By Daniel Gaona
It came as a shock to the Pima Community College men’s basketball team when head coach Karl Pieroway resigned from his position.
The second-year coach was unavailable for comment regarding his resignation.
According to an April 20 PCC press release, Pieroway talked about the stress of coaching basketball and also being a full-time math teacher in a letter to Edgar Soto, the executive director of athletics. He gave that as the main reason for his departure.
“I could not be more proud of the players and coaches who have worked so hard to achieve so much over a short period of time,” Pieroway said in his letter to Soto.
After going 10-20 in his first year at Pima, Pieroway this year led the Aztecs to a 20-16 season and their first trip to nationals, where Pima placed seventh.
Soto said that Pieroway will be missed but Pima is thankful at the same time that he put the program where it is now.
“Coach Pieroway took the college’s men’s basketball program to a new level of success,” he said in the press release.
Travares Peterson, one of Pieroway’s star players, was stunned about his resignation.
“It came as a shock, I’m not going to lie,” Peterson said. “Especially after a year we had like last year. I don’t really know the reason or anything. Until everyone figures out what’s going on, we can’t really comment on it much.”
Peterson, a sophomore, enjoyed playing under Pieroway for two seasons.
“He was a good coach, a cool coach,” he said. “He was a good guy and I just wish him the best.”
There is no word on who will take over as head coach but an immediate search is under way, according to the press release.
Keep checking AztecPressOnline.com for updates.
After enduring her fifth knee surgery and playing the year with a broken wrist, Pima Community College hoops standout Abyee Maracigan has become the epitome of a warrior.
Dedication and perseverance describe the 5-foot-10-inch player’s work ethic, but factors that kept Maracigan on the basketball court go beyond words.
“My family, my team and my coaches are what pushed me to be a part of something so amazing,” she said about her career. “I didn’t want to miss out on it and, if anything, it has made me love the game so much more, and learn so much more.”
Possibly her closest teammate at Pima is Tia Morrison, who thinks highly of Maracigan.
“She’s tough,” Morrison said. “She tore her ACL like three times, twice on one knee and recently on the other and had some meniscus surgeries. She’s my hero, she came back and busted ass after every surgery. Nothing can stop her and I admire that so much.”
The most recent injury came in the region championship game on the Aztecs’ home court. Silence took over after Maracigan went down. After the game, her spirits were high and she guaranteed she’d play at nationals, which she did.
However, she didn’t make it past the first game. That’s when she realized it was time for another surgery.
Despite the injuries, she has been a proven winner since she first stepped foot on the court.
Maracigan helped lead Flowing Wells High School to two state championship games in her high school career, one of which the Caballeros won.
She continued her successful career when she accepted a scholarship to play for the Aztecs in 2008. Her experience has been nothing short of “amazing,” she said.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better place to play or a better team to be a part of,” Maracigan said. “These were the best two years of my life. Just being able to play with my sisters and being able to play in front of my family has meant everything to me.”
From her first day, she helped a once lowly Aztec team that had seen limited success become not only a regional power but a national one as well.
“She knows how to win,” said Todd Holthaus, Pima’s women’s basketball head coach. “Her attitude is infectious. She’s a glue kind of a player, she’s just a winner of a kid.”
When they arrived as freshmen, Maracigan and Morrison quickly connected.
“We’re both competitors,” Morrison said. “We both want to win, and we definitely do what we can to make sure we win.”
“Me and her are really good friends on and off the court. That gives us good chemistry. She’s just fun to be around and she keeps that mentality on the court.”
During Maricigan’s two years at Pima, she averaged 12.4 points, just over seven rebounds and four assists per game. Those numbers earned her scholarship offers to Nebraska-Omaha and Idaho State.
She ultimately chose Idaho State but her aspirations reach beyond playing basketball. Maracigan hopes to become a teacher and a coach.
“I want to coach basketball eventually and I want to be able to make a difference in kids’ lives,” she said.
