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Thoughts: I Wouldn’t be Here Without Community College

18 September 2015 No Comment

Editorial by: Sam Myers Jr.
White House Liaison
U.S. Department of Education

In the fall of 1991, I started my first semester of college on a vocal music scholarship at Northwest Missouri State University. But it didn’t last long. A few weeks into the semester, I dropped out to pursue “alternative opportunities.” All I can say is, it made sense at the time.

These opportunities included singing in a rock band, a brief stint at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), and finally as a member of President Clinton’s advance team (the folks that prepare and coordinate a public official’s visit).

My experience on the ground snowballed into foreign travel, working on the ‘96 Clinton-Gore campaign, and as a Defense Fellow at the Department of Defense.

Amid all these amazing experiences, my girlfriend (now wife) wisely reminded me that I couldn’t leave my education unfinished. I had to go back to school.

After some soul searching and a realization that it might be difficult to enter a university with only my DMACC credits, I enrolled in night classes at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).

NOVA put me on a path to success, and I later transferred to George Mason University and received my BA in Communication.

Without community college, I don’t know if I’d be where I am today. As fate would have it, I now serve as White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Education, and I’m proud that we’re pushing for free community college through America’s College Promise.

The president’s plan would make two years of college as free and universal as high school.

Last week the president announced new steps to expand apprenticeships and to continue the momentum in making community college free for responsible students. And today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is stopping at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College as part of his back-to-school bus tour to talk about the importance of expanding opportunities for students throughout the country.

Learn more about the Ready for Success Back-to-School Bus Tour.

Who knows what my path would have been had I stuck with my music scholarship. Maybe Broadway or the Billboard Charts. I still miss performing, but can’t image a better path than working every day to ensure that more students have the opportunity to succeed in school and life.

U.S. Dept of Education Logo

By: Contributing Author

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