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Two sides of the immigration debate

Two sides of the immigration debate


Congressmen Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., held a forum on the topic of immigration at Pima Community College’s Proscenium Theathre on April 17. The forum turned contentious when several audience members began to shout during Grijalva’s and Gutierrez’s speeches. Grijalva and Gutierrez stressed the importance of becoming a documented citizen and using immigration law not to pursue families, but criminals. As attendees began to leave the auditorium, protesters gathered outside displaying signs supporting strict enforcement of immigration laws.

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10-year-old Bobby De La Rosa speaks through tears to an audience of more than 150 people to tell the story of his mother’s arrest by Border Patrol agents six years ago. Bobby was the first speaker during the forum and explained how his mother’s deportation has led to the separation of his family in order to make ends meet. (Nick Meyers/ Aztec Press)


Jim (no last name given), a local actor and self-proclaimed republican, has a friendly discussion with Jim Thomas, a member of the Southside Presbyterian Church and democrat, on issues ranging from immigration to abortion laws. Southside Presbyterian Church currently shelthers Rosa Robles Loreto. (Nick Meyers/ Aztec Press)



Curtis Baxter quietly listens to Congressman Raul Grijalva’s opening statement. Baxter arrived as a protester but did not interrupt or shout during the presenters’ speeches. A small group of motorcyclists from a local motorcycle group attended the forum to hear out the congressmen and voice their own opinions on the subject of immigration. Several members of the group left during Congressman Luis Gutierrez’s speech to join the protesters outside. (Nick Meyers/ Aztec Press)


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Del Dawley is escorted out of Pima Community College’s Proscenium Theatre by PCC police officers April 17 after protesting an assertion by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., that immigrants fall under the protection of the American flag. Dawley remained outside for the rest of the forum, gathering with other protestors and voicing an opposing perspective on the immigration debate. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press)


Road Running pizza fresh, made to order

Road Running pizza fresh, made to order



When you crave pizza, you usually think to call up the closest Pizza Hut or Papa Johns. After eating at Road Running Wood Fired Pizza, you won’t be doing that again.

Each order starts with choosing your toppings, or a specialty pizza, like the Chicken Pesto or Hawaiian pizza.

Your order is made fresh right in front of you as the dough for your pizza is flattened out, topped with your cheese, meats and veggies and thrown right into the back of the mobile wood fired pizza oven.

After a few minutes of baking, the cheese has just begun to bubble into a sticky glue to hold your generous toppings onto the thin-crust pizza. It is pulled out, slapped on a plate and handed to you.

I ordered a pizza with ham and pineapple and they did not skimp on the toppings. The pineapple chunks were fresh and juicy, while the ham was cut in long strips that lined the full diameter of the pizza.

The personal pizzas range from $7 to $10 and are a little bigger than a paper plate, so you really get your money’s worth out of this mobile pizzeria.

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Owner Chip Augello slices and dices a fresh pizza, right out of the portable wood fired oven. (Alex Fruechtenicht/ Aztec Press)


Struggling to balance work, class

Struggling to balance work, class



From classes to hours of homework and balancing a social life, the college experience is a demanding time in many students’ lives.

Throw a work schedule into the mix and responsibilities reach a maximum stress level.

Although the demands for working students are high, the motivation to keep moving through the long days are worthwhile with help from family and friends. Personal goals help students continue to move forward.

For 22-year-old Pima Community College student Troy Terry, the balance between working two jobs, attending classes and trying to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle has been quite the challenge. But even through the nonstop days, he remains motivated.

“My mom is a huge motivation for me,” Terry said. “Unfortunately, she passed away last May. She was my motivation to keep moving and to never stop. She would always tell me, whatever you want to do, you can do, just put your mind to it and always stay motivated.”

A normal week for Terry consists of working roughly 55 hours between GNC and Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails, attending classes three days a week through PCC’s police academy, completing anywhere from 7-10 hours of homework and trying to keep up with eating well and working out.

“The hardest part is getting my homework done and turned in on time,” Terry said. “They want us at a high standard, so sometimes I can turn in an assignment, that if I would of had a little more time, I could have done it a lot better. I tend to rush a lot of things.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 78 percent of undergraduate students work a rough estimate of 30 hours per week, while attending classes. About 25 percent of those students work full-time jobs.

PCC counselor Todd Slaney can relate personally to the difficulties that many of his students face while trying to  balance a work and school load.

“You have to sacrifice something,” Slaney said. “I wasn’t able to sacrifice school or work, so it was having a social life. I wasn’t able to go out three nights a week and be successful at school. I had to minimize what I did with my friends and even my family, sometimes.”

A survey from Citigroup and Seventeen magazine found that many colleges recommend or even mandate that a student’s work schedule be limited to no more than 10-15 hours per week.

Colleges want to see their students succeed academically but unfortunately for many students, paying bills and tuitions is a major factor and anything less than 30 hours is not a plausible amount.

Slaney said managing both loads is easier if a student is going to school part time and working part time. It becomes more overwhelming when both work and school are full time loads.

