Muscles Needed! – A Student Service Learning Project

House in the snowRecently, I had the opportunity to move furniture for a local non-profit. The task seemed easy! But when I arrived at the house I saw this as the back yard and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to back my truck up to the door. We were going to have to carry the 400-pound cabinets inside!

fridge and shelving in houseThe doorway was standard and not very wide. My friend that helped and I had to adjust the cabinets (and ourselves) through the door to get the cabinets inside. Luckily, once inside we didn’t have to go far.

Cabinets in houseFinally! After some rearranging, the cabinets were set up in the proper place!

Moving furniture is something I have done countless times but this move was different. I had to communicate with not only my helper so we stayed safe, but I also had to maintain a positive line of communication with the residential group home workers and residents! The residents at the Arc of Crawford County–a nonprofit agency that provides services to adults with intellectual and/or development disabilities–were excited about the new cabinets and were eager to see what they could store in them. I have always heard about the agency I volunteered for but never had the opportunity to see what they do first hand. The residential home these folks live in, is just like your home. They truly take pride in the home.

From this experience, service learning to me, is having the opportunity to learn and grow from a hands-on opportunity. To learn from experience provides a deeper understanding of the educational point of view while also providing assistance within your community. Throughout this Communication course’s service learning assignment, I learned that I have so much to give to others, even if it’s merely moving furniture!

by Gerald “Hutch” Hutchison, ACC student

Why You Should Take English and Math Classes First

Before your first semester began at ACC, one of the tasks that you accomplished was to take placement tests for English and math. Whether you scored high or low on those tests, you established a base level of ability in those two subjects that determined which classes would be suitable for you to take. Maybe you’re enthusiastic about words and numbers, or perhaps you dread one or both of these subjects and would rather avoid it. Like them or not, they are important subjects that you should take early in your college career for the following reasons:

English and math are required for your degree

No matter which degree you’re working towards, there’s an English or math course listed under its requirements. All of our degrees require that you take English Composition I or an alternate higher numbered English course, and many of them require a math course at the 100 level. Taking these courses in your first semester or as soon as you’re able to will earn credit hours that apply to your general education courses, whether your degree indicates that it’s for written communication, mathematics, or general coursework. The skills that you learn in those courses will also help you with your other classes, whether you need to write a psychology paper in APA format, or calculate the correct dosage of insulin to administer to a diabetic patient for your nursing exam.

English and Math are required to take other classes

If you look up the course descriptions on ACC’s website, you’ll find what classes we offer along with a brief description of the class, the number of credit hours the class is worth, and a list of any prerequisites and co-requisites needed before you can take the course. Many classes require that you take College Composition and Reading through the English department, Quantitative literacy through the Math department, or an equivalent or higher level course from each department. Taking these courses early on makes you eligible to take other classes that are required for your degree. Certain courses also have higher level prerequisites, such as algebra- and calculus-based physics, so if you’re planning on taking those or other classes like them, it’s highly recommended that you take their prerequisites early on.

The material in these courses is useful in your day-to-day life

There are people who say that their greatest skill is that they’re grammatically gifted. However, if those people mixed up there, their, and they’re, it would be difficult to take them seriously. This is true whether you’re writing out a recipe for pie, or an equation that includes pi. English and Math skills are essential to our everyday lives, so you should prioritize learning them early. People will have an easier time understanding what you’re trying to say when you use correct grammar and punctuation, and you’ll be kinder to your finances if that online payment you’re making is entered as $100.00 instead of $10000.

Get them out of the way so you can focus on major-related courses

As I mentioned earlier, maybe one or both of these subjects isn’t your forte. While you may be tempted to put them off until later, the prospect of having to take them in the future can be a cause of unnecessary stress. If you know that you’ll have to take them anyway, take them sooner so that you can focus on the classes that you care about most. On the other hand, if you are an English or Math major because you do like working with words or numbers, taking care of the basic courses will allow you to take the more interesting advanced courses. Learning how to craft a compelling story for your first novel or calculate the trajectory of SpaceX’s crewed rockets to the ISS is much easier when you know the basics of English and math.

by Martin Strom, ACC Copywriter

HOSA International Leadership Conference

Two concurrently enrolled students from Colorado Early Colleges Parker (CECP) have qualified to represent our schools and Colorado at the HOSA International Leadership Conference this June in Orlando, Florida. Kimberlee Butts and Alex Silverhart, along with five of their CECP classmates, competed in the HOSA State Leadership Conference on February 14-16, where they tested their knowledge on a range of healthcare subjects that included clinical nursing, human growth and development, medical law and ethics, and medical math. Four of these students, including Kimberlee and Alex, went on to place in the top ten in the state for their selected categories; Kimberlee placed second for clinical nursing, and Alex placed third for medical math.

Kimberlee chose to compete in the Clinical Nursing competition at the State Leadership Conference because she would like to work as a family practitioner in the future, while Alex’s love of math led him to participate in the Medical Math competition. Kimberlee found the conference to be a great bonding experience with her peers and others who shared similar life goals. She is most looking forward to getting to meet people from around the country and bonding with the other members of her HOSA chapter at the International Leadership Conference. Alex is excited about attending the conference because he’ll have the opportunity to travel and see Disney World, where the conference will take place, and looks forward to hearing from the conference’s guest medical speakers, who in the past have included the Surgeon General.

Kimberlee’s interest in the healthcare field stems from her parents: Her father is a battalion chief with Castle Rock’s Fire and Rescue Department who has a paramedic background, and her mother runs the pediatric department at Sky Ridge Medical Center. “Seeing the way they helped people and brought people joy by saving lives inspired me to want to do something just like them to make a difference in people’s lives,” she says. She is already making a difference in people’s lives as a lifeguard, and plans to join the Navy as a medical officer. She is working on her Associate of Science degree in Biology, and hopes to attend Harvard or Johns Hopkins University. Once she has attained her medical degree and completed her military service, she wants to open up her own medical practice. She says that attending ACC has opened many doors for her and has jump-started her medical career. Her favorite part of ACC has been “The great professors and exceptional staff”.

