Lorraine Roberson remembers taking her first accounting class with Professor Anthony Rondinelli at Springfield Technical Community College.
“I just got hooked on it. I said, ‘I want to be an accounting major!’” said Roberson.
What hooked her on accounting?
“The math. I just love the math,” she said.
Roberson said she got a kick out of working with the QuickBooks accounting software and completing the journal entries. Rondinelli teaches Quickbooks in his computerized accounting class.
“That class is specifically for students who want to learn the software side of accounting,” Rondinelli said.
Roberson graduated in the spring 2020 with an associate degree in business administration – accounting. She’s now enrolled at Elms College where she is pursuing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She hopes to get her certified public accounting (CPA) license.
“I liked the community and the teachers at STCC,” she said.
“Lorraine was one of my very best students,” Rondinelli added. “She took one of my accounting classes. I was able to get her part time (accounting) work with the Springfield Diocese. The Diocese was very happy that she knew Excel and QuickBooks. That’s what they use. So those two courses (income tax and accounting) have been instrumental within our business program in helping students to get employment.”
Rondinelli points out that his classes help connect students with employers in the area. He teaches an income tax class and has invited Steve Kowalski, a Liberty Tax Service franchisee, to speak.
“He’s been very kind to come to my classes, do a presentation for my students and talk about what Liberty Tax can do for their careers, whether it’s part time work or whether they decide to take it further,” Rondinelli said. “We appreciate companies that try to hire our students.”
Kowalski over the years has been a community partner to STCC. He recruited interns from STCC and helped them learn the ropes of tax preparation.
“Going into the tax season, they would be the people who hit the ground running the best,” he said .
Kowalski visits Rondinelli’s classes with a goal to open students’ eyes to tax prep career opportunities. He will hire STCC students to help prepare tax returns.
But he also wants them to think big. He hopes to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in students. Kowalski said anyone with skills and talent who works for him can achieve success. He encourages them to open their own franchise, where they can make good money. That’s what he did several years ago, and now owns four franchises.
“The people who have skills rise to the top,” he said. “It’s very quickly obvious who’s good at this and who likes it.”