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College leaves lasting impact in community

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ATHENS–The impact Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) has made on former students and current and former staff members has been big in the past 75 years. “It is truly a place where you feel at home,” alumni and current employee Dana Lindsey said. “You come here and everybody wants you to do well and succeed. Everyone here is welcoming and why wouldn’t you want to come back to that?”
As the college heads into its diamond anniversary, a celebration is set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 23 at the TVCC-Athens campus. The event will include carnival-style games, music, balloons, giveaways and food. The entire event is free and open to the public. Attendees will also be able to peek inside the college’s administration, fine arts and academic instruction buildings and view historical photos in each location. A 75-year historical video will also be presented at the celebration.
When it comes to a central theme in talks with former staff, current staff and alumni it was how small the campus was prior to the present day look of TVCC. “It has grown a lot and there were not as many buildings and athletic groups on campus,” former employee Linda Daniel said. “The office staff naturally has grown and one thing that didn’t change a lot was the Student Activities Center. It seems that is where the students always hung out and a lot of the physical changes to the buildings and staff is different.”
TVCC President Jerry King, Ed.D said if you want a quality education, TVCC is the right place to begin your educational journey. “I think the students that are in high school today need to know that they can get the best possible education that they can get anywhere at Trinity Valley Community College,” King said. “Our courses are transferrable and will go to any state supported college in Texas. We do that for about a third or fourth of the price. It is a benefit for our students to stay at home and then do whatever they need to do at the next level.”
When it comes to meeting the goals of the institution, current instructor Mike Peek said the college is following those goals. “The goals have always been to educate students and make a difference. I think as long as I have been here that has been the main goal is to make a difference,” Peek said. “I think that happens and will continue to happen because that is in our blood and in our DNA is to make a difference with our students.”
King said when you look at the future of TVCC, the institution and faculty will continue to keep the original vision in place. “I think we are going to continue to provide educational opportunities for the people in our community and provide workforce opportunities,” King said. “I think we will continue to do the things we have always done with providing the first two years for a baccalaureate degree, which will always be there. I think in the future we will have a greater influence on workforce and a great emphasis on providing skills to get a job immediately.” 
For Dr. John Morton, coming to Trinity Valley, then Henderson County Junior College, was a chance to do something none of his seven siblings had done. “I think about that a lot and without TVCC, I probably would not have been educated beyond high school,” Morton said. “I formed my entire life around that experience. The opportunities provided to local people is not matched anywhere else. I don’t know how it is today but in my day it was not common that people went to college. It is local but is also an opportunity to get your feet on the ground.”
“The main difference in education is where your heart is and what you do with your heart. How bad do you want it? If you want it, it is here and if you want it, you can take what is here and go anywhere with it and do anything with it and not the school that you went to.”
Daniel said when it comes to figuring out where to attend college, TVCC is a place where everyone will know you and you will always be a Cardinal when you leave. “It is a wonderful place and anyone who gets to come here or work here, you are just very lucky. I would tell the students you will not find a better place to have a relationship with your faculty,” Daniel said. “The faculty loves the kids here and anytime they need help, help is available. It is not too big to get lost in a classroom and the professor will know your name. You will make some of the best friends that you will ever have here at TVCC.”