By Juan Montoya
Even though some critics said that enrollment in Texas Southmost College's first year of operational independence after its bitter divorce from the UT System would never get past 500, figures released today indicate that with a month left to go, 1,272 students have registered for Fall 2013 classes.
The figures were released to day by René Villarreal - Director of Application Services-DCS, and copied to TSC administrators including TSC President Lily "Second-to-None" Tercero.
"We knew the first year would be slow because of the split from UTB, but we're doing OK with more than a month to go," said Jim Mills, formerly a professor of history at UTB-TSC, and now TSC Dean of Humanities. "TSC is back."
To let potential TSC students know that they can expect lower tuition rates and fees, the community college has launched a media campaign geared to first-year and returning students and their parents touting its tuition rate cut totaling an average of $1,000 for full-time students, open admissions, and no late fees for registration.
"We think we're going to go over 2,500 by the time fall classes start," said TSC trustee Trey Mendez. "We still have about a month and a half left to go for registration and you always have those people who wait until the last minute to register."
Mills, who attended TSC some 35 years ago, said TSC administrators are hoping that the new TSC will get the support of the community as it did since it started providing college course in 1926.
"There a re a lot of people in the community who attended TSC to get their requirements before they transferred somewhere else for their degrees," he said. "With our lower tuition, we hope we can get the support of the community for TSC again."
For this writer, the independent TSC has been a welcome event. Shortly after my honorable discharge from the military, I was one of literally hundreds of veterans who would not have had the opportunity to attend college were it not for the community college and the GI Bill. And yes, I was a first-time student and the first one in my family to be able to attend college.
Today, you can see local attorneys, judges, businessmen and educators who used to take English 101 with Bob Rossman, History with Mrs. Ruby Woolridge and Jim Sullivan, Chicano History with Manuel Medrano, Political Science with Joe Binder, British Literature with O.Henry Sears, Biology with Gonzalo Gonzalez Social Science with Tony Zavaleta, Psychology with Bob Shaw, etc., exercising their professions here and elsewhere.
There were always those nay-sayers and mockers – and always will be – who called TSC "Tamale Tech."
That was in the early 1970s, when veterans were organized and established a work-study program to help their fellow vets work and go to school at the same time through funding the county's Manpower programs.
In my case, after entering the summer classes in 1974, I transferred to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the Fall of 1975 with 43 hours of TSC credits. The UM accepted 41 hours and I placed out of Spanish. I found that TSC had prepared me to survive and thrive at the level of instruction there.
Now I have a child of my own who will hopefully enter TSC next year after he graduates from the public schools in Brownsville as I did. I have made sure that he has been surrounded by the books and stimuli he needs to attend college and then go on further is he so desires.
TSC is a godsend to people like me. Lord knows I'm not wealthy, and neither is the majority of people in the community college district and South Texas in general. To have TSC back in business after that disastrous partnership adventure is something I and many others welcome with open arms.
"We're back," said Mendez. "I know that makes you happy."
Amen to that. Go Scorps!