Many years ago in a city far away I taught math in a community college. It was a no-frills place. No dorms, no organic cafeteria offering soft-serve fro-yo. And no pressure to publish, do research or write grants.
As time passed, my path branched, twisted and turned.
Now I’m teaching at Central Carolina Community College, only this time in a creative writing program through continuing ed. Once or twice a year the school offers my course, which brings together people who want to write stories from their lives. I absolutely love this class (which could never be said about my math classes.) What could be better than listening to, crying over, and laughing about astonishing and true personal stories?
I’m proud to be a little part of CCCC and now I’m going to brag on how innovative the school is. They have developed programs around the strengths and interests of Chatham County.
For example, their sculpture program awards certificates and degrees in clay and metal. Clay classes include pottery, sculpture, glaze formulation, kiln building, tool making, and design. In metal, there’s work with a variety of metals, blacksmithing, welding, and bronze and iron casting.
You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of community colleges that offer degrees in Sustainable Farming. CCCC is one of them. Students come from all over to study better growing methods and farm economics, working in CCCC’s vegetable plots and greenhouse, visiting the organic farms that supply our many farmers’ markets and produce departments.
An exciting new program begins this fall: the Natural Chef culinary program. Students will invest an intensive five months to receive a certificate as a Natural Chef, a ticket to a career in preparing healthy food. I’m a little jealous that they’ll be learning in a fabulous brand new restaurant and teaching kitchen.
The kitchen will be housed in CCCC’s brand new classroom building with a green roof and a water recycling system. The building is on course to receive a LEED gold standard rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.