Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tragedy, Hope and Community College

My heart is broken over the recent shootings at Umpqua Community College.  This hits close to home and anytime someone's child is killed, it brings back memories of my own lost child. 
Tear Soup--One of the best books on grief
It's also especially heartbreaking that it occurred at a community college in the first week of classes.  The wide range of ages and backgrounds of the victims is a snapshot of exactly what community college is about--a place of new beginnings, excitement for the future, a more affordable way to obtain education.  Community college is a place of hope.  Or at least, it's supposed to be. 
Kim is currently attending community college.  After some medical challenges it's a great place to start, while still having the stability of living at home.  She's focusing on early childhood education with the thought of working in Head Start.  Ironically, I attended that same college when Kim was a toddler.  She was very delayed in her speech and we weren't sure if she would ever talk.  I took two semesters of American Sign Language and I can still remember Kim's delight at finally being able to communicate!  At the age of three, Kim knew over 200 signs.  After years of speech therapy Kim did learn to talk and we sometimes tease her that maybe she learned to talk a little too well! 
Prior to that, I also attended community college when James was a baby.  I had previously attended Oregon State Univeristy (Go Beavs!), but Hubby joined the military, so while he was in Basic Training I moved in with my parents and continued my education at a nearby community college.  It was a challenging time in our marriage, especially economically, but I had so much hope for the future.
And once again, in 2006, I returned to community college.  After watching the movie The Pursuit of Happyness I decided to pursue my dream of finishing my bachelor degree.  Community college was a first step before transferring to a 4-year university, but I found the professors at community college to be just as knowledgeable, and actually often more in-tune with the real world, as they often still practiced in their fields.  I remember the excitement at the beginning of each new term, knowing I was that much closer to fulfilling a dream. 
College should be a place of new beginnings and renewed hope.  My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by the UCC tragedy.  There are no words to describe the overwhelming grief.  I pray we will never lose our hope for a more peaceful world. 



Anonymous said...

Well said. Community colleges are a great way of keeping college attainable for many as they juggle jobs and attending school, or complete base courses and live at home to keep the cost affordable. So tragic that our campuses are no longer safe havens.

To China and Back said...