Students returned to downtown Hollister as classes resumed at the Briggs Building Monday.
Nearly 1,200 students attended Gavilan College classes at the Hollister site.
“We serve Tres Pinos, Paicines, San Juan Bautista and Hollister,” said Judy Rodriguez, director of the downtown center. “It’s very important to have this location here for convenience of travel time.”
Dr. Kathleen Rose, college president, toured all of the Gavilan College campuses on the first day of school starting with the Briggs Building.
“I like to go to Hollister first thing in the morning,” Rose said. “People are eager, it was fun to see everyone on the first day of school.”
Rose introduced herself to classrooms full of students.
“We’re offering education where education is needed,” she said.
Most classes offered at the Briggs Building are general education courses like math and English, which Rodriguez said have experienced increased enrollment.
“Definitely communications and psychology classes,” Rodriguez said. “Those seem to fill quickly.”
And new this year: Administration of Justice.
“It introduces the subject of law enforcement to students,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a way for them to see if that is the field they want to be in.”
In addition to the Briggs Building, Gavilan College partners with San Benito County Free Library and local schools and organizations to offer free GED, citizenship and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
“We also offer ESL in computers,” Rodriguez said. “Now we’re empowering students to learn English and how to use a computer so they’re more marketable when they look for work.”
Local ESL class enrollments have increased, which Rose attributes to public outreach and the partnerships for credit and noncredit ESL, GED and literacy courses.
“Doing more layering of credit and noncredit ESL courses together really provides two benefits: students are continuing to get to higher literacy levels in the ESL sequence and they’re also coming on the campus and taking more courses on the credit side,” said Rose.