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

ACC Alumnus Jordan Vigil

Jordan VigilFormer PTK student continues to Move Mountains

ACC alumnus Jordan Vigil, who recently graduated from MSU Denver, amassed a 4.0 GPA and was selected as a recipient of the Outstanding Business Management Student award while earning his bachelor’s degree.

Vigil, who has persevered with his educational journey despite living with the challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome, was a standout member of ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society from 2013-14.

He also received the Pinnacol Foundation’s Academic Excellence award during his undergraduate career, and is now working at Computershare and Kumon learning center (Highlands Ranch – East).

“Jordan was a wonderful student during his time at ACC,” stated ACC Business Faculty Denise Lefort, who was one of Vigil’s instructors during the fall 2013 semester.  “His success is a result of perseverance and hard work, and I’m confident that he’ll continue to flourish in his future endeavors.”

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

October is College Application Month

students at Discover ACC spring 2018October is College Application Month, and Arapahoe Community College is ready to help you Move Mountains every step of the way.

No matter where you may wish to pursue your higher education, you’ll want to begin by completing your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to be eligible for grants, work study, student loans and other financial aid programs.

Did you know that ACC helps any college-bound student with the FAFSA? We host FAFSA labs for students and their parents all the time…for free! Students who complete their FAFSA by November 9, 2018, may even be eligible for a College Application Month scholarship giveaway.

If you’re applying to a two-year or four-year school in Colorado, visit the College and University Checklist and Application Link webpage. Find your institution and click Application Info. This will direct you to each institution’s application page. If you’re applying to several schools, consider filling out the Common Application, which is accepted at colleges and universities all over the country.

Navigating career options can seem overwhelming, but with the help of the College in Colorado Career Cluster Survey, you can begin aligning your interests with our guided pathways, and you’ll be well on your way to developing your plan for success.

Think you’ve identified a possible career path? Now’s the time to figure out what kind of education or training you’ll need. Keep in mind that the ACC Castle Rock Collaboration Campus is scheduled to open next fall, providing a seamless pathway from high school diploma to associate degree to bachelor’s degree, all under one roof!

Looking for a great way to familiarize yourself with all of the student resources at ACC? Mark your calendars for Friday, Oct. 19, and join us for Discover ACC! from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Littleton Campus. Our ACC Admissions team and student ambassadors will be on hand to talk about transitioning to college, financial aid, degree pathways and much more.

ACC will also visit dozens of local high schools throughout October, and for the fifth consecutive year, we’ll have representatives at Denver Public Schools’ College Application Day. As many as 1,200 DPS students will be in attendance, many of whom hope to become the first in their immediate & extended families to attend college.

Additionally, Tuesday, Oct. 30, is Colorado Free Application Day. The ACC Career & Transfer Center is hosting a pizza party at the Littleton Campus that day, and several in-state universities will be on hand to meet with students about degrees and transfer options.

Questions? Connect with ACC today at 303.797.5637 or admissions@arapahoe.edu. Our friendly, helpful staff will be glad to assist you.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

Move Mountains with the First-Year Experience Program at ACC

Arapahoe Community College is the perfect place to begin moving mountains with your academic and career goals. The ACC First-Year Experience program (FYE at ACC) is designed to help new students – those attending college for the first time – succeed with their higher education aspirations.

FYE at ACC is comprised of the Summer Bridge program, New Student Orientation, academic planning & career assessment, our AAA 101 Student Experience course, and attendance at a student engagement series event.

Summer Bridge is ACC’s way to connect future ACC students to campus resources. Targeted at recently-graduated high school students, this program includes a week of activities, instruction and information critical to college success. Summer Bridge is free of charge and includes lunch each day.

New student orientation will speed the transition to college by providing the information and resources needed to begin classes at ACC. Students learn how to be successful while setting long-term college goals and structuring their class schedule with our academic advisors.

AAA 101 introduces students to college culture and success strategies through a series of interactive classes. The course covers soft and hard skills necessary for students to be successful during their college career.

“It is amazing to see the growth of students from day one, to the last day of class,” said Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager and AAA 101 instructor. “They come away from the course with tools and knowledge that will last a lifetime.”

We recognize that everything college-related won’t be covered in a classroom. That’s where the student engagement series comes in. These face-to-face activities are designed to help students get on track and stay on track, while making college connections. Events range from financial aid workshops to academic planning to personal budgeting.

“The First-Year Experience program is very helpful,” stated ACC student Briana Pham. “Especially for students who may be undecided about what they want to do.”

