Community Colleges Experiencing Boom Nationwide, Locally

It seems more and more people are staying closer to home for their education or at least, part of it. Nationwide, enrollment numbers for community colleges are up. That trend continues locally, as our junior colleges report their numbers are increasing as well.

Record numbers of students are showing up for class at Tyler Junior College for a variety of reasons. Canton freshman Lindsy Lee explains, "It's really close to home, it's quite a bit cheaper than going to a four year college, and there's more one on one interaction with the teachers and the students."

Lots of freshmen like Lindsy are entering college right out of high school, but others are coming back to college after being part of the work force.

Fifty-three year old Dave Ashworth of Gilmer was a pipe welder, who's looking for a fresh start. "I was involved with an accident in september of 1994, and it took away from me my physical ability to provide for my family the way I had in the past. I felt like I needed to get an education, upgrade myself, be able to work with my mind instead of my body."

After being out of school for 35 years, Dave is glad he could get a second chance. "It let me realize that I can expand my horizons, that I can improve. That there's no end to improving a person's self and getting an education. It's not like I'm at the end of the road just because I'm an older person."

Lindsy is majoring in stereography. Dave is studying to be an engineer, and he's already accepted at UT Tyler. Both are glad to make steps towards their future, without having to leave East Texas.