Another Enlightening Day at the Community College

Yesterday was the day Montgomery County Community College (Montco) distributed caps and gowns to its graduating students, with commencement set to be held this Thursday evening.

As part of the cap and gown distribution, the College was having a picnic for the students as well. In addition to the food tables, there were several tables set up for students to get info on graduation, local colleges, and the alumni association.

I had volunteered to help at the alumni association table, and it was a great opportunity to congratulate all of the graduating students. (It was also great to see the amount of diversity among the graduating students in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, color, and post Montco plans. In fact, in the one hour I was there, I think I saw more diversity than I’ve seen at many four-year colleges over the past 30 years.)

For several of the students, I asked them if they knew what their post-grad plans were, and every single one of the, 100%, had a ready answer; they had a plan.

There were no “”I’m not sure yet,” or ¬†incoherent responses. Each student had a plan. Most of the ones I talked to were moving on to a four-year college, and the list of colleges I heard was quite impressive: Penn State, North Carolina, Cabrini, and Temple to name just.

If they weren’t going to college, the students were getting ready to join the work force. I remember one student in particular who was graduating with a degree in exercise science (the same one I received from Montco) and was now quite excited about the job opportunity he has a local YMCA to help develop a youth fitness program.

The whole experience convinced me even more that community colleges are the crown jewel of our post secondary educational system. If you believe in the power of education to change people’s lives, then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pathway than a community college for millions of students to continue their educational journey (while saving a tremendous amount of cash as well.)

So congratulations and best wishes to Montco’s Class of 2017. I am honored to now call you a fellow alumnus, and I look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming alumni events.

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