ACC provides an affordable education (lowest tuition among state-funded schools) with instructors who are experts in their field. We offer seven degree and certificate pathways, and over 200 online classes. Small class sizes at ACC allow students to receive individual attention, and we’re close to home with campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock.

Connect with ACC and begin your journey today. Stop by the Littleton campus Welcome Center or contact our enrollment specialists at acc.info@arapahoe.edu / 303.797.5637.

 by Jeff Duggan (ACC Communications Coordinator), Stuart Boyd (ACC Student Engagement Coordinator) and Karen Browning (ACC Marketing Project Manager)

Student Services at ACC that won’t cost you a thing!

ACC students in writing centerArapahoe Community College is the perfect place to begin – or continue – your journey towards Moving Mountains with your academic and career goals.

ACC offers an affordable education (lowest tuition among state-funded schools) with instructors who are experts in their field. Classes are available online and at our campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock. We’re close to home, and our small class sizes allow students to receive individual attention.

Our Career & Transfer Center provides guidance for students looking to continue their education beyond ACC. In fact, we offer guaranteed transfer programs to all four-year Colorado public institutions. Transfer fairs and employment expos, as well as job/career exploration events, are held during the fall and spring semesters. Peer tutoring services, as well as math and writing support centers, are offered at no cost to students. Academic Advising provides one-on-one assistance with course selection and the registration process as students develop their personalized plan for one of seven degree pathways.

Students can get involved with clubs and organizations as they acclimate to college life. Our honor societies and student government foster leadership skills and provide opportunities for scholarly growth. The Student Success Center facilitates a variety of tools and enrichment workshops to hone time-management and study skills.

ACC is committed to supporting veterans and military-connected students, and has been named as a Military-Friendly School. Student Access Services can assist with permanent or temporary accommodations, and on-campus counseling services are available through the Student Engagement Center. ACC also introduced the Elevate program in 2016, providing students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to pursue higher education.

The Library & Learning Commons offers the optimal environment for individual research or group study sessions. Our Fitness Center is open Monday – Saturday, providing a welcoming facility complete with treadmills, spin bikes, free weights, locker rooms and contemporary recreational amenities. ACC also has a fully-accredited childcare center on site, providing students, employees and members of the community with a clean, healthy and nurturing environment for little ones throughout the fall, spring and summer semesters.

ACC is partnering with Colorado State University and the Douglas County School District on the new Castle Rock Collaboration Campus. Students can now complete their associate degree or certification in its entirety at the recently-renovated Parker Campus. Brand new, state-of-the-art science labs at the Littleton Campus will deliver the best in experiential and collaborative learning.

Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing innovative and responsive educational and economic opportunities in an accessible, inclusive environment that promotes success for students, employees and members of the south metro Denver communities.

Whether you’re a prospective, current or transfer student, you’ll find the education and resources you need to Move Mountains at ACC and beyond.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

Arapahoe Community College will host Start Now! enrollment expo on July 22

Start Now Orientation 2017Arapahoe Community College will offer an opportunity for anyone to begin the process of enrolling in Fall 2017 classes with its Start Now! orientation and registration event on Saturday, July 22, from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Littleton and Parker campuses.

Start Now! will provide all students who have applied to ACC – but are not yet registered – with the opportunity to complete new student orientation and free English/math assessment testing while receiving assistance with career/academic advising, financial aid and registration during this one-day session. Refreshments will be available.

The event will include tours of the College, and staff will be on hand to help answer any questions you may have about ACC’s programs, beginning your college career, and paying for college. Please bring your 2015 tax forms if you are interested in free assistance with completing the FAFSA.

Nursing simulation activityAttendees at the Parker campus – where students can now complete their Associate of Arts / Associate of Science degrees in their entirety – can tour the newly-remodeled science labs and classrooms designed to maximize experiential and collaborative learning. Parker-area students can now study natural sciences, math, health, and computer science closer to home.

At ACC, we offer both quality and value. ACC has nearly 100 associate degree and certificate programs, and credits are guaranteed to transfer into Colorado’s four-year public institutions. Our instructors are experts in their field, and classes are available both online and at our campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock.

RSVP now for Start Now! at Littleton or Parker. Don’t forget to have test scores and/or high school transcripts ready when you RSVP. For more information about Start Now!, or to apply for admission to ACC, please contact Student Recruitment and Outreach at acc.info@arapahoe.edu or 303.797.5637.