All-NJCAA Region I Division II team (‘09, ‘10)
All-ACCAC first team (‘09, ‘10)
NJCAA Division II All-American
third team (‘09, ‘10)
By Daniel Gaona
Spring practices are just about over and the Pima Community College football team is ready for its spring game.
Head coach Pat Nugent was hoping to play the game at a high school stadium, but none were available.
“We wanted a stadium to play in for people to watch and film and have the kids in a different environment more than anything,” Nugent said.
Instead, the Aztecs will be playing on the West Campus Field at 10 a.m. on April 24.
“We’re going to bring some bleachers out and let people sit on the sidelines,” Nugent said. “We’re home, this is our place and our kids can get dressed in their own locker room.”
Overall, Nugent said the team made “huge progress” in the spring camp, which is key for the sophomores settling in at the college level.
“We’re a lot further along than we were last year, and a lot of the kids have gotten extra reps and have gotten better,” he said. “We’re really getting the fundamentals of where we need to be.”
As far as weak points go, Nugent said it is tough to tell without the recruits.
“We have some thin positions because our recruits aren’t here, but we’re excited about having those guys come in,” he added.
After the spring game, the team will lift for two weeks and then have a break until June, when it will return to the weight room.
“June and July will be a huge growth time for these kids,” Nugent said. “They have to get physically stronger and faster, and that will prove how far we’re going to go next year.”
Fall camp begins Aug. 2 and will be held at Tucson Electric Park. Nugent is optimistic about the future.
“We’ve got a great recruiting class coming in, and I think there’s high hopes for us to really get this program rolling.”
By James Sargent
Photo by James Kelley
The Pima Community College team has been playing .500 baseball in its last eight games, and has now been officially eliminated from the post-season.
The Aztecs are currently 18-30-1, (11-21 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) on the season and will finish with a sub .500 record with only six games remaining.
“We are going to focus and continue to play hard,” head coach Edgar Soto said of his team. “We aren’t going to change what we do. No matter what, we are going to not give up and we are going to do everything we can to win a baseball game.”
On April 20, Pima split its games against Division II No. 10 Mesa Community College, winning 13-3 and losing 16-6.
Sophomore Richie Sandoval endured the loss in Game 1, giving up six runs on six hits through three innings of work.
The southpaw struggled with his control as he also walked five Thunderbird hitters.
Sophomore shortstop Pepito Moreno was the Aztecs’ top hitter in Game 1, as he went 2-3 with a double and one RBI.
Freshman Torry Mowatt improved to 2-2 on the season with his Game 2 start and win.
Mowatt threw five innings, giving up six runs, four earned, on five hits.
Freshman Ryan Retz got the job done on the mound and at the plate.
Retz pitched the final 1-2/3 innings to earn the save and he went 2-5 with a grand slam in the seventh inning.
Pima split a pair of ACCAC games with South Mountain Community College on April 17, losing 6-2 and winning 10-3.
Sophomore Tim Reed picked up the loss in Game 1, giving up six runs, four earned, on eight hits.
Freshman Matt Pavelich earned the win in Game 2, pitching six strong innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on seven hits.
Sandoval and Mowatt relieved Pavelich to throw the final three innings of shutout baseball.
Lead-off hitter Moreno led the Aztec offense, as he went 3-6, scored two runs and drove in four. Retz, current ACCAC Player of the Week, went 2-5 in Game 2 while driving in three RBIs.
With the season winding down and the playoffs not a possibility, many of the sophomores are playing for scholarships and the freshmen are competing for ample playing time next year.
“Ryan Retz is having an outstanding year,” Soto said about his returning freshmen players. “We are excited about him for next year. Also, outfielder Leo Durazo has had a pretty good year and he’s one of the top hitters in the conference. As for pitchers, Torry Mowatt is having a decent year and will be important next year.”
By Chris Beck
Photo by Steve Choice
After an outstanding regular season, the Pima Community College men’s tennis team will cap that journey by making a trip to nationals.
The team secured its spot in the national tournament in the first day of the regional tournament, which was held April 19-20.