When a small amount of time is stretched between two time-consuming activities, a high rate of success is less likely. Something must be sacrificed in order to maintain balance.

“Often when I talk to students, they need to drop a class because they weren’t being very successful in that class,” Slaney said.

“They tell me that they can’t reduce their work hours because that’s what pays their mortgage or rent or what puts food on the table,” he said. “Often when they do have to let something go or give something up, it’s school, unfortunately.”

An online article, “Learning and Earning: Working in College,” from weighs the pros and cons of students attending classes while working. The report notes statistical differences based on the number of hours a student is working.

“Part-time student employment may have beneficial effects: for example, an on-campus research position may spark a student’s interest in further academic programs or provide important work experience that will improve future labor market prospects,” it says.

However, the report also finds that students who work 35 hours or more may suffer academically.

● 55 percent have negative effects on their studies.

● 40 percent limit their class schedules.

● 36 percent are limited on class choices.

● 30 percent limit the number of classes they take.

● 26 percent limit access to the library.

For Terry, this type of strict life structure came slightly easier to him because of his athletic background and commitment to playing football throughout his high school career.

“Football definitely helped prepare me with my time management,” Terry       said. “Everything in high school is class, then practice, then homework, dinner, shower and sleep. You wake back up and repeat.”

It’s not an easy task for students to consume everything that has been placed on their plate but with the right amount of dedication, time management skills and willingness to sacrifice extracurricular activities, the results can bring great benefits.

“Following a schedule is important and just make sure you have everything written down,” Terry said.

“Just make sure you have everything scheduled out,” he added. “That’s huge because it makes it a lot easier to manage and stay on top of grades, even if you have to sacrifice a couple hours at work to get things done.”

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(Aztec Press photo illustration by Tanisha Knutzen)


The writer behind Writing 101

The writer behind Writing 101



He sits in a darkened room, fingers hovering over a keyboard while sweat drips down shadowed cheeks, concentration enhanced by gentle Italian techno music. Shell shocked and numb, he realizes his book is finished.

Writing 101 instructor Andrew Foster, 34, has worked part time at Pima Community College for eight years. He said teaching writing helps keep his mind fresh when it comes to his own writing.

“Last week I finished a memoir I’ve been working on for several years,” he said. “Proud but sad my baby’s all grown up and gone.”

Foster has drawn up a dream list of 20 agents and has started the process of querying them. “I need to find an agent that has had memoirs and biographies published before,” he said.

The first chapter of his memoir was recently published in a Baltimore publication, Cobalt Magazine.

“This chapter was rejected at only three or four other magazines before Cobalt took it,” Foster said. “I feel pretty lucky on this one. My usual rate for acceptances is about one in every 100 submissions. If you want to be published, you have to get used to constant rejection.”

One of his first publications was a poem in the Colorado Review in early 2000. He has also been published in a Tucson literary journal, Spork.

Foster submitted a chapter of his memoir to this year’s Tucson Festival of Books writing contest. He was a runner-up for the grand prize and received a chance to participate in a literary workshop.

The workshop included talks led by several well known authors, including author and poet Ray Gonzalez of the University of Minnesota.

Foster enjoys reading both nonfiction and fiction.

He is currently reading “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” a novel by Zora Neale Hurston. Written in the ‘30s, it is a classic in African-American literature.

His favorite authors are William Shakespeare and James Joyce. He has the full collection of Joyce’s books, including “Ulysses,” “Finnegans Wake” and “Dubliners.”

Foster likes to teach by using multiple visuals in his Downtown Campus classroom and takes time to provide detailed explanations.

“He uses his personal time to help us with our assignments,” said Charity Brian, 21. “He makes it easier to understand the concepts of writing. He is a good communicator.”

Brian is in her first semester at PCC and is taking WRT 101 as part of the requirements for her major in law and criminology. She takes three other classes and is exhausted by the end of her day, but she looks forward to her writing class.

“He has opened my eyes to new creative writing techniques and ideas,” she said.

Foster has a family connection with words. His father, Michael Foster, studied languages and traveled to Canada to study Cayuga Indians.

Foster’s father met his mother, a native Canadian, and they married shortly after. Two years later, Foster was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

He was raised in Norwich, Vt., and in Philadelphia. While attending a boarding school in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Foster participated in the school newspaper and in creative writing workshops.

He knew he liked writing in elementary school and decided to become a professional writer during high school.

When not teaching or writing, Foster enjoys a game of chess.

“I’m a total beginner, but it’s fascinating,” he said. “It’s humbling.”

He is also a whiskey aficionado.

“It’s actually a much less expensive hobby than wine tasting,” he said. “A $50 bottle of wine will last you one night but a $50 bottle of single malt scotch can be slowly enjoyed over many months.”

Extending his passion for teaching outside of the traditional classroom, Foster recently taught a WRT 101 class for employees of Tucson Electric Power. TEP not only paid the tuition, but also paid the employees for each hour they spent in the classroom.

