A dance full of history

In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, Cochise College hosted the Redhouse Dancers of Tucson in its annual celebration of cultural diversity.

Tanya Biami, a communications professor at Cochise College, organized this year’s event. The production featured performers from the Redhouse group as well as the the Ohitika Girls, a local song and drumming troupe of young girls from various cultural backgrounds.

The relationship between the Redhouse Dancers and Cochise College dates back at least 18 years, Biami said. But the history between the Redhouse Dancers and Sierra Vista goes back even further to when Rex Redhouse was stationed at Fort Huachuca, she said.

Rex taught his children the traditional practices of Navajo culture and, though he passed away a few years ago, his son Tony Redhouse still comes back to Cochise College every year to share his culture with the community.

“It helps us connect, once again as one people,” Redhouse said about native dance. “It helps our family to share our gifts.”

Both Redhouse and Biami said it’s important for the community to remember and recognize the cultural history tied with the land that makes up Cochise County — which once belonged to the Apache natives and shares its name with a prominent tribal leader of the 19th century.

The mission of the annual event, Biami said, is to educate people about native culture, beliefs and traditions.

“Arizona especially, and even the area where Cochise College is standing, was once Chiricahua Apache land. We need to know our history,” Biami said. “So few people even know about Cochise and the Chiricahua Apache. So, I try to bring that education and awareness into the community because I think it enriches all of us. The more we know about other perspectives, the more we know about ourselves.”

For Redhouse, performing with his family not only helps educate the Cochise County community but also reminds him of his roots and the spirituality that comes with traditional native dance. He grew up learning native practices from his father and began performing when he was just 5 years old. Since then, he’s been sharing his culture with the community through performing arts.

Through traditional song and dance, Redhouse said he believes it can bridge the political and cultural divide that he thinks is pervasive in current American culture. Tony said native dance teaches “simplicity,” appreciation for the earth and spirituality.

“What we are sharing is pertinent to today’s world because today’s world needs healing,” he said. “We are sending a message that we need to go back to our truth, we need to go back to our ancestors, we need to back to what’s going to help us survive on this earth…We are at war with each other and we all need to come back to that one heartbeat called love.”

By Lauren Renteria lauren.renteria@myheraldreview.com

Thanksgiving Break Nov. 23-24

Cochise College will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23-24, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Offices reopen under normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and classes resume Monday, Nov. 27, at all campuses and centers.

To find out more important dates and deadlines this year, check out the Academic Calendar.

Cochise hosts Meet Your Major

Over 100 local high school students attended the Meet Your Major event at the Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus this week. 

Local high schools including Bisbee, Bowie, Berean, Colin Powell Learning Center PPEP (Portable Practical Education Preparation) TEC, and Saint David were present at the event. 

“We are trying to make a connection between the majors that we have here at Cochise College and the careers that they can turn into in the future,” said Norma Brandenburg, an Academic Advisor at Cochise College. “So students can see the connection between what they are studying and future careers that are available to them.” 

Different departments showcased the new advantages available to students, including more than 100 Cochise College degree programs, and many career and technical certification programs. Nursing, Phi Theta Kappa, Cochise College Student Government, the Fire Science program, Co-op program and CTEPS (Career Technical Education Program Services) were all present. 

Students attended sessions and presentations by faculty in Engineering, Cybersecurity, CISCO networking, Agriculture, Science and Administration of Justice, Honors and English.

The Vice President of Literature for PTK (Phi Theta Kappa) said, “For the Meet Your Major event, I’ve seen a lot of students who are looking for something to do after high school. Meet Your Major has been a great opportunity for students to see what’s out there, and it helps them find opportunities to gain experience, to find internships and also what they can do with their majors.” 

To find out more about Cochise College majors you can go to http://www.cochise.edu/degreescertificates/. 

College closed for Veterans Day

Cochise College will be closed Friday, November 10 in observance of Veterans Day. The normal class schedule and regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, will resume Monday, November 13 at all campuses and center.

Military Student named a 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar

Cochise College student Jason Thompson is one of 207 Phi Theta Kappa members named a 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $200,000 in funding for scholarships, with $25,000 set aside for members who are veterans or active members of the U.S. military. Nearly 1,000 applications were received for the scholarship.

