13 named to All-Arizona Academic Team

December 14, 2012 by Anonymous

Full tuition waivers to Arizona’s three public universities will be awarded to 13 Northland Pioneer College students to complete their bachelor’s degrees as nominees to the All-Arizona, All-USA Academic Team program, co-sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society (PTK), Follet Higher Education Group, the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation and USA Today. This will be the 18th year Arizona has separately recognized the state’s top two-year college students.

Representing NPC will be Kimberly Fore and Ayla Hayden from the Holbrook – Painted Desert Campus; Beth Harbold and Xu “Shirley” Xei from the Show Low – White Mountain Campus; James Brimhall and Terry Laws from the Snowflake/Taylor – Silver Creek Campus; David Ciminski and Amanda Crawford from the Saint Johns Center; Emily Kortan and Anthony Meza from the Springerville/Eagar Center; Rachael Antonio from the Whiteriver Center; and Tashawna Jones and Teresa Keele from the Winslow – Little Colorado Campus. Team members will also receive scholarships from NPC.

Kimberly ForeLife has not been easy for Kimberly Fore. Raised by a single mother with a gambling addiction, sometimes the basics of life, such as running water and electricity, were too much to hope for. After her seven-year marriage ended in divorce, Fore found herself back in the workforce, a single-mom raising her daughter. “My daughter is my life and the reason I strive to be a person who makes a difference in life. That’s why, after many years of soul-searching, I made the difficult decision to return to school for my nursing degree.”

A resident of Concho, Fore tutors her fellow nursing students as many as 15 hours per week. She also helped organize a toy drive for the White Mountains S.A.F.E. House women’s shelter and volunteers with Pet Allies, which offers no- or low-cost spay and neutering services.

Fore has continuously been named to the NPC President’s List for her perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA) since the fall 2010 semester. She is also the recipient of the Eleanor Vaughan and Catherine “Tink” Borum memorial scholarships. Fore plans to enroll at Arizona State University next fall to complete her Bachelor of Science – Nursing degree.

Ayla Hayden“Reading has always been an enormous joy in my life,” notes Holbrook resident Ayla Hayden. “I have fond memories of my mother reading to me while I snuggled in her lap, books often took the place of stuffed animals as cuddle objects while drifting off to sleep after I learned to read. I never leave my house without some new story safely tucked in my purse.”

Hayden shares her passion for reading by volunteering at the Holbrook Public Library and at reading nights at the local elementary school. “The first time I read for Dr. Seuss Family Night at Park Elementary, I was nervous because I had never read aloud for adults before,” commented Hayden. By the second time I read the story, however, I was confident because the families enjoyed listening to the stories as much as, if not more than, their kindergarteners.”

Attending NPC has given her the confidence she needed to “push me into furthering my education. I learned that I am able to not only pass, but excel in college-level classes, and if I put my mind to it, I could actually earn the Master’s degree that would allow me to fulfill my dream of becoming a high school counselor.” She is enrolling this spring at Northern Arizona University, “excited to start working toward my master’s and fulfill my dream.”

Beth HarboldAfter 14 years of following her husband to several duty stations while serving in the Army, Beth Harbold is now acclimating to cooler weather and small town setting of Pinetop-Lakeside. A licensed practical nurse, she is utilizing NPC’s LPN to RN program to advance her nursing career. “Advancing as far as possible within my scope of practice, my family supported my decision to return to college and attain my RN,” Harbold noted. Returning to school and reduced work hours has made a huge impact on thee family’s budget. “My dedication to this investment in me and my family’s future keeps me focused on the better life we will have once I am a RN.”

As a transfer student, Harbold quickly became involved in NPC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter, co-chairing the recent coat drive that distributed over 250 coats, hats and gloves to area families. “I was humbled by the generosity of the local businesses who offered their products, space, and warm hearts without hesitation. From someone who is cold all the time, I am so honored to be a part of this project, and hope that a coat will provide someone else with the warmth I have so desperately sought as the temperatures begin their decent toward freezing.”

With her tuition waiver, Harbold plans to continue her Bachelor of Nursing studies at either Northern Arizona University or Arizona State University.

