Proud to be a part of the Community College System.
Waverly Garner — Southside Virginia Community College
Public schooled through the fourth grade, and homeschooled through High School, I’ve had quite a lot of educational variety. There have been many opportunities to do and see some amazing things, but none of my prior experiences have introduced me to the inner workings of our local government like this trip through Southside Virginia Community College.
The trip to the Capitol in Richmond began at sunrise, amongst sheets of rain that poured unceasingly from dark, cloudy skies. The five of us met in the Daniel campus lounge — Cecilia, Joseph, Kristen, Tracy, and myself — and introduced ourselves, then made a run for the nice, warm van complacently humming in the parking lot where we were greeted by our driver Dr. Elizabeth Elam and our navigator Dr. Anne Hayes.
A few hours later we arrived in Richmond, Va. Never before had I seen so many suits and papers, heard so many voices, nor smelled so much coffee. The everyday hustle and bustle of the government building was almost unbelievable. Dr. Hayes kept us in a tight group and led the way up stairs and through halls, introducing us to Representatives James Edmunds, and Tommy Wright, along with Senators Thomas Garrett and Frank Ruff. They introduced themselves and asked us about our future plans. We each responded with different careers and intentions, but we each made one message very clear: we would not be where we are today without community college. I know I did not speak only for myself when I described how advantageous a jumping off point Southside is to those who wish to continue their education or join a strong work force. The low cost and good teaching offered at community colleges, especially Southside, is important, and mentioning it to these men of high standing in our state politics was exciting and fulfilling. My only hope is that we represented the college as best we could, and bolstered their confidences in the community college system.
After our visits, we split up and headed to the Senate and House buildings to watch a little of the proceedings. Dr. Elam led Joseph, Tristen, and me to the House, where we were warmly greeted and even introduced by Representative Tommy Wright! I was excited and scared, but as they all broke into applause, my nervousness melted away. It was without a doubt, one of the greatest moments of the day.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and after regrouping, the honors society started the long journey home with a sense of accomplishment. Overall, the trip was great, and very important. By meeting our delegates and establishing relations, we attained a better understanding of our sponsors, while also (hopefully) showing them a bright future for upcoming generations. Though we may not all know what our paths in life will be, we are willing to learn and work hard to achieve the best of our abilities. Personally, I’m proud to be a part of the community college system, and I fervently hope that the system will remain a permanent fixture in the community.