Gila Community College is now completing its second year serving the residents of Gila County. It has been two years of steady growth and two years of challenges.
I have a vision of a college that serves the needs of our residents, so they can continue their education or enter the work force as productive, knowledgeable employees. I have a vision that extends to those of us who partake of life-long learning and want to contribute more to our communities through education and helping to educate others.
I also want to mention the faculty of our college. They have been utterly fantastic in devoting themselves to teaching at salaries that often approach minimum wage when the total hours are added up. Their unselfish devotion to education is at the heart of the college's success.
The college is proud to have developed a growing distance-learning program beginning with cable television. Courses that transfer to our state universities are now being offered in Globe and Payson. Pine and Strawberry will join us in the fall, and Young and San Carlos will be next.
The college is offering numerous courses on closed-circuit television between Payson and Globe so that small classes in either location can form a normal-sized class and not have to be canceled. We are looking into expanding this system into San Carlos in the near future.
We have maintained numerous courses in art and are expanding our music offerings, and hope to add theater in the coming semesters. The expanding noncredit offerings at the college are filled with individuals having fun and learning at the same time. The college has truly become a "community college," offering something for everyone and expanding into those areas of the county which have not been able to have higher education courses previously.
All things take time and planning and I want to thank this community for their patience and kindness and input as the administration and faculty guide the college into the coming year.