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JUNE 2008 Highlights at a Glance

Yuma Youth Choir Tours Europe


The Yuma Youth Choir and AWC’s Dr. Beth Tibbs left Yuma before dawn on Tuesday, June 24th to begin their tour of Europe. Dr. Schoening is traveling with the choir. Also joining them is Yuma Sun reporter Darin Fenger. They will be sharing their blogs, photos and videos online at

The 22 students will begin the 2008 American Celebration of Music in France this month. The fees for each student are $3,200. The trip will take them to various landmarks in France. The trip will also include a performance at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Pillar Raises $600 for
Yuma Youth Choir

Members of the AWC Welding Class and Professor Sam Colton assisted the choir in raising funds for the trip. The Welding Class donated a large iron pillar that had been used to store the leftover odds and ends during welding projects. Throughout the months of May and June, people were encouraged to bid on the pillar. The Iron Pillar was won by Craig and Angie Alameda for $500. They donated it back to the choir, and it will be displayed at the Yuma Art Center. They raised a total of $600 for the Pillar.

Donations to offset the cost of the tour are still being accepted. If you are interested in supporting the choir you can email Dr. Tibbs at

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Instructor Named in Cambridge's Who's Who

Dr. Mizaba Abedi in Cambridge's Who's Who

Dr. Mizaba Abedi, Professor of English for Arizona Western College, has been recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in all aspects of higher education.
Dr. Abedi has 25 years of education experience, during which he has honed his expertise in lecturing on communications and languages. His daily responsibilities include teaching Developmental English, linguistics and language. Additionally, Dr. Abedi has worked in Saudi Arabia, Zaire, the United States and Mexico as a language teacher and for the National Commission for Education Reform where he developed curriculum for English, French and local languages for Congolese Schools. Dr. Abedi speaks multiple languages and has taught all over the world. His travels have provided him with the experiences needed to write and teach students from various cultural backgrounds and he attributes his success to his hard work, dedication and the experience he gained through his world travels.
In addition to holding a Ph.D. in Multicultural Teacher Education from the University of New Mexico, Dr. Abedi earned his Master of Arts in Teaching English and Linguistics from New York University and his Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in African Linguistics from the University of Zaire, Lubumbashi. He is a Certified English Teacher by the Universite’ del’Etat a Mons in Belgium and a member of the National Council of Teachers of English. Dr. Abedi authored a book titles, “Zaire: School & Politics,“ which is currently available on In the future, he hopes to continue writing and teaching students. .

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AWC & NAU-Yuma Volunteer To Connect Military


Volunteers Paul (and Mary) Neuman, Zeke Torres and Pete Cassidy discuss Freedom Calls with KAWC's Angelina Bonta

Arizona Western College and Northern Arizona University-Yuma Branch Campus hosted “Freedom Calls,” which connected Yuma MCAS-Yuma families to their loved ones serving in Iraq. This Father’s Day, families stationed in Iraq received more than just a call. With Freedom Calls assistance, local families had the opportunity to celebrate Father’s Day live via internet through video conferencing.

Five families were selected by the Yuma Marine Corps to participate in June's Freedom Call.  AWC and NAU-Yuma Branch Campus are currently scheduled to host calls through the month of September. All time, use of the facilities and the internet are donated by AWC and NAU-Yuma Branch Campus personnel.

“This is the least we can do to support the Marines and their families as they continue to protect America and our freedoms,” said Paul Neuman, AWC’s Vice President for Information Technology Services. “This is one of the only times these people may see each other…up to this point most correspondence has been done through mail, email or over the phone.”


Paul Neuman interviewed by KYMA TV

“Families are the fabric of any community of people. War tears at the fabric,” Said Larry Gould, Northern Arizona University Yuma Branch Campus Associate Vice President/Campus Executive Officer said. “The Freedom Calls-in some small way-helps repair that fabric by allowing families to reunite-even if only for a few moments.”

Freedom Calls Foundation is a national organization raising funds to connect the families that are left at home while the military are protecting the United States. These calls are set up through local interactive networks. AWC/NAU-Yuma will be using their interactive network technology to connect the families in Yuma to Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, via satellite over the internet.

For more information on Freedom Calls Foundation, visit their website at 

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Yuma Area Dignitaries Tour New Facilities

Yuma Mayor Larry Nelson with Bill Smith on a Special Tour

Dr. Schoening invited several Yuma area dignitaries to tour of the new campus facilities earlier this month.

Bill Smith, Director of Facilities Management and Planning, guided the visitors through the new buildings. The guests included Yuma Mayor Larry Nelson, Yuma County Chamber of Commerce Director Ken Rosevear, PapaSan owner Bill Gresser, APS Division Manager Jim Valenzuela along with AWC Vice Presidents Paul Neuman and Bryan Doak as well as AWC's Director of Public Relations and Marketing Michelle Sims.