“We had a great day,” head coach Sharif Moustafa said after the first day of matches. “My No. 3 and 5 singles are in the finals and all three doubles teams are in the semifinals tomorrow.”
With this impressive outing, the team was able to lock down one of the three spots at nationals given to the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
The second day at regionals was not chock full of victories, but the coach was still confident in his team.
“We didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Moustafa said. “We lost the matches we were in. My No. 3 almost beat the No. 3 from Scottsdale. He took him to three sets. My three doubles lost in three sets. Overall it was some very high quality tennis I saw today.”
Fortunately, the losses on the second day did not affect Pima’s place at nationals, as the rankings will be decided closer to the tournament.
The national tournament will be held in Plano, Texas, May 10-14. There will be 36 teams from around the nation competing for the championship.
“The goal at the beginning of the season was to get to Plano,” Moustafa said. “We achieved it all as a team and I couldn’t be happier for the sophomores and the freshmen as well.”
In order to prepare, there will be no time for the Aztecs to celebrate their accomplishments.
“We start tomorrow,” Moustafa said. “We are going to get out there tomorrow and work at all we need to work at. No breaks.”
This attitude from the coach may provide a little insight as to why he was recently named the regional coach of the year in his first year at Pima.
While this is an impressive honor, Moustafa remains humble in an effort not to take away from the team’s achievement.
“When I came in here, we set a bunch of goals,” Moustafa said. “For me to see the kids go through and condition and deal with a first-year coach and still achieve all of our goals, I couldn’t be more content with that.”
In a season full of goals being successfully completed, the team most likely has a few more goals for the upcoming weeks. With nationals only a couple weeks away, the thought of national glory is no doubt in the players’ minds.
“This is on a national level so there are not going to be any easy matches,” Moustafa said. “There is not going to be an easy draw.”
With only one tournament to go, the team no doubt is looking for victory. These matches in Texas will be the sophomores’ last at Pima, so the team will be focused on the trophy. But coming home without one wouldn’t be disappointing either.
Story and Photo by Daniel Gaona
Field events are new additions to the strong points of the Pima Community College men’s and women’s track and field teams, with two regular season meets left.
Running events remain solid for the Aztecs, but the field events are beginning to gain national attention.
Pima will travel to the UCSD Triton Invitational in San Diego April 23-24, then to Glendale Community College on May 1. Beyond that are the regional and national championships.
Stephan Bullard is confident heading into the latter part of the season. He is hoping to run a 47.8 in the open 400-meter dash at the Triton Invitational. He also wants his team to run a 3:12 in the 4×400 relay and break the school record once again.
“I need to crank down on speeds and I have my competition scoped out and everything,” Bullard said. “I mentally know what I have to do, now I just have to do it physically with the speed work.”
Off the track, head coach Greg Wenneborg is enthusiastic about the throwing staff.
“We have a lean crew, but three of them are going to the national championships with solid marks,” Wenneborg said about the throwers.
Sharissa Korn is currently the No. 2 athlete in the women’s javelin. Since qualifying for nationals earlier this season, she has continued to better herself each meet.
“I’ve just worked out really hard and have been training really hard and being strict with myself,” Korn said. “It’s a good feeling because all that is finally paying off.”
Korn plans on working on her form a lot more, which she said would make a big difference.
“I have to work on my form more because I’m using mostly just muscles right now and my form is pretty bad,” she said. “Once I get my form in that click, it will be good.”
She won the event at Mesa Community College on April 16. Her 139 foot, 2-1/2 inch toss bumped her up to second place nationally.
“I think she is a contender now,” Wenneborg said about Korn. “Just like that, she became a threat to win a national title.”
Her cohort Jessica Davis recently qualified for the women’s hammer throw, but she is still in search of more. Davis placed third in the hammer throw at Mesa with a 138-10 toss.
“I still have to qualify in discus and then shot put is after that,” Davis said. “I just have to get my throws perfect. I’ve done it before but when it comes to meet time, I can’t get it right. It’s just something for me to work on.”
