My Alma Mater

Staff Sgt. Vanessa Glenn, Community College of the Air Force, and Chief Master Sgt. Victoria Gamble, Air Mobility Command command chief, display their Community College of the Air Force T-shirt at Ryan Hall inside the CCAF Administrative Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The CCAF serves more than 305,000 active, Guard, and Reserve enlisted personnel, making it the world’s largest community college system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Davis)

Staff Sgt. Vanessa Glenn, Community College of the Air Force, and Chief Master Sgt. Victoria Gamble, Air Mobility Command command chief, display their Community College of the Air Force T-shirt at Ryan Hall inside the CCAF Administrative Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The CCAF serves more than 305,000 active, Guard, and Reserve enlisted personnel, making it the world’s largest community college system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Davis)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- I recently visited my alma mater and although it doesn't have a football team, cheerleaders, or a mascot, it does provide a terrific gateway opportunity to secondary education.

The Community College of the Air Force has been around since 1972 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. By the way, that's the same accreditation held by schools like Auburn University, Duke University, and the University of Georgia just to name a few.

I call the CCAF the "gateway college" because it leads to a future and significant risk of being involved with even higher levels of education.

For 29 percent of my alma mater's students, the CCAF enabled them to be the first person in their family to earn a degree. What's more is the CCAF degree builds students' confidence and becomes a catalyst for even higher level degrees. Once you start attending class, you will quickly realize you actually enjoy learning.

Learning is the gift that keeps on giving. It allows you to think critically and solve work issues, prepares you to be competitive in the work force after Air Force service, and most of all; promotes life-long learning.

While students from other colleges will enjoy sororities and reunions, I will rejoice in the fact that the Community College of the Air Force opened a door to my education that I will always be grateful for. Not too shabby for a school without a football team.