Bruce Oglat at John Wood Community College
Blazer Stories

In his own words: A message from Alumnus Bruce Oglat

The game of basketball led me to John wood Community College. As a teenager, I was recruited by Coach Hoyt to join the 2014-2015 basketball team.

There are many differences between Gabon and the American Midwest. Of course, they are on two different continents, the language is different, and it never snows in Gabon! One of the most obvious differences between my basketball experience there compared to Quincy was the involvement of the community for basketball, how invested the community is regarding sports activities. Basketball is more cultural here than back home.

I will always regard Coach Hoyt as the number one influence in my life during that time. His involvement in my transition to John Wood from Africa was tremendous. He walked beside me every step of the way, leading me in my adaptation process. He always made sure I did not need anything. During the holidays, I spent time with him and his family like one of their own. He always made sure I was keeping my grades up, and when I was struggling in a class, he would reach out and offer his personal time to help me. He would sign me up for summer classes and help me with class projects. This man made a huge impact on me. I see him as a mentor and a great role model in my life.

JWCC made me feel special. The teachers were incredibly helpful; they would give up considerable amounts of their free time to personally work with me. I remember specifically Miss Fredericks, my sociology teacher, Mrs. Cathy Stephen, my accounting teacher, and my English teacher Miss Miller, who has passed, rest in peace. I cannot named them all, but all of my instructors at some point made an impact in my life. The personal administrative was very nice and made my experience unique. John Wood gave me an incredible support system that I had never had in any school before. They provided me with every tool that I needed to succeed. Even when my athletic scholarship was terminated, John Wood still provided me with the Solar Fund scholarship, so I would be able to finish my classes and graduate. I deserve very little credit for all my accomplishments up until now, all I had and will always have is my desire to better myself alongside with my determination.

My most fond memories are centered on basketball, time with my teammates was precious, and we share so many stories and have many memories that will last forever. In addition, of course the day I graduated.

There were many challenges that came along with navigating a new culture; perhaps one of the biggest was learning a new language. It was very essential for my personal development, and my potential could not have be expressed freely without it.

The values that the school represents and the great support systems they place around their students is incredible, and being a part of such an institution makes me so proud.  John wood equipped me with new skills that I used alongside my natural ability to connect with people. They laid in me the foundation I needed to succeed in my next step, which was further studies at Hannibal LaGrange University.

John Wood paved the path that brought me here to Quincy. Since then I have built many relationships with some wonderful people that have made me feel at home. It would be very hard for me to leave this community, because there are so many things here in Quincy that I am now attached to and value deeply. This city is now part of my story, and continues to shape who I am becoming, I am very grateful for it.