Janie Braxton Player
Janie Braxton Player never expected to be able to afford a college education, but a chance encounter changed all that.
One day, while using a neighborhood store’s pay phone to search for employment, a young man overheard her conversations and approached her with the prospect of “going to a college program where you can earn lots of money.” A single mother in her 30s with two children to support, she explained that she did not have money for college.
But the man was a Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation representative who arranged for her to take the appropriate entrance tests and apply for admission to Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®). The program paid for all of Player’s classes, books, transportation and day care. She, on the other hand, had to supply the hard work and dedication.
Every day, she would pick her children up from school and look after them until they went to bed. Then she would start on her classwork, studying for a degree in dietary technology.
“I was a full-time student,” she said. “It was tough, but I made it. Praise the Lord!”
Player graduated from Tri-C with an Associate of Science degree in Dietary Technology in 1973.
While at Tri-C, she completed her dietary technology field experience at Montefiore Nursing Home, which led to a job offer as a dietary supervisor – her first job in the dietary field, which she accepted a month before graduation.
“My job was to create employee schedules, supervise the kitchen, place food orders, make changes on the menu, and interview the residents for their likes and dislikes of food,” Player said. “I had meetings with employees and staff to make sure our operation ran smoothly. It was a beautiful place to work. The residents made me feel very warm and special.”
Player later married, moved to a different part of the city and spent time working in another profession before retiring, but now – at the age of 80 – she still feels that her life, as she knows it, began at Tri-C. To this day, she still proudly shows off her diploma and class ring.
She fondly remembers her time as a student at the Metropolitan Campus – her professors, tutors and all of the other support she received.
Tri-C helped motivate me to get started in life, which direction I wanted to go in,” she said. “I always wanted a college education. I was the first in my family to earn a college degree. If you want to get a great start in life, I recommend attending a community college like Tri-C.”