SFCC: A garden to nourish your dreams George Gamble

In celebration of Community College Month, SFCC Governing Board Chair George Gamble wrote the following My View column, which first was published in the Opinion section of the Sunday, April 3, 2022 issue of the Santa Fe New Mexican.


SFCC: A garden to nourish your dreams

Governing Board Chair George Gamble

Beginning this fall, Santa Fe Community College will be, more than ever before, a garden of dreams for students: a special place to nourish dreams, satisfy goals and move toward the future.

April is Community College Month in New Mexico and throughout the United States. That makes it a great time to look at where you are today and to think about your tomorrow. In addition, the governor and the New Mexico Legislature have just given all students a wonderful gift: free tuition starting this fall. What are your dreams, where do you want to be heading? Can SFCC be a part of that dream?

Since opening in 1983, thousands have come to SFCC with their dreams. Some come to the college, graduate with a certificate or associate degree and go to work immediately. Other students have specific ideas about how to fulfill their dreams. They want to be a chef, an auto mechanic, engineer, nurse or other skilled professional. And others enter the college with a more general idea of the type of pathway they’d like to explore. Perhaps they are interested in agriculture and food, in numbers and equations, in science, health care, educating children or helping others, but are uncertain of their end goal. But they all come with dreams of a better way to support themselves, their families and their communities. A vision for the future. Today, as you go about business in the community, you’ll meet SFCC graduates working as dental assistants, educators, artists, accountants and in almost every profession.

The Legislature and governor have made it possible for most New Mexicans to access free college beginning in the fall semester through the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship. It’s time for you, your friends and your neighbors to take the first steps to gaining access to higher education by applying now to a New Mexico higher learning institution and filling out the Free Application for Financial Aid for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

SFCC has always had an open-door policy — everyone is accepted. But now the Opportunity Scholarship will make it easier for most students to get through that door with free tuition. For the first time, certificate and degree-seeking students will only need to enroll in six credit hours or more to be eligible. SFCC realizes there are additional educational expenses and offers many other resources to meet those needs.

This year is a year of transition for so many who were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. SFCC is prepared to guide you, no matter where you are on your educational journey. Didn’t finish high school? We’ll start there with Adult Education classes to pursue a GED. Not out of high school yet? SFCC provides dual-credit classes, so you start earning college credits.

If you’re just finishing high school, SFCC is here to guide you through the application and registration process. Maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve been in a classroom. Perhaps you were serving in the military, had to seek work immediately after high school or were home taking care of your family. You’re not alone. Come with your dream, and we’ll start there. We start wherever you are, and we stay with you thorough the whole process. SFCC will help you navigate your higher-education journey. SFCC has dedicated and creative faculty and staff who will serve you.

SFCC has tremendous support from the community. Businesses and institutions offer students valuable internships. SFCC benefits from local and state representatives who advocate for the college. The college also has strong support from our community members who approve bonds and support our SFCC Foundation to help students. We invite you to pursue your dreams at SFCC or any other New Mexico institution of higher education. Visit sfcc.edu to get started. This is your dream and your story. SFCC is ready to nourish your dreams.

George Gamble, Ph.D., is chairman of Santa Fe Community College’s governing board. He looks forward to meeting you someday on campus and congratulating you at your graduation.