South Lake Tahoe is in the midst of dramatic change. We see these changes every day from redevelopment to skyrocketing home prices and from talk of traffic circles to new pathways. These changes are affecting our daily lives, schools and businesses. Through these changes there remains a strong resolve to maintain our sense of community and the natural resources that brought us here. Like the rest of the community, Lake Tahoe Community College is experiencing smaller numbers and our faculty and staff are struggling with increases in home purchases, utilities and gas prices. Smaller numbers of students means less revenue with which to operate the college, but our vision of bringing high quality, affordable higher education to this community is as clear and focused as ever.
On June 1, Sarah Simmons left for Armenia. As a member of the Peace Corps, the 25-year-old will spend the first three months in language and job training and then 24 months on the job. Her Peace Corps experience is the basis for her masters' project in global public health from Loma Linda University. Simmons earned her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Simmons is also a former Lake Tahoe Community College transfer student.
At Lake Tahoe Community College we have always measured our greatest achievements in terms of the success of our students. Simmons is just one of many student success stories. LTCC alumni include dentists, lawyers, authors, scientists and professors. We are lucky enough that from time to time they check back and let us know about their lives and careers after leaving Tahoe.
"I think LTCC was the foundation for my college experience," Sarah Simmons said a week before leaving for Armenia. "When I started there I didn't really know what I wanted to study or what I wanted to do. They helped me figure that out. LTCC provided me a great foundation for my college career.
"What I remember the most is that the teachers were really caring about the students."
Simmons said her core classes at LTCC prepared her well for her later university experience.
"I remember Beachy Orr's class. I kept all her notes. That was one of the classes I learned the most in. I ended up having to take anatomy and physiology again for my major and I ended up in the top 7 percent of the class because of the base I got in Dr. Orr's class at LTCC."
This is something at LTCC we do every day - prepare our students to succeed. This is something we were doing in 2002 when we were listed as the eighth fastest growing community college in the country and it is something we will continue in the future.
Today we are taking difficult steps to adjust to our declining enrollment and we are working to address student recruitment and housing so that we can continue to offer our community the excellent academic and cultural opportunities for which we are widely recognized.
- Guy Lease is president of Lake Tahoe Community College.