“WRT 101 was a required step in their process of becoming journeymen electricians,” Foster said.

What does writing mean to Foster?

“Writing is the secret life of the soul, encoded in this thing we call language, which was the first virtual reality that humans invented,” he said.

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Writing 101 instructor Andrew Foster answers his students’ questions. Foster, who just finished writing a memoir, says teaching writing keeps his mind fresh for his own work. (Aztec Press photos by Shana Rose)


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Instructor Andrew Foster explains the daily lesson to his Writing 101 class at Downtown Campus. (Aztec Press photos by Shana Rose)


Gallery reception honors 91 student artists

Gallery reception honors 91 student artists



The Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery was packed with visitors on April 16 during a reception and award ceremony for 91 Pima Community College student artists whose work was accepted into a juried exhibit.

The Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition will be on display through May 8 at the gallery, in the Center for the Arts complex located on West Campus.

The free exhibit presents a diverse mix that includes oil-mixed media and acrylic paintings, photography, drawings, ceramics, jewelry, book arts, metals and printmaking.

“All Pima campuses are represented,” gallery director David Andres said. “Other art pieces are on display at Tucson International Airport.”

Art students, families of winners and artists from the Tucson community turned out for the April 16 reception.

The “Best of Show” award went to printmaker Blair Frederic. Other top award winners were Phillip Abbott for his “Best of 3D” sculpture and Adam Gilliland for “Best of 2D.”

Juror Stephen Strom, a photographer and writer, said many pieces caught his eye but he was particularly impressed by the imagination and skill of the printmakers. He especially had kind words for Frederic.

“The fine and diverse work of the Best in Show award winner is evocative of Motherwell and Siskind,” he wrote in his judge’s remarks, comparing Frederic to prominent artists. “It would be a handsome addition to many a collection.”

Juror Diane Dale, a visual artist who works as a painter, printmaker and sculptor, complimented Abbott’s sculptor, “Dodo.”

“It was cleverly constructed by switching vertical and horizontal planes integrating metal and wood elements,” she wrote. Abbot had a second entry, “Wolf,” which Dale called “equally imaginative.”

Juror Simon Donovan, a painter and sculptor, called Gilliland an artist to watch.

“He is already an heir apparent to the late artist Luis Jimenez,” Donovan wrote. “He should definitely move forward in his artistic endeavors.”

The jurors and 25 vendors were acknowledged for their support of the exhibit. Frederic received a gift certificate for a three-night stay in a resort and each student winner received a gift certificate and other gifts.

The Arizona Designer Craftsmen, a state arts organization, also awarded $75 certificates and one-year memberships to Keli Beth Smith Ceramics), Virginia Ericson (Fibers) and Kathy Broneck (Metals).

Smith said the inspiration for her work, came from life’s experiences and relationships. The piece is derogatory, sexual and funny, representing both a woman’s strength and her vulnerability.

“The woman is holding the heart above her head,” Smith said. “Putting yourself in position as a woman but still vulnerable.”

One Pima art student regretted that she didn’t make it into the competition.

“I was late in submitting my work,” Yelitza Tamayo said. “I just needed the frame but I’ll try again next time.”

Carol Carder, Center for the Arts marketing director, said the annual art exhibit celebrates student success.

“We do this to educate the community and be a part of what students learned,” she said. “It’s awareness about the role of art in the community.”

Andres and Carder gave kudos to full-time and adjunct faculty for their painstaking efforts to teach art in the best possible ways and to make the award ceremony a showcase of the students’ stellar accomplishments.

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“Wolf” and “Dodo” by Phillip Abbott take center stage in the Bernal art gallery as two of the biggest pieces of the exhibit. The sculptures sold for $300 after the exhibit opened. (Alex Fruechtenicht/ Aztec Press)


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“Nymph with Wet Drapery” by Ellen Cook, a sculpture in the resin medium at a selling point of $1,200. (Aztec Press/ Alex Fruechtenicht)


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Keli Beth Smith’s “Rise Above” presents her heart to the world. (Alex Fruechtenicht/ Aztec Press)


Mackey undefeated in singles

Mackey undefeated in singles




Pima Community College women’s tennis team (9-8, 6-2 in ACCAC) finished up the regular season on a strong note. Pima won its last five out of six games going into regionals, putting them over .500 overall for the season and four games over .500 in conference play.

Pima’s late season surge was headlined by freshman Jahnessa Mackey’s (8-0) eight straight wins and her undefeated singles play season.

Pima was at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale on April 21, 22 for the Region I Tournament. Results will be in upcoming issues of the Aztec Press.

Pima closed out the regular season on high note, shutting out Paradise Valley Community College, on April 14. Pima’s win against PVC put them over .500 for the first time since the opening match.

Pima’s shutout was headlined by Mackey’s eight straight wins, finishing her season undefeated in conference play 8-0.

As a team, Pima dominated in both singles and doubles. Pima shutout PVC on the way to winning all three doubles matches. In singles, only a single point was given up by Pima in all of the six matches.

