By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
This year I dropped the ball as the web editor. I didn’t make daily updates. I didn’t change the website. I didn’t inspire people to, either.
What I did was just take a title that had a lot responsibility and throw it down the drain. However, next year will be different.
Next year I will be the co-editor in chief with my home slice Katelyn Roberts. With two people at the helm of one of the best college publications in Southern Arizona, I am confident a lot of what we say we will do, will get done.
Instead of making empty promises.
For instance, I’ve been making arrangements with students who I have a strong feeling will help with the social media aspect. I’m not putting all of my faith in them, but after strong mentorship it will all work out in the long run.
Having a stable calendar of what to publish, when to publish it and what app to use will help to make it easier in the long run as well. Because if we rely on just one person updating whatever they want whenever they want, it’s a recipe for laziness.
This year I was in charge of the Twitter account, and I only updated when I was at a sporting event and whenever I could remember. But not everyone wants to read about sports, and similarly not everyone has a twitter.
Some want to read about our provost on Facebook, or the struggles of slut shaming on Twitter, or see one of our many award winning instructors on Instagram. And that’s just to name a few topics and platforms we cover.
As for the online website, it’ll have to wait until we have a keen sense of where we stand as a publication. Because why should we stop our award winning publication from printing?
Eventually, someone will come to us with a more profound understand of websites and coding, but until then we’ll just focus on the social media platforms on your phone first.
It was instilled in us, by all-knowing adviser Cynthia Lancaster, that the paper should always come first. Even if she is leaving after this semester, it’s something that I will continue to believe in until the day they stop printing newspapers.
By DAVID SKINNER
The Pima Community College teams will have the chance to compete in the NJCAA Division I championship in Garden City, Kansas, on May 5.
April 9-10: PCC invitational
The Aztecs finished just two strokes behind Mesa Community College and eight strokes behind South Mountain Community College, which ended up taking home the tournament title. Sophomore Colton Gage led the way for the Aztecs as he finished tied for sixth place overall by shooting one-over-par 141 over the 36 holes. Freshman Johnny Fiore shot a two day score of 142 (67-75).
April 17-18: Paradise Valley CC Invitational
The Aztecs closed out regular season play by finishing in fourth place with a two day score of 591, (291-300).
Mesa CC took home the title.Four Aztecs ended up tying for 14th place in the individual standings.
Sophomores Jonah Daniels, Derek Lozier, and freshmen Cooper Cordova and Gage all finished with a two day score of 148. Lozier and Cordova shared the same split, shooting 71 the first day and 77 the second day.
Gage was the opposite, shooting 77 the first day and 71 the second.
April 17-18: Paradise Valley CC Invitational
In the last invitational of the season, the PCC women’s team finished second overall after struggling the first round.
Sophomore Desiree Hong took second place, shooting 87 the first day, but then came back to finish five over par the second day (87-76).
Fellow sophomore Samantha Hacker had an 11-stroke improvement from her first day (95-84). She finished eighth.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
After both of Pima Community College teams closed out regular season play, they then went to play in the regional tournament at the Paseo Rcquet Center in Glendale.
April 6: PCC 9, Glendale CC 0
In the final regular season home match, the men’s tennis team (4-3, 3-3 ACCAC) dominated its opponents.
Sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton swept both singles and doubles matches, 6-0, 6-0 for the singles match and 8-0 for the doubles match.
Sophomore Dalton Reisig also earned a shutout victory against the Gaucho’s, 6-0, 6-0. With the help of freshman Francisco Sotelo, he took another sweep victory in the No. 2 doubles, 8-0.
April 11: PCC 5, Paradise Valley 4
On the road for one more regular season game, the Aztecs come back home with a final win.
Avalos, slotted as the No.1 singles player, beat his opponent in a tight first set 7-5, 6-3.
Sotelo earned his win after losing his first set, but would come back to clinch the match in the tiebreaker and second set 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
In No. 6 singles, Kaila earned his win after a dominating first set, 6-0, 6-2.
For doubles, Resieg and Sotelo earned a win over the No. 2 doubles opponent, 8-6.
April 18: Regional I Tournament
The men’s team had a strong start to their post-season play. Avalos and Ton took the No. 1 doubles title. They lost the first game but rallied back to take the win against Mesa Community College, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Avalos however dropped his No. 1 singles match, 6-3, 6-2. Sotelo fell in his No. 4 singles 6-1, 6-2. Kaila also lost his match in a sweep at the No. 6 singles slot, 0-6, 0-6.
