Bridge provides quality education opportunities to incarcerated youth, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in work and life.
Eccleston has linked arms with RCC since 2018 to offer her students dual credit opportunities, allowing them to earn college credit for courses taken at the high school. She has also collaborated with RCC to expand opportunities to students who have completed their GED or high school diploma, allowing them to work on college certificates and degrees.
“The work that Lynn is doing with this student population is life-changing,” said RCC President Cathy Kemper-Pelle. “It prepares these young men to reintegrate into society by giving them what is typically their first positive educational experience and the skills they need for employment in self-sustaining careers.”
Throughout her 30-year tenure as an educator, Eccleston has been driven to help underserved students reach their full potential by removing barriers to success. “Educational opportunities have a significant impact on my students,” she said. “Many of the students have limited exposure to education throughout their life. It took incarceration for many students to begin to value education and recognize their potential. It is so rewarding to see them engaged, learning, and realizing that they have so much to offer their communities when they transition out of closed custody.”
The proof is in the students’ response. Several are now enrolled in college classes, and one young man even earned a manufacturing certificate while still in high school. A student recently told Eccleston that, thanks to the educational opportunities available through RCC, he has become the person he never thought was possible. “It has given me purpose in life,” he said.