The Aztecs traveled to Glendale Community College and beat GCC 8-1 on April 9.

Pima’s win against Glendale gave them a record of .500 for only the second time this year since their second meet, two months ago.

The Aztecs swept Glendale 3-0 in doubles. Sophomores Ema Hernandez and Yanseli Alameda won a tight one in their No. 2 doubles match 9-8. While Freshmen Noelle  Karp and  Sophomore Cristina Oropeza won their No. 1 doubles match impressively 8-2 and Mackey and freshman Stephanie Nickles won their No.3 doubles match by default.

Pima went 4-1 in singles play, wrapping up the match against Glendale as quickly as possible. Alameda, Karp, Nickles and Oropeza won their singles matches. Mackey also won her singles match, keeping her winning streak alive at seven straight.

Four players were named to the All-ACCAC Conference first-team: Mackey, Oropeza in singles and Alameda and Hernandez in doubles. Five players were named second-team: Hernandez and Nickles in singles and duos Karp and Oropeza, and Mackey and Nickles in doubles.

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Pima Community College men’s tennis team (record and intro after rest of games)

Pima’s last game of the regular season didn’t end the as plan, losing to Paradise Valley Community College 8-1 on April 14.

Pima was completive in doubles, but couldn’t get the job done getting swept by PVC 3-0. In singles Pima’s only single win came from Ton at the No. 3 spot. Ton win put in him at 6-2 for the year. The rest of the team was completive, but like doubles couldn’t get the job done.

Pima hosted Glendale Community College on April 9. Pima lost a close one, as Glendale won 5-4

The Aztecs went 1-2 in doubles. Foitik and Ton fell short 9-8 in the tie-breaker for the No. 1 doubles match. Henkel and Vazquez lost a close one, 8-6. Lancaster and Bravo won their doubles match 8-2.

Pima went 3-3 in singles play with victories from Ton, Amaya and Bravo.

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Sophomore Yanseli Alameda whacks the ball during a volley against a Glendale Community College team member on April 9. (Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics)


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Sophomore Michael Amaya lines up for the strike against a Glendale Community College player during a match on April 9. (Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics)


FIRST BITE Mexican and Peruvian fusion

FIRST BITE Mexican and Peruvian fusion



Gigi’s Mexican and Peruvian Fusion food truck has been making stops at Pima Community College campuses in its lime green vehicle, ready to feed adventurous students.

Customers can choose from a variety of dishes, including sandwiches, burgers, tacos, fries and bowls.

Where does the “fusion” come in? Some ingredients in the typical Peruvian dishes aren’t available in North America, so they have been replaced with ingredients from Mexico.

One example is Peruvian aji hot peppers, which have been replaced by peppers available in Mexico.

Food truck owner Sandra Campana has been in business for almost two years, and Gigi’s Mexican and Peruvian Fusion has been growing and getting better since then.

“I love cooking at home,” Campana said. “So, why not have a food truck?”

Menu dishes that stick out are Campana’s Chimichurri Bowls and her Donut Bacon Burgers.

Customers who order a Chimichurri Bowl get carne asada drizzled with chimichurri sauce, served with avocado and salad over basmati rice.

Those who want to surprise their taste buds can try a Donut Bacon Burger. Who wouldn’t want a bite of a bacon cheeseburger served on a freshly glazed donut? The burger is paired with a side of crispy fries.

The dishes from Gigi’s Mexican Peruvian Fusion food truck range in price from $7-$9.

For some of that sweet and tangy chimichurri sauce, and the tender beef and chicken, take my money.

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PCC students waiting to tantalize their taste buds at Gigi’s Mexican and Peruvian Fusion food truck. (Shana Rose/Aztec Press)


STOMPING GROUNDS Locals love ‘Romo Tonight Live!’

STOMPING GROUNDS Locals love ‘Romo Tonight Live!’



Romo Tonight Live! starring Steven Yanez Romo is Tucson’s own late night talk show made for locals, by locals and loved by locals.

The show borrows from the classic late show formula: opening monologue, house band, special guests and a musical guest.

But Romo Tonight Live! is anything but traditional.

With host Henry Barajas, a house band that plays everything from “Dirty Diana” to the ‘90s animated “X-men” theme song and a house magician by the name of Magic Kenny Bang Bang, the show embodies Tucson, a southwest city full of unique artists, musicians and entrepreneurs.

In an interview, host Steven Yanez Romo explained what he loves about his variety show and gushed about his love for Tucson and its natives.

“I love showcasing Tucson,” he said. “This town is overflowing with amazing talent, and I want to meet all of them.”

Romo is himself a Tucsonan. He tends bar at both Flycatcher and La Concina, and plays drums in multiple local bands including “The Electric Blankets.”

“I always had a closet dream to host my own ‘Tonight Show,’” he said. “The band, the guests, the interaction with the audience.”

The show’s birth would not have been possible without a push from now co-producer Justin Miller.

