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Attend luncheon, leap into education

The Archuleta County Education Center has been making a difference for both individuals and our entire community for over 23 years.

Throughout this period, the Ed Center has served many of the educational needs of our community that are not served by the Archuleta School District.

The Ed Center started when Ginger Schwartz, who many say is the “grandmother” of the Ed Center, obtained a grant to improve reading literacy in Pagosa Springs. Classes were taught by volunteers in the original Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library. With improved reading skills, students were able to enter mainstream life in Pagosa Springs.

This humble beginning has led to the current Ed Center, which offers a wide range of educational services, most of which are available only at the Ed Center. Adult education, which includes GED preparation, English as a second language and citizenship training, is one example. Last year, this program reached 65 individuals. After school tutoring and enrichment provided nearly 5,000 student hours of instruction last year for youth in grades K-8. This year, the junior high enrichment program adopted a STEM curriculum based on science, technology, engineering and math. Community Education is where Pagosans go when they need First Aid/CPR classes, or simply want to take one of many special interest classes offered by the Ed Center. This program served over 261 individuals last year.

The recent designation of the Ed Center as an additional location for Pueblo Community College programming is a giant leap forward in the services provided to our community. With this designation, Community College classes and programs are now available in Pagosa Springs so residents can earn associates degrees without leaving our community. The Education Center also provides admissions, placement testing and financial aid counseling to help students choose courses wisely and to qualify for federal and state grants and loans.

The cost to provide this wide range of services in our small community is large and must be spread across several income sources, including government contracts, foundation grants, fees, local government and donations. Donations are particularly important because they are rather predictable and because the funds can be used to fill gaps not covered by contracts and grants.

You can be part of our community’s support for the Ed Center by attending its 10th annual luncheon fund-raiser.

The theme this year is “Leap Into Education.” Enjoy a nice lunch, talk with friends and learn how the Education Center is serving some of the greatest educational needs of our community. Listen to students describe what it means to have GED, community college classes and other programs available in Pagosa Springs. You will see the connection between investing in education and a prosperous community.

The luncheon will be held on Leap Day, Wednesday, Feb. 29, at the Pagosa Lodge on U.S. 160. The format of the luncheon has been designed for busy people. Arrive at 11:45 a.m. and leave at 1 p.m.

Tickets are available for a $50 donation.

Have friends or associates? Buy tickets for a table.

Tickets can be purchased at the Education Center (4th and Lewis streets.

For more information, call the Education Center at 264 2835.

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