Alumni Corner

Lauralee Norris-Graamans

Hearing from Alumni is such a treat! For many, graduation marks the beginning of their life path.  So many changes and so rapidly.  This is the case with Lauralee Norris-Graamans.  The interview began with my comment about her ease with public speaking.

I started attending Oregon Coast Community College in 2014 through the Early College program while attending Newport High School.  By the time I was a senior, I was already a full time OCCC student.  I really loved the freedom of being able to take courses online and learn about a variety of subjects.  It was a great way for me to explore options while working toward the Oregon transfer degree.

When it came time to decide where to go to college, I applied to every scholarship available.  My family was concerned abut being able to afford college.  I will never forget the day I received the letter in the mail from the OCCC Foundation notifying me that I was receiving a scholarship.  I walked into the house with the letter, held it up to my mother and said, “I can go. I will be able to afford college!”  Receiving that letter changed the course of my life.  I will be forever grateful to the Foundation for believing in me and investing in my future.

During my time at OCCC, I was part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) Club, Journalism Club and the Choir.  By being in the Journalism Club, I was able to develop my skills in writing and learned how to create a podcast.  Participating in Choir led me to my now husband.  In 2016, I took an online Public Speaking class at OCCC.  That is how I got started in the Yaquina Toastmasters Club.

OCCC is the first place I shared my photography.  In 2014, I fell in love with taking nature and landscape photos around the coast.  I first submitted artwork to the OCCC Literary Journal, “Waves.”

The OCCC Foundation Art Show last fall was the first time I exhibited my art and it sold!  It was such an amazing opportunity both for my photography to be seen and to give back to the OCCC Foundation! I loved being able to see my pieces exhibited both online and in person. I was honored to be able to give back to the Foundation that had such an impact on me.  It was a way for me to thank the donors that changed the course of my life.

In 2017, I graduated from OCCC with an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree and earned an Associate of Science in 2019.  After graduating from OCCC, I transferred to Eastern Oregon University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  My family lives in the area and I decided to stay in Lincoln County to start a Rover pet care business.  I also work for Bateman Funeral Home as their marketing specialist.

I would like to say to fellow alums and current students, remember where you came from and recognize the growth that you made.  You may find that this journey changed your life in more ways than you realize.  OCCC changed my life and it will yours.

To donors or prospective donors, thank you for investing in the future of our community and the lives of so many students. Your support and belief in OCCC students makes a big impact.

Thank you, Lauralee, for sharing your inspiring  story.  We hope your fellow alumni will share theirs by contacting the OCCC Foundation office.

Look for Lauralee’s art at the 2nd Annual OCCCF Art Show in the fall.  For more details, contact Andi Spirtos in the Foundation office at