Fancy shawl dancer Aitana Jones



Glendale Community College’s students, staff and faculty awaiting the unique Native American fused cuisine from the Emerson Fry Bread mobile restaurant.

GCC Native American Student Association
brings fancy shawl dancer to campus

At ten in the morning, the Emerson Fry Bread mobile food truck slowly made its way along Glendale Community College’s paved sidewalks stopping at the Center Mall on Thursday, Nov. 20 to help celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

GCC students, staff and faculty were able to order specialized Native American fused cuisine from the food trucks’ menu throughout the morning and early afternoon.

At 11:30 a.m. the Native American Student Association (NASA) began its event. NASA member Charis Holiday, GCC freshman, introduced Rock Point, AZ resident and 13-year Native American dancer Aitana Jones.

Jones performed four Native American traditional dances: Straight Dance with freestyle butterfly movements; Crow Hop resembling a hopping crow through Navajo land; Double Beat with intricate feet shuffling; and Round Dance which celebrates life.

“As students heard the music they came over,” Student Service Specialist Isabel Conchos said.


GCC freshman Karina Teran said that the butterfly dance with its unique beauty was her favorite.

“The music added a nice spiritual quality to the very interesting performance,” GCC senior Azzi Saadi said.

The program ran for a half hour.

Peter Chacon, NASA member and GCC senior, ran games and awarded prices following the event.

GCC freshman Giselle Mercado and David Truong said the ring toss was very challenging.

GCC Sophmores Malika Murphy, Dionte Maswell, Diondre Moore-Young and Marcus McCollum tried the bean bag toss, several times.

Chacon “was generous in allowing multiple plays and awarding prizes for good efforts,” Murphy said.


NASA President Alicia Navejar ended the ceremony by appreciating student participation and contributions. She blessed Jones with a gift from NASA.


Fall apple picking in Minnesota


Minnesota apple-picking

an escape from Phoenix weather

In Minnesota I interact with mother nature at her best.

Slowly, from under the umbrella of autumn foliage, I can see the yellow school bus coming up the short hill on Livingston Avenue. In the crisp late afternoon, a few children step off through the folding doors. I bury my hands in my pockets like bears into a cozy winter den. My light weight Phoenix clothing shows that I’ m not from Minnesota, and I have obviously misjudged how cold fall can be.

My grandchildren are riding bikes along King Street. The leaves crunch beneath my feet as a few more leaflets feather-float from the various trees along our play-path. The 54 degree temperature nips at my face and causes my nose to moisten. However, having the opportunity to travel over 1,200 miles to leaf-peep and gran-watch warms my soul more than a pumpkin spice latte.


Even though Phoenix’s landscape has a lovely aesthetic palette, September triggers a yearning for the deciduous seasonal changes. Moreover, long distance grandparenting brings an aching to travel for simple enjoyment, and October is a favored month for my family of three to visit the city of 52 native trees.

My family thought that we had chosen the warmest day of the week to go apple picking at Aamondt’s Apple Farm, but as our eight passenger SUV set out on the late morning central eastern country drive, the overcast sky and the frigid 34 degree air told us differently.

From the luxury of the warm SUV, the scenery was splendid. The maple, pine, oak and elm trees captivated our eyes. Rosewood, chestnut, maroon, plum, wine and mahogany stood out from the fading green, orange and yellow spectrum. Branches and twigs mixed into the ground covered smooth, toothed and lobed leaves.

“When are we going to be there?” said four-year-old Nyla from her window seat.

I suppose experiencing nature’s grandest coloration is commonplace to the Spika family whom we are visiting. In contrast, though, for my husband and me, the fractal patterns are a beautiful display.
Apple trees are not huge in stature. They are rather like viewing an orange orchard with rows and rows of purposefully spaced fruited trees.

The three children piled out of the SUV to quickly race to the play area. “Tag! You’re it?” said the 7-year-old Malek to his 12-year-old uncle Lon.

The farm animals quickly became a favored interest, especially the kids loved hand feeding them.




I adjusted the wooly scarf around my neck as I watched kids move from the hay-bale maze to the goat pen. The open space was tremendous for running and exploring.

old barn100The two 1880s barns, bakery store, granary and winery sat in behind a family house. In 1948 Thor and Lucille Aamodt turned an empty 60-acre field in Stillwater into a thriving commitment to keep tree farming a vital part of the social fabric of Minnesota. Sixty-four years later, Christopher Aamodt, Thor’s grandson, helps his father Chris Aamodt work the orchard.

