Commentary: Good news at Centralia College — Enrollment is up, $524,000 in scholarships awarded


As the weather makes a sudden turn from summer to fall, I’m thinking about all of the activities taking place at Centralia College as we start into the new academic year. It’s shaping up to be a busy year and enrollment is up significantly. 

On Sept. 19, the Centralia College Foundation awarded $524,000 in scholarships to 394 students at the annual Scholarship Night celebration. Donors and students met each other over punch and pastries to exchange stories and build connections. It was an amazing, inspiring night that highlighted not only the efforts of our dedicated community of donors, but also the hard work of students who are using those scholarships to improve their lives.

The Friends of Centralia College East (CCEast) in Morton awarded approximately $2,750 in scholarships for six students for summer quarter. The tuition awards helped fill in funding gaps for students, allowing them to keep moving toward their educational goals. A committee of volunteers, under the larger umbrella of the CCEast Advisory Committee, reviewed applications and dispersed the funding.

All of these scholarship efforts are crucial for the success of our students. In case you didn’t know, Centralia College is one of the few colleges that does not participate in student loan programs — our hope is to have students graduate debt-free. But we can only do that if we have healthy scholarship programs, supported by donors in the community, around the region, and across the country.

The annual Dia de la Independencia was held on campus Sept.15. More than 450 people came to campus to celebrate Latinx culture and history. In fact, more than 1,000 tacos were served! Guests included “El Pariente” Mareno from La GranD radio in Seattle, mariachi music, balloons, and face painting. The event was planned by CC’s own Yanet Blanco and Hope Alliance. We’re already planning for next year.

Students taking pre-college courses at CC this summer showed impressive improvements in their standardized test scores. Last summer, 9.6 percent of students made gains. This summer, 19 percent made gains. That is a 98 percent increase! Pre-college courses include GED, high school diploma, reading, math, and English language classes.

Fall classes started Sept. 18 and so far things are rolling along pretty smoothly. Total enrollment is up about 12 percent, and that’s good news for those students, their families, and the economic health of Lewis County today and tomorrow. 

So, there’s a shot of good news for a rainy, late September day. More is always coming. I hope it finds you today and every day. If you ever have trouble finding the good news, pop over to the college. We’re here to help.


Bob Mohrbacher is president of Centralia College.