United through education

By Monica Perez

The dancers' royal-blue skirts swayed to the beat of drums and the sounds of saxophones and flutes.

It was the third annual Arizona Western College San Luis Family Night and Gadsden Elementary School District's 100-year anniversary. Those two South Yuma County educational powerhouses collaborated with San Luis High School to bring music, food and information to the community. Despite the chilly weather, hundreds of people drifted among the booths, enjoying the food and asking questions about the College.

"We have a lot of students that are 10, 11, 12, 15 that are taking classes, mostly mathematics," said Antonio Carrillo, academic advisor and Spanish professor at AWC, adding that San Luis High School has the most students dually enrolled in all of Yuma County.

Adults seeking to continue their education were also taking pamphlets.

Magda Moreno, a continuing education student here at AWC is one of many who are thankful for the partnerships and collaborations within the community. She took pamphlets of information to her extended family and discovered new programs and activities the community had to offer. Moreno's 14-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter are also taking AWC classes at the San Luis Learning Center.

"The College gives them the opportunity to take classes and get ahead in their education," Moreno said. "It also paves the way for them to seek higher education."

AWC's Licensed Massage Therapy Program was a huge hit at Family Night. People were able to sit and enjoy a free massage from the program's students.

Among the many programs and organizations that were represented was CAMP, the federally funded College Assistance Migrant Program. Also a big draw was the Mentors of Violence Prevention Club's colorful Plinko game, which was supplemented by information on how to be an active bystander instead of a passive one.

Other booths from AWC included Career and Advisement Services, AWC Library, Sigma Kappa Delta, Transfer Services, Continuing Education and Veteran Services. The University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University also had a strong presence.

All were able to enjoy hot dogs, pizza, churros locos, tostadas and other Mexican snacks from the booths hosted by the San Luis High School and Gadsden School District clubs.

In San Luis, they take "family" very seriously.

Photo courtesy of AWC Photo Services

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