“I love being outside, I love the family atmosphere and I love giving tours to children so that they can experience the wholesomeness of traditional living,” Thor’s grandson said.

Inside the store we purchased a picking bag and set out to find the keepsake section. The Minnesota Honeycrisp, Honey Gold, Haralson, Regent and Fireside had already seen the end of the growing season and now rested in big bins. The latest-seasoned apple isn’t much to look at. It is small and dullish hued in red and green. I felt disappointed until I bit into one. This little palm- sized apple was fabulously sweet and firmly textured! It’ s the farm owner’s favorite because of its taste and longevity.

In no time we had the 10-pound bag filled from one tree.  The walk back to the store was delicious and challenging. It’s hard to hold a full, open-bag of apples while munching one.

The sweet smell of cooking lured all of us into the bakery to enjoy apple brats and apple donuts, and we lingered over hot apple cider.



Festival of Tales

Festival of Tales celebrates the power of literacy
      Fun, Food, Free Books

For four years, children have been coming to the Festival of Tales to investigate, sing songs, dance, make works of art, enjoy folklore, see storytellers and receive free books as they celebrate the power of literature.
Jalen Walker likes making crafts. However, best of all she loves going places with her whole family.

The Festival of Tales is fun because there is so much to do,” she says.

Walker is only one of hundreds of children who benefit from coming to the bi-annual literacy event held at Paradise Valley Community College on Dec. 1, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in and outside of the Kranitz Student Center.

Meggin Kirk, social sciences adjunct and PVCC storytelling instructor, has coordinated the expanding cultural festival for nine semesters. Her storytelling class works hard to make the busy day run smoothly: they carefully choose a tale, practice storytelling techniques for months, organize coordinating craft activities and staff the many hands-on animated tables.

“The Festival of Tales is a wonderful way for PVCC students to showcase what they are learning in their classes in a hands-on, authentic way,” Kirk says.

Other PVCC clubs also participate to bring life to the art of storytelling.

The Native American Student Association (NASA) has participated for two years. This December event will make their fifth time hosting a table making simple craft cornhusk dolls.

Lola Quiroz, NASA adviser, said that because this event is on a Saturday, NASA students and many from the Hoop of Learning program, consider it a convenient and perfect opportunity to volunteer.

“Using natural materials versus artificial materials to save the environment, we hope to stimulate creativity and curiosity,” says Quiroz.

Beth Weller, Southwest Human Development child development manager, is excited to attend again. Weller along with other teachers from Headstart also enjoy participating in the program.

“Interacting with the children is wonderful, but I love the family element the best because parents get to learn about the value of literacy,” says Weller.

“This year we are so excited to be partnering with a variety of community groups,” said Kirk.

The sponsors of the Festival include Southwest Human Development, First Things First, Reading is Fundamental, Macy’s, Club Ed, Maricopa County Community College District, and Paradise Valley Community College.

The Art of Storytelling classes, EDU 220 and 292 classes, PVCC clubs (Hands, NASA, Club Ed, Anime and Aware), PVCC’s Student Life and Leadership, Phoenix Libraries, PV Family Resource Center, McDonald’s, Kiwanis and Builders Club, ASU, NAU, Lakeshore Learning and AZ Science Center contribute funding for various supplies as well as volunteer to staff different folkloric learning activities.

“Everyone is especially grateful for the Family Reading Celebration grant from Macy’s,” says Charlotte Forte, Reading is Fundamental and Reach Out and Read program coordinator for Southwest Human Development in Phoenix.

For four years, children have been coming to the Festival of Tales to investigate, sing songs, dance, make works of art, enjoy folklore, see storytellers and receive free books as they celebrate the power of literature.

“Our goal this semester is to provide resources so the impact of the event can be seen and felt by participants, students and volunteers throughout the year,” says Kirk.

Carolyn Szatkowski honors college professor

Student’s persistence leads to high honor for PVCC faculty


PVCC Student Carolyn Szatkowski, English Faculty Dr. Roma-Deeley, Dr. Counseling Faculty Marianne Roccaforte and PVCC President Dr. Dale gather at a reception in Buxton Library honoring Roma-Deeley as the 2012 Community College Professor of the Year.

PVCC Student Carolyn Szatkowski, English Faculty Dr. Roma-Deeley, Dr. Counseling Faculty Marianne Roccaforte and PVCC President Dr. Dale gather at a reception in Buxton Library honoring Roma-Deeley as the 2012 Community College Professor of the Year.