April 6: PCC 7, Glendale CC 2
With their final home matches approaching, the Aztecs (5-4, 4-4 ACCAC) are on the road for one last time against the Glendale Guacho’s.
Freshman Emma Oropeza, had the No. 1 singles slot, but lost to her opponent 6-2, 6-4.
In No. 2 and No. 3 singles, freshmen Janine Fernando and Lien Nguyen respectively, both won their matches 6-0, 6-1.
Freshman Jayme Shafer shut out her No. 5 singles match, 6-0, 6-0.
In the doubles matches, Oropeza and Fernando took dominated the No. 1 match, 8-1.
No. 2 doubles, Nguyen and sophomore Dana Pride lost their match, 8-3.
April 11: PCC 7, Paradise Valley 2
In their final game of the home season, the women’s team stays at home to take a dominating win over the Puma’s.
In the No. 1 slot, Oropeza dominated with a score of 6-1, 6-1.
Fernando, taking the No. 2 singles match, also showed poise as she won her sets 6-2, 6-0.
Nguyen earned her win in her No. 3 singles match with a score of 6-0, 6-2.
Shafer also beat out her competition in the No. 5 singles slot, 6-3, 7-5.
Oropeza and Fernando continued winning when they took the No. 2 win as well with a 8-2 victory.
Ngyuen and Ochoa would also take away a win in their doubles matches, 8-6.
April 18: Region I Tournament
All PCC women’s tennis members did not make it to a finals spot.
Compiled by Nicholas Trujillo
With the winter season ending and the spring seasons already well underway, Pima Community College has had many student-athletes earn awards for their efforts in the season. Others have accepted offers from universities.
Stallworth earns top rank for second time
This year marks the second year in a row that sophomore basketball star Sydni Stallworth was named first-team NJCAA Division II All-American. She is one of only three PCC women to receive the honor.
She also received, and accepted an offer to play at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
In the past two years, the university had win-loss records that mirrored PCC’s team. The 2014-’15 season was 29-2, and the 2015-’16 team had a 38-3 record.
Stallworth was a major player on the PCC court, leading the Aztecs to a second-place finish in the Region I Division II tournament. She averaged 17 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while also shooting 81 percent at the free throw line.
Additionally, she was also named the ACCAC Division II Player of the Year for the second year in a row, as well as ACCAC Division II player of the week seven times during the season. She ends her career at PCC with a record of 51-16.
James, Aztec MVP, first-team All-American
Men’s basketball sophomore standout Deion James also received his share of glory. He was named first-team NJCAA All-American. He is the fifth Pima player to earn the honor, and the second to receiving it under head coach Brian Peabody.
Jame was also named Spalding NJCAA Division II Player of the Year and ACCAC Co-Player of the Year.
During the season, James was the powerhouse who got the Aztecs to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. He was named Region I, Divison II Championship game MVP.
He also led the Aztecs to a 22-win season, PCC’s best since the 1989-90 team.
While averaging 20.6 points per game, James also picked up 20 double-doubles in points and rebounds.
In his first year of college basketball, James played at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. As of now, James has not decided where he will go to continue his career.
Sophomore duo sign with Stephen F. Austin
Pima Community College women’s softball team sophomore duo Margarita Corona and Courtney Brown have signed to play at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The Lumberjacks are in Division I for the NCAA and are sporting a 15-26 record so far this season.
Corona, a 5-foot-3-inch catcher, played in all 51 games this season. She has a .487 batting average and has 14 home runs and 77 RBIs. She also leads the team with 76 hits and 20 doubles.
Brown, who plays outfielder and is a lead-off hitter, bats with a .426 batting average. She has hit four home runs and 25 RBIs.
Brown also leads the team with 20 stolen bases, eight triples and 63 runs scored.
The two signed their letters of intent to the university on April 13. They will also be honored at the celebration that PCC is holding at the West Campus.
Ruiz signs to West Texas A&M
Sophomore Mari Ruiz will mark PCC softball team’s third player to get signed to a university. The Aztec outfield will further her career at West Texas A&M, a NCAA Division II school in Canyon, Texas.
The school held the national title in 2014 when a former Pima player was on their roster. This season they also hold former PCC pitcher Alexis Alfonso.
Ruiz took part in 35 games this season, she has 11 RBIs, 29 runs scored while batting and a .258 batting average. She transferred to Pima after playing for Phoenix College for one year.
