Submitted by Marilyn Black
“All you need for school is a pink backpack.” Sage advice from my four-year old granddaughter in Colorado. She was heading back to preschool, and she knew the ropes. She believed I lacked one essential element for my return to teaching at Middlesex Community College in Bedford after retirement.
Now I support students in the Adult Learning Center, which offers free, state supported classes for students planning to take high school equivalency tests or for those who want to increase English language arts skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Some students prepare for job entry. Others later enroll in credit bearing degree classes at MCC and embark on a college career through the free LINKS program. My initial day of the semester, one student fluent in three languages offered to teach me her first language, while I helped her with English proficiency. I had found my new niche.
Middlesex Community College is a town gem which residents may not be aware of. It opened in 1970 at the VA Hospital. Now the college hosts a bucolic Bedford campus as well as a city campus in Lowell. Mainstay and special programs abound. A quick glance at the college website reveals developmental and degree courses in diverse majors. Transfer pacts ensure an easy transition to other colleges and universities. The DUAL enrollment program offers high school students both high school credit as well as college credit simultaneously. Diversity and empowering lifelong learning are recurring themes. The Bedford campus offers concerts free to the public, while the Lowell campus includes a theater supporting student thespians, as well as programs in Health careers.
Like many colleges, MCC suffered under covid, but students are returning to campus and enrolling in remote classes. The new Mass Connect program granting free classes to community college students over 25 years of age is bound to spur enrollment. Bedford residents should explore all that MCC has to offer!
Right now, there is only one thing left for me to do to ensure a successful semester. Time to head over to Walmart and see if there are any pink backpacks left.