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Texas JC students to converge at Texas Capitol

Published or Revised February 26, 2007

More than 1,500 Texas community college students, including several from Paris Junior College, will converge on the State Capitol Thursday, Feb. 22, to highlight the essential role of community colleges in education and economic development.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., leaders of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association (TJCSGA) will be joined by state officials speaking from the steps of the Capitol. The event marks the second time that community college students have organized statewide to visit lawmakers.

Joining PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin at the Capitol will be Admissions Counselor Brad Gifford and Student Activities Coordinator Deanna Young. They will be accompanied by students David Mead and Kedra Council from the Paris campus, Cassandra Gaddis and Mark Penny from the Sulphur Springs campus, and Mary Satterwhite and Gustavo Moncivais from the Greenville campus.

Wearing ribbons with the slogan “Community Colleges are Essential,” the students will stress that it is time for the state legislature to enter into a new compact with community colleges. Figures from the Texas Association of Community Colleges show that the 50 community college districts in Texas provide accessible, affordable, quality higher education to more than 70 percent of all first-time college students.

Last year, Texas community colleges accounted for $13.47 billion in all annual earnings - the equivalent of 351,530 jobs. The association wants to safeguard and support the educational opportunities that keep Texans and industries working.

The students will observe the House and Senate in session and visit their individual representatives and senators. The students and their legislative guests will continue their discussions at a lunch hosted by the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

TJCSGA State President Damian Tovar of El Paso Community College explained that students want to make sure their lawmakers are impressed with the role that community colleges play in our state’s economy and economic development.

“The support of our elected officials is essential for the 548,000 Texans now attending our community colleges,” he warned, “We will remind our representatives and senators that an investment in our community college students is an investment for Texas’ future.”

Navarro College student Sara Russell, TJCSGA secretary, added, “It is important to keep higher education affordable. Many community college students live paycheck-to-paycheck and struggle to balance school and jobs. We need state support so students have a better chance of graduating and entering the workforce.”

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