CAC TRiO Awards & Recognition Annual Dinner honors 13 students

By Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - More than a dozen students were recognized during Central Arizona College's TRiO Student Support Services Awards and Recognition Annual Dinner.

The event was held on May 5 at CAC's Signal Peak Campus and featured a total of 13 students earning accolades.

Among the students recognized were Xavier Garcia (Chandler, AZ/Casa Grande Union H.S.) who was tabbed as the Summer Bridge Student of the Year, while Anita Zaragoza (Chandler, AZ/Chandler H.S.) was named the Peer Mentor of the Year.

TRiO is a service offered through CAC that helps students become acclimated to college life.

"TRiO is all about you and what you need," Jenni Gonzales, CAC's director of student retention, said while addressing the students in attendance. "It's not just about the services we offer to you; it's also about what the resources you tell us you need."

Five of the students in attendance were recognized as TRiO Scholarship recipients, while seven more were honored for their work as peer mentors during the academic year.

Students earning scholarships included Abheena Campbell, Keanna Blackwell, Nicholas Franklin, Katrina Salinas and Taurean Stewart.
The peer mentors recognized for their outstanding work included Alexis Hernandez, Omar Hernandez, Brianna Johnson, Katherine Juarez, Karen Sanchez, Hannah Smith and Anita Zaragoza.

TRiO is a nationwide, federally-funded organization of projects committed to providing educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstance.

The TRiO Student Support Services programs on the Signal Peak Campus at CAC is designed to help low-income and first-generation college students as well as students with disabilities successfully complete college, graduate and move on to a four-year institution.

TRiO projects are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are the TRiO Programs because there were initially three (TRiO Educational Talent Search, TRiO Upward Bound, and TRiO Student Support Services).

While financial aid helps students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRiO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

Summer Bridge, also held on the Signal Peak Campus, is an exciting and valuable week-long orientation to college. During Summer Bridge, students have group discussions, join in many activities and explore college life, all while living on campus in the residence halls.

Incoming students are eligible to attend Summer Bridge if they are low income, have a documented disability, or are a first-generation college student among other qualifications.

Peer mentors, meanwhile, are second-year students who are selected through a process that includes an application, interviews and recommendations to provide support to students who participate in Summer Bridge.

Mentors receive extensive training, a generous scholarship, and share their invaluable experience and expertise with first-semester students.

For more information on qualifications or about applying to either TRiO or Summer Bridge, please call 520-494-5060, e-mail or search CAC TRiO on Facebook and Twitter.

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814