The Child Development Learning Lab and the Agriculture Research Shop and Greenhouse will be the first buildings to open-with an expected move in before the fall semester.

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Rural/Metro Donates Fire Truck For Training

AWC's Director of Emergency Medical Services Marc Holyfield and Rural/Metro's General Manager Gary August

Arizona Western College is the proud recipient of a 1964 Western States Fire Engine, donated by Rural/Metro Fire Department in Yuma. General Manager Gary August donated the fire engine to AWC to assist in the training of fire cadets that attend the ten-month training program at the college.

Fire engines have been used in the past with the cooperation of local fire departments and personnel to assist in providing live training on the apparatus. AWC’s Fire Academies will now be able to increase the exposure students have to apparatus training and providing departments and the community with more highly trained firefighter recruits.

Rural/Metro currently provides fire services to Yuma County and ambulance services to County and City residences. Rural/Metro has supported AWC’s Fire Academies and EMS courses for over 20 years with equipment, instructors and students.

The fire engine now provides a building block for future projects involving Fire and EMS training at AWC.

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Students Learn Alongside Technicians

 Wayne Brooke, DPG technician, Jesus Hernandez and Hector Aguilar (AWC student interns) (left to right)

Arizona Western College announces the placement of fifteen automotive students in the General Motors Desert Proving Ground Facility for a summer internship. These AWC students are working alongside the experienced technicians and engineers at the GM Proving Ground in Mesa, Arizona.

The 15 students were recruited from a total of 21 applicants. The AWC students must maintain a 3.0 GPA, pursue their AAS in Automotive, and enroll in the coming semester. General Motors is providing the interns with housing at the Arizona State Polytechnic Center at Williams Gateway Airfield.

The students will complete their three-month internship on August 8th. During their three-month internship, they were rotated through several technical assignments in areas like thermal testing, Powertrain testing, durability testing and machine shop work.

“In the spring of 2009, General Motors will be opening a testing facility at the Yuma Proving Ground. We look forward to working with Arizona Western College to potentially help us meet our future needs for automotive technicians,” said Jim Schmidt, Human Resource Manager for General Motors Desert Proving Ground.

The AWC students that are participating:

Sonny Bergqvist             Diego Villasenor                  Manuel Fuentes
Francisco Gonzalez         Adan Rico                          Jesus Avalos
Jose Palacios                 Roman Viera                      Guadalupe Lopez
Jesus Hernandez            Hector Aguilar                    Rasiel Vite
Thomas Hollaran             Diego Correa                     Edgar Mendoza

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Public Safety Institute Instructors Awarded

Marc Holyfield

Arizona Western College is proud to acknowledge Marc Holyfield, the Director of Emergency Medical Services for AWC, for being selected by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians to assist in the writing of Paramedic questions for the National Exam. The NREMT is the organization that certifies First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics nationwide. They administer over 80,000 exams a year and ensure professional standards are being met for over two thousand training programs in the United States and for military personnel.

Marc participated with ten other medical professionals from around the U.S. to write test questions that would be used on the National Examination for Paramedics. A very competitive process and screening is used by the National Registry to select professionals to participate in writing these “items” that will later be used to evaluate academic understanding by all Paramedics.

Marc has been involved in EMS for twenty-three years and has been teaching at AWC since 1989. Marc is also a full-time Flight Paramedic with Air Evac based here in Yuma.

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Matador Basketball Camps

Coach Green with the 10th Annual Basketball Camp

Matadors Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams shared their skills with the youth of Yuma this month. The 10th Annual Matador Basketball Camp kicked off its two-week run June 16th. 

The men’s camp was run by AWC Men's Head Basketball Coach Kelly Green, assistant coaches Humberto Gonzalez and Lance Von Vogt as well as current and former Matador Basketball players.

The following week, the Arizona Western Girls’

Coach Cunningham's campers

Basketball Camp was held. The campers showed up bright and early Monday, June 30th. The AWC Women’s Head basketball Coach Patrick Cunningham, Assistant Coaches Marisol Arenivas and Stephanie Jauregui as well as current Lady Matadors’ basketball players provided expert instruction to up-and-coming girls' basketball players of all skill levels.

The coaches saw over 100 campers combined during the three weeks of camps.

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Cibola's Downing Signs With Green

Newest Men's Matador Basketball Player: Zach Downing

Arizona Western College announces that a top member of Cibola High School’s boys’ basketball program has officially signed his letter of intent to attend AWC for the 2008-09 school year and play basketball for the Matadors’ men’s basketball team this winter. Raiders’ guard/forward Zac Downing signed his letter of intent during the 10th Annual Matador Basketball Camp on the AWC campus. Downing’s signing happens 2 months before Downing begins his first semester on the AWC campus.

It’s appropriate that Downing signed his letter of intent during the Matador Basketball Camp at ‘The House’, since that’s where he’s spent at least one week of every summer since Zac was 8 years old. Downing began getting basketball camp instruction from AWC Men’s Head Basketball Coach Kelly Green since 1998, when Green had only been at AWC for one year. Downing immediately impressed Green from that first camp with his maturity and basketball savvy, so much so that after Zac’s 4th year at the camp, Green made Downing an camp coach. Of course, Green is far from the only person that Downing has impressed on the basketball court the last few years. The 6’5”, 200-pound guard/forward has been an integral part of the success of the Cibola Raiders’ boys’ basketball program the last three years. Downing first earned a varsity letter as a sophomore under Cibola Head Coach Kevin Gettings, and officially ‘introduced’ himself to the high school masses during

Zach signs his intent with his mom and dad.

Cibola’s 2005 Southwest Rotary Classic Holiday Tournament when his last-second shot in the tournament semifinals gave the Raiders an important win over Westview. Downing emerged as a team leader by the end of his sophomore campaign, and helped lead the Raiders to the 2006 Gila Valley Region Championship Game. That set the stage for a banner junior season for Downing, who flourished under first-year Raiders’ Head Coach Gary Abercrombie. Downing took an inexperienced 2006-07 Raiders’ squad and put them on his shoulders, leading them once again within one game of the Gila Valley Region title. Downing averaged nearly 20 points per game as a junior, and earned The Sun/Yuma Rotary Club's 2006-07 Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award in the process. Last season, Zac grew two inches and teamed with Raiders’ guard Jeff Aldama to make a formidable one-two punch for the Raiders. Downing started the season hot and stayed consistent all the way up to the Raiders’ 3rd straight appearance in the Gila Valley Region Championship. Downing saved one of his best games of his career for his final curtain call, scoring 25 points (16 after halftime) and pulling down 12 rebounds against Kofa in the Region Finals. As a senior, Downing averaged 20.5 points and 11.7 boards per contest, earning 1st Team All-Gila Valley Region honors.

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PSI Instructor Is Named Top Marine

Gunnery Sergeant Freddy King

Arizona Western College’s Freddy W. King, a Marine Gunnery Sergeant with the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Department at MCAS-Yuma, was recently selected as the Marine Corps Fire Officer of the Year. The selection took place in Washington, D.C., and encompassed all the Marine Firefighting departments within the U.S. Marine Corps.

Firefighter King is an instructor with the Public Safety Institute and has been teaching Fire Science and EMS at AWC for the past two years. As a career, he has served in the Marine Corps for the past 16 years and has participated in numerous deployments such as Haiti, Cuba, and Kosovo.

In September, Gysgt. King will be competing against the top Fire Officers of the other Armed Services for the Department of Defense Fire Officer of the Year.

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Upward Bound 2008

Kofa High student Christopher Gonzalez, Upward Bound student  helping to prepare Santa Squad lunches

If you've seen younger looking students on campus this month, it's the Upward Bound program students. Upward Bound is a federal grant awarded to colleges and universities to work with high school students who are low income and/or first generation (meaning neither parent has a 4-year degree). AWC serves 60 students at Yuma, Kofa, Cibola, San Luis and Parker High Schools who are planning on going to college for a four-year degree, and provides fundamental support to the participants in their preparation for college entrance. Students normally are recruited in the 9th grade and continue through high school graduation.

Participants in Upward Bound attend weekly meetings at their school during the school year to help them become more successful in their academic career. Students then attend a 6-week residential camp held at Arizona Western College each summer. The camp includes academic classes and skill building seminars. Students also have opportunities to take part in work-study positions and job shadowing with local businesses in the community.

Upward Bound students with Memento's Donations

AWC's Upward Bound 2008 is proud to announce that locally-owned scrapbooking and card making store, Memento’s, has donated over $1,400 worth of supplies for the Upward Bound Summer Program.

This summer, the area high school students involved in the Upward Bound program will design their own yearbooks as one of the numerous projects. And with the generosity of Lisa Nickle, owner of Memento’s, the students will have the ability to create their yearbooks with new materials. The students will have the chance to use brand new supplies donated from the store.

“Memento’s is very excited to have the opportunity to partner with AWC and the Upward Bound students this year. We hope the supplies that we are donating to the program will open their eyes to the creativity with,” said Nickle. “The students have the talent. These supplies will allow them to make it a reality.”

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