Sorry if this one has too many words and gets preachy, in a way I am writing it more for me… I spent the morning at Mass Bay Community College – of which I am an alumnus, I graduated in 1996. Months later I was a business owner with my One Hour Photo lab. I took primarily photography and business classes, I really liked it there. My love for photography developed there under the guidance of Terry Mislick, without her I am not the photographer I am today. My business professor was Hurdle, I still use the marketing knowledge I learned in his classes for my business now. These two incredible teachers have so much to do with who I am, yet for many years, better part of two decades I think I was ashamed to say I went to Mass Bay. Why? I think it started with the worst manager I ever had, let’s call him SG, I just looked him up on Linked In and not only is he still employed and alive, we are connected and I put this blog on Linked In daily so well… “Hi, SG you look well, ha.” He was a pure corporate man, at the time I knew him, a walking cliche, one of many I worked for in my years, but he was different. He caught me at a time in my life where I was impressionable. We met once, only once, he was a remote manager, in 15 minutes he criticized me for not smoking, not drinking coffee, not eating breakfast with him and that my resume said Mass Bay Community College, “You can’t go far with only that, they won’t even look at the resume, to the discard pile it goes.” With a corporate laugh and a drag on the cigarette, he made me feel like shit for maybe 2 minutes. Then I just decided to not like him. The Mass Bay thing stuck with me though. I can say now, he was wrong, so wrong. He never asked my back story, did not bother to learn I had tried two other schools, with names he might even have respected. He did not learn they were not good fits for me, not everyone is the same, not everyone fits into the box others designed. He did not learn that I was educated by Professors who taught at some of the most prestigious Colleges in the area, the same class, the same books just a different tuition fee. I graduated with a GPA in the high 3s, created my own classes and programs while there, assisted in teaching; a skill I still use to this day and owned a business at 23 years old with that MBCC education. Nope, he was done with me at four words, ‘Massachusetts Bay Community College.’ I was done with him six months later when the company fell apart because of wads like him running it. By the way the name of the company KODAK. In the past I have been very vague on my degree, or I would say Mass Bay… with a disclaimer or a poor attempt to defend it, like it was a mistake. Why? Ignorant on my part and to Mass Bay I am sorry. Now as a parent with two kids about to be in college, one who will be attending Mass Bay for all the right reasons, I want to say I am proud of where I have been. I was there with my son today, the first time I have been back in 20 years. I made us take a detour to find the Photo Lab, you need to know where it is to find it, hidden in the corner, behind stuff, around there, down those stairs, behind the unmarked door, you will smell it. And I did, that smell, I love that smell, fixer, developer, so sweet, the smell of my youth, the scent of my origin story. I could have cried, but not a cool Dad thing to do, I loved it there, it was empty and quiet, but the same. My teachers name is still on the door, and there on the corner of the back wall, the baby with the two teeth and screaming grin, well that is Anna Grace, age 14 months old, as in Anna Grace Rice, my daughter. The photo developed in that lab, by me 20 years ago during one of the assistant teacher sessions, I had no idea we would find it there, adds to the guilt. We need to realize these kids get to be different, take different roads and the answers are not all a four year school. My son plans on going to Mass Bay then on to more education after, while others I know are going into a trade right out of school, military, we need less SG elitist attitudes about education, now off my soapbox and thank you Mass Bay I promise to be more active in the alumni side of it all.