Hong takes ACCAC POTY for second year in a row
Sophomore Desiree Hong has earned herself the ACCAC Player of the Year title for her second year in a row. She was also select as first team All-ACCAC conference and first Team All-Region.
Hong averaged a 74.8 per round played, she also shot a 71 or under for seven of her 12 rounds played.
She also was able to finish at least second place in all tournaments she participated in. She has also verbally committed to the University of Arizona next fall.
Fellow Sophomore Samantha Hacker was named second team All-ACCAC for her second straight year. Freshman Abby Miller also took second team All-Region.
PCC to celebrate athletes at West Campus
PCC will celebrate its athletes, and many others, on May 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the West Campus Arts Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road.
Both coaches and representatives from the winter and spring season teams will talk about team and individual accomplishments.
Basketball players Jacob Anastasi and Erin Peterson are set to receive the Lawrence R. Toledo Leadership Award.
To RSVP or for more info about the celebration, email April Jessee at firstname.lastname@example.org or Raymond Suarez at email@example.com by May 3.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
Almost five months after its inception, Arizona Senate Bill 1384 is nearly halfway through the process of becoming law.
The bill would allow more protection for high school journalists to freely cover news without fear of censorship from administrators, alleviating restrictions from a 1988 case known as Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier.
In the Hazelwood case, the U.S Supreme Court ruled school administrations have control over print publications if instruction is offered at the school.
As an example, if an administrator didn’t want a story about a certain topic to be published, he could say the topic was inappropriate.
SB 1384 specifies that if the story is not libelous, does not constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy, does not violate federal or state law or incite students to violate the law, the story can be published.
No prior restraint may be put on the newspaper. If the administration does find a story is within the four parameters, the bill says “the public school has the burden of providing lawful justification without undue delay.”
State Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-District 20, said the bill is currently in the House, awaiting passage.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously. In the House education committee, the bill had one vote nay, from Rep. David Stringer, R-District 1.
The bill has moved from the education committee to the House Committee of Rules. The committee will review the bill and can offer amendments.
After the rules committee, the bill will transfer to the Committee of the Whole for a full vote. After that, the bill would still have a winding road before reaching the governor for his signature.
The idea for the bill began nearly 25 years ago when Yee working on her high school newspaper. A cartoonist and other staff members experienced censorship that was backed by the Hazelwood ruling.
Early efforts to introduce a bill similar to SB 1384 fizzled. Yee introduced the new bill and said, “all stakeholders had input and there was no opposition to the bill.”
Photos and interviews on Desert Vista Campus by Nicholas Trujillo
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
Being scouted by the University of Arizona, becoming a motivational speaker and holding a championship trophy. Those aren’t things anyone expects to happen to them, especially a former juvenile delinquent.
After being in and out of juvenile detention, Mario Moran started that climb after 11:33 p.m. May 27, 2005.
“As a teen I was involved with the wrong activities, gang activities,” Moran said. “I lost myself as a youngster.”
Being involved in gang activities is what lead Moran to be shot in his spine, leaving his lower half paralyzed.
Now, the former wheelchair basketball champion holds himself up by giving motivational speeches across the world and being the center of the documentary “The Rebound.”
It was prom night and Moran was not allowed to go because he didn’t show up to his classes.
After grabbing a couple of beers that night, Moran waited a couple of streets from his New Jersey home, for his friends to go to post-prom parties.
That’s when Moran met Nestor Lopez, who was known as Sancocho. Moran thought himself to be the “don of the hood,” so he wore flashy jewelry to look the part. However, Sancocho liked the way his jewelry looked as well.
“The way he gave the comment wasn’t a nice comment,” Moran said. “He was kind of telling me, he liked what I had on and he wanted to take it.”
After an exchange of words, Sancocho pulled a gun on Moran. In New Jersey, according to Moran, people would often “carry fake guns and rob people.”
After Sancocho shot into the ground and then up in the air, Moran realized that it wasn’t a fake.
“I wasn’t scared,” he said. “I smacked my chest, and I told him, ‘I’m not on the ground. If you’re going to shoot me, shoot me.’”
The instant after Moran smacked his chest for a second time, he went in to throw a punch and knocked Sancocho down. However, as Sancocho hit the ground, the impact made the gun go off. It hit Moran three millimeters below his left nipple at an angle.