Miller happens to book all the shows and bands that play at Flycatcher, so once Romo revealed his childhood dream of hosting, the challenge had begun.

Miller asked Romo if June 29 would work for the launch of his dream show, unaware that Romo’s 30th birthday followed. Romo knew it was destiny.

“I agreed on the challenge, bought a desk, asked some people to be on the show, got my house band together and self-promoted the show,” Romo said. “No one knew what I was talking about. I had to always explain that it’s like Conan or Fallon.”

But unlike Jimmy Fallon, bringing on the in-demand talent or whatever is hot at the moment, Romo likes to interview and showcase talent you may not have seen or heard of.

“Exposing new talent to a new crowd is what I love,” he said. “I love being the middle man for that.”

Host Barajas is also passionate about Tucson and its creative scene. In fact, he credits his passion to his friendship with Romo.

“We are both cut from the same Pima cotton, and our comedic partnership was inevitable as long as one of us was in Tucson” he said. “The best part is to work with your friends on a cool project once a month.”

Barajas’s favorite part of the show is not the hosting but the musical guests. “I really enjoy the musical performances,” he said. “Romo invites some of my favorite local bands.”

Booking seems to be the easiest part of the show.

Romo was already a popular guy around Tucson so whenever a buddy with talent wanted to be on the show, it wasn’t a problem. Now that the show is gaining momentum, Romo is being approached by all sorts of people and talent, even those out of the city and state.

That isn’t the only evidence of the show’s growing popularity.

If you have ever been out late on a Sunday night in Tucson, you know it’s desolate at best. However, the last Sunday of every month from 9 p.m. to midnight, you’ll find the Flycatcher packed wall to wall, patio to patio.

The atmosphere is filled with smoke, alcohol and hilarity.

Romo Tonight Live! will have its 10th episode on April 26 at the Flycatcher, and every episode gets better and better.

“Now my show is much more streamlined,” Romo said. “We have breaks, we have video segments, I have a house magician that interacts with the audience. I feel the show has really come a long way.”

Romo credits much of the growing maturity to experienced producer Andrew Brown.

The show airs the last Sunday of every month at the Flycatcher on Fourth Avenue. Admission is $5.

For Romo, the success and need for the show all comes back to giving back to the city he loves.

“Tucson is beautiful,” he said. “I just want to keep showcasing it.”

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Steven Yanez Romo, right, watches along as house magician Magic Kenny Bang Bang, center, and Dr. Stephen Strange warm up the crowd. (Deanna Sherman/ Aztec Press)


INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CLUB Group helps new arrivals feel at home

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CLUB Group helps new arrivals feel at home



The Pima Community College International Student Club is a place where international students can get to know each other and participate in fundraisers, class trips and community service.

Club president Alejandra Fraijo moved from Sonora, Mexico, to Tucson six months ago for a better education and because Pima is close to her hometown.

She is in her second semester at Pima as a nutritional science major and says living in Tucson is a new life for her.

Club vice president Alma Gonzales, a psychology major, is also originally from Sonora. She moved to the United States when she was 5 years old.

Gonzales and Fraijo hope to transfer to the University of Arizona after Pima.

Both women are personable and well-spoken, each with a unique air of inviting confidence.

Students are drawn to the International Student Club for a sense of community.

“They want to get to know people, have a better experience and feel welcome,” Gonzales says.

Fraijo adds that international students want to talk to people who can empathize with what they’re feeling.

“They want to feel at home,” she says.

When Fraijo started at Pima, she went to the international student orientation.

“They told me about this club, and I was so interested,” she says.

She joined the club last semester and has made many friends.

Last semester she went to Disneyland on a club trip, and says the trip was a great experience. They traveled in four vans with around 43 students. Many of them were at Pima from Aguascalientes, Mexico, through the  Bécalos student-exchange program.

“It was my first time going there,” she says. “I felt like a little kid.”

Gonzales got involved in the club last year, during her first semester at Pima.

“The past president was a really good friend of mine,” she says.

Her friend told her being involved in the club was a great way to get to know people, be more involved in the community and do community service.

Gonzales also went on the Disneyland trip last fall. Before the trip, she knew the Bécalos students a little but during the trip got to know them really well.

“I feel that we bonded,” she says. “It was a good time to actually get to know people.”

Gonzales and Fraijo really got to know each other for the first time on that trip as well.

The club looks for projects to help the community.

Gonzales says this helps club members have a resume that’s well-rounded and to be considered for scholarships.

“And it’s good for them to go out and experience,” she adds.

She has noticed that many community college students get into a routine where they go to class and then just go home—watch a movie, maybe. “In the club, we’re guiding them to do a little bit more,” she says.

Getting more involved in the community helps them form good habits, Gonzales says. Many of the club’s members find it rewarding, and some continue to do community service on their own, outside of the club.

Currently, 22 club members meet every Wednesday afternoon. There is a student from Germany, one from Puerto Rico, one from Japan and one from Argentina. Most of the other club members are from Mexico.

