We recently celebrated a pair of commencements at Garden City Community College, one on May 6 for more than 60 GED graduates from our Adult Learning Center, and another on May 12 for approximately 370 associate degree and certificate graduates who have completed their studies on our campus.

People often think of the term "commencement" as the conclusion to something in this case the conclusion to a prescribed term of education. But in a very literal sense, the word actually means "beginning." That's appropriate, since GCCC will soon begin a new season of learning opportunities more than one, as a matter of fact.

The college is offering a wide range of courses in:

* The 2012 summer semester, with the main session getting under way June 11.

* Our 93rd annual fall semester, with daytime and evening courses starting on Aug. 22.

The summer term, by the way, is preceded by a few early session classes including the Aerobic Super Circuit course and those got started on May 21.

Skills, abilities and degrees

In meeting GCCC's mission of helping southwest Kansans become strong contributors to society and the economy, our curriculum offerings include classes for people who want to:

* Build their essential abilities;

* advance toward their college degrees;

* develop new job or career skills;

* enrich life through the process of learning and participation.

If you're interested in joining the men and women of many different ages and backgrounds who come to GCCC to pursue those goals, there's no need to wait. We're offering public registration for classes all spring and summer at the GCCC Student and Community Services Center.

Summer hours for assistance

If you're not familiar with the campus, you'll find the SCSC just off of Campus Drive, on the east side of the college, marked by a set of large "GCCC" letters. Our summer hours are now in effect, but that still gives you plenty of time to stop by for some individual assistance.

Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon Fridays.

The only exceptions to that fall on Monday, when we'll be observing the Memorial Day holiday, and on Independence Day in July, when we'll also be closed.

GCCC class schedules are also available at the SCSC. In addition, you can view our courses online at www.gcccks.edu under "Search for Classes." Numbers to call for information include 276-9608 at the GCCC Admissions Office, or our main line at 276-7611.

Early enrollment days

In addition to regular summer and fall class registration for the public, GCCC also has been conducting a series of special Fall Early Enrollment Days, and reservations for two of those on June 4 and July 9 are still available:

The two remaining special days are open to anyone, and designed to be especially helpful to first-time, full-time students who want to complete their entrance testing, receive information on services for success, and work out their fall course schedules with the help of individual faculty advisors. We're conducting random prize drawings each of those days for two $250 scholarships.

To make your reservation, just call GCCC Admissions at 276-9608.

Success through learning

People from all over southwest Kansas have used GCCC to launch their collegiate careers, and then advance with confidence and preparation to Emporia, Fort Hays, Pittsburg and Wichita State universities, as well as Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and many other baccalaureate institutions across the nation.

People educated at GCCC also have become nurses, doctors, attorneys, business owners and managers, bankers, stock brokers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, teachers, administrators, coaches, researchers, meteorologists and television performers. Others have developed careers as musicians, artists, professional athletes, accountants, ag producers, journalists, automotive or equipment technicians, builders, welders, medical technicians or respected professionals in many other fields. Some have become leaders in local or state level positions, and beyond.

If you would like to join those ranks, you're welcome to take the first step by making a reservation for one of those two remaining special enrollment days, or just by coming by the campus on a walk-in basis any weekday. We're open for your season of opportunity, and from Garden City Community College, you can go anywhere.