“Once the bullet made contact with my spine is when I started losing my legs and started collapsing,” he said.
As it was happening in real time in a matter of seconds, to Moran it felt like 30 to 45 minutes. Luckily, he had his phone clipped to his side and immediately dialed 911.
“All I could feel is my body starting to get tight,” he said. “Every breath I took, it was like flashbacks.”
The life or death struggle forced Moran to realize two things. He had to take shorter breaths to stay alive, and he had to keep fighting. “Because, if you believe in yourself, you can do anything,” he said.
After being rushed to the hospital, it was determined only one doctor had the ability to save Morans’ life. That doctor was on his way to Spain. However, the doctor was notified in time and told Moran’s caregivers to meet him halfway at Newark University.
“They opened me up like a pig on New Years Eve, to reconstruct everything inside,” Moran said.
The next day, Moran made the headlines in the New Jersey Journal: “Teen shot, thought was a fake gun.”
Three years after that night, Moran attended Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. He was stopped by a regular and was told about wheelchair basketball.
Although not excited about the opportunity at first, Moran realized this was his ticket out of Miami for a different life.
“I made a decision because I found out with basketball you can go to college and play for a league overseas,” he said. “But just the people in the community made me want to be a part of it.”
Before his life on the streets, Moran played baseball. It was easy to get back into the training regime, with his vision in mind at all times.
After playing recreational basketball for a time, he was able to travel the country to different camps, like one in Arlington, Texas.
“My game started to elevate more, and some of the guys on the team didn’t appreciate the fact that this guy came in and he is doing better than us,” Moran said.
Moran played for the Miami Heat Wheels for four years. “The Rebound,” a documentary shown at Pima Community College on April 11, depicted his run with the Miami Heat Wheels.
“They go a little deeper on my story, because I wasn’t scared of opening,” he said.
Moran and his team won the league championship trophy in 2013. After the championship, Moran was eventually scouted by the UA.
In the off-season, Moran can be seen around the United States, and soon the world, being a motivational speaker. He started this career officially three years ago.
“There’s a great quote, I forgot who said it, but it says ‘egos trip, but the humble never stumble,’” Moran said. “It’s always good to stay humble but I finally realized that I can help others and be that spark in their lives.”
While speaking, Moran opens up and is able to relate with any background because he believes that “if I went through it, you can do it, anybody can do it.”
At the showing of “The Rebound,” Moran talked to the audience and answered questions about his life and his time playing for UA wheelchair basketball.
“He was loud and aggressive,” Chuck Nyquist, a fellow player on the UA team, said. “But to be honest I needed someone like that to light the spark in me. He’s been like my mentor so far.”
Moran is now attending PCC as the UA has let him continue to be on the team if he is taking any sort of educational courses in Tucson.
While in Tucson, he is also planning to give talks for different companies or schools.
“In my words, I give them the ‘Moran shot of espresso,’” he said. “Let me give you a great start to your day, let me be your voice, your pain.”
By DAKOTA FINCHER
As college costs continue to rise, some students spend more on textbooks than they pay for tuition.
Pima Community College student Sasha Brown wants to help students succeed by providing cheaper ways to get textbooks.
Brown is a member of Pima’s InterCampus Council and Textbook Task Force. She is also part of Pierson Insiders, a group that focuses on textbook challenges by working with publishers directly.
“Book cost should not match your tuition,” Brown said.
Brown puts a strong emphasis on not buying books without talking to the teacher first, noting that students sometimes buy textbooks without ever needing to use them.
The task force was founded by Phi Theta Kappa All-USA Academic Team scholarship winner Liz Pennington. She is a history and secondary education major who will graduate from PCC this spring.
Pennington created the task force because she knew students who avoided taking certain classes because of the price of textbooks.
“We knew the reason for choosing a course should be the learning experience that the class offers, not the cost of the textbooks,” she said.
In a survey conducted by the InterCampus Council, 41 percent of students chose not to buy a required textbook due to high price. Seventy-three percent of students thought a fair price for a textbook would be less than $100.
Task force members are sorting out details for a proposed “Achieving the Dream” grant provided by Hewlett-Packard.
The grant would help students earn an associate of arts degree. Students would still pay tuition but could use open-source digital textbooks free of charge. Curriculum is still under discussion.
Grant funds would be used to pay instructors who are interested in less expensive textbook options.
“We can’t have these men and women work for nothing,” Brown said.
