It’s springtime in the South Valley
Today has been just about a perfect day, as far as the weather is concerned. The sun is shining, and the wind is nice, not out-and-out howling the way it often does in New Mexico in the spring. The fruit trees are blooming, and the acequias, or irrigation ditches, are flowing.
The warm weather means open windows and doors, and the breeze brings in some of the atmosphere of the South Valley – the warm, earthy smell of fields beginning to come to life, and the crowing of a rooster from the farm next door.
At noon today was the awards ceremony for students taking classes in the School of Adult and General Education. Most of my students have jobs, so many of them weren’t able to come; I’ll be handing out their awards in class. Meanwhile, the ones who were able to show up enjoyed being recognized for their achievements.
Helping to hand out the awards was the college president, Katharine Winograd (in the background in the photo), who has just handed down a decision that has been very popular in the community. This year, the state legislature voted to reduce funding for the state universities and colleges, directing those institutions to make up the difference by raising tuition.
While the state’s flagship university has chosen to raise tuition by nearly 7%, here at the community college, Dr. Winograd and the governing board have decided not to raise tuition at all. We’ll be making up the financial shortfall by economizing in other areas. Times are tough, and this college is here to help students to succeed. A tuition hike, even a small one, would be a hardship for many – just this week, I had a student who couldn’t come to class because she couldn’t afford to put gas in her car until she got paid.
I just love working here, at a place where the students come first.