Reedley College, region’s schools maintain tight bond to Fresno State

This week’s article about the Oct. 30 “community conversation” event at Reedley College shows just how much of a connection the schools in the Mid Valley Times coverage region have to Fresno State. And the university is well aware of the fact, which is a primary reason why the event featuring president Joseph Castro and other university leaders came to the RC cafeteria.
The numbers don’t lie. Of the university’s 24,000 students for the 2019-2020 semester, 1,730 come from Reedley or Sanger, either through the high schools or Reedley College. This year, 114 RC graduates are enrolled in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology while 71 students in the Lyles College of Engineering have ties to RC.
And high school students connections continue to grow. Not mentioned in the article is the Reedley Middle College High School education opportunity. Castro was told that 51 students are enrolled for 2019-20 with 31 on pace to graduate high school with an associate’s degree.
It was encouraging to hear that Fresno State continues to tap into students in the region with higher education opportunities, but challenges remain. Castro told Roberto Vaca, Orosi High School principal, about how soaring number of applications and demand have caused “impaction” when it comes to admission. Most recently, 9,000 students had been denied admission because of overcrowding and demand.
Castro said he’s proud that the university’s roughly $6,000 in tuition is a bargain compared with many comparable and larger schools. “I’m really happy to tell you that our average debt level for our graduates has remained flat during my presidency,” he said to attendees. “That’s about $18,000 for bachelor’s degree. Compare to national average of about $27,000, that’s a pretty big difference. Here’s the other good news, about half of our students graduate [and] have no debt at all.”
One of the university’s speakers at the conversation was Terry Tumey, director of athletics, who spoke of his longtime relationship with RC Hall of Famer Ed Kezirian; Tumey’s offensive line coach when he played football at UCLA. In one of the evening’s lighter moments, Tumey also acknowledged the Bulldog football team’s failure to recruit Josh Allen. The former Firebaugh and Reedley College standout later went on to star for the University of Wyoming and now is the starting quarterback for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
“I don’t know how we missed that one,” he told the audience. “But I will make a promise — you guys produce another Josh Allen, and we will be there bright and early to get this guy to be a Fresno State Bulldog.”
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A shout-out of congratulations goes to the Greater Reedley Chamber of Commerce and the many downtown businesses who participated in the annual Trick or Treat on G Street event the afternoon of Halloween. It’s always great to see throngs of people gather downtown, and an opportunity for children to collect candy in a relatively safe environment. A good job by all involved.