Some are first-generation born in the United States, raised in families with various cultural traditions. One student who was born in the U.S. has parents from Argentina and has lived there. Another grew up in a military family and traveled a lot as a child.

During meetings, club members discuss future projects, plan club fundraisers and discuss the community service projects they’re interested in taking on.

Last semester club members conducted a sock drive for Casa de los Niños and Casa de los Inmigrantes, and they hope to volunteer at a local food bank soon.

Because not all the club members are from Spanish-speaking countries, they mostly speak English during meetings.

“We try,” Gonzales says, laughing. “But sometimes it slips out—we speak in Spanish.” She adds that it helps non-Spanish-speaking club members learn Spanish.

Club members are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon this semester and are holding lots of fundraisers to attain that goal. They already have seven fundraisers planned before mid-April.

On March 5, the club sold nachos and quesadillas outside the West Campus bookstore. Joking and chatting happily with customers, club members took turns making sales, cooking quesadillas and stirring melted cheese.

Earlier this semester, club members went on an outing to Buffalo Wild Wings to get to know each other better.

Fraijo and Gonzales agree it was a great experience for everyone. “Taking it outside of school—so again, you get to know more people, more deeply,” Gonzales says.


From left, Jose Rodolgo Guerra, Azahel Cordova, Brandon Huerta, Alejandra Fraijo, Alma Gonzalez, Alan Bernal, Yannick Meyer, Fernanda Fraijo, Maria Angulo, Sofia Hernandez, Rose Bolz and Ana Lucia Cuamea gather at an International Student Club meeting. Members of the club come from countries including Mexico, Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico and Argentina. (Danyelle Khmara/ Aztec Press)


‘THE MANDRAKE’ Comedy explores love, lust

‘THE MANDRAKE’ Comedy explores love, lust



The intimate space of Pima Community College’s Black Box Theatre will be transformed into a 16th century Italian piazza when the theatre arts department brings Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Mandrake” to life.

Performances will be April 16-26, under the direction of Deborah Davis.

The play uses Machiavelli’s philosophy of “the ends justify the means” to spotlight the exploits of lovers, liars and fools.

Davis took the same approach as Machiavelli did with his satire and kept the play a comedy about love and lust.

“Human beings have needs, therefore these needs have to be met,” Davis said. “Human beings are concerned about themselves and how we relate to each other. That’s what this play is about.”

Protagonist Callimaco, portrayed by John Nobel, is a young man of the upper class who becomes infatuated with a beautiful and virtuous woman. She happens to already be married, but that doesn’t stop him.

The main plot actually surrounds the husband and wife who are hoping to bear a child.

With the help of a manipulative servant, a scheming mother, a corrupt priest and an aphrodisiacal plant, Callimaco finds a way to seduce the lady for his own taking.

His adventures simultaneously tie into the main plot.

“We could observe Machiavelli as a recorder of human nature,” Davis said. “He shows us just how multi-faceted we really are and how, when placed in certain situations, we actually behave.”

Theater major Damian Garcia plays the role of Ligurio, a character who is somewhat of a mastermind. He’s a manipulative, maniacal sweet-talker who is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants.

“There aren’t a lot of moral messages to the show,” Garcia said. “I think if the crowd gets the comedy, they laugh and they have a good time. That’s all I can hope for.”

The Black Box Theatre is part of the West Campus Center for the Arts complex. “The Mandrake” performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

American Sign Language interpreters will be available April 23.

Tickets cost $15, with discounts available. For additional information, call the box office at 206-6986.

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Christopher Dobson (Siro), left, listens as protagonist John Nobel (Callimaco) presents yet another scheme. Callimaco has become infatuated with a married woman, but doesn’t let ethics or morals stand in his way. (Shana Rose/ Aztec Press)


Top 10 Fast food drive-through burgers

Top 10 Fast food drive-through burgers



Recently, my taste buddies and I went on a mission to find the best fast food burger you can get in a drive-through. All scores are based on averages out of 10 by myself and three others in three categories: appearance, texture and taste.

10. Wienerschnitzel

I guess it goes without saying that a place known for hot dogs would rank the lowest on a list for burgers. The Wienerschnitzel Chili Cheeseburger scored a 4.75 on taste, 3.5 for texture and 2.5 on appearance, clocking in an overall score of 3.5.

9. Whataburger

You’ve got to be pretty cocky to name your signature burger after your restaurant, and it seems like Whataburger is such a restaurant. The Whataburger made out with a taste and appearance score of 5.5, 4.5 in texture and a total score of 5.2

8. Sonic

I’ve got to say, I was surprised that Sonic didn’t rank higher, but the numbers don’t lie. The Super Sonic Cheeseburger was pretty disappointing, taking home a score of 6.25 in both taste and texture and a 4 in appearance, combining to an overall score of 5.5.

7. McDonald’s

More than two billion served doesn’t have to equate to the highest quality burger. The Big Mac recorded a taste score of 6.25, texture of 5 and appearance of 5.25, for an overall score of 5.5.