Buy Art for Under $100 to Benefit ACC Students

Arapahoe Community College will host the Sixth Annual Affordable Arts Festival on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, from 9am – 3pm. The event, which is managed and promoted by Jim DeLutes (Director of the Denver Arts Festival), will feature fine arts and fine crafts – all for sale for under $100 – from more than 140 artists. Admission is $10 (children 12 and under are free) and tickets are available online and at the gate. Proceeds from admission fees will benefit the ACC Foundation scholarship program.

“ACC is thrilled to host the Affordable Arts Festival again in 2017,” exclaimed Courtney Loehfelm, Executive Director of the ACC Foundation. “This event brings our community together and generates instrumental support and opportunities for ACC students.”

Halana CauseyNursing student Halana Causey expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to receive scholarship funds from the ACC Foundation, and credits the program with motivating her to move mountains as both a student and a mother.

“While attending ACC, I also have a part time job as a lead cashier at a gas station,” explained Causey. “I have a young daughter, too. I love working, being a mom, and pursuing my academic goals. Sometimes it can get tough and stressful, but receiving this scholarship gives me motivation and reminds me why I am in school. It gives me a reason to keep going and to try every harder so I do my best always. I want to be an example for my daughter. Thank you for choosing me for this scholarship!”

The Affordable Arts Festival will take place on the west lawn at ACC’s Littleton Campus (5900 S. Santa Fe Drive). Free parking is also available in designated lots throughout campus.

“The Affordable Arts Festival will give great artists a perfect venue to sell their existing inventory, new inspirations and past creations, while providing people with a friendly, unintimidating place to see, experience and buy high-quality artwork all for under $100,” said DeLutes, who has served as the Director of the Downtown Denver Arts Festival since 2007. “The Affordable Arts Festival is the fastest growing festival in the region.”

For more information about the ACC Foundation scholarship program, or to make a gift, please contact courtney.loehfelm@arapahoe.edu or 303.797.5914.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

ACC 2016-17 Student of the Year – Leah Porter

Leah PorterEarlier this spring, Arapahoe Community College student Leah Porter was selected as one of 15 nationwide Guistwhite Scholars by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Recipients are chosen based on academic achievement, leadership accomplishments and engagement in PTK programs. It proved to be just one of a multitude of accolades that the Malaysian native would garner during a decorated 2016-17 academic year at ACC.

Porter initially arrived in Colorado in 2001, but spent the majority of the ensuing six years traveling in and out of the country before returning to Denver as a permanent U.S. resident in 2007. She has lived in Israel, Singapore, Czech Republic (Prague) and Puerto Rico, and is fluent in five languages. However, when she enrolled at ACC in 2014, her written English and math (logarithms) competencies were not yet at the college level. Language barriers were frustrating and rendered prerequisite courses challenging. Porter, however, persevered through the adversity and was encouraged to apply for the ACC Sales Club Scholarship by Dr. Jim Boespflug while taking his Business Law class. Much to her surprise, she was selected as the recipient.

“Winning the scholarship really woke me up,” explained Porter. “It invigorated me, and I realized that I wanted more from my college experience. In fact, it motivated me to apply for an officer position in ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of PTK.”

She has become accustomed to overcoming obstacles, but none may be greater than the cultural adversity she has – and continues – to contend with. Porter, however, knew the path she wanted to travel, and began a new journey three years ago. Her goal: an associate degree and “cerebral” career.

“There is a socioeconomic demographic of women in Malaysia who are discouraged from advancing their intellect,” expressed Porter. “There is, unfortunately, a stigma that exists within my family because of the choices I’ve made to pursue my education.”

The President of Sigma Phi, Porter garnered Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar recognition earlier this spring. She is ACC Student Government’s representative on the State Student Advisory Committee (SSAC), as well as the student representative on the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Porter earned Distinguished Officer acclaim at this year’s PTK Colorado/Wyoming Spring Regional Convention and was named to the PTK All-Colorado Academic Team in March. In 2016, she attended the PTK Honors Institute, served as Sigma Phi Vice President (Honors in Action Project), attended the Emily Griffith Symposium and founded ACC’s first student book club. Porter has also served on the President’s Student Advisory Council and Diversity Committee.

“My experience at ACC has been so valuable. The integrated, institution-wide support at the College has enabled me to establish not just my educational pathway, but confidence in myself,” said Porter. “The faculty and staff, as well as the opportunities, at ACC are amazing. My educational journey extends beyond just my life. ACC has helped change the lives of my daughters, who now have college aspirations.”