Student spending at a campus bookstore averages $100 to $200, according to the task force. While the bookstore does buy books back, it pays less than the purchase price. Sometimes, students are credited with a gift card in lieu of cash.
Task force members say there are ways around expensive textbooks.
Textbooks.com, for instance, offers buybacks of up to 80 percent. Other well-known resources include Amazon and Chegg.
Textbook Exchange, an online bulletin board, provides another option. Students leave information about textbooks, with contact information to trade or sell textbooks on campus.
Pennington is optimistic.
“The Textbook Task Force’s continued efforts will be to make textbooks more affordable for students, with the belief that every student should have the opportunity at an affordable education,” she said.
For more information on the Textbook Task Force, contact Sasha Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
With the Pima Community College tennis squads completing the first half of their season, head coach Ian Esquer will gear up his teams for the NJCAA Region I Tournament at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale, Arizona.
“For the amount of time we have been practicing, they’ve done a good job of stepping up to the plate and competing against all kinds of teams,” Esquer said.
March 23: Pima 3, Paradise Valley CC 6
The Aztecs (2-3, 1-3 ACCAC) took a tough loss against the Pumas while playing on their home court at the West Campus.
Sophomore Mark Avalos won his singles and doubles matches. Avalos beat his No. 1 singles opponent 6-4, 6-1.
Fellow sophomore Francisco Ton paired with Avalos to win a tiebreaker doubles match 9-8, (7-2).
March 29: PCC 2, Mesa CC 7
After packing their bags for another competition on the road, the Aztecs dropped seven matches to the Thunderbirds.
In the No. 1 doubles competition, sophomore duo Avalos and Ton lost their match, 8-2. Reisig was the only Aztec to put up a fight against his No. 3 singles dropping the match 6-4, 6-2.
March 23: PCC 7, Paradise Valley CC 2
On the road, Pima (3-4, 2-4 ACCAC) took a different turn as the women’s team was able to give the Pumas a defeat on the Paradise Valley CC campus.
Freshman Jayme Shafer won her No. 5 singles after playing a close second set, 6-1, 7-5. Freshmen Emma Oropeza and Janine Fernando both won their No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches respectively.
Oropeza won in dominating fashion, 6-1, 6-0, while Fernando won her match in the same fashion, 6-0, 6-1.
March 28: PCC 3, Eastern Azona 6
PCC faced a tough match as they played the No. 22 Eastern Arizona College. The No. 2 doubles duo freshman
Lien Nguyen and sophomore Dana Pineda got the 8-1 win against the opposing Gila Monsters doubles team.
The No. 1 doubles duo Oropeza and Fernando dropped their match 8-5.
Freshmen Shafer and Elise Rodriguez both picked up their No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches, respectively. Shafer fought a tough first set and came out on top, winning 7-5, 6-4.
March 29: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9
After playing the No. 22 ranked team in the nation, the Aztecs schedule amped up the difficulty level to play the No. 11 ranked Thunderbirds.
Shafer, who took the No. 5 singles spot, played a tough second set but ultimately fell to her opponent 6-0, 6-4.
April 11: at Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, 1:30 p.m.
April 11: vs. Paradise Valley CC, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
After a series of scrimmages, the Pima Community College tennis teams played conference meets against Mesa and Glendale to start their season.
“The team adapts really well to play styles they have never seen before,” head coach Ian Esquer said.
March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9
In their third match, the Aztecs (2-2, 1-2 conference) were swept at home by the No. 8 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds.
Aztec freshmen Emma Oropeza and Janine Fernando dropped the No. 1 doubles match 8-2.
Oropeza also dropped her No. 1 singles match, 6-2, 6-3.
Sophomore Ashley Ochoa played a close second set but fell 6-1, 7-5.
March 21: PCC 9, Glendale CC 0
Oropeza led a string of defeats against Glendale in singles, as she defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-2.
Freshmen Jayme Shafer and Elise Rodriguez dominated their No. 3 doubles 8-1.
March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9
The No. 7 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds swept the Aztecs (2-1, 1-1 conference) in a home meet.
Pima sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton played a close doubles match but lost 9-8.
Avalos lost his No. 1 singles match, 6-0, 6-1. Ton lost his No. 2 singles match 6-0, 6-1.
March 21: PCC 8, Glendale CC 1
As the Aztecs dominate Glendale, Ton was able to come away with a big victory in his No. 2 singles in a three-set tie-breaker, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0.
March 23: Paradise Valley CC, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.
March 29: Mesa CC, 11 a.m.
March 23: Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, 1:30 p.m.
March 28: Eastern Arizona, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.
March 29: Mesa CC, 1:30 p.m.
Editor’s note: In this ongoing feature, we ask a Pima Community College student some not-so-serious questions.
Compiled by Nicholas Trujillo
Ashley Goode is a student at PCC and a mother at home. She’s studying behavioral health at Desert Vista Campus and loves to have “Goode” days.
Question 1: What classes are you enjoying most, and why?
Ashley: I like the substance abuse classes. I like learning about why things happen, I like learning about theories. So far, we’re doing the Black Hand. He’s an FBI agent and he basically started the drug war. It talks about how he built a lot of stigmas because of the drug war. I like learning the truth.
Question 2: What color socks are you wearing?
Ashley: I’ve got mismatched on. They’re still the same, but one’s brighter than the other. I like bright color socks. My socks never match but I have to make sure my kid’s socks match.
Question 3: What’s your favorite movie, and why?
Ashley: One of my favorite movies is “Forest Gump.” When I was younger I would watch it every day. I think it’s because people titled him but he overcame a lot of things that they say a person with special needs can’t overcome. It’s kind of inspirational.
Question 4: What is the last song you listened to?
Ashley: “We Know How to Party” by Chris Brown. It keeps me going on the treadmill.
Question 5: What did you eat for breakfast?
Ashley: I had this gross sandwich from downtown that was kind of expensive. It was a Jimmy Dean sausage sandwich but it didn’t taste like that. It just tasted like it was frozen, in my grandma’s refrigerator. For six months.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
Nolan “Matt Finish” Kubota is a short, well-built, flamboyant man from northwestern California. His journey to Tucson has led him all over the world.
His roles at Pima Community College include director of productions for dance. He teaches advanced ballet and jazz, and runs the student dance ensemble.
On top of all that, he juggles one more responsibility: burlesque dancing.
“I’m amazing. I’ve been doing this forever and I’m not stopping any time soon,” Kubota said.
Burlesque began as a parody of plays in the 1830s, but evolved in the early 1900s into its current art form.
A JOURNEY BEGINS
After graduating from high school in 2002, Kubota wanted to apply to the University of Arizona graduate school for dance. After he was denied admission because he needed two years of professional experience, he went to New York to get that experience.
“I had no connections, no job, nobody in the city,” Kubota said. “I was there for four days before I got a job.”
The lucky break came from a comedic all-male parody en travesti ballet company called Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, or “Trocks” for short.
Kubota called Trocks and asked if they had any upcoming auditions. After grilling Kubota with questions, the company asked him to show up at City Center the next day for auditions to replace a previous dancer.
“So I went in and it was a small audition, there were four guys,” Kubota said. “The first two boys were cut after barre.”
Only one dancer stood in Kubota’s way.
“We were polar opposites,” Kubota said. “I was very short and very thin. He was this big, hairy guy.”
Kubota felt sure his opponent had the advantage, noting the judge “was talking to him a whole lot more than he was talking to me.”
Though Kubota was less popular, he earned the job because his competitor had to leave the audition due to previous commitments.
Just like that, Kubota signed a contract with the Trocks on the night of his 21st birthday, Sept. 20.
“I have that amazing fairytale story, moving to New York and signing with a world-famous company,” he said.
Kubota traveled the world with the Trocks for three years, performing in Australia, New Zealand, France, Portugal, Japan, Turkey, Wales, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Mexico and Canada.
While in the U.S. on tour, Kubota approached the UA graduate school of dance’s chairman and gave him tickets to see him perform. Soon after, he was invited to enroll in the UA program.
After he graduated in 2011, Kubota applied to Pima Community College and immediately began teaching. While teaching, he has inspired students to be more confident with themselves.
“Matt’s made me more comfortable with saying I don’t like something,” sophomore dancer Catina Corella said.
Shortly after, he found his new passion.
At first, Kubota didn’t want to be a part of the burlesque scene.
“The first time I went to a show, I didn’t want to go at all,” he said. “I knew it was ladies taking their clothes off, and I was like, ‘ew, tits.’” After a friend bought him a non-refundable $20 ticket, however, Kubota dragged himself to the show.
“Five minutes into the show I was hooked,” he said. “I leaned over to her and told her, ‘We’re going to do this.’”
