C. Scott Yancey, GPC Student, Class of 2004

Passages

This past week I have been watching the students of Georgia Perimeter College, Rockdale Center, perusing the new 40th Anniversary course guide for the fall semester. I have been struck by a feeling of envy, watching them choose their next round of classes, as I am leaving at the end of the summer term. I will be graduating with my associate’s and moving on to Kennesaw State University. Even though I am very pleased to be making this transition, a part of me is saddened by this passage from my junior alma mater.

I am what is known as a non-traditional student. I am a middle-aged man that decided to take a leave from the work-a-day world until I finish my bachelor’s degree. Coming back into the world of academia was a daunting leap for me. One of the scariest aspects was a fear of not fitting in, and possibly being disliked, by the young, traditional students.  I could not have been more wrong. It seems I learned a bit more than what was taught in the classes at Georgia Perimeter College.  I also learned that the new generation is up to the challenge of leading our world into the future. I leave this institution with a fond remembrance of the wonderful people I have met.

Looking back, I have had a number of interesting experiences. I joined the GPC Quiz Bowl Team and went to a number of tournaments. Quiz Bowl is like Jeopardy on steroids. The competition consists of about 10 very intense rounds throughout the day. These tourneys are held at different campuses and I got the chance to mingle with students running the gamut of just about every school in the Southeast. The Moon Pie Invitational, held at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, stands out in my memory.   Early in the morning, while I was sipping my coffee, the tournament leader shouted “Moon Pies!” and started throwing the shrink-wrapped goodies into the audience. That woke me up and got my attention!

The instructors at the college have been great. I am going to mention a few, and I hope nobody will get offended if they are left out as there is only so much space to write here. That said, everybody should take English with Sally Wheeler, and History with Dr. Terry Hammons. Both bring a wealth of knowledge in their respective subjects. They also possess a passion for learning and a keen sense of how to make it all interesting and integrative into the bigger picture.

I took all of my English classes from Mrs. Wheeler. I was fortunate enough to get her for my first class and I was hooked ever after. We both share a love of books. When discussing literature I discovered that we both harbor a guilty fondness for trashy detective novels. Hey, not all lit profs are stuffy! Her classes are dynamic and she provides an interesting perspective on how the great classics fit into the greater tapestry of the historic times that gave rise to them.

Dr. Hammons is a hoot. He is part of the old school. Someone told me once that all he needs is a piece of chalk and a 60-watt bulb in order to teach. He is kind of like a Sam Kinneson with intelligence. Honestly, I think I learned more about history from this man than anyone I have ever met. Do not fall asleep in his class, though; he will shout you awake! On the other hand, this class will not bore you for a moment. It is always lively, interesting, informative and highly entertaining.

Dr. Noel was my professor of Film Appreciation. This class was taught at the Clarkston Campus on Fridays. I cannot think of a more enjoyable way to spend a Friday afternoon than to watch a movie and get 3 credit hours in exchange. This class was so fun that I almost did not notice that I was learning at the same time! This was a very pleasurable experience and well worth the drive to the other campus. Dr. Noel is bright, funny, clever and a joy to have as a professor.

I will always look back wistfully at my educational experience at Georgia Perimeter College. This passage is coming to an end for me. A part of me envies the new students matriculating to this institution. What started as a small campus in DeKalb County 40 years ago has grown into Georgia’s largest, and best, public junior college. I feel honored to have been in the presence of the leaders of tomorrow. You young leaders have humbled and inspired me. The future will be bright with you at the helm.

GPC has been building the foundations of knowledge and leadership for four decades. I have every confidence that it will continue to provide these fundamental educational and community services, and continually strive for the highest in excellence. I will miss you all….