The Chipola Arts Center sparkled in gold Monday as faculty, press, business leaders, and trustees gathered to hear the announcement that all the buzz was about. For the second consecutive year, Chipola was the recipient of $704,000 worth of GOLD honors. Chipola, along with Santa Fe College, Seminole State College of Florida, South Florida College, and Valencia College were the five of 28 community colleges to receive this award.
Chipola College President Dr. Sarah Clemmons was all smiles as she addressed the crowd, “Today is a wonderful celebration at Chipola College. This is the second consecutive year that we have won Gold from the Florida College System for student performance and we are just truly excited. Out of the great 28 colleges, only five got a Gold ranking and Chipola was one of them. Last year we were number one in the state and this year we’re number four. So, that is truly, truly something to celebrate.”
When asked about what winning Gold says about the students at Chipola College, Dr. Clemmons said, “It says that our students are competitive within the state and they’re competitive within the nation. It says that Chipola College has a great retention rate, our students choose to come here and we’re able to work with them, tutor them and mentor them. They’re able to graduate, they have a great career, they can go on and have a job and immediately begin to work and make a great wage, or they can transfer to a university if they so choose and continue to get a bachelor’s degree. So, it says Chipola College is doing a great job with our mission.”
Dr. Clemmons also said, “Last year was a record performance year for our students. We had back-to-back national championships for baseball, and now back-to-back championships in the state for student academic performance. It’s truly been a phenomenal year for Chipola College and we are just celebrating today, not only our students but our faculty and staff. They have just done a phenomenal job with the resources that we have and we’re so proud that we’ve been able to serve our five-county district so well, so this is just a true celebration.”
Chipola will start the 2018-2019 school year on Monday August 20, and Dr. Clemmons says, “This week we are still advising and registering students. Classes will start on the 20th and we’re very excited to start a new year. We had our opening ceremony this morning down in the Prough Center for the Arts, so we saw a 30-minute video of winning moments at Chipola College from last year. It was just phenomenal to watch all of the different student groups and to think back over what a terrific year we had last year in athletics, in academics and in student organizations. We just have the winning spirit here at Chipola and we are just so proud.”
Clemmons gave special credit to the ‘ACE’ Lab – the Academic Center for Excellence Lab that provides tutoring at no cost to students and the Dropout Detective program that began in the 2016-17 school year. This program assists faculty and advisors in monitoring students’ performance and works to keep them on track if they encounter obstacles along the way.
Clemmons and her faculty also were presented a resolution of appreciation in for their accomplishment.
Those present were provided lunch by Chipola College with beautifully decorated ‘GOLD’ tables and garnishes.