Xu "Shirley" XeiXu “Shirley” Xie is an international student, who came to the United States in 2005 when he husband enrolled in a doctorate program in Indiana. “Family is the biggest motivation in my academic pursuit. My husband has always encouraged me to pursue a college degree and helped me understand the importance of a college education,” wrote Xie. “When I help my daughter with her schoolwork, I realize a college education will give me better ability to educate my own child.”

A business major, Xie helped organize and teach an NPC Kid’s College course on Chinese Culture and Language this past summer. Finding authentic Chinese cultural materials for the class was difficult in the White Mountains. “I contacted my relatives back in China and had the Chinese calligraphy sets, paper-cut arts and Chinese knots ordered and shipped from China right in time,” said Xie. The 8- to 14-year-olds so enjoyed the class that an adult version is being planned.

“I was able to apply skills I learned from my business management and psychology courses to the organization, coordination and pedagogy of the course. This has benefited me in terms of knowledge transfer and making connections between theory and practice.” Xei plans to enroll online at either Arizona State University or Northern Arizona University.

James BrimhallVolunteering in the supply department at Summit Regional Medical Center confirmed James Brimhall’s decision to seek a supply chain and logistics business degree. “I volunteered at the hospital weekly for over a year and was able to use my understanding of technology and computer programs that I had learned at NPC to benefit the hospital. Working at the hospital while being in school allowed me to apply what I was learning in school to a real life situation.

An Eagle Scout, Brimhall grew up in a small town and had “a hard time wanting to do school work” until after a two-year mission for his church in Argentia. “After I came home I had a new desire to do well in school and obtain a college education to help me achieve my dreams.” After his first semester of school, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). “I knew that if I wanted to get good grades I would have to apply myself more than my fellow classmates. That really impacted my life because I knew that it would not go away and I had to learn how to cope with it.”

Brimhall, a Snowflake resident, has managed to cope well. He made the NPC Dean’s List, for a 3.5 to 3.9 grade point average, for the spring 2012 semester, and is in line for similar recognition for the fall semester. He is enrolling this spring at Northern Arizona University to continue his quest for a business degree.

Terry LawsSometimes, life is the best teacher. Terry Laws admits he was a poor student in high school. Then life and raising a family kept him from returning to school. With his children grown and starting their own families, Laws determined to go back to school. “With the support of my loving wife, I enrolled at NPC. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I not only performed well academically, but that I truly enjoy learning,” he noted. He has been continuously named to the NPC President’s List for a perfect 4.0 grade point average since the fall 2010 semester.

As Phi Theta Kappa chapter president, Laws chaired the annual Book Drive last spring and co-chaired this fall’s coat drive with fellow All-Arizona Academic Team member Beth Harbold. He was also involved in the PTK charity volleyball tournament and toy drive.

Laws, a Snowflake resident, is enrolling this spring at Northern Arizona University to pursue his bachelor’s degree, leading to a new career as a counseling psychologist.

David CiminskiDavid Ciminski is a senior at Round Valley High School, enrolled in NPC welding classes through the partnership with the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT). By taking a couple of night general education classes he will be awarded his Associate of Applied Science degree in welding from NPC a couple of weeks before receiving his high school diploma. This is giving him “a huge jump on life. I’m getting through school faster and helps me get the career of my choice,” commented Ciminski.

“Going to NPC opened my mind to many new ideas for my future. It lets me evaluate my skills and what I want to do with my life, “ he added. Attending college “has made me want to be successful and to respect myself, others and my surroundings. In my welding classes they don’t just teach us how to weld, they help us get out into the real world and be successful. I can’t wait to get out in the workforce to demonstrate the knowledge I have gained at NPC.”

An Eagle Scout and resident of Eagar, Ciminski is welding class president and has participated in SkillsUSA state competitions. He has also been named to the NPC Dean’s List for his academic success, a 3.5 to 3.9 grade point average, for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters. He will use his tuition waiver to attend Arizona State University to prepare for a career in Power Plant Operations management.

