We Have Something in Common, Mr. Hanks

by Kim Taylor

Have you heard about President Obama’s effort to make community college education freeTom Hanks has, and he shared his support for it in a touching Op-Ed in today’s New York Times.

Reading the piece, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own positive experience with the community college system.  You see, so many of Hanks’ stories are my own—save for the underachieving part.  I have great memories of serving as copy editor for the college newspaper, The Valencia Source, and learned so much from then adviser and mass communications professor, Chris Evans.  And, even though spending my whole Saturday in the classroom was awful; on sunny days sometimes Professor Cary would let us study Greek Mythology on the shores of Lake Mendsen across from campus.

The details of Obama’s proposal have yet to be revealed.  And, perhaps that’s not the point of all this.  Community colleges—many of which have converted to state colleges here in Florida—deserve to be acknowledged for the role they play in the lives of many.  They should be elevated as a first choice and not viewed as a backup plan for underachievers.

Our work on behalf of Eastern Florida State College (formerly Brevard Community College) has only further solidified this point of view for me.  I only wish those who find themselves making their decision to attend or return to college could see what I see or experience what I have.  And, if you don’t believe me, maybe an Oscar-winning actor’s opinion will convince you.

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