Retired marketer and current Paradise Valley Community College student, Carolyn Szatkowski can linger in her comfortable bathrobe and white terry-soft slippers all morning if it suits her. Mostly though, over a mug of coffee , Szatkowski enjoys the peaceful, unrushed day’s beginning by reading “USA Today” and the “Arizona Republic.”

Two years ago, on one of these leisurely mornings, as she causally turned the pages of the newspaper, she came across an article that caught her attention. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) had released the names of the college and university undergraduate professors who had been chosen for the 2010 national prestigious Professor of The Year award. As she studied the article’s details, her mind quickly began to focus.

As Szatkowski’s eyes moved from one line to the next in the newspaper article depicting details of the professors’ distinguished accolades and teaching practices, she began thinking. She had a professor at Paradise Valley Community College who was just as accomplished professionally and just as amazing as a teacher. “Why not Lois Roma-Deeley?” she asked herself .

Szatkowski seems ordinary at first glance. Except for her petite size and striking blue eyes, she would easily blend into a group of community college creative writing students. She is rather reserved for a former marketing major and radio news/talk producer. Even though she isn’t particularly outspoken, Szatkowski’s personality, convictions and work experience make for an active retirement.

“She keeps busy, and when she takes hold of an idea, she is passionate and persistent,” says Roma-Deeley, who has known and taught creative writing to Szatkowski for more than eight years.

Szatkowski researched the specifics before approaching Roma-Deely with the idea of nominating her.

“I realized that this nomination was going to take some work, but I believed that Roma-Deeley should do it,” said Szatkowski.

“I was surprised, shocked really,” remembers Roma-Deeley. “I suppose I never thought of myself in the way Carolyn was asking me to.

Moreover, after I realized the enormous amount of work on my part and others, I was apprehensive about committing to such a big project and I thought that I would not win. However, Szatkowski was persistent that I make the effort, so I did.”

The process was indeed lengthy for Roma-Deeley. It involved scholarly writing, precise thinking and massive organization. Peers and students would have to be involved; they would have to be willing to write letters and help gather necessary information.

“At first, Roma-Deeley was hesitant, but I knew how many students and colleagues have been encouraged and strengthened because of her efforts, so the work from others would not be a burden ,” said Szatkowski.

Szatkowski found it easy to write the nominating letter. After all, Roma-Deeley had helped her to become a better reader, invited her into a diverse writing community and provided a very intellectually stimulating classroom in which to grow. Roma-Deeley had made for her a genuine difference.

Marianne Roccaforte, Career Exploration for the Creative Mind instructor and PVCC counselor, gladly agreed to help.

“Lois has been my dear friend, valued colleague and avid supporter for years, so I was enthusiastic to help in any way I could,” Roccaforte said.

Roccaforte facilitated and formalized peer and student input.

“It wasn’t hard to locate former students. Many of Lois’ students have stayed in touch with her as they have progressed through educational goals and professional development; she never quits being their mentor,” said Roccaforte.

On Sep . 7, 2012, Roma-Deeley was in her office grading papers and answering e-mails when the phone rang. President of CASE, Dr. Tony Bryk was on the line; he was calling from Washington D.C. Roma-Deeley assumed he was politely going to thank her for her submission or convey that she had been chosen for state recognition.

“It took some time before winning settled in,” Roma-Deeley shyly admits.

Roma-Deeley phoned Szatkowski after ending the call with Bryk. Szatkowski was away for the weekend visiting a friend in the hospital.
“It wasn’t until Monday that I was able to finally tell her the unbelievable news that I had won,” said Roma-Deely.

“I knew she had the capability to win,” said Szatkowski .

When asked about her trip to Washington to attend the formal affair, Szatkowski said that she felt so honored that Roma-Deeley would choose her to go along.   Months after the prestigious recognition, Szatkowski still believes she played an ordinary role.

Dr. Paul Dale, president of PVCC , also went to Washington for the award ceremony.

“I wasn’t surprised that Dr. Roma-Deeley won, for she has been a tremendous faculty member and accomplished artist in our community for years ,” said Dale. “ However, I am impressed that a PVCC student took the introductory steps that brought this reputable recognition to our campus, highlighting a more than worthy individual and inspiring all of us to celebrate the power inherent in teaching.”

Roccaforte also accompanied Roma-Deeley to Washington to attend a National Press Club luncheon and congressional reception.

