‘Tis (always) the season for student success

J.D. RottweilerBy J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

About this time of the spring semester, Cochise College students begin to make the news. Public celebrations of student success continue through late May with a variety of awards, post-season competition, and commencement ceremonies.

Here is a quick round-up of current highlights.

Four students named to the All-Arizona Academic Teams recently received tuition waivers and Cochise College Foundation scholarships to complete bachelor’s degrees at one of the state’s public universities. Yassine Fouchal and Paulette Iniguez placed on the All-Arizona First Team, Guillermo Gamez Cordova placed on the All-Arizona Second Team. Joshua Novinger made the All-Arizona Third Team. Yassine will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship as one of 50 students named Coca Cola Academic Team Gold Scholars. Both awards recognize academics, leadership and engagement in college and community service.

The Cochise College women’s basketball team heads to the national tournament after completing the regular season with a 28-3 record. The men’s basketball team won the regular season championship and one player was named both player of the year and freshman of the year for Arizona community colleges. Both the women’s and men’s basketball coaches were named conference coach of the year, and players from each team also placed on the conference first, second and third teams and all-region first and second teams.

The college also received news that the baseball team ranks third in the nation.

Success means different things to different people, however, and I’d like to acknowledge the many successes for which there are no awards, that never make it into the public eye, and that occur throughout the year.

For example, the college serves many courageous individuals, such as those who are the first in their family to go to college, those who return to school after years in the workforce, and some who never thought of themselves as college material but are elated and further motivated when they achieve short-term goals.

I am reminded of a TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist who asserts that a significant predictor of success is not social intelligence, good looks, physical health or IQ. It’s grit.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Cochise College is here to help students persevere in pursuit of their goals. We’re working to improve access by guaranteeing scholarships for all Cochise County graduating high school seniors, an effort that is funded in part by proceeds from the Cochise College Foundation’s upcoming Evening at the Races fundraiser. The 2019 event is scheduled for April 27 at the Sierra Vista Campus, and tickets are available at cochise.edu/races.

I congratulate all of these students on their public and private achievements and look forward to following their academic and professional stories as they become the constructive citizens and lifelong learners identified in the college mission.

J.D. ROTTWEILER, Ph.D., is president of Cochise College. Contact him at jdr@cochise.edu.