Alex has loved the idea of helping people since he was young. “Being a part of the healthcare field gives you the skills that one needs to help improve and save the lives of those around you,” he says. After he earns his Associate of Science degree, he wants to transfer to a four-year university before enrolling at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school to become a surgeon. Since coming to ACC, Alex has enjoyed the many different math courses he’s taken, and feels that the teachers are really nice, intelligent, and understanding. “Even though I am a high school student, I am treated with respect and integrity,” he says, “I feel that I belong as much as every other student.”

This is the first year that CECP has participated in HOSA, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, thanks to a student-led effort that included the support of CECP Instructor Uma Venkitanarayanan, and school psychologist Dr. Betsy Basch. HOSA is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE). HOSA’s two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.

by Martin Strom, ACC Copywriter

A Degree of Love – Patsy’s Story

Patsy StocktonPatsy Stockton is completing her final class at Arapahoe Community College this semester – Mathematics for Liberal Arts – and will graduate with her Associate of General Studies in May.

You might know her from the 2018 study abroad trip to Japan, her work with Progenitor, her work-study job in the Colorado Gallery of the Arts, or even her involvement with Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Leadership Success.

For Patsy, now 73, the conclusion of her studies at ACC will signify so much more than academic achievement. It represents her strength and courage to persevere, and just as importantly, her commitment to her late son, Michael.

A native of Golden, Patsy attended the University of New Mexico after high school. She departed UNM after just one year to return to Colorado, working at a pair of car dealerships along the western slope. Patsy moved back to Golden shortly thereafter, and it was then, while working at a local auto dealership, when she met her future husband, Bill Stockton.

Patsy enrolled in her very first class at ACC – Accounting – in 1981. She was already working in accounting, and took the course for occupational enrichment. Patsy also took non-credit classes at ACC in 1988 and 1989 for personal enjoyment. She and Bill raised their sons in Littleton. Kevin graduated from Mullen High School in 1985 and went on to attend West Point. Michael was a 1991 graduate of Columbine High School and proceeded to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Bill, an independent carpenter/contractor, fell into a coma in the fall of 1997 and passed away that October. He built the home where Patsy still resides to this day. The loss devastated the Stockton family, particularly Michael, who lost his dad, best friend and employer all at once.

Michael’s sadness, depression and anxiety led to upwards of a decade of alcohol abuse. He became addicted to painkillers prescribed to treat his ensuing pancreatitis. Michael also used heroin for a year as a means to suppress his ever-increasing physical and emotional pain.

A successful year in rehab paved the way for 18 months of sobriety, gainful employment and independent living in north Denver for Michael. He was laid off, however, when his employer sold the business. Michael turned to drinking again, resulting in more than a dozen hospitalizations over the next year.

He relocated to Littleton in the summer of 2009 and enrolled in classes at ACC that fall. Michael, who aspired to pursue a degree in English, had always been passionate about poetry and hoped to become a well-known poet. Patsy took a few classes of her own at ACC that same semester solely to inspire and support Michael in his academic endeavors.

Despite being enrolled in a local rehab program, alcohol dependency resurfaced for Michael, resulting in his death in July of 2011. Within a year of Michael’s passing, Patsy resumed classes at ACC as a means to begin her healing process.

“I was too sad to even go into ACC for a time,” Patsy says. “I thought, ‘he should be attending classes here, not me’. I had always encouraged my sons to get involved, meet friends and try new things. All of a sudden, I found it was time to follow my own advice. When I came back for the spring semester in 2012, I felt close to Michael – almost as if I could feel his presence.”

Three-and-a-half years later, during the 2015 holiday season, adversity found the Stockton family yet again. Kevin, 48 years old at the time, was diagnosed with a malignant glioblastoma brain tumor and the prognosis was grim. Patsy planned to drop her upcoming classes in the spring of 2016, but was encouraged by Kathryn Winograd to stay, hoping it would help to take her mind off of the situation.

“There are so many professors, administrators and support staff who’ve made a positive impact on my life,” says Patsy, who has also earned a Creating Writing certificate from ACC. “Kathy (Winograd), Trish Sangelo, Vic Sauber, Andrea Mason, Lindsay Lewan, Juliet Hubbell, Perri Cunningham, Elijah Dicks and C. “Noi” Watanakul just to name a few. I’ve been encouraged and supported every step of the way.”

An ongoing clinical trial has since provided Kevin with increased hope, and Patsy has remained enrolled at ACC. Semester after semester, her classes and credits have added up. Ultimately, it was one of Patsy’s academic advisors who noticed that she was approaching the necessary requirements to earn a degree.

“We figured out that a degree was well within reach, so I decided to go for it,” Patsy explains. “My original intent in resuming classes 10 years ago was to support my son, not to obtain a degree.”

On Wednesday, May 15, Patsy Stockton will walk across the Magness Arena stage during ACC’s 2019 Commencement Ceremony at the University of Denver’s Ritchie Center. Kevin and his daughters, Reilly and Paige, will be in attendance. Academically, Patsy will have earned her associate degree, but it will also signify the culmination of an inspirational journey she embarked upon out of dedication and love for Michael.

“The guidance and camaraderie I’ve found at ACC have helped me cope with the grieving process and navigate a path to a brighter tomorrow,” said Stockton, who yearns to posthumously honor Michael by publishing his collection of 400+ poems. “Finishing the degree has kept me going and given me a purpose. ACC has meant the world to me.”

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator