by David Safier
A few days ago, I wrote about an Education Accountability Session sponsored by the Pima County Interfaith Council and others. Though a number of candidates were given a chance to speak — briefly — the highlight of the event was listening to seven young and not-so-young adults talk about their personal educational journeys. These are people who have benefited from a combination of their own hard work, often overcoming daunting obstacles, and educational opportunities they found in Pima County. I was so moved and impressed by their stories, I invited some of them to be on the cable access program I host with Ann-Eve Pedersen, Education: The Rest of the Story. Two of the seven were able to come, though more wanted to. These are busy folks, as you'll learn from listening to Ana Chavarin in this interview. One of the participants wanted to come, and he was even willing to miss some work and lose some of his earnings, but his boss advised against it. Going to work was definitely the right choice. Another participant apologized to me, saying she was tutoring a young student at the library during that time. No need to apologize to this old teacher for her dedication to helping a student succeed.
Ana, who is currently a student at Pima Community College, has a wonderful story to tell, and she tells it with the kind of spirit which has carried her this far and will continue to carry her into the future. It's well worth listening to. It actually gets better about halfway through.
A WHAT-MATTERS-IN-EDUCATION NOTE: We've read about the PCC governance problems for a long time now. The college still isn't over the accreditation hump, and it needs to redouble its efforts to improve. But meanwhile, there are all these students on campus who really don't care much about the president and the board and all the governance problems. They're getting their educations thanks to the college's offerings as well as the support they receive from institutions within the college and around Pima County. We mustn't let the visible problems at the top make us forget about the hard working folks in the classrooms — teachers and students alike — as well as the student services and organizations which supplement the classroom.