Spring 2020 classes have resumed online.
Please visit dcccd.edu/coronavirus for additional information and to learn how to prepare for online classes.

Freelance Web Designer
MurfsMagic Web Design and
El Centro College

“If it wasn’t for the faculty at El Centro and the TRIO program, I don’t think I’d be where I am — in school full time going for an associate degree. The instructors are hands-on, one-on-one and will spend all the time in the world it takes for you to understand something. Don Bittinger, Glenda Easter, Janet Ward — they were all so helpful to me.

“What lights my fire about this area is the ability to have creative input into what I do. I get a sense of accomplishment from completing what I’ve started and working from the inside out. My desire is to be able to become a mechanical engineer — that would be my greatest accomplishment.

“I was a 10th-grade dropout who joined the work force at 14 cutting lumber in Fairbanks, Alaska, where I lived for 27 years and got my GED when I was 16. I moved to Texas in 1995 and was working as a trim carpenter, bartending at night. I also had jobs repairing FM antennas 2,000 feet in the air and washing windows on up to 25-story high-rise buildings, hanging in a boatman’s chair on a five-eighth-inch rope.

“One day, on my way to work bartending, I had a head-on collision on my Harley. I was in the hospital for two months, and at one point the doctors wanted to amputate my leg, but I wouldn’t let them. I did two years of rehabilitation in a wheelchair.

“That kind of situation will make you think about what’s important to you, and I decided I needed to do something more with my life besides bartending. I started to learn about repairing computers, and when the bottom fell out of the computer repair market, I decided to go back to school and learn more about using a computer.

“When I first started college, I was computer-illiterate; I could fix them but I could barely turn one on. My first objective was just to become employable and get off disability.

“While I was still on crutches I enrolled in 18 hours of classes at El Centro in Spring 2007. I didn’t think I had the intelligence or aptitude to do much, but I’ve been on the honor roll every semester and in Phi Theta Kappa [the academic honor society for two-year college students], and now I’m a peer tutor for all the classes I have taken. If you’d have told me a few years ago I’d be taking college-level algebra, trig and calculus, I’d have laughed in your face.

“The best part of this program is the one-on-one instruction and how caring the instructors are. Not one of them will turn their back on you and leave you not understanding something. A lot of them could teach anywhere they want, but they want to teach in the community college setting, and that’s really lucky for us students.

“Sometimes I hear other students on campus talk about how they think they’re too old to be in college, but I don’t want to hear it. I hadn’t been in school for nearly 28 years when I went back at almost 50, and I’m doing it.

“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my life, and things haven’t come easily for me, but college has totally changed my attitude and sense of self-worth. I can say that college has really changed my life.”

Duane Murphy earned both an associate degree in Internet Development Technologies and a certificate in Interactive Media from El Centro College in May 2009. He is currently taking advanced math classes at El Centro in preparation for transferring to a bachelor’s degree program.