Seniors Belinda Fischer and Khrystal DeMyers have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of BMCC’s 2008 graduating class.
Over the course of their academic careers at BMCC, both students have maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA while engaging in a varied array of extracurricular and community volunteer activities. Both grew up outside the United States and plan to continue their education at senior colleges this fall. But each has her own story to tell.
“A life-changing experience”
Born and raised in Austria, Fischer quit her job as a bookseller in 2005 and traveled to Guatemala to study Spanish.
“What was meant to be a month-long stay at a language school turned out to be a five-month trip through all of Central America,” she recalls.
In addition to gaining fluency in Spanish, Fischer volunteered for a nonprofit organization that supports education for children from poor families.
“Interacting with cultures so different from my own was a life-changing experience,” Fischer says. “I discovered that I had an affinity for ethnic and linguistic studies and global affairs.”
Fischer has begun working toward a degree in International Studies at City College.
“Ultimately, I hope to work as a professional mediator, negotiator and problem-solver,” she says.
Maintaining a balance
DeMyers, who was born in Canada and raised in St. Lucia, originally enrolled at BMCC as a computer science major.
“But I always had a passion for accounting — even during my high school years, and later, when I worked for the the National Insurance Corporation,” she says. “I actually tried my hand at a few other occupations, but always came back to accounting, and wound up changing my major to accounting at BMCC.”
Apart from her academic accomplishments, DeMyers has been very involved in the extracurricular life of the College and her community. She has served as a senator for the BMCC Student Government Association, chairperson of the House of Clubs, and president of the Fashion Media Arts Club. Last year, she was part of a group of BMCC students who traveled to New Orleans to assist with post-Katrina rebuilding efforts as part of Hands on New Orleans, a volunteer organization.
Not surprisingly, both Fischer and DeMyers are strong advocates for balancing academic life and extracurricular participation.
“Classwork is important, but if you don’t take advantage of the incredible extracurricular opportunities available at BMCC, you’re not getting a complete education,” Fischer says. Adds Fischer, “Obviously, getting an education is important. But it’s equally important to give back.”