Thompson who has served in the Army since 1998 was 1 of 25 students selected for the military distinction awarded by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Thompson has completed tours in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. After battling PTSD for some years, Thompson decided to attend Cochise College for a degree so that one day he could be a social worker for the Veteran Affairs PTSD Rehabilitation Program.

“Most recently, I was diagnosed with PTSD which I have been in denial about for years. In August, I attended a VA Rehabilitation Program in Denver, Colorado… Upon accepting that I have PTSD, I began to be more open-minded to the treatment, was more present, and began to absorb the information given in the classes. It was at that moment I discovered my life’s purpose, to give back to the program that has helped me and to help others like me,” said Thompson.

The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation not only aid college completion, but also give students the opportunity to engage in Society programs and develop leadership skills to become future leaders in their communities.

“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” said Dr. Monica Marlowe, Executive Director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. “The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.”

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are also encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in Society programs and are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential.

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations. Learn more at ptk.org.

Aspen Institute ranks Cochise among nation’s 150 best

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has ranked Cochise College as one of the nation’s 150 best community colleges. In order to identify the nation’s best community colleges and award $1 million in prize money, Cochise College and 149 other community colleges will compete for the prize funds (to be announced in fall 2018) by insisting on high standards for learning, college completion without delay, and serving as a training ground for jobs that pay competitive wages. A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at www.aspenprize.org.

Mentioning the urgent need to focus on the value and potential of community colleges, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner said, “Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility in our country.”

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees across the country.

The prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students.

Cochise College is now eligible to submit an application containing detailed data on these criteria. It must demonstrate that it delivers exceptional student results, uses data to drive decisions, and uses that information to continually improve over time.

Cochise College and 149 other community colleges will be winnowed to eight to 10 finalists in the fall based on how much students learn, how many complete their programs on time, and how well students do in the job market after graduating.

Aspen will conduct site visits to each of the 10 finalists in the fall. Based on the evidence, the prize jury will select a grand prize winner and two to three runners-up, to be announced this year and prizes distributed in early 2019.


Seven to be inducted into college Hall of Fame

Cochise College has released the names of its third Hall of Fame class and will honor seven inductees during a ceremony November 18 on the Douglas Campus. The event is open to the public, and tickets are now available.

The Hall of Fame honors former students, faculty/staff and community leaders who have made a major contribution to the mission and goals of Cochise College, or who have contributed in a significant way to the lives of others after being a part of the Cochise College community. Launched as the college celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, the Hall of Fame celebrates an array of contributions by people representing different facets of the college community. Currently, there are 22 members, including accomplished alumni, prominent community stakeholders, and former employees.

“The Cochise College Hall of Fame is a joyful celebration of our supporters, student success, and college impact on the community,” said Dr. J.D. Rottweiler, Cochise College president. “The seven individuals we honor this year made a tremendous impact on students, the institution and, ultimately, on the workforce.”

Inductees were nominated through letters of recommendation that explained their connections and contributions to the college through personal time, effort and interest.

The 2017 inductees are Frank Adams, Richard Atkinson, Ruth Britton, the late Cordelia Cowan, Ernest Graves, Don Kimble (‘70), and Harold “Robbie” Robison.

Frank Adams

Dick Atkinson

When he joined Cochise College in 1978, Frank Adams was already well known in Douglas as the high school agriculture teacher. Under his leadership, the college agriculture program gained statewide recognition for annually hosting the Future Farmers of America state competition. It was Adams’ idea to organize the Grand Canyon Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, allowing more Arizona and New Mexico colleges to compete. He and his wife Barbara (‘73) earned a reputation for hosting colleagues, students and eventheir families at their home outside of Douglas. Adams now resides in Texas.

Dick Atkinson, of Bisbee, also transitioned from a local high school to coach baseball and teach physical education. An NCAA College World Series shut-out pitcher, he later played professional baseball and was the first Cochise College coach to have a championship ball team. After retiring, he got serious about golfing, trying the professional circuit briefly and later designing the back nine of Turquoise Valley Golf Course. Atkinson’s philosophy of placing a high priority on academic success remains the core of the college athletics department, now under the leadership of one of his former players.