“I am incredibly inspired by so many aspects of this whole process,” says Roccaforte. “I am grateful for Carolyn for her role in making this whole series of events possible. The opportunity to go to Washington and celebrate the role that teachers play in their students’ and colleagues’ lives is life-changing. Today, I am more dedicated to making a difference every day in small ways as well as big because I see more clearly the benefits for others.”

PVCC anthropology student Victoria Terrazas is excited about taking Roma-Deeley’s creative writing class.

“From reading her acceptance speech and hearing about it on campus, I can see how exploring and developing writing skills is for everyone, even me,” said Terrazas.

Wall art project benefits PVCC students


Paradise Valley Community College students create
art on KSC walls during continued construction


When Paradise Valley Community College student April Adams was asked by her art teacher to envision an edifying experience that she could create into an art piece, she immediately visualized winning the Colgate-Palmolive Incentive Trip to New Orleans. As the number one recruiter for her division of the company in the early 1990s, Adams and her husband were treated to a private dinner held on the 50 yard line of the field of the New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“It was a once in a life experience I will always remember,” Adams recalled as she designed her image. “The jumbotron flashed ‘C ongratulations April,’ …and a marching band played as they marched along the outside of the field .”

From Nov. 5 through Nov. 21, 2012, PVCC Fine Arts faculty, David Bradley supervised 18 art students as they sketched, marked and painted and designed images onto sheetrock panels in the Kranitz Student Center, currently undergoing remodeling .

Sandy McDill, interim dean of Administrative Services at PVCC, whose office is in the ongoing construction remodel zone in the KSC building, wanted to do something to beautify the long, unsightly first floor hallway. After checking with campus and construction authorities, McDill sent an email to Bradley affording his students an opportunity to display their talent.

Bradley says he envisioned circles that would allow multiple individual designs by various students and yet unify all the art into one mural.

“I had to find a way to create a sense of order in all the diverse concepts, so circles seemed like they would work the best,” says Bradley.

He then developed guidelines that would allow his art students to explore and express their own ideas and meaning within an edifying context.

“I gave my students a list to choose from,” says Bradley. “They could chose a time when they learned something new, helped someone, received helped, discovered or explored something meaningful.”

As the mural progressed, Bradley said that the biggest pay-off for his students was the on going personal feedback from observers who appreciated their work.

Donna McMullenrom PVCC Public Safety, says that as the art students worked, she enjoyed the evolving pieces of art. “I like the various colors in the art the best.”

Walter Cheatham,  public safety dispatcher, requested a beach scene and Bradley went to work on the suggestion.
Now Cheatham wonders how artwork will be preserved.

“Is someone going to cut the pieces out of the wall?” says Cheatham.

Bradley says that although some works of arts are meant to live only a short time, the students’ work can be preserved through documentation, so he has been taking progressive photographs.

Zoe Gentry a PVCC freshman with an undecided major created three pieces with the chosen themes of a ship, writing stories and journeys. Gentry says she enjoyed the task of working with acrylics.

“It was fun. I don’t draw that big so blowing up an idea was challenging,” she says. “The hardest part was getting over my anxiety of drawing in public.”

Emily Fassold, a second year PVCC student who is contemplating a career in computer coding, felt enjoyed the project . “Mine is the weird one,” she says of her painting. “Using paint on a piece that big was rewarding…also, standing back and knowing that I made that was very satisfying.“

Angelo Khammo, a second year PVCC student majoring in art, also appreciated the opportunity .


“Being out there where others could watch me create and then give comments was the most challenging and rewarding,” Khammo says.


Bradley intends to keep the process going throughout spring 2013 .


The World of Digital Multimedia

In the 2012 Fall semester, this web space was created.

I was in a Monday evening literature class, Tolkien and Lewis Battling Postmodernism.

I felt like a very old dog trying to learn new tricks – I wasn’t exactly excited about writing my class assignments as a blog.

Without me paying much attention, technology had rapidly grown up into a genius teenager.  The prodigy child was now everywhere, and doing things the old way was no longer an option.  So, kicking and wining, my homework began pulling me into the digital lifestyle.

This week, I have returned to this almost forgotten blog spot to transform it into a new beginning, a developing portfolio.

Even though I am more technologically capable and confident today, (the younger generation doesn’t leave me behind as much) I don’t feel ‘grown-up’ enough to complete this. I feel more like the teenager, not an engenius one, in need of more experience and time before stepping into ‘professional life.’