To begin the evening, the students in attendance were challenged by Jenni Gonzales, CAC’s acting assistant dean of student services, to “take your passions and interests and use them as your motivation to do well.”
Interim President Dr. Doris Helmich told the group that persistence was paramount in earning an education.
The attendees were rewarded for their persistence with recognition that included scholarships in some cases. In total, $9,000 in scholarship funds was awarded to TRiO students at the event, a follow-up to $14,500 in scholarships given for the 2011-12 academic year.
The following students were recognized as recipients of TRiO Scholarships:
- Jonathan Gastelum (Florence, AZ)
- Ana Fernanda Benitez (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Taralyn Adakai (Dennehotso, AZ)
- Nicholas Franklin (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Brenda Rocio Becerra (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Juan Verduzco (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Danté Rodriguez (Maricopa, AZ)
- Kyaira Warren (Southfield, MI)
Additional special recognitions include:
- Peer Mentor of the Year - Keanna Blackwell (Federal Way, WA)
- Summer Bridge Student of the Year - Dwight Mack (Coolidge, AZ)
- Most Involved TRiO Student - Edna Torres (Phoenix, AZ)
- Most Promising Graduate - Katherine Juarez (Coolidge, AZ)
- Triumph Award - Brenda Rocio Becerra (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Highest TRiO Grade Point Average - Nicholas Franklin (Casa Grande, AZ)
For Torres, who, in her first year in the TRiO program, help found a student organization called STAN (Students Taking Action Now), the evening’s festivities were the perfect way to close the year.
“It feels really good to be recognized,” she said, “but at the same it was a good opportunity to get the word out there about what we’re doing. If people want to join STAN, now they know more about it.”
In addition, Katherine Juarez was recognized for her selection as the graduation speaker for CAC’s 2012 commencement ceremony.
TRiO also recognized its graduating students:
- Keanna Blackwell (Federal Way, WA)
- Shannan Buckley (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Sharon Chandler (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Katherine Freudenthal (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Kristin Jimenez (Arizona City, AZ)
- Katherine Juarez (Coolidge, AZ)
- Mark Leonard (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Bryan Parylak (Chandler, AZ)
- D’Vonne Pickett Jr. (Seattle, WA)
- Silvia Rascon (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Ja’Naea Smith (Glendale, AZ)
- Erica Villa (Casa Grande, AZ)
- Ana Carrera (San Manuel, AZ)
TRiO Student Support Services at Central Arizona College seeks to empower students to persist, graduate and transfer to a university while overcoming class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education. TRiO students receive services such as personalized and individual advising, faculty and peer mentors, cultural excursions, TRiO exclusive math, reading, and writing tutoring, and much more.
TRiO Student Support Services and all TRiO services, activities, and grant aid are funded by a $1.15 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education.