6. Jack in the Box

A burger is one thing, a cheeseburger is another, but Jack in the Box’s Classic Buttery Jack is on a whole new level. Rounding out with a 5.25 in taste, 4.25 in texture and 7.75 in appearance, the Classic Buttery Jack walked away with a 5.75 overall.

5. Wendy’s

While square burgers still need to prove themselves to the world, the quarter-pound burger from Wendy’s is certainly a step in the right direction. The quarter-pound burger scored 6.5 in taste and texture and a 4.75 in appearance, for an overall of 6.

4. Carl’s Jr.

As my friend Vincent Vega once said about a milkshakes, “I don’t know if it’s worth $5, but it’s pretty fuckin’ good.” Just swap out the shake for the Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Burger, which scored 5.5 in taste, 7.5 in texture and 7 in appearance. It finished off with a 6.75 overall.

3. Del Taco

This was the first time I’ve ever been to Del Taco and I’ve got to say, I was pretty impressed that a place with taco in its name has an awesome burger. The Double Bacon Cheeseburger finished with a 7.5 in taste, 7 in texture and 5.75 in appearance, for an overall score of 6.75.

2. In-N-Out Burger

Not much of a surprise here. The Double Double scored a 6.75 in both taste and texture and a 7.75 in appearance, netting it an overall score of 7.

1. Burger King

A shocker to everyone, myself included, but BK came out in first place! The Whopper rated 7.5 for taste, 6.75 in texture and 8.75 in appearance, for a whopping 7.5 out of 10. Hail to the King, baby.

What fast food burger do you like best? Share your opinion online with a comment at 


A Double Double from In-N-Out Burger oozing luscious cheese awaits willing taste testers. An Aztec Press journalist, a culinary student, a musician and a retail employee walked into 10 burger joints in town and ranked their signature burgers using a precise scoring system. For science. Really. (Alex Fruechtenicht/ Aztec Press)


Pima puts up 13 qualifiers

Pima puts up 13 qualifiers



The Aztec track and field team returned from the March 27-28 Puma Outdoor Invitational with five more national qualifiers added for the outdoor championships in May.

Among the qualifiers was freshman Blair Benefield, who also broke the pole vault school record with a height of 11 feet and six inches.

Though Benefield placed second, she also placed 7th in the country.

At the Puma outdoor Invitational Sophomore Kaysee Pilgrim placed first in the high jump and qualified for the national championship with a jump of five feet and 9 ¼ inches.

Pilgrim improved on her 4th place score of five feet and seven inches at the Willie Williams Invitational.

Pilgrim followed up that performance by nearly breaking the national record and by setting the Pima school record in the high jump with six feet and 1 1/4 inches at the ACCAC outdoor meet on April 4.

Among the record breaking performance was a first place performance by Freshman Juliette Cossey in the triple jump with a jump of 11.38 meters.

Cossey previously placed first at the Puma Outdoor Invitational but with a lower score of 10.98 meters.

Anfernee Alexander, sophomore, set two national qualifiers in his second place discuss throw of 161-7 and with a 4th place finish in the hammer throw with a score of 162-7.

Sophomore David Stiles placed first in the javelin throw with a score of 151-3 improving on his 3rd place finish at the Puma Outdoor Inviatational.

Cristian Gutierrez, sophomore, improved on his hammer throw national qualifying score with a throw of 167-2.

As of April 4 the Aztecs have 13 national qualifiers for the NJCAA outdoor national championships on May 14-16.

In 2014, PCC sent more than 20 track and field athletes to the national championship. It resulted in two All-American honors, for Pilgrim in the high jump and alumna Brianna Rodriguez in long jump.

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Freshman Jamie Holliday launches herself for the Aztecs at the ACCAC conference meet on April 4 at Pima Community College’s West Campus. PCC has 13 national qualifiers. (Caleb Foster/ Aztec Press)


PHOTO: Students protest state budget cuts

PHOTO: Students protest state budget cuts


Students protest Gov. Doug Ducey’s 2016 state budget, which saw nearly $100 million in cuts to state education. While universities took major cuts, community colleges in Pima, Maricopa and Pinal counties lost 100 percent of their state funding. Pima Community College will experience a $6 million cut, which led to a governing board decision to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour during a meeting on March 11. (Photo courtesy of Daisy Rodriguez-Pitel)

FIRST BITE Burger wrapped in ramen

FIRST BITE Burger wrapped in ramen



Fat Noodle, one of the food trucks in rotation at Pima Community College campuses, offers savory ramen with fresh vegetables and a locally-raised beef burger with unique flair.

It offers several options of ramen noodle dishes and the burger has a bun made of ramen. The noodles are made fresh in the food truck.

The basic noodle dish is the Noodle-Stir, for $6. The various vegetables that make up the Fat Slaw—fresh chives, purple cabbage, shredded carrot and lettuce—are crunchy and flavorful. This not-so-simple ramen also contains the special Fat Sauce and Dashi.

The Ramen #2, also $6, is basically the Noodle-Stir combined with a chicken-and-pork-based 10 Hour Broth.