Ruth Britton

Ruth Britton of Sierra Vista designed and initiated the concept of collaborative classes/learning communities, which paired two seemingly unrelated subjects and led to new heights in student learning and engagement. She founded the Social Concerns Club, which integrated service learning into honors-level coursework and led many colleagues to add service into their curriculum. In addition to awards and recognitions earned at the college, Britton received the Arizona Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteerism, having served or held leadership positions in numerous local organizations.

Cordelia “Cordy” Cowan

Long-time Arizona and New Mexico rancher Cordelia “Cordy” Cowan helped promote the concept of a new college in Cochise County in part because she knew it would make higher education accessible to her three daughters. Later, Cowan spent 30 years on the board of directors of the Cochise College Foundation, soliciting and donating funds to help students and also taking a leadership role in the development of rodeo facilities and an archaeological resource center. Cowan was well-known in the community through he participation in the Douglas Cowbelles, McNeal Ladies’ Aid, square dance and social activities, as well as through showing prize-winning Brahman cattle. She was also the first woman inducted into the Hidalgo County, NM, Hall of Fame.

Ernest Graves

Tucson resident Ernest Graves has long been drawn to Cochise County and the Benson area in particular. He has developed property in the Sierra Vista and Benson areas and is best known for donating the property on which the Benson Center sits, as well as for ongoing support. Graves recognized a need for accessible higher education in Benson, and his vision for the property allowed the college to develop an inviting learning center used by students and the community. In addition to hosting classes and visitors, the Benson Center also is the site of various community gatherings, and Graves remains a strong supporter of both the center and the entire college.

Don Kimble

Long-time professional rodeo cowboy Don Kimble (‘70) attended Cochise College as one of the first recipients of the Kenneth Gunter Memorial Scholarship. He was part of the rodeo team that hosted the first national intercollegiate rodeo at Cochise College. After graduation, he earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agriculture education while also competing in college and professional rodeo. He won the team roping event in the West Coast Region of the NIRA all four years of college/university and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 1979 and 1980. He taught and coached at Cochise for 11 years and has served on the board of the Apache School, his alma mater, for 27 years.

Maj. Harold “Robbie” Robison

Maj. Harold “Robbie” Robison retired from the U.S. Army in 1972 and started work at Cochise College. He became a counselor in 1974. Trained in transactional analysis, he lived the theoretical concept of giving “warm fuzzies” instead of “cold pricklies,”Maj. Harold “Robbie” Robison and his bear hugs are legendary. With students, he reinforced the concept that “there is no try – there is only ‘do or don’t do.’” Veterans had a special connection to Robbie, and there are many who credit their college success to Robison’s support and assistance. In addition, he taught Personality and Adjustment, a popular class that students often re-took, bringing family members with them. Robison retired from the college in 2004.





If you go…

What: Cochise College Hall of Fame Induction

When: 12 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18

Where: Douglas Campus, 4190 W Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607

Tickets: Available to the public. $30 each. Prime rib or balsamic grilled portobello mushroom.

Contact: (520) 417-4735



Community unites again for 11th annual Cochise College Pit Fire

A cool October night carrying a breeze and a full moon set the stage for the 11th Annual Cochise College Pit Fire Pottery Festival, held Friday at the Douglas Campus.

Cochise College Instructor Tate Rich is the originator of the much anticipated night of art, music, food and, yes, a large blazing fire. The spectacle the fire provides is in addition to its function in firing hundreds of new ceramic works recently created by the college’s ceramics program. During the span of the controlled fire, ceramic pieces are “baked,” or fired at all once, the oldest known process of firing clay that has been passed down from indigenous people.

During this year’s event, attendees received the shocking news that the fire would not be lit due to potential risks, based on the direction of the wind.

“The fire department made the right decision to be cautious with the winds from the north,” said Rich. “We had some serious gusts up to 25 miles per hour until around 8:30 p.m. when it was finally determined that it was safe to light the fire. I admire the leadership, dedication and communication of the all parties involved to stay late and ensure another safe pit fire. Numerous fire departments, CC Security, CC administration and other agencies are to be thanked for another successful pit fire.”

When attendees were informed that it was safe to light the pit, the crowd followed with applause and cheer. The large fire, supervised by members of the Sunnyside and Douglas fire departments, baked ceramic art pieces created by Cochise College students, faculty and visiting artists that had been placed in a circular pit dug into the ground.