Christian Tovar already qualified for shot put at nationals and he did not compete in it at Mesa. However, he placed third in the hammer throw.
Zach Dunbar, who splits his time between track and football, is hoping to qualify for the men’s javelin. He threw 169-1 earlier this season, which is about 15 feet shy of the qualifying mark.
Wenneborg also continues to be impressed by the jumpers.
“Jumps have never been a factor for us in the last five years and now they’re turning out to be another strong suit for us,” Wenneborg said.
At the conference meet on April 16, four Aztecs finished in the top nine spots of the long jump while three placed in the top four of the high jump.
Devin Phillips jumped 23-3-1/2 to win the long jump and Frederick Scarber cleared 6-6-3/4 in the high jump to place second.
On the women’s side, Chloe’ Nowell won the triple jump with a 36-4-1/2 jump and Gabby Siltanen won the high jump with a 5-1 leap.
Hector Araujo won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:12.
Wenneborg think the team still has more athletes to qualify.
“We’re really deep and wide right now and we are very excited to have 20 student-athletes to the national championships and I think we are still going to get another five or six,” Wenneborg said.
The coach expects the women’s 4×800 relay squad to qualify and Magda Mankel to secure a spot in the 1,500 and 5,000-meter runs.
Some athletes on the men’s side who are likely to qualify soon are Derrick Coker and Chris Phillips in sprints and Kyle Bush in distance.
Coker had personal bests in the 100-meter dash, 10.70, and 200-meter dash, 21.76, at the Mesa meet. Both of his times were within one second of the mark.
Phillips is pushing to qualify in the 400-meter dash.
He is within half a second and has a spot in the 4×400 team that is qualified for nationals.
Bush ran the 1,500 at Mesa in 4:07.43.
That time was seven seconds over the qualifying mark.
Story and Photo by James Kelley
The Pima Community College women’s golf team finished its regular season on a high note, as they earned a spot at nationals in Florida, while the men’s team is heading to regionals.
The Aztecs’ spot at the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship tournament was not really in doubt.
The top two teams in Arizona Community College Athletic Conference advance and Pima was second all year behind Mesa Community College.
“I’m really excited about nationals this year,” sophomore Brianne Anderson said. “I have actually been counting down the days for nationals since my family lives out there and I will get to see them all while I’m there.”
Even though Pima took a backseat to the Thunderbirds all year, the Aztecs were finally able to best Mesa.
Pima won the Gateway Community College Tournament, at the Kokopelli Golf Course in Gilbert. The Aztecs totaled 696 to beat Mesa by a slim five strokes.
Anderson finished third. She was Pima’s top scorer throughout the season and earned All-ACCAC first team and All-Region I first team honors.
Freshman Jennifer Candanoza was named to the second team of the All-ACCAC.
The Aztecs’ second-place finish sends them to nationals on May 17-20 at the LPGA International Golf Course in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Anderson expects to better her 2009 nationals finish, where she was 23rd and was hampered by an injury and multiple rain delays.
“I am positive about doing a lot better than I did last year,” Anderson said. “With a sprained wrist last year, it was really difficult for me to play my game. Since my wrist is a lot better than the past couple tournaments, I know personally that I will beat my scores from last year. I will definitely do my best out on the course in Florida.”
Anderson will also get to play in the Ladies Professional Golf Association Legends tour stop in Tucson, The Womens Senior National Invitational April 24-25. The tourney will be at the Catalina Course of the Omni Tucson National Resort, where Anderson works.
“My boss at work, he asked me if I wanted to play in the senior’s LPGA tournament since there was one more spot open,” Anderson said. “I am very nervous but since I want to be on the LPGA one day, this is a good experience for me and I will see how it is with a lot of people watching.”
Men’s golf: The Aztecs closed the regular season with a fifth-place finish at the Eastern Arizona College Invite at Mount Graham Golf Course in Thatcher on April 19-20. Pima shot 290 on the first day and 299 on the second day.
