Expert Panelists Weigh-in During CCC Talk Show
CLARKSDALE – Students, alumni, faculty and staff, and community members received a wealth of knowledge about the history and future of Coahoma Community College from an expert panel during the CCC Talk Show Monday evening in the Georgia Lewis Theater.
The talk show, organized by the CCC’s Student Government Association under the direction of President Dr. Valmadge Towner, was the second event of a week-long list of activities scheduled for Cultural Awareness Week.
“This is a special time. We’re trying to endeavor on something that’s a bit inaugural. …During this cultural awareness week we’re going to think about the past, appreciate where we are now and look forward to the future,” said Towner during his opening remarks.
The panel of experts included: Donald Green; Dr. McKinley C. Martin; Charles “Buster” Moton; Charles F. Reid; Eddie C. “Smitty” Smith; and Mary King Walker. The moderator for the evening was April Mondy, the daughter of Elijah and Belinda Mondy who are the current owners and operators of gospel radio stations KJIW-FM 94.5 in Helena, Ark., KCAT-AM 1340 in Pine Bluff, Ark., and WJIW-FM 104.7 in Greenville.
The six panelists each shared their views about the past, present and future of CCC by answering questions posed to them by current CCC students. The questions ranged from the panelists’ views about athletics and extracurricular activities to their experiences at CCC and their thoughts about the college’s greatest challenges and future endeavors.
“When you look at where we come from and all the gains we’ve made, you’d think there’s nothing left for us to do. One thing we need to work on to meet the future head on is to make sure we don’t forget where we come from,” said Smith during one of his responses.
“A lot of young people don’t appreciate how far they’ve come, but they came on the shoulders of someone else.”
Dr. Martin discussed how the institution has evolved from a junior college initially formed as an extension to the 12th grade, and expressed the current need for highly-qualified counselors and other personnel even at off-campus sites.
“You used to have folks who wouldn’t see your campus until graduation. Now you have folks who will never see your campus, not even at graduation,” said Martin.
Walker said the college doesn’t need to do anything much different to meet the growing population of non-traditional students.
“Students. Period. …Whether they are young or old, the purpose of college remains the same—to get an education in a certain area; become and expert in your subject and to be a professional in whatever area you’ve chosen to endeavor,” she said.
Reid talked about the importance of supporting the school’s athletic programs.
“We’ve had good athletic programs, but I can see there is a need for improvements,” said Reid. “We need to put as much money as we can into it. That’s one of the reasons why we organized the athletic booster club to help get things that the athletic department needed that the school could not supply them with.”
Green discussed the struggle for community colleges to sustain financially, particularly during the economic recessions.
“In regards to economic development, community colleges have a great burden. They have to compete with 4-year institutions, address industry concerns, students concerns—those that are focused and those that are not so focused,” Green said. “…It’s not all the responsibility of the institution; it’s all of our responsibilities collectively to make sure that the community college that is within our community serves us to the best of their ability.”
Responding to a question in regarding the ideal CCC student, Moton addressed the group of students in the audience.
“There are a lot of obstacles that will be out there in your way,” he said. “You’ll have haters out there trying to get you off of your target, but you must stay focused. If you don’t remain focused you’ll fall, and you’re too young for that. Embrace you opportunity to be the best that you can be.”
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