Green River Star -


Western Wyo. is a good college


April 25, 2018

A few weeks back, a comment made by school board member Ann Rudoff stuck out for me.

During a vote to give the high school speech and debate team funding to help pay for their trip to nationals, Rudoff said she would vote against the proposal, saying a discussion needed to happen with the speech and debate team about Western Wyoming Community College, where Rudoff works.

“Western is not an ugly place and Western has a good speech and debate team,” she said.

While I wasn’t able to find out about what led to those comments -- Rudoff said the issue now involves people higher up and didn’t want to comment further -- I decided to throw my two cents in despite not knowing what had caused Rudoff to give those comments.

Western was not my first choice when it came to higher education. I was planning on going straight to the University of Wyoming after high school, but a house fire resulted in me changing my plans. A month after I graduated from Rock Springs High School, I applied at WWCC during a registration day the college hosted. I took the Compass Test, then took a tour around campus with a student ambassador, Bill Mullen.

At the time, I was interested in earning an English degree, with no further plans other than maybe becoming a teacher. Mullen, who was the editor of the Oracle student newspaper, quickly found this out and introduced me to the newspaper’s faculty advisor, Barbara Smith. I was soon signed up for Publications Production I. For anyone who wondered how I ended up in this profession, it started with those two. Ten years of my professional life would be set based off a chance meeting at WWCC. I went on to become the editor of the Oracle that next year and followed through with journalism when I transferred to UW, working at The Branding Iron student newspaper.

WWCC isn’t supposed to be a grand institution for higher learning on par with offerings from a university. The purpose it serves is twofold -- it offers a chance to build an educational foundation for those interested in obtaining an undergraduate or graduate-level degree, but it also gives people a chance to receive technical training and education to help further their careers. WWCC fulfills those roles very well.

For students unsure of what they want to focus on, WWCC is a great place as the consequences for shifting a major isn’t as costly as it can be at a university.

I agree with Rudoff, WWCC is a fantastic place. While some disparage it and other community colleges because they don’t have the offerings found at a university, they’re missing the point. WWCC isn’t supposed to be the final destination for high education. The college is a gateway. It’s the gateway towards a better career or for an educational foundation that can be built upon.


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