By Lulu Orozco
For many City College students, the thought of needing an alternative plan for continuing their education had never crossed their mind. But with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ (ACCJC) decision to revoke City College’s accreditation next July, many students’ are now uncertain about their futures.
“If they told me I wouldn’t be able to get my certificate, I would be devastated,” said Dmitri Afa, a first time student in the City Build advanced construction program. “If City College would close it would change my direction and everyone who is in my life as well.”
Afa, 34, said the college gave him a second chance to recognize an opportunity, something the streets never gave him. He plans to use his experience to let young people know that there is a different option.
“I come from a troubled background. [City College] has given me self esteem, confidence and hope,” Afa said.
Though City College’s doors remain open, students must think about what will happen if the school closes next summer.
“I’m certain that in the back of their minds, they have to come up with a backup plan,” said Melissa McPeters, a five-year City Build coordinator.
In a city with one of the highest living costs in the country, “students don’t always have the job skills to make a good living wage,” McPeters said.
She says the City Build program not only teaches students job skills but important life skills as well. It helps them to be able to take care of themselves and their families, she said.
For some students, plans to build a more promising future for themselves may be compromised.
“I don’t have a plan B. I hope that the accreditation doesn’t commit that abuse,” said Juan Jose Abad, 44, an audio production major.
It’s clear that most students would have to make sacrifices if City College closes. That might include taking an extra day off from work in order to commute to another college, said Bella Ruan, 23, a business major whose hope to transfer to a four-year college might mean attending a different community college altogether.
“We all come from different walks of life, but we are all here with the same goal,” Afa said, referring to his classmates and the many people who have inspired him along the way.
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