Post-show information had details about a burlesque class, and Kubota enrolled.
In his first session, Kubota and his peers were given a task: Come up with a performer name.
“I wanted a pun for my name,” he said. “When it comes to my photographs, I’ve always preferred a matte finish.”
Part of the process involved research to see if anyone else has ever used the name. Kubota learned no other burlesque performer went by his proposed name.
“There was an Australian rock band called Matt Finish,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t think anyone will get us confused.’”
With his name settled, Kubota started dancing with Black Cherry Burlesque in 2012. He also created his own show, Don’t Blink Burlesque, and performed at a bar called Mint.
“We performed there for almost a year before we got our spot at The Hut,” he said. “We were a weekly there for a year, then we switched to a monthly.”
Switching to a monthly show allowed Kubota more time to gather his audience and fill his roster of performers.
That’s when his burlesque career began to take off.
At first Kubota stayed true to his ballet roots when he danced. After his second act, he decided he needed to be more open artistically.
“That’s what I love about it. It’s very freeing artistically,” he said. “I like that I can be dirty and raunchy on stage.”
Kubota is always excited to meet new dancers who want to be a part of that community, and will help them jump right in.
By MELINA CASILLAS and NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
Ana, a student at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, came to the United States when she was 2.
She came with her parents and brother, because her parents thought it was the best thing to do for their children.
“It’s not like Mexico had a bad life for us, it’s just there was more opportunity,” Ana said. “Not only economic rights, but education rights for my brother and I.”
Ana, who asked that her last name not be used, works with the UA Immigration Student Resource Center to create a safe environment for those in the same situation.
“I think that it’s crazy, and as dumb as it is, it also strikes fear,” she said. “Not only in yourself but in the family and your community, and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.”
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as DACA, is an executive order signed by President Obama in June 2012.
The policy allows undocumented immigrants who migrated to the United States before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to be eligible for work permits and protection from deportation for two years, with a renewable application.
Students who take advantage of the policy are referred to as Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAMers.
Those who are eligible pay a $495 fee, an increase from $465 as of December 2016. DACA students must also provide fingerprints and other biometrics for an $85 fee and prove they have not had any criminal convictions.
As of September 2016, over 800,000 DACA applicants have been accepted nationally. Nearly 4,000 of those reside in Pima County, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
The DREAMers were fearful before Obama’s executive order in 2012. The order allowed them to step out of the shadows to continue their education and build a better life in the ‘land of opportunity.’
However, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer began erecting barriers for DACA students as soon as the policy took affect.
Brewer issued a state executive order to deny the DREAMers driver’s licenses they were eligible for in 2012.
In December 2014, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell overturned Brewer’s order, allowing DREAMers to receive their licenses.
Before that, Proposition 300 was passed in 2006. It made undocumented immigrants ineligible for in-state tuition. Children who had grown up in Arizona most of their lives were now required to pay out-of- state tuition.
Maricopa County Community College District challenged this; allowing in-state tuition to DREAMers. Former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne took the district to superior court. The court ruled in the college’s favor.
As of Jan. 10, current Attorney General Mark Brnovich has begun the appeal process to block DREAMers from receiving in-state tuition once again.
DACA students at PCC currently receive in-state tuition according to PCC’s website.
After a ruling by Federal Judge Arthur Anderson in 2015, all three state universities have been required to offer in-state tuition for these students.
While DACA students pay in-state tuition they are not eligible for any federal aid, including FAFSA.
UNCERTAIN POLITICAL CLIMATE
Now that Donald Trump is president,uncertainty fills the air for the DREAMers and all undocumented immigrants alike.
In a press conference, Trump said “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, because you have these incredible kids, in many cases not in all cases.” He also said he will deal with DACA “with heart.”
However, on Feb. 10, DREAMer Daniel Ramirez Medina was arrested in Seattle.
According to the Los Angeles Times, immigration officials say that Ramirez was a “self-admitted gang member” and arrested him for safety reasons.
Ramirez’s attorney disputed that saying he’d never been convicted of a crime and that he was pressed by immigration officers to falsely admit to the accusations.
Protests around Washington State have already begun in solidarity with Ramirez.
Locally, organizations like the University of Arizona’s International Student
Resource Center, are working to protect the rights of DACA students by supplying training to staff.
ISRC also speaks to the Arizona Board of Regents about making the college a sanctuary zone.
