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It’s Midnight. Why Aren’t You In Class?

This article is more than 10 years old.

The recession has sent more people back to school, and Massachusetts is no different. At Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, enrollment is up 23 percent since last year. The college is taking extraordinary steps to address the lack of space and the needs of working students — midnight classes.

Hector Gonzalez is late for the 11:45 class. But he stops in the lobby for coffee. He’ll need it to get through the almost three hour lecture.

“Basically, this was the only class of psychology that was open,” he says, stirring creamer into his coffee.

Tanneke Burns is taking two midnight classes. The mother of five, who draws blood for the Red Cross, wants to be a nurse. (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)
Tanneke Burns is taking two midnight classes. The mother of five, who draws blood for the Red Cross, wants to be a nurse. (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)

Gonzalez is a police officer in Chelsea. He works at 7 a.m., but he needs Psychology 101 for his criminal justice degree. “I’d prefer to take it in-person,” he says, instead of online classes. “I’d rather have a teacher.”

Professor Kathleen O’Neill is standing in front of a classroom of 20 people. “When you think of psychology, what do you think of?,” she asks the group.

“The brain,” one student calls out.

“Yes, the brain,” O’Neill says. “Good. What else?”

O’Neill came up with the idea of these midnight sessions to deal with the increased enrollment at Bunker Hill Community College.

“There are so many students that want to come here, it would make sense to run it overnight,” she says. “Having teenagers myself I know they’re up at midnight. So, I thought why not just run it overnight and see what happens.”

This program aired on September 10, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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