Nancy Ballen and Iris Fiallos-Finstad

Nancy Ballen with PBSC Loxahatchee Groves faculty member Iris Fiallos-Finstad at the voter registration table on Constitution Day.

Constitution Week Voter Registration at PBSC Loxahatchee Groves 

By Phyllis Applebaum

New to Florida and new to the League of Women Voters, I’d never been to Loxahatchee Groves, although the name filled me with curiosity.  Our Team Leader, Nancy Ballen, and I agreed to pick up our third team member, Helen Laurence, at her home, not too far from the college.  We wandered through idyllic horse country, with white picket fences and very green grass, and even saw a couple of early riders sharing the road.

Opened in February 2017, Loxahatchee Groves is the fifth and newest campus of Palm Beach State College.  Their website boasts: “The campus is nestled on a beautiful 75-acre site with preserved wetlands, virgin woodlands, and cypress trees.”  They offer an Associate in Arts transfer degree, the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, which guarantees admission to a Florida public university.  Their focus is on health sciences and technology.  Although the campus was small, to begin with, they’ve been growing quite a bit, and now have 2,242 students.

The school showed itself to be an active participant in Constitution Week on September 17 when we were there.  We set up our table just inside the front door, in a wide atrium area with lots of sunlight.  Located so centrally, we saw all the students walking by us.  Not only was the voter registration location ideal, but our school contact, Iris Fiallos-Finstad, was also ideal—warm and pleasant.  She is a faculty librarian who teaches at two PBSC campuses, Loxahatchee Groves and Belle Glade.  Iris coordinates academic activities there; however, she notes that there will be a new director in the future.

The highlight of the day, of course, was dealing with the students, who were bright and eager to register.   Quite a few of them had already registered, smiling as they proclaimed their “already registered” status.   However, for those who did register, they beamed as they put on the sticker we provide afterward.  It shows an American flag and says, “I registered to vote today.”

As we drove out of the parking lot at the end of the day, tired from our efforts, we glanced again at the serene campus and felt a little sad at having to leave.  However, I knew that I had to come back to Loxahatchee Groves—there was more to see.