Student Success Story – Elise McClure
Elise McClure was a San Francisco
resident who attended Cañada College between 2012 - 2014. She was working
towards her Associate’s degree in Business Administration. While she was a
full-time student at Cañada College, she was also working full-time as a
manager at a restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District, and had a part
time job on top of that. In 2015 she
relocated to Melbourne, Florida, with her partner Ryan Verzaal (who also
attended Cañada College) and they opened up Backwater. Their restaurant
has become the area’s premiere brunch restaurant, and they are currently
exploring opening up a second location. Elise McClure has worked very hard and
accomplished a lot in a short amount of time since she was a student at Cañada
You became a small business owner and opened Backwater
after attending Cañada College, tell us about your restaurant.
After spending quite some time in
California we became homesick for our southern roots. I love comfort food like
pulled pork, cornbread and fried green tomatoes. It only seemed fitting that we
would serve our favorite foods that we missed for so long. Backwater, like its
namesake, is meant to be a place where one can relax away from the hustle and
bustle of everyday life. Where you can sit back and sip on some sweet tea. We
offer eight tables with built in griddles where you and the family can get
creative with DIY pancakes. We couldn’t forget our love for the vegetarian and
vegan friendly restaurants in San Francisco, so we made sure to offer the
majority of the menu with a vegan option.
What were some unexpected challenges you’ve
encountered while being a small business owner?
We have been lucky so far to be
supported by such a wonderful community. We even had city hall checking in on us
during our build out. Asking if we had any questions or needed any help with
our permits. There are some days when I miss being able to pass the buck to a
supervisor but it is nice knowing that if you need something done all you have
to do is do it.
What classes in the Business and Accounting
Department did you take while you were a student at Cañada College?
I took the core requirements for
an Associate’s degree in Business Administration. All of my classes were either
online or hybrid, actually. Having that kind of flexibility made a world of
difference. I was able to keep my full time job and live in the city. I even
picked up two part time jobs. The hybrid classes were great for the subjects I
needed a little extra help with.
You lived in San Francisco while attending Cañada
College, why did you take classes at Cañada College rather than somewhere else
in the Bay Area?
I was luckily enough to have met a
former Cañada College student who guided me to the school. They could not say
enough about how great their experience was. The drive is easy and beautiful.
It was nice to get out of the city and focus.
What advice would you give students considering
taking classes at Cañada College in the Business and Accounting Department?
To go for it! I have attended a
few other community colleges when I lived in Florida the first time around, and
nothing compares to the experience I had at Cañada College. The teachers were
so supportive, and always there for you when you needed them. The counselors
made life a breeze, and their availability was something I had never
encountered at other schools. Cañada College wants you to succeed, they want
you to graduate, and be the best student possible. They do not shy away from doing whatever it
takes to provide what is needed for their students.