Hopkinsville Community College is shining bright like a diamond after a series of recent big announcements.

First, HCC unveiled its new Emerging Technologies Center to donors Friday, showing off over 45,000 square feet of innovative learning spaces for the next generation of nurses, doctors, EMTs, precision agricultural technicians and mechanics.

On top of that, HCC announced a partnership with Madisonville Community College to share surgical technology instructors and equipment in order to offer training for students at both colleges. How genius is that to share the cost of these professors and equipment while still providing coursework for a growing field?

It shows that HCC is thinking about not only its future but the community's youngest and brightest. During last week's unveiling, a handful of the city's dignitaries attended and highlighted how influential HCC was in their lives. Retired Pennyrile Electric President/CEO Eston Glover Jr. said the school was at the center of many great things in his life. Not only did he graduate from HCC college but he met his wife there.

Terri Henderson, another graduate of HCC, said the college was the launching ground for many in her family as well, including her daughter who is now a hematologist.

Glover and Henderson served as co-chairmen for HCC's BuildSmart campaign, which helped raise over $3 million in matching funds for the $15 million Emerging Technologies building. Many of those contributors are also HCC alumni.

We recognize that HCC is a gem among the state's community and technical college system and a launch pad for many of Hopkinsville's leaders, past and present.

We aren't the only ones who know it: In a Wallet Hub study of cost, education outcomes and career outcomes at community colleges, Hopkinsville Community College ranked No. 18 out of 710 community colleges across the nation. The college has the lowest tuition in Kentucky and is also ranked No. 1 in the commonwealth.

Not only should Hopkinsville be proud of those rankings, but students, parents and educators should take advantage of the awesome resource found in their own backyard.

When the HCC and MCC partnership was announced last week, HCC President Dr. Alissa Young spoke about a recent conversation she had at Hopkinsville Rotary meeting. A fellow rotarian asked Young about new ventures at the school. Young responded by saying "How long do you have?"

Young is often quoted as saying, "Great things are happening at HCC."

We couldn't agree more.

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