What Students Think About Gila Community College



Audrey Crane

By Audrey Crane

A single mother wakes up in the morning to start yet another long day. She gets her baby ready in the morning to go to a dead-end job and worries about paying the rent and buying things her daughter needs or wants.

That’s what many young people who want to stay in Payson face right now. But having a college in the same town is wonderful.

I am a single mother. I don’t have the money to drive two hours each day just to go to school.

I don’t want to have to work at a dead-end job for the rest of my life just barely making it.

If GCC becomes independent, that would be most beneficial for myself and other single-parent homes here in Payson.


Brandon Alexander

By Brandon Alexander

Gila Community College has been a great asset to the beginning of my college career.

As a graduate from high school not knowing what to do in life, I decided to get my college pre-requirements out of the way this summer. Without the college in town, people would have to commute to the Valley to take a few classes instead of only being a couple minutes away from a good college in town.

I have seen many people wanting to change their careers over the years and they have the ability to go to a college that is not two hours away.

GCC has served my needs and I have learned more in the past five weeks than I did in the previous five years.


Lacee Hart

By Lacee Hart

I think that having a community college in Gila County is a wonderful thing. It makes things a lot easier on people in this county.

It saves us all the trouble of having to go to the Valley to take a few classes. There are a lot of people in Payson who cannot afford to go to college in the Valley because of how the economy is nowadays. Most people have barely enough money to pay the bills.

If I had to go to the Valley or somewhere else for college, I would not be attending college at all because I don’t have the money to travel from here to the Valley for school.

Also, for the people wanting to go to nursing school like me, they would have to wait one to two years just to get into school. But here the wait is not as long.

Having this college here is great for the community and saves a lot of money and time for students.

They should actually be given more money to broaden class choices and pay professors and staff more. We should not get rid of the college, unless it was to make a bigger and better college.


Cami Barnett

By Cami Barnett

I’m starting my senior year in high school and my whole life has been in this town.

I’m 17 now and am taking a summer English composition class at the college and taking in a lot of new information.

Payson High School does a great program called NAVIT, so students attending high school can get started on their future very easily and it’s basically free. I think GCC does a lot for the town.

For instance, my mom has recently decided to change her career and wants to pursue nursing. With GCC, reaching her goal will be much easier. I think that GCC is vital to the town.

It is unfair they can’t regulate our own budget and are not an actual community college.

The town of Payson is continuing to grow and so the need for a community college will become even more vital.


Kelli Archer

By Kelli Archer

I have lived in Payson for 29 years: I started at kindergarten then graduated from Payson High. When it was time for me to attend a college, I was looking forward to attending Mesa Community College.

But once I got to MCC, I realized it was too much for me at the time. I wasn’t used to the big campus, the big city life — so I moved back to Payson.

Here, I attended Gila Community College. It was a great, small community college. Many young adults here want to attend a community college, but do not have the financial means to live away from home.

GCC allows these young adults to continue their education and not cause a financial hardship. Also, many retired adults take many classes at the campus as well‚ this is a way for them to enjoy their life and retirement and to stay active and healthy.

As a single mother, GCC helped me acquire an education, with many time schedules and core classes to choose from. This allows me to work full-time and still be close for my children. Taking away GCC would mean fewer jobs for people, no local higher education options, no extracurricular activities for many retired adults.

We need higher education locally — not 100 miles away.


John Jackson

By John Jackson

I am a former Marine from Payson. I have been a student at GCC for the past two years. One of the benefits of serving in our country’s military is the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which allows military members to continue their education after getting out of the military.

I never could decide what to use this benefit for or where I could use it. In the last couple of years, with the help of GCC and a local fire department, I am now using my G.I. Bill and am able to go to school right here in my hometown and pursue a career in firefighting.

I know with my busy life of being a single parent and working two jobs, if there was not a college here in Payson I would not get a chance to further my education and my military benefits would be wasted. Not only do we need GCC in our community, I would like to thank them for being here.


Alex Korth

By Alex Korth

Gila Community College to me is the best thing that has happened to young adults all across Gila County. Payson has a reputation as a retirement town, but GCC has brought in numerous young adults from all over Arizona. As GCC continues to grow, Payson’s economy will as well. GCC has also given people of all ages a chance to find different career options as well as a place to improve their skills in different hobbies. GCC has truly inspired me because of its recent NAVIT program.

In high school, students learn the basic educational requirements, but the NAVIT program helps students to find different career choices and interests as they come closer to adulthood. Without GCC, young adults in Payson who aspire to find career choices and a bright future will be forced to move to other cities, which would lower Payson’s economy and population.

By Ken Crump

The blank computer screen stares at me. White, with the annoying blip of a cursor. There. Gone. There. Gone. An intermittent reminder that I haven’t written anything.

My whole life feels like that blank screen, now that I’ve retired. I probably poured too much of myself into my job. Hmph! Crystal clear hindsight.

So now, when the alarm doesn’t go off in the morning, I don’t jump out of bed and rush into a routine that magically transports me into the context of my day.

Instead, I subject my dog to the same monotonous trudge around the block. Afterward, settled into a chair in front of the fireplace with my first cup of coffee, that annoying blip of a cursor appears in my blank day. Now what? Now what? Now what?

Retirement stole the context of my day. If my life is the beautiful work of art that so many self-help gurus profess, then my job was the frame it hung in. A frame that matched the décor of my aspirations. That held my family in relative safety. That enhanced the work of art it contained.

When I “retired” from high school, I launched myself into the world, and burst into an array of revolutionary ideas.

We were all revolutionaries, then. But when the fireworks of my sudden independence flared and fizzled, I found my way back to school. An interest became classes, and then became a degree, and then became a career, and then became a body of work. Then it became a retirement party.

However, being a creature of habit, I found my way back to school again. Once again, an interest became classes. And now the blank computer screen stares at me.

White, with the annoying blip of a cursor. Today’s surprise writing assignment is 300 words on why a community college is important.

I am here at Gila Community College to build a new frame for the beautiful work of art that is my life. But I don’t know how I’m going to write 300 words about that.

By Chrissy Heron

A senior in high school,

Doesn’t have much to say,

Just catching up on credits

To send her on her way.

Her way to something different,

Something special, something new.

A chance to get out of here

And see her own world view.

A university is her next step,

GCC can take her there;

She’s currently enrolled,

No other place can compare.

With what she’s learning at GCC,

She has plans to go far,

She will carry out her dreams,

And will become an all-star.

Now it is your turn, tell us with your letters to the editor what you think about Gila Community College and/or this special report. Send your letters to editor@payson.com or mail them to Payson Roundup, P.O. Box 2520, Payson, AZ 85541. You must include your name, phone number and address for verification purposes.


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