Independence Day has come and gone, temperatures are reaching triple-digit levels, school is still out and summer is in full swing across southwest Kansas.

For a lot of people, that means a break from labs and classrooms, calculations and formulas, books and studies.

However, for a growing number of individuals who have come to count on us at Garden City Community College, summer is a season of opportunity opportunity for skill-building, life-enhancing and job-boosting education.

That's certainly the case at GCCC right now because we're open all summer long to assist people who want to enroll in our fall semester courses, so they can build their essential abilities, advance toward their associate and bachelor-level degrees, develop strong and important new career skills, or just enrich their lives through the process of participation and learning.

No need to wait

Classes in the 2012 GCCC fall semester are set to get under way Aug. 22, and that includes a large number scheduled during the daytime, as well as quite a few that will be offered in the evenings.

If you've been thinking about joining the ranks of people who will be using one or more of those courses to advance their opportunities in life, there's no need to wait until the beginning of the semester to sign up. We're offering public registration all season long at the GCCC Student and Community Services Center. As a matter of fact, assistance is available there from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each Monday through Thursday, as well as 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays.

GCCC course schedules are also available at the SCSC. In addition, you can view our courses at www.gcccks.edu, under "Search for Classes," and you can watch your mail box for a printed copy early in August.

Numbers to call for information include 276-9608 at the GCCC Admissions Office or our main line at 276-7611.

Range of opportunities

We're offering a full range of credit courses for people all across southwest Kansas, including on-campus classes and hometown courses available in nine surrounding communities through the GCCC Outreach Program. And as one of the select institutions ranked among the top 10 percent of American community colleges, you can count on GCCC for quality instruction, individual attention, affordable tuition and scholarship availability.

You also can count on the college for 92 years of successful experience in helping people learn. That top 10 percent ranking, issued recently by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, is based on the quality of our programs and the success of our students.

Wealth of careers

Our graduates and former students have gone on to become doctors, nurses, attorneys, teachers, meteorologists, researchers, welders and medical technicians. Others have become coaches, professional athletes, contractors, agricultural producers, stock brokers, industrial technicians, information technology professionals and builders. A number have also become law enforcement officials, including sheriffs, police officers, highway patrol troopers and agents with various state and federal agencies. Still others have carved out careers as musicians, actresses, cosmetologists, child care providers, artists and journalists, as well as administrators, business owners and managers, certified public accountants, paramedics, firefighters, public officials, legislative staff members and community leaders.

If that's something you're interested in, you're invited to come by the campus any weekday this summer. That opening date for fall semester classes is just 36 days away, and as you've probably heard us say before, from Garden City Community College, you can go anywhere.