Amanda CrawfordAmanda Crawford is also a Round Valley High School senior, studying cosmetology at NPC through Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT). She also has taken night and summer classes in order to complete her Associate of Applied Science degree from NPC before receiving her high school diploma. The partnership between NPC and NAVIT is “a tremendous help because it is thousands of dollars of education and I only had to pay $400 (for her cosmetology tool kit). I get the same education that I would at a trade school, but I’m not having to take out student loans,” added Crawford.

A resident of Nutrioso, Crawford travels 25 miles to her high school and 60 miles each way to St. Johns for her NPC cosmetology classes. But she still finds time to participate in swim team, gymnastics, track, basketball, volleyball and 4H. She has been a member of the RVHS varsity soccer team since her freshman year, has been team captain for two years and was voted onto the All State and All Division teams the last two seasons. Crawford has competed in the Arizona SkillsUSA competition, receiving a gold medal, and the taking a silver medal in the national competition. She has served as local SkillsUSA chapter president and is currently the Arizona Region 4 President, one of eight state officers in SkillsUSA, the first state officer from NPC/NAVIT.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit organization that helps prepare young adults for leadership in the world of work. “My job as a state officer is to help and encourage thousands of active participants across Arizona in industrial education (all the hands-on occupations) including cosmetology, welding, fire science, automotive, heavy equipment, criminal justice and many more,” added Crawford. “This opportunity has provided me with an abundance of leadership training that has given me a new outlook on my future.” She will be transferring to Northern Arizona University in the fall to begin her pre-med or nursing degree.

Emily Kortan“A college education is absolutely necessary to attain my career goals in visual communications,” noted Springerville resident Emily Kortan. “It is important to expand my knowledge in various subject areas. I believe it is easier to explore other areas of study and discover new interests at a community college.”

While earning 2012 Salutatorian honors at Round Valley High School, Kortan completed 40 college credits at NPC through the NAVIT partnership. Her perfect 4.0 grade point average earned her an NPC President’s Scholars scholarship and inclusion on the President’s List for the spring semester. She also received a blue ribbon for her two-dimensional artwork entry in the 26th annual NPC Juried High School Art Exhibit.

“Attending NPC has given me the knowledge and the opportunity to develop my skills and use them more effectively. In my Music Appreciation class, I learned about the many types of music spanning many different time periods,” noted the church pianist and Vacation Bible School song leader. “In my Art History class, I have been able to study all types of artwork from around the world, each with its own history and story to tell. In my painting and drawing classes, I have been able to experiment with new art mediums and I have learned new techniques to use in my artwork. I have even taken two elementary education classes to get an insight into how children learn. Through these classes, I have come to understand how powerful and influential music and artwork can be.” Kortan will be transferring to Northern Arizona University in the fall.

Anthony Meza“I have always been told if you truly want to learn something, teach it. This has been true for me,” said Anthony Meza, who tutors many pre-nursing students in math and chemistry classes. “My understandings of the math and chemistry concepts, and my leadership and communication skills have improved so much over the past four semesters.”

Meza’s tutoring of our science and math students began during his first semester at NPC, while a junior at Snowflake High School. “My Fundamental Chemistry teacher recommended that I become an academic tutor so I could help students learn concepts that they would use in their careers and throughout the rest of their education. The benefits the students and I receive from tutoring are truly life-changing,” noted Meza. Students now frequently stop him in the halls, asking math or science questions. “Each day I wake up and am excited because I know I am going to change someone’s life today.”

Meza is an NPC President’s Scholar, serves as a Student Ambassador, providing information and tours to prospective students about NPC programs, and is president of the Outdoor Club. He also has a black belt in the Tang Soo Do martial arts, and is an assistant instructor.

The fifth of seven children, Meza pushes himself to match his older brothers’ excellence in everything they do. This resident of Taylor has set his career goal to become an orthopedic surgeon and will enroll next fall at either Arizona State University or the University of Arizona.

Rachael AntonioA knee injury forced Rachael Antonio to retire after 25 years with the Fort Apache Timber Company. “My husband was taking classes at NPC and I was intrigued by his work. So I decided to go back to school,” noted Antonio, the first Whiteriver resident to qualify for the All-Arizona Academic Team. That was in 2010. “I did not expect to get this far and now here I am getting close to a degree. I have worked hard to finish my assignments and study to pass each course.”