On April 12-13, they went to the Gateway Community College tournament at the Kokapelli Golf Course in Gilbert, Ariz., where they finished fourth. Sophomore Matt Rubin finished fourth, at even par (72, 72).
Pima next heads to regionals, which will be held at the Palm Valley Golf Course in Litchfield from May 19-22.
Story and photos by Steve Choice
The Pima Community College women’s tennis team will get a little something extra in its May Day basket this year. That would be an invite to NJCAA Championships, which kick off May 1 at the Randolph Tennis Center in Tucson.
As the host school, the Aztecs receive an automatic bid to the six-day national championship tournament.
The steadily improving squad will look to end its year on a memorable note on the biggest stage any junior college athlete can hope to reach.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” head coach Gretchen Schantz said of nationals. “You want to peak late, and my team is doing that.”
Pima started off the year with some frustrating losses, but has come on strong in the latter half of the season. The squad stormed back from a 1-5 beginning to finish a very respectable 4-6.
Included in those three late-season victories were two thrashings of conference opponents on the road. On April 8, Pima dismantled Scottsdale Community College, 9-0. The Aztecs also paid a visit to Paradise Valley on April 15, resulting in an 8-1 demolition of the Pumas.
The one frustrating late-year outing for PCC took place on April 13, as Eastern Arizona College came to town. The Aztecs had difficulty finding their rhythm against the Gila Monsters, dropping a 7-2 decision.
The tilt against EAU did showcase one of the most exciting matches of the year, however, as the No. 3 doubles team of freshmen Lucy Gaynor and Daisy Quezada turned in a gutty comeback performance that had the crowd at the Tucson Racquet Club hanging on every shot by the time it finished.
The Pima pair drew EAU’s previously once-beaten team of Brinlee Goodman and Natalie Young. The Pima players came back from repeated deficits to claim a thrilling 9-8 (8-6) victory.
The Aztec duo dug themselves out of an early 6-3 hole to forge ahead 7-6. Doubles teams play to eight in the “pro set” format used at the college level.
The seesaw affair eventually went to a tiebreaker, and there Gaynor and Quezada once again had to claw back from behind.
The EAU pair jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead in the deciding game, setting the stage for Gaynor’s and Quezada’s heroics.
Following some stellar net play by Gaynor, Quezada served for the victory, up 7-6 in the tiebreak.
“It was exciting, and kind of scary,” Quezada said of serving for the match. “We both tensed up a little bit in the tiebreaker, but I know we’re both excellent players, so we just tried to relax and play like we know we can. It was really cool to beat them, because we had lost to them the first time we played.”
Did any panic creep in when the pair fell behind midway through the contest?
“Oh no, you don’t get too up or too down at any point in the match,” said Quezada, a product of Desert View High School. “It’s not right to get too down. You just keep on pushing.”
Schantz’s team will look to push far into the bracket when the best in the country come to town on May Day.
The smart money for Aztec fans would be to stay until the end of each match, because these women aren’t going to stop swinging until the final point is decided.
The 3on3 Pima Basketball Tournament has been rescheduled to Friday, May 14 from 10:30am-5pm.
Teams already registered do not need to reregister.
By Daniel Gaona
Pima Community College West Campus Student Government will host the first annual Aztec Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament on April 30.
The men’s, women’s and coed 16-team tournaments are set to begin at 11 a.m. and will continue until 5 p.m. at the West Campus Gym. At least eight teams are needed for each division.
There is a $5 fee per player, and teams can have up to five players. The deadline for registration is April 28. After that, the registration fee increases to $10 per player. Registration will close when it is full.
The tournament is open to anyone, including faculty, not just PCC students. However, the age requirement is 18 or older, and at least one Pima student is required on every team.
The top two teams in each division will receive trophies but the first-place teams will also get money prizes.
For more information or to register, contact Student Body President Hector Araujo at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit room A-G20 on the West Campus.
By Debbie Hadley
Starting next fall, Pima Community College students who are Arizona residents will pay $2.50 more per credit hour for tuition and fees.
