A few years back, I volunteered as a mentor at Ball High School.

I was assigned to a handsome young man and though it took us a little while to find an agreeable time, we finally met in the mentoring office.

A senior, he was concerned about passing the writing portion of the STAAR test because whenever he was given a writing prompt, his mind immediately went blank.

So we talked. We talked about his family and his love of basketball. I probably told him way more about my grandchildren than he wanted to hear. But he was kind, so he just listened and smiled.

We also talked about organizing thoughts, about taking a little time to think about the writing prompt and writing down things that came to mind, then putting them into some kind of order. And we talked about what he wanted to do after high school.

He confessed that he was sick of schooling and thought he would get some kind of technical certificate and go to work in one of the industrial plants in the county. So I asked if he knew about Galveston College’s Universal Access, how, as a graduating senior from a Galveston school, he could attend Galveston College with his tuition paid for.

He could earn a technical certificate and become a welder or electrician or a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration repairman, or any of the other certificates the college offers. Tuition paid.

Because he had only moved to Galveston that year, his last, he was unaware of this possibility. Students in Galveston schools start hearing about this in eighth grade or younger, but he hadn’t got the word until I told him.

When I checked back later, after the test, I learned that not only had he passed the test required for graduation, he had already applied for and been accepted to Galveston College and his girlfriend had signed up too. They were going to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity provided by GC’s Universal Access.

I admit that I’m prejudiced in favor of Galveston College. Of course it’s the best community college — my husband, Myles Shelton, is the president. But there are many more wonderful people who help make it what it is, the best.

When we moved to Galveston a year before Hurricane Ike, we came because this was a community we believed in, one full of potential and possibilities. Since then we’ve not only lived through Ike, but Harvey and now the pandemic, and we believe in it even more.

The people of Galveston look out for each other. They support the city’s children and young people and work for their success. And for the last 50-plus years, Galveston College has been part of that, of making Galveston the best city it can possibly be. We hope you will join us in continuing to support the college as it builds on the strong foundation of the past.

Gail Young Shelton lives in Galveston.

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(1) comment

Ted Gillis

When I attended Galveston College it had only been in operation for 5 years or so. There was just the old orphanage building and the newly completed Mary Moody Northern buildings, along with a few temporary class rooms along the back fence. I found it a great place to learn. I excelled, made the dean’s list and even got an academic scholarship to help pay for books. My parents really appreciated that.

I consider Galveston College a hidden gem for the community.

My daughter attended Galveston College some 20 odd years later, and commented to me about what a great teacher she had named Mr Waddell. I told her, yah he was a pretty good teacher when he taught me. She dropped her jaw and said “no way!”

Thank you Gail for the article. I hope you and your husband spend many more years here with us.

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