It was with great interest that I read the Baltimore Jewish Times’ Aug. 15 iNSIDER article “Community Colleges: Worth a Second Look.” After all, I won first prize, a $25 savings bond, by writing an essay, “Why a Junior College Should Be Established in Baltimore,” in June 1946.
I was 18 years old, and having immigrated from Germany in May 1940, I certainly did not have the money to attend a regular four-year college. So I felt that a junior college would help me. But I had to go to New York City, where I took courses in photography at a professional school.
Twenty-four years later I graduated from the Community College of Baltimore in June 1970 with an Associate in Arts Degree in data processing. My three children watched their mother get her diploma. I got a job with USF&G, a local insurance company, as a programmer analyst in its data processing department.
At the time I was interviewed by Dr. Sidney Kobre, a professor at the Community College of Baltimore who was publicizing education for adults at the junior college. His articles were printed in all of the local papers. A photo of my children looking on at my newly received degree was also published. When Dr. Kobre heard about my winning first prize at the citywide contest in 1946, he immediately published another article in the local papers calling it “Guide Essay Winner Graduated” with a subtitle “Mrs. Ruth Idas’ educational chickens have come home to roost.”
That Baltimore City, Baltimore County and the other counties have established many community colleges is a definite boon to the many young people who do not have the means or the interest or the opportunity to go to a four-year college. It is certainly a pathway for young people to be able to secure a better job and a better future than would otherwise be available to them.
Ruth London Idas Di Stefano
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.