The Board of Governors voted April 14 to raise in-state tuition and fees to $58 per unit, a 4.5 percent increase. A student taking 12 units will pay an extra $30.
At least one PCC student is unhappy with the increase. “I think it’s crap. We’re paying so much already,” Stacy Mills said. “It just keeps going up and up and up. They keep raising the prices and decreasing the quality.”
The new per-credit cost includes a $2 increase in tuition and a 50-cent boost in Student Services fees to help fund athletic equipment expenses. A $2 Information Technology fee remains unchanged.
“It’s kinda dumb, but it’s only 30 bucks,” student Travis Graham said. “It would be a bigger effect if you weren’t living at home, paying rent, and have a minimum wage job.”
The governing board also increased tuition for non-residents. Costs depend on how many units they take and when they take them.
Non-residents taking six units or fewer will pay $3.50 more, $94.50 per unit. Non-residents taking more than six units will pay $10.50 more, $273.50 per unit. Non-residents taking summer classes will pay $7.50 more, $179.50 per unit.
In addition, board members revised cost-recovery fees for specific courses, tests and services. The fee for a class that requires supplies will increase by $5.
The new rates will provide $1.4 million to assist with rising enrollment and lower state funding, Chancellor Roy Flores said.
PCC’s per-unit tuition is the fourth lowest among Arizona community colleges.
Administrators noted that Coconino Community College will have a $10 per unit tuition increase next fall and Mohave Community College will introduce a new fee.
Student Amanda Mills noted that Pima costs far less than attending a university. “It’s way cheaper than anywhere else you could go,” she said.
During meeting discussion, board member Scott Stewart voiced concerns about increasing tuition rates before setting the property tax rate.
“In some ways I think it’s premature to say ‘this is what the tuition should be,’” Stewart said. “I anticipate that we’ll be in favor of a local property tax increase. We don’t know that people aren’t going to show up with pitchforks and persuade us differently.”
Flores said that if the board opts not to increase property taxes, tuition would have to be raised by another couple of dollars. Another option would be to make further budget cuts. “It’s not necessarily a given that one would offset the other,” he said.
Board discussion also looked ahead to the May 18 special election for Proposition 100, which asks Arizona voters to approve a temporary increase in the state sales tax.
If the proposition fails, Flores said the state will likely make more cuts to education.
“We’re looking at a scenario that’s pretty ugly, with no good choices,” he said.
During the past decade, PCC has raised tuition and fees by $1 to $3 each year.
West Campus student Dwayne Ayers sees the increase as something that will make little difference.
“It doesn’t really affect me that much,” he said.
By Chris Beck
After roughly five months away from golf, Tiger Woods finally made his long-awaited return on April 8.
It wasn’t easy getting back in smoothly. Woods stepped onto the first tee at Augusta National to play the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, The Masters.
After months of ridicule and criticism about his personal life, the best golfer on the planet returned to what he does best, hit a tiny ball with a stick of metal into a tiny hole that is hundreds of yards away.
Everyone had an opinion on how they wanted Tiger to fare. Some wanted him to crash and burn, while some wanted him to prevail and win the title.
In the end, he finished in a tie for fourth place, taking a backseat to a heartfelt victory by Phil Mickelson.
It was a perfect ending to a tournament plagued by the “Tiger-gate” scandal and all the negativity that came with it.
Instead of glorifying the world’s first billion-dollar athlete who famously cheated on his wife with a variety of women, a beautiful scene came together.
Mickelson, whose wife has been fighting breast cancer, strolled down the 18th fairway with a two-stroke lead and a putt for birdie. He sank that putt and ended the tournament, three strokes ahead of second-place Lee Westwood and five strokes ahead of Woods.
Mickelson walked to his wife, who had been bedridden for the previous three days, and gave her a long hug.
Instead of Woods having an awkward walk off the green, with no one to hug after his victory, Mickelson’s win captured a perfect picture of monogamous matrimony.
It may have been just about the most perfect ending to the most perfect golf tournament around. The people’s choice took home the green jacket and the disgraced No. 1 golfer making a comeback had a respectable outing with glimpses of his old self.
