Community college in high spirits for millennium

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A successful fall semester has Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig (CNCC-Craig) ready for the upcoming term.

"Everything went real well and we are excited about our students," said CNCC-Craig Vice-President Dean Hollenbeck. "We feel good about where we are."

According to CNCC-Craig Community Education and Public Information Coordinator Mary Morris, one strong selling point this spring is the many classes geared toward community education. Upcoming classes are centered around family experiences. Classes offered include cornhusk doll making, calligraphy, pottery, astronomy, perennial gardening and a cartooning class entitled "The Art of Being Funny."

According to Morris, these classes offer a variety of lessons and are set at times where parents and children may participate together.

"We try to be as creative as we can, but we also like to bring back popular classes," Morris said.

Along with the general education classes, other classes offered include holistic health classes and paralegal training, which, according to Hollenbeck, is gaining momentum. Others are mine training and training courses on the new rock climbing wall at Trapper Health Club. The college is able to offer credit bearing classes at Trapper Health Club, owned by CNCC. According to Hollenbeck, the wall is almost complete.

CNCC-Craig classes are held in various places including The Center of Craig and the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

"We have a good relationship and a great partnership with the museum," Morris said. "We fit well together."

Community support for the college has been "really receptive," according to Morris.

This past semester also signaled the beginning of the CNCC incorporation into the Colorado Community College Occupational Education System. Along with this addition came training needed for CNCC employees.

"It was a pretty intense switch over to the state system," Morris said. Standards of CNCC are more uniform with other community colleges in the state system.

Last semester, the CISCO network programming class was a big draw.

CISCO is a network operating systems company and classes in this field are being offered. This is a four-semester program and students completing the program have a promising future.

"There are a lot of jobs in this field; more than we could ever place," Hollenbeck said.

Twelve students in Craig, six students in Meeker and 14 students in Rangely are enrolled in the CISCO program.

"We are more in a position to be state-of-the-art," Morris said. "We will continue to strive to be known as a college that produces quality students."

The past year also saw more than 150 students participate in the Community College for Kids program. Community College for Kids gives children a chance to attend classes during the summer and learn about various subjects. This year students learned about material such as how to take care of horses and identifying bugs.

Registration began Dec. 20 for new college students and despite somewhat blustery weather, Morris has seen a steady stream of students registering. Classes begin Jan. 10.

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