On the heels of the Academy Awards, I was reflecting on our own “award winners” at GCC who are often unheralded for their tenacity and perseverance. While attending the Arizona Academic All American awards ceremony last week, I met three such amazing students who were being honored with high academic achievement. And like many Oscar nominees, the pathways they each encountered to reach this milestone were unconventional at best and complicated at least. One of the individuals never thought college was in their future, having never graduated from high school. Another was a non-traditional student who imagined the classroom would be filled with 18-year-olds and not conducive to a more life-experienced style. Still another was bold enough to venture into a major where the prominent demographic was male. In each case, these students climbed over rocks and traversed crater-like holes to achieve a GPA that qualified them for scholarships at one of the three public universities in Arizona.
We all know “potential All Americans” in our classrooms, walking down the courtyard, studying in our library. They are dedicated but are challenged; they are accomplished if not introverted; they are reaching for a goal that no one thought they could attain and quietly and steadily making progress toward the goal…the degree or certificate that boosts them to the next level of success! With small encouragement, these students too should be recognized for their accomplishments. A word on their paper congratulating them on improvement from the last draft; full completion of a physics lab that had been particularly challenging; accomplishing the all-important verb conjugation that is a must in mastering another language. While this progression may not be the stuff of fanfare, they are the significant steps as a student makes as they acquire the needed skills to continue to move forward.
A Gaucho applause for the nominees and the academically