Co-Lin offered me great opportunity

Published 2:02 pm Thursday, June 14, 2007

You may have heard the slogan: “Co-Lin Natchez: The Place To Be.” Well, for me it was. When I finished high school, I had no idea what I was going to do. I tried to join the U.S. military, but those plans did not work out so well. I started doing part-time odd jobs (lawn work, painting, etc.) on Clifton Avenue for Mr. Claiborne P. Hollis. The odd jobs soon became full time, and for a teenager right out of high school, I thought I was on my way.

After working for Mr. Hollis for about a year, I began to say to myself, “I know I can do better.” The question was, how? I just knew I could not afford college, so I never even considered that route. I always thought college was for rich families.

I discussed my thoughts with my girlfriend, and told her that I wanted to go to college and increase my chances of having a better life. However, at the time, I had no idea where all that money was going to come from to go to college. So, she mentioned Co-Lin Natchez. She said it was a lot less expensive to go to a community college for the first two years than to a four-year university.

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Once I found that out, I began to fill out the financial aid forms and I took the ACT. Before I knew it, I was sitting in a classroom at Co-Lin Natchez working on a degree in business. I chose business because no matter what you do or where you go in this world you will have to conduct some kind of business transaction. I just figured with a degree in business, I would have all bases covered. I was able to work out a schedule with my job to take the classes during the day that I could not take at night. I was able to stay at home, buy a car, save some money and get a quality education in business at the same time.

The environment at Co-Lin Natchez was a great place to learn. Everybody at Co-Lin Natchez made me feel relaxed and comfortable, creating a great learning atmosphere, so I could concentrate on classes like economics and accounting. The business classes were not very crowded, allowing the instructors the time to cover their subject matter in detail. One of my accounting instructors, Mr. Kenneth Taylor always taught on a level that made me feel like he was preparing me for success. This attention to detail made the material easier for me to understand and gave me a strong business foundation to build on.

In fact, all the business classes that I took under Mr. Taylor were accepted at a four-year university (Jackson State University). The business classes that I took at Co-Lin Natchez, in my opinion, truly prepared me for the next level. Co-Lin Natchez gave me such a strong business foundation, JSU thought I was deserving of a full scholarship to continue my education at no cost to me. As a result of the scholarship, I was able to attend JSU. When I graduated from JSU, I had accomplished what I had set out to do which was to give myself a chance to have a better life. Thanks to Co-Lin Natchez: the place to be.

Leon C. Thomas Sr. is a Natchez resident and sales representative at Atmos Energy.