The question for Tiger is, what now?
Woods was accepted at The Masters, which is not a normal tournament. The committee at Augusta National prides itself on avoiding controversy and all the commotion that comes along with it.
The media played down the cheating scandal because of the tradition of the course and tournament. It was almost as if Tiger was given a pass because of the tournament’s prestige.
Woods will make his next appearance on April 26 at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C. It will be just his second tournament since the scandal erupted in late November, but this is where Tiger’s comeback will truly begin.
The main reason is that he will not have the backdrop of the most gorgeous course in all of golf. It is just another regular tournament.
At The Masters, Tiger proved he had his game back by posting a score worthy of fourth place, but his reputation was not tested in the way it will be in months to come.
To rebuild his reputation, Woods will not only need a squeaky-clean image, but he will need to win golf tournaments.
If he has one more slip-up, whether it is a speeding ticket or a photo lip-locked with a stripper in Vegas, Woods could be down for the count.
People will never forgive Tiger for another misstep and everyone will be watching closely for it. The tabloids will scrutinize his every move until they find something to call him on.
For the rest of his career, Woods will have to prove himself both on and off the course.
It is impossible to predict what his public image will be like a year from today, but one thing we do know is that the Tiger Woods’ saga needs an ending. It is up to him as to what the ending will be.
Story and photo by Conrad Pursley
After hours spent sweating at the grill, sweeping the floor and cleaning the bathroom at a local McDonald’s, Pima Community College student Crystal Hardiman returns home hoping she has enough money to pay for her car, insurance and school.
If a bill introduced by the state legislature passes, she may not have even that.
In February, a House panel passed a bill that would drop the minimum wage from $7.25 to $5.44 an hour for workers ages 22 and under.
The full legislature still needs to vote on the bill for it to become law.
The man behind the bill, Rep. Laurin Hendrix, R-Gilbert, believes it will boost business and increase employment for people ages 16-22, a demographic that makes up more than 29 percent of Arizona’s unemployed.
Many college students fear they would not be able to work enough hours to pay rent and attend classes.
“I don’t know what they’re thinking,” Hardiman said. “I really hope it doesn’t go down. It’s hard work and you don’t want to be paid less. You earn that money.”
Although Hardiman lives with her parents and uses a grant to attend PCC, her $7.25 an hour wages barely cover payments for her cell phone, car and gasoline. She doesn’t know how college students who are paid minimum wage could possibly live on their own.
If the bill goes through, Hardiman says she’ll have to make some tough decisions on what can stay and what has to go.
The AFL-CIO union opposes the bill, contending it will spark negative consequences. Once businesses can pay younger employees less, union officials say managers may be inclined to lay off older workers for cheaper, younger labor.
Lawmakers such as Rep. Chad Campbell, R-Phoenix, say they would not vote for the bill in its current form but are willing to negotiate for a younger age cutoff because most teens under the age of 18 are still under their parents’ care.
Opponents disagree with lowering the minimum wage at any age, saying there are families in that demographic who need all the help they can get.
By D.J. Ochoa
Pima Community College has partnered with 11 in-state and out-of-state universities to help students have an easier experience while transferring.
The universities include the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Eastern New Mexico University, Prescott College and Bellevue University in Nebraska.
For information on transfer details, see pima.edu/transfer/partnerships.
Because each school has different application and transfer requirements, PCC spokeswoman Rachelle Howell suggests that students consult with a PCC advisor.
“It is highly recommended for a student interested in transferring to a four-year school to confer with a PCC advisor early and often to make sure he/she begins and stays on the right track,” Howell said.
All three state universities accept PCC’s Arizona General Education Curriculum transfer certificate. The AGEC is designed to meet general bachelor’s degree requirements, so that students can begin taking courses in their major once they transfer to a university.
The universities also accept Pima associate degrees and certificates designed for transfer.
Students who wish to stay in Tucson can enroll in a Joint Admission program created by PCC and UA that allows students to enroll in both schools at the same time. For further information, see pima.edu/ja.
