Jacksonville, TX (KETK) — Jacksonville College is the oldest two year junior college in Texas, and continues to celebrate being 115 years strong. The school was founded in 1899 after a group of concerned citizens met at a Baptist pastor's home, and discussed how Cherokee County needed higher education for younger people. The group pitched in the money they had, and $23 later, a college was born. "It just has a lot of rich history of people who have sacrificed and given their lives and finances in order to support this college," said Dr. Mike Smith, Jacksonville College president.
Today, the 'Jaguars' continue to excel, and Smith says their faith in God has paved the way. "We depend upon our faith in God and the giving, sacrificial giving," said Smith, but he also said it hasn't been easy. It's hard to compete with public schools because "they get funding from the state and the government and it makes it difficult on us," said Smith.
However, they still continue to rise above it all. They are working on several projects, and adding numerous things to the campus. Recently, they started concealed handgun classes, and security officer certification classes. They also now have additional classrooms, and are in the works to build more student housing. "As you grow as a school numerically, you have more needs, and one of our needs that we had was in the area of counseling," said Smith.
The Crisis Center of Cherokee and Anderson Counties has partnered with Jacksonville College. The center provides safety training and counseling to all staff and students. Roger Pharr, program director for the center said, "we want the students to know that our services are available to them, and know that all of our services come at no cost to the clients."
With all the new and upcoming additions, Smith says it's been about the students since day one. "That was the original mission, and we want to stay with that. To provide a quality education from a Christian world-view here in Cherokee County," said Smith.