ISRC is also working with a Barrett Honors College student to create an app to alert students of where Border Patrol or other officers are seen around the Tucson area.
Advocacy groups like Scholarships A-Z are also helping DACA students, providing them with assistance in finding private scholarships for school and other immigration resources.
Many volunteers for Scholarships A-Z are also DACA students.
COLLEGE OFFERS HOPE
Although the situation is grim, there are helping hands at many institutions, though some are safer than others. That is evident in letters sent out after the proposal to end the DACA program by the Trump administration.
Chancellor Lee Lambert put out a statement Jan. 30, saying, “The College is reviewing action we could take to ensure students and employees feel secure, respected and supported.”
Pima does stand behind their employees; the email also lists links to help, and others to make an informed decision.
Ann Weaver Hart, president of UA, put out a statement, Nov. 24, 2016. With only 70 DACA students, they represent less than one percent of the student population.
“The UA statement publicly stakes out our position on protecting DACA student information,” she said.
“Providing advice and counsel for those students and ensuring any educational aspiration underway at the UA can be successfully completed regardless of events.”
Although the university had good intentions, many DACA students did not think the letter was clear enough on how it would protect them.
“President Hart, who’s president here at the UA, said she would protect DACA students in all her abilities,” Ana said.
“However coming together with other DACA students we thought it was vague, it didn’t really say anything or like actions to protect.”
A student at the UA felt so unsafe that he transferred to Pima.
“One DACA student left UA to transfer to Pima, because there are more opportunities there and it’s a safer environment,” Ana said.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
After a sweep against Imperial College, the Pima Community College men’s and women’s teams played in a preseason tournament in Mesa.
“It went really well,” head coach Ian Esquer said.
Other schools such as Eastern Arizona and Arizona Christian University weren’t expecting the new coach and his team to get as far as they did, Esquer said.
“I was happy everyone played and had fun,” he said.
ACCAC preseason tournament
For doubles, the men’s team got to the finals of the main draw and the semifinals of the back draw.
“Arizona Christian University played and we beat them in the finals, so they were pretty impressed, as was I,” Esquer said.
ACCAC preseason tournament
In singles, freshman Emma Oropeza made her way to the semifinals of the main draw, while freshmen Janine Fernando and Lien Nguyen reached the back draw finals.
In doubles Oropeza and Nguyen made it to the semi’s of the back draw.
Feb. 23: Eastern 8, PCC 1
PCC’s game in Thatcher resulted in just one win, from freshman Elise Rodriguez. She won her No. 6 singles 7-6. The Aztecs lost every other match on the road.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
For minimum-wage earners who’ve had a taste of the $1.95 per hour pay raise, I can relate if you are feeling both happy and scared by the change.
My eyes light up when I see the significant increase in my paychecks. However, my face turns gray when I hear that another store has closed or raised prices because it can’t keep up.
In Tucson, the owner of Shlomo and Vito’s Deli blamed the minimum wage when it closed. The move threw 43 employees out of work.
I’m not an economist, but I would argue the closing represents free market principles. It’s not great a local deli closed, but it allows other entrepreneurs an opportunity to open another food store that might be economically stronger.
The ability to adapt and overcome obstacles shows the strength of a business. This life-and-death business cycle is healthy for an area’s economy.
The Metro Chamber of Commerce recently sent an anonymous survey to businesses across Tucson.
About 40 percent of businesses that responded said they are increasing prices to keep up.
Thirty-two percent are reducing employee hours.
I see this happening at my own job, at Frys. Many of my fellow employees are seeing their hours cut because they don’t have seniority and the store has to save money.
The chamber survey said 13 percent of businesses are considering closing for good. This is without a doubt bad for the individual businesses that close. However, a growing customer base will greet those that ride the wave of uncertainty and stay open.
Another 11 percent of the business owners said they would move to automation.
We won’t be having much human interaction at those stores. They’ll be based on machines with one or two people keeping up day-to-day maintenance.
Again, this process eliminates the weak businesses and allows others to come up with fresh ideas to keep their business going. This is good for everyone in the long run.
I understand that finding a new job is scary in the short run, especially when you have a family to feed. It’s also scary to see businesses close.
Focusing on that, however, will only make you close-minded to that fact that other businesses may perform better.
Opportunities are driven by the free market and its ability to make and break businesses.
This is the circle of life in the world of economics. We shouldn’t be afraid to take it on.
Nick Trujillo isn’t a conservative, but he likes a free-functioning market.