Contributed photo/Kristy TG

Skagit Valley College is hidden gem | Letters

Skagit Valley College is one of our hidden local gems that we are incredibly fortunate to have in a community our size. We were lucky to attend an event hosted by the college last week celebrating their culinary arts program and new craft brew academy. These programs focus on connecting people with the food they eat, linking with the school’s sustainable agriculture program. The effort to source locally includes a relationship with WSU’s Mount Vernon Extension and new enterprise Skagit Valley Malting to explore the local flavor and terroir of our region – a potential boon to island agricultural endeavors.

We learned about several new initiatives the college is championing as well as refreshing our memory about the role the college plays in our community for truly life-long learning. The Skagit Valley College Foundation’s commitment to reducing barriers to higher education — such as providing emergency or childcare assistance and many scholarship opportunities — is admirable. This is accomplished in several ways; the most notable is being selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Educations’ Title III program.

Locally, San Juan County Economic Development Council’s Victoria Compton has been successful in getting funding for county residents to attend the college’s marine technology program based at the Northwest Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing & Technology in Anacortes. The college continues to churn out unique and interesting continuing education opportunities in addition to the core curriculum. And then there is the Road Scholar program which combines sense-of-place tourism with education, making positive financial and cultural impacts across the islands.

Cheers to SVC San Juan Center Director Randy Martin and staff and the whole faculty under President Dr. Thomas Keegan for supporting our community in so many positive ways.

Doug McCutchen and Kari Koski

San Juan Island