NAU also teaches courses in Tucson, with some offered at PCC campuses. For specific degrees, the university will accept up to 90 Pima credits, which equals the first three years of a four-year degree.
For future Sun Devils, PCC has an agreement with ASU known as the Transfer Admission Guarantee. Completing TAG requirements guarantees admission into selected ASU programs.
ENMU, located in Portales, N.M., signed a partnership with PCC in June 2009. Pima graduates who meet specific requirements are guaranteed admission. EMNU also offers online bachelor’s degrees in fields such as aviation, education, business and health sciences.
Students who plan to transfer to a four-year college should also consider taking Pima’s STU 210—Transfer Strategies, Howell said.
“This class is designed to help students prepare a plan for a successful transition to a university,” she said.
Story and photo by Steve Choice
From the front lines to the front row in Writing 101. It’s the road many veterans travel after returning home from overseas deployments to attend Pima Community College.
The transition can present challenges, but a recently formed student organization has mustered to address service members’ unique needs and offer peer support in the context of shared history.
The Vets4Vets Club currently counts just a handful of members in its ranks, but President Chris Clemens hopes to see major gains in the near future.
“We definitely want to achieve significant growth in the coming year,” said Clemens, a sophomore majoring in network administration. “But our mission is a little stagnated right now, due in large part to the difficulties we’re having getting better visibility on campus.”
To that end, the tightly-knit group rallied the troops for a come-one, come-all barbecue on April 13 in the courtyard behind the Santa Catalina Building on West Campus.
“We’re really trying to get our name out there,” Clemens said while wielding a spatula and tending the smoking grill. “Veterans need an organization that will bring them together for different kinds of peer-to-peer support, and building one from the ground up is our objective.”
Clemens has plenty of experience forging strong bonds where none existed previously. As a welder in one of the first U.S. Army units in Iraq, he “up-armored” military vehicles so they could more readily withstand lethal IEDs that awaited American soldiers.
“Yeah, it was pretty much, ‘You need it, you build it’ over there,” Clemens said.
He toted a heavy machine gun known as the SAW, or Squad Automatic Weapon, along with his welder’s torch. “It was tough in the initial invasion, because there wasn’t anything built up yet. We know how that goes, so we’re ready for that challenge here, too.”
Vets4Vets Vice President Abel Moreno echoed Clemens’ thoughts, while also pointing out the need for strong support from the college leadership.
“I see this as being a pivotal point for a lot of positive developments in the future,” Moreno said. “I have hope and belief in this group and what it’s going to do for veterans. But we can only achieve our goals with the help of everyone involved, especially the administration.”
The Vets4Vets Club has chapters that meet at West and Downtown Campuses every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. The meetings at West Campus are in the Santa Catalina Building, Room G88. At Downtown Campus, the location is LB 171.
Perhaps mindful of the old adage “an army marches on it stomach,” the club will hold another barbecue in the next couple of weeks, this time at Downtown Campus.
New buildings, renovations set
By William Brown
Pima Community College will spend $21.5 million to build or renovate three buildings on three campuses during fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
The PCC Board of Governors approved the capital improvement projects during their April meeting. Funding sources include federal stimulus funds, money from Proposition 301 and unspent funds saved for future capital needs.
New buildings will be constructed at Northwest and East campuses to provide new classrooms and laboratories, faculty offices and other educational space.
At West Campus, the Fitness and Sports Sciences Building will be renovated to update its heating and cooling systems and to improve space utilization.
College officials say the new Northwest Campus building will free up existing space, allowing creation of a Student Center containing a computer commons and tutoring areas.
Additional construction at East Campus will add educational space by enclosing an area currently covered by an overhang. The project will also add extra parking on the west side of campus.
The projects are part of PCC’s 2008-2011 College Plan, which outlines goals for improving the use of physical assets.
“The College has made provisions over the past several years to budget for long-term as well as short-term needs,” Board of Governors Chair Sherryn S. “Vikki” Marshall said.