Dr. Jerry came to my Spanish Conversation Class at CLC some years ago ‘to brush up.’ After one class listening activity using CLC’s antiquated cassette player, he pulled me aside. We bonded over a long chat about Spanish, the college and our mutual vision for cultural awareness in the area. The next week, he showed himself a man of action: He donated a boom box for our studies!
In the coming years, he continued to sign up for classes, attending when he could, adamant that Spanish not be cut due to low enrollment. He wrote letters to CLC presidents in support of Spanish, spoke up at board meetings and rallied to the cause of opening our community and students’ eyes to a global vision.
Such was his passion for having language and culture studies in this region that we met with Diane Scearcy of the CLC Foundation and set up a scholarship. Together, we donated seed money for eight Festivales Latinos, putting the proceeds into the fund. Jerry helped raise thousands of dollars for local fundraisers, but insisted this be a family friendly, culturally educational and affordable event. CLC Spanish Club provided the volunteers and we give five scholarships each spring.
Dr. Jerry reviewed these recipients and often discovered greater need. He drove to their homes, got acquainted and responded with groceries, added scholarship funding, job searches and even insulated a house before winter. He also provided an eye operation to one of my AFS International visiting teachers from Bolivia.
Personally, Dr. Jerry researched my diagnosis of MS and was convinced it was in error. Over a year period, he helped lift that cloud from my self-imagined future. What a release!
Ah, Señor Poland, in your office you did bring ‘sight’ to many, but quietly, behind the scenes, you helped people, ‘see their potential’ and realize their dreams.
Muchas gracias, Dr. Jeronimo...you will be missed!
Central Lakes College