This indigenous method of firing clay is the heart and soul of the event that brings over 1,000 community members and visitors from Cochise County and neighboring states to the Cochise College Douglas Campus.

“There is no other event I have witnessed that brings community together like the Cochise Pit Fire,” said Dave Tarullo, Cochise College sculpture instructor. “An event of this magnitude can only take place with the broad support of many members of the community, from the cafeteria staff, the guys in orange, the president of the college, the numerous volunteers and, of course, the students. Everyone comes together to put their hearts into creating this celebration of the arts and the spirit of the fire.”

This year the Pit Fire committee brought three visiting artists to Douglas in preparation of the Pit Fire: Ben Waterman, Tony Travanty and Kathleen Vance. Students spent an entire week working closely with Waterman and Travanty in the special area of wood firing.

“Over thirty students, five faculty members and our two visiting artists came together to feed the kiln 24 hours a day,” added Tarullo. “It is our hope to continue this valuable experience each year.”

Kathy Vance, of the Tohono O’odham Nation, also joined students and community members on Sept. 28 and conducted a workshop on natural clay, bringing recently gathered clay from the St. David area. She was also present during the event, providing visitors live demonstrations of her art.

Hand-crafted ceramic bowls were made available for purchase at $10 each to fill with gourmet soup, made by the college’s Culinary Arts program. Each year, one skilled student is the chosen to take on this marathon bowl-making task. It is seen as a very prestigious project to take on in preparation of the Pit Fire. Advanced ceramic student, Kari Fox hand threw and glazed 1000 ceramic bowls for visitors to enjoy their soups in and take home. Fox was crowned as the Soup-er Bowl Queen for this tremendous achievement and will be awarded an art scholarship. She was crowned with a bowl she made, decorated by her proud instructor, Virginia Pfau Thompson.

Entertainment was provided the entire night and featured the sounds and sights of Whiz! Bang! Chicken Plucker Skiffle Band, Cat Daddy & Barz Blues, Whiskey Kiss, Lori Keyne & CC Choir, Res Thunder Boys , Othitka Girls, and Cochise College Tribal Belly Dancers

The evening provided moments of celebration and honor. Five students were presented with scholarships for $1,000 each, including Johnny Arvizu.

“I plan to use this scholarship to build up my personal studio and purchase a kiln to continue to work on my medium,” he said.

One of the college’s driving forces and innovators in education, was honored during Friday’s event. Cochise College lost Liberal Arts Dean Chuck Hoyack to a long battle with cancer. Hoyack, represented by his wife, Alvina, and sons, Casey and Patrick, was remembered with a moment of silence from his community, colleagues, staff, students and family.

The event turned out to be what everyone hoped for: great friends, art, food, music and a beautiful fire.

“The Pit Fire pulls a lot of the local community. It’s great that it’s here, close by, right up the road and I believe it gives Cochise College great exposure to bring surrounding communities in,” said attendee Aaron Cardona.

M. Jenea Sanchez | Douglas Dispatch

FAFSA and scholarship applications are now available

The Cochise College Financial Aid Office is reminding students who are planning to attend college in the fall that now is the time to complete the 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Financial aid processing may require several steps and can take six to eight weeks to complete. Additional documentation may be required from students who have already begun the form. Students can check their college account to find out if additional documentation is needed.

Cochise College’s online STARS scholarship application system is also open for students applying for financial aid for the 2018 – 2019 academic year.

March 31 is the STARS scholarship application deadline.

May 1 is the priority deadline for Financial Aid.

All students at Cochise College can apply for scholarships through the STARS link above. Scholarships are available for both full- and part-time students. Generally, students need to be enrolled in six or more credits to qualify. Scholarships do not need to be repaid but are considered part of a student’s financial aid package.

To make the most of your scholarship and financial aid opportunities, complete the STARS application process, file a FAFSA by May 1, and register for the fall semester before the beginning of June.

Questions? Contact Financial Aid at (520) 417-4045 or (520) 515-5417, or visit cochise.edu/FA.

Cochise College Closed for Columbus Day

Cochise College will be closed on Monday, October 9, 2017, in observance of Columbus Day. Cochise College’s normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will resume on Tuesday, October 10, 2017