She was named to the Dean’s List, for a 3.5 to 3.9 grade point average (GPA), for the Fall 2011 semester and the President’s List, with a perfect 4.0 GPA, for the spring 2012 semester. Sometimes, getting to the NPC Whiteriver Center has been a challenge, with only one family vehicle. “I would have to call my sister to drive me the five miles to the NPC center,” commented Antonio. In addition to her studies, she helps care for her soon-to-be 85-year-old mother and volunteers weekly at the Solid Ground Christian Bookstore in Whiteriver, as a cashier and treasurer.

A non-traditional student, Antonio thinks of courses she took in high school. “When I started taking the NPC courses, some of what I learned in high school came back into my memory.” She has not decided which university to attend to complete her bachelor’s in business accounting.

Tashawna Jones“I was always interested in the medical field, whether it be a physical therapist, doctor or nurse,” commented Tashawna Jones. Now a second-year student, along with her husband, in “one of the hardest nursing programs in the state,” Jones has had to make tremendous sacrifices – working as an licensed practical nurse at a local nursing home, studying, and spending quality time with her two children, ages 5 and 6. “I knew the nursing program would be hard and quickly learned just how hard it would be. I knew the sacrifices would pay off in the future in order to make our family stronger and be able to help our community.”

Jones grew up in Snowflake and had a passion for softball and volleyball. She helped organize a charity softball tournament for a Taylor resident diagnosed with cancer, and coaches a Little League T-ball team. As a member and vice president of NPC’s PTK chapter, she organized a benefit volleyball tournament and assisted with this fall’s coat drive distribution. “It was hard to see how many people were in need of these essentials,” noted Jones. “What really got me to tears was a girl walked in, about 7 years old, with a tank top and some leggings, with a skirt over them. The girl was trying to find a coat her size and was having a hard time doing so. I kept thinking, if she can’t find one, would she not get a coat for winter. Luckily, we were able to find one for her, but I was just so heartbroken that there could be many more children needing coats.”

Jones was named to the President’s List with a perfect 4.0 grade point average for the spring 2012 semester. She will be pursuing her Bachelor of Nursing degree at Arizona State University in the fall.

Teresa KeeleTalented artist. Dedicated, single mom. Teacher. Those six words combine to best describe Teresa Keele. Her artwork has already won numerous accolades, including the Excellence in Sculpture Award from the White Mountain Womens Club for the 2009 NPC Student Art Exhibit; Artistic Merit and Promise Award from NPC art instructors at the 2008 NPC Student Show; and as the recipient of the Martia A. Smith Memorial Art Scholarship in 2011.

Raised by a single mother, and one herself to two daughters, Keele delayed her own college education. “My proudest moment was watching both of my daughters receive their Associate of Arts degrees and continue on toward their bachelor’s. With my girls on their way, I was finally able to return to my quest for a college degree, and will finish a semester behind them,” noted Keele. She is a December NPC graduate, but will delay entering Arizona State University until the fall to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a teaching credential.

“Always interested in fine arts, I began taking pottery, drawing and painting classes. A fire was ignited within my soul; I yearned for more and extended my course load to include art history, appreciation, and the humanities. These courses opened my eyes to a larger world and I expanded my studies into the general courses with enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge.” Her academic achievement earned inclusion on the NPC President’s List in the Spring 2012 semester for a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

“Seeking my goals for a higher ediucation at a latter time in my life has certainly had more rewards than regrets,” adds Keele. “I honestly feel that I appreciate my education more now than I would have in my younger years.”

Keele has already shared some of her experiences, teaching a summer NPC Kid’s College pottery class. She has judged numerous Navajo County 4H events, and co-chaired the raffle for the Northeastern Arizona Fine Arts Association (NEAFAA) scholarship art show.

A complete list of past NPC recipients of the All-Arizona Academic Team honor can be viewed online.

Northland Pioneer College serves the residents of Navajo and Apache counties through four regional campuses and five centers with a variety of educational options for academic, career and technical and personal enrichment. NPC supports each student’s educational goals through affordable tuition, small class sizes and caring, professional instructors. For more information about NPC programs and services, call (800) 266-7845.

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