The House Ramen, for $9, is the works. You get pickled shiitakes, local eggs, honey sesame pork and all the goods from the other noodle dishes.

You can add honey sesame pork, local fried eggs or double noodles on any of the ramen dishes for a few extra dollars. The dishes have enough food to be filling but not too much to finish the last little bit of slaw on the end of your chop-stick.

The Ramen Burger, which costs $8, is touted on the side of the food truck with the phrase “Home of the Ramen Burger.” Once you see the burger, it is no surprise that the bun is made with the home-made noodles. The ramen, compressed into a bun shape, stick out of the bun errantly here and there.

The burger comes with plenty of tomatoes and butter leaf lettuce and is topped off with a Sriracha ginger mayo and hoisin sauce. All the vegetables and meat in it are locally produced.

To try Fat Noodle, just look for the purple truck with a cartoon pig on it. He’s got a bowl on his head and is sucking down noodles—presumably the pork-free option.

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Students gather at Pima Community College’s unique noodle-dish food truck called the Fat Noodle. (Aztec Press photos by Danyelle Khmara)


The high cost of DUIs

The high cost of DUIs



Making mistakes is a part of life but some mistakes cost more than just a lesson learned.

A promising future for “Joe Smith” changed dramatically after he was convicted twice for driving under the influence of alcohol.

“Pretty much, it’s a life sentence,” he said. “One poor decision changed my life, to an extreme.”

Smith is a real person, but asked that his true name not be used.

College classes and studying filled his days before the convictions, while nights revolved around alcohol and partying with friends.

“I was in school when I got the DUI,” he said. “I had to leave because I couldn’t afford to stay.”

In one arrest, Smith registered a blood alcohol level of .289. The legal limit is .08.

“It took away any career I could have potentially had,” he said. “I had the potential to be a Navy Seal. I passed all the tests, at the top of my class. I had the potential to be in the Air Force Academy.”

The DUI convictions eliminated those possibilities.

“I was forced to change my career path to something more fast-paced, money-wise,” he said.

Most college students have heard the catchy slogans: Don’t drink and drive. Drive hammered, get nailed.

It seems the slogans haven’t convinced student to stop, however. One in five still drives under the influence, according to

Perhaps a look at the costs involved would carry more impact.

A first-time DUI conviction can cost $10,000 over time, according to statistics compiled by the law offices of David Michael Cantor.

That approximates the cost of enrolling full time for five semesters at Pima Community College.

Smith said his price tag was much higher.

“It probably cost me a little bit over $120,000,” he said. “By now, I could have bought a house and a boat.”

Americans spend $62 billion annually on college tuition and expenses, according to The Atlantic. By comparison, Mothers’ Against Drunk Driving says the U.S. spends nearly $199 billion yearly on drunk-driving costs.

An article in The College Investigator by Robert Farrington touches on ways a DUI can impact a student’s college career.

“Generally, the police report the DUI to the college,” Farrington wrote. “As a result, you may lose your scholarship funding if you are currently on scholarship. You may also lose your housing if you reside in campus housing. Most severe of all, you may be expelled from the college.”

Time lost during DUI processing also holds potential to hurt a student’s finances. Anyone arrested will spend a minimum of 24 hours behind jail cell doors.

Additional time off work is required as the case works its way through the court system.

Upon conviction, some students lose their driver’s license. For others, freedom to drive might only be unlocked with an interlock ignition device.

An interlock ignition device, similar to a breathalyzer, requires the driver to breathe into the device before starting the vehicle.

If the device detects any traces of alcohol, the car won’t start.

Arizona is a zero-tolerance state, which means a driver could be convicted of a DUI while driving under any level of alcohol impairment.

In simpler terms, a beer at a local restaurant could quickly go from costing $4 to reaching thousands of dollars spent, hundreds of hours taken and lifelong consequences.

With these kind of statistics, a decision to opt out of driving seems obvious and cost effective.

“I would have paid any amount of ridiculous cab ride ever in existence,” Smith said. “I would pay a thousand dollars for any cab ride before I ever drink and drive again. It would be cheaper than going through the process of the court and all the other stuff.”

His mistakes changed his outlook on life and caused a drop in his confidence level, Smith said.

“I went down a bad road for awhile,” he said. “I started drinking more because I was depressed.”

The DUI convictions also caused a rift with people who loved him.

“The negative consequences of seeing a loved one hurt is always a bad thing,” he said. “I would never choose to put anyone through that but it took me two tries to figure it out.”

Smith thinks he sees a dim light waiting for him at the end of the road.

“I’m now a different person,” he said. “I was a dumb person for doing it originally but a better person now.”

It took Smith two tries, but he says he has learned an expensive life lesson.

“I will never do that again,” he said. “I have never gotten behind the wheel, even after having a glass of wine. And I just really hope nobody chooses to drink and drive. It’s, like, six bucks to get an Uber.”


(Aztec Press photo illustration by Tanisha Knutzzen)