Like Ned Bachus, the author profiled last week by Len Lear, I was not a very good student in high school. And, like Bachus, I wound up in community college.
Like Ned Bachus, the author profiled last week by Len Lear, I was not a very good student in high school. And, like Bachus, I wound up in community college. In my case, it was Montgomery County Community College, class of '71.
The new campus in Blue Bell was still under construction in those days, so we attended classes mostly in the just-on-the-verge-of-condemned high school building in Conshohocken, with other classes scattered about the main drag. I attended a speech class in a church, now long gone. I swear I am not making it up when I tell you that I attended English Lit II in a small room on the second floor of Flocco's Shoe Store.
And you'd think: How could anyone learn, let alone thrive, under such circumstances?
For one thing, Montco was a true melting pot: returning Vietnam vets, older guys heading back for accounting degrees, moms returning to school to lay the groundwork for careers in nursing or teaching. There were Black and Hispanic kids from Norristown ... and of course, an abundance of hippies like me. Community college was the great equalizer. There was no intellectual snobbery.
For another, my professors were nothing short of awe-inspiring, thoroughly dedicated to creative and inspiring teaching and learning. I went from D grades in high school to dean's list by the end of my first semester.
In the end, I moved on to Temple University – and I'm proud of that, too. But it was community college that helped me get my educational act together in the first place. Temple never would have been in the cards had it not been for the solid foundation provided by Montgomery County Community College.
I agree with Ned Bachus when he wonders why students aren't flocking to community colleges in droves. If I had those years to live all over again, I would make the same choice.