Porter has moved mountains at ACC with great fervor, and she approaches each challenge as an opportunity to expand her horizons. Her global voyages have since subsided, but her academic endeavors are well underway. She has been named ACC’s 2016-17 Student of the Year and will serve as one of three student speakers at the College’s 50th commencement on May 10 when she graduates with her associate degree in Business Administration. Porter, who plans to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees, wants to attain a career in higher education, serving as an advocate for aspiring female students both locally and around the world.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

Abraham: An ACC “Success Tori”

Tori AbrahamThere was a time when Arapahoe Community College student Tori Abraham wasn’t certain about how to move forward with her academic and career aspirations.

Now, not only is she on target to graduate from ACC this May (Associate of Arts in Psychology), she’s already moving mountains in the lives of youngsters throughout the south metro Denver area.

The Mountain Vista High School graduate, who began attending ACC in August of 2014, currently works as a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) at Trumpet Behavioral Health in Centennial, and also as a nanny for two different families.

“Not all children are fortunate enough to have a strong support system,” stated Abraham.  “I feel like it’s more beneficial to build strong youth rather than to mend adults. I love brightening the lives of children and seeing them smile. It’s very fulfilling to watch their lives improve and see them grow.”

Abraham has taken three courses with ACC Psychology Faculty Allison Hagood, looking forward to each and every class session. She credits Hagood with advancing her interest and passion for psychology, alluding to how the Abnormal Psychology course in particular has been instrumental in giving her perspective about obstacles that others – as well as she herself – may encounter.

“Tori is a delight to have in class,” said Hagood. “She’s thoughtful and engaged, both with her professors and with other students. I am looking forward to the great things she’s going to accomplish in the future.”

Abraham praised her younger sister, Ellie, for being influential in her success at ACC. “She, unlike myself, has always been passionate about school,” Abraham said about Ellie, who will be attending CU Denver next fall. “Ellie has been such an inspiration for me ever since I first enrolled at ACC nearly three years ago. I’ve grown into a student who loves to learn. I’ve had great professors and I’m passionate about Psychology. I’ve been able to succeed at ACC like I never dreamed possible.”

Abraham is a recipient of both the Thom Sorensen Psychology Scholarship and the All-American Scholarship, and was inducted into ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society in the fall of 2015. Earlier this spring, Abraham was named to the PTK All-Colorado Academic Team.

“I’m very proud to have been part of PTK,” said Abraham. “It’s been exciting to be a part of something so prestigious, and it has opened so many doors for me.”

Abraham will transfer to CU Boulder next fall to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She aspires to work in the field of clinical psychology with a specialization in youth counseling.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

ACC offers 
FAFSA assistance for all college-bound students


Students at ACC studying
Arapahoe Community College is proud to announce that it will host FAFSA Labs (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) every Monday from 1:00 – 6:00 p.m. throughout the fall semester.

ACC is making its FAFSA Labs available to all college-bound students, not just those who plan to attend ACC. The FAFSA process has recently changed, and students seeking to secure financial aid for the 2017-18 academic year may now submit their FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016. This streamlined process will allow students and their families to report income and tax information from the 2015 tax year.

“Students can now begin the process earlier, which is advantageous for first-come, first-served financial aid deadlines,” said Heidi Markey, Director of Financial Aid at ACC. “In the past, students were not able to complete the FAFSA until Jan. 1, which meant that most financial aid awards were based on estimated income information. Using income information from the previous tax year will help our office deliver more accurate and timely financial aid awards.”

Schedule a FAFSA Lab appointment online, or drop by the Littleton Campus on a Monday afternoon that fits your schedule.

The ACC Littleton Campus will also host College Goal Sunday on Nov. 13. We’ll have staff on hand from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. who can assist you with completing the FAFSA or answer any questions you may have about financial aid and paying for college.

“Because the FAFSA is now available earlier, students should feel less pressure because they will have additional time to explore – and apply for – financial aid,” explained Markey. “We encourage all college-bound students to take advantage of ACC’s FAFSA Labs, or visit us at the Littleton Campus on College Goal Sunday. We will be happy to guide you through the process.”

At ACC, we offer both quality and value.  ACC has more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as guaranteed transfer programs into many of Colorado’s four-year public institutions. Our instructors are experts in their field, and classes are available both online and at our campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock. You can achieve your academic and career goals, and ACC can help you every step of the way.

Contact the ACC Financial Aid Office at 303.797.5661 or finaid@arapahoe.edu for any questions you may have about the FAFSA.  Together…we can Move Mountains in helping students and their families apply for financial aid.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator