My Separate Peace
“I went back to my bay area community college not long ago, and found it looking curiously different than when I was a student there ten years before. The rooms seemed smaller than I remembered, and I no longer needed to scurry from floor to floor in desperation to find the classroom of my search. The halls seemed narrower and more constricting than before, yet all the floors seemed to shine like the sun on the bay inlet.
Still, I did not entirely like this new shine, as it tended to preserve the school and freeze my memories like ice. The cold chill of the air conditioner made all of my footsteps seem heavier and seemed to add countless strides to my walk. Nevertheless, I soon concluded my movements and noted the daily journey from the student parking lot to room 314 in the library now appeared longer than I had remembered. However, as I stood outside the doorway marking the completion of my quest, the apparitions of my youth reappeared, and melted through the ice, emanating through my body the warm feelings and memories of being a college student.”
While my return to Hillsborough Community College holds some semblance to Gene’s return to the Devon School in John Knowles’ classic, A Separate Peace, mine is one of sheer celebration. It is the fulfillment of my 1990 commencement speech promise to “return to HCC and work with the teachers who helped me learn so much in such a short period of time.” It is also a return that promises to provide our students with a repertoire of activities filled with high expectations. Perhaps the greatest benefit of attending Hillsborough Community College as a student was that I was fortunate enough to encounter teachers who epitomized the word, “teach”.