Rose Turman is a true inspiration for all students that set foot on South Mountain Community College’s campus. She is an original member of the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute and a prime example of why South Mountain is the place for every type of student. Her story is one that resonates with both students and staff alike as she continues to take full advantage of all SMCC has to offer.
Rose believes our school was built for students like her who have lived in the community and wish to grow with it.
Rose has precious memories about South Phoenix before the college was built. For instance, Rose recalls playing with her friends among the citrus trees, watermelon patches, and pecan fields that disappeared with the housing and business development of the community in the late 1970s.
The spirit of education was instilled in Rose early by her family and surrounding community. Though this would play a critical role in her decision to come to SMCC later on, Rose initially put school on the back-burner to focus on having a family. Having her first child at 15, she felt comfortable with the excuses she told herself as time went on. It wasn’t until her children expressed their disapproval with such excuses that she became open to the idea of going back to school. Not unlike many students that are not in the the “traditional” age range for college, Rose was intimidated by the idea of enrolling in school. Luckily for all who have come in contact with her she was able to bypass that fear and enroll at South Mountain Community College.
Living close to SMCC was a considerable factor in the decision to attend South Mountain Community College. Early on Rose expressed the initial reaction to South Mountain adding a community college was negative. Members in the community felt as though it was built with ill intent. However, Rose felt at home at SMCC which led her to be introduced to the Storytelling Institute. Liz Warren, the Director of the Storytelling Institute, was a major contributor in Rose’s decision to join the storytelling program. She was able to relate the methods and goals of storytelling to her career in behavioral health.
For Rose, going into behavioral health with the tools from the Storytelling Institute helped her to connect and empathize with people. Every chance she gets to speak about the Institute on or off campus, she does! Rose embodies the spirit and message of the Storytelling Institute, as well as the significance of a college education.
Overall Rose wants people who are intimidated to come back to school to try it here at South. The family environment, involved staff, and open minded students have given Rose something to look forward to daily. Rose, like many other students, continues to stay in the community of SMCC and hopes the college will expand. This the goal of SMCC, to make everyone who walks on campus feel at home.
Student Researchers: Sydnee Carey and Tamika Cole, Fall 2018