Ernest Montoya rode his bike from Pueblo West to Pueblo Community College every day for the past two years; it didn’t matter if it was extreme heat or snowing. After a gap of almost 35 years, Ernest found himself wanting to get an education to get into a better field of work as a result of the economy changes.

Jill Brown recently discovered that she has a documented learning disability, even though she’s almost 50 years old. She is proudly pursuing three degrees at Pueblo Community College.

There are countless other students just like Ernest and Jill who have an incredible drive to succeed and overcome almost insurmountable odds to make life better for their families and themselves. All too often, these students, talented and promising as they may be, don’t want to put an extra financial burden on their family or can’t afford to choose between the rent payment and tuition.

This is where the Pueblo Community College Foundation comes in. The Foundation hosted a breakfast on Wednesday in the campus Fortino Ballroom to help get the word out about PCC’s programs and paths to success.

PCC has four campuses: Pueblo, Fremont, and Southwest Colorado Community College sites in Durango and Mancos. Since its inception in 1981, the PCC Foundation has raised $3.7 million to support PCC students through their scholarship program, and, in addition, has raised $11.5 million to support college programs.

A perfect example of an “angel” to PCC programs, particularly the culinary arts series, is Mary Jane Voelker. She has given more than $75,000 so that students can learn and receive mentorship, and she even sponsored a trip for the culinary arts students to San Francisco last year. “We’re goin’ to Las Vegas next year!,” she proudly announced to the crowd of about 150 at the breakfast.

PCC President Patty Erjavec gave a “State of Our Union” message and proudly talked about the campus initiatives and accomplishments.

But would-be success stories need help and support. To contribute time, dollars or supplies, contact the PCC Foundation at