By Larry Hendricks
Special to the Chronicle
PAGE, Ariz. – Gregory Joe, 32, is a freshman at Coconino Community College, but he’s not new to the experience.
“It’s my second attempt,” said Joe, who is a resident of Coppermine on the Navajo Nation.
He had been living in Idaho and working as a housekeeping manager, making a comfortable salary to live on.
“I ended up coming back to take care of my grandparents,” Joe said, and the work he is able to find in Arizona isn’t measuring up as well financially as he was able to manage in Idaho.
He visited CCC in Page, and after a meeting with Lena Judy, an on-site advisor, he enrolled in sociology and Navajo language courses.
“Eventually, I’d like to work toward a teaching degree,” Joe said. “I’d like to be a teacher.”
He’s leaning toward being a history teacher, and he wants to focus on middle school students. He added that he’s taking the process slowly in order to discover what lies ahead, and where his interests and passions may lie.
His desire to be a teacher goes back to a time when he worked for several national park hotels in the western states. He spent a considerable amount of time teaching service-industry work to young people from all over the world.
“I enjoyed working with them,” Joe said. “To expand their knowledge.”
He wants to explore that joy of teaching further, and he has begun with his first two classes. He’s starting slow because he works to pay the bills, and he’s not receiving any financial help to pay for his classes. He doesn’t qualify for scholarships at the moment because he needs to bring up his grade-point average – a result of his first attempt at college. When he gets his GPA up, he plans to apply for scholarships.
“With scholarships, I will be able to work less and focus on my studies more,” Joe said.
He’s excelling in his courses, and he credits his sociology instructor, Linda Barker.
“I was afraid to come back to school, but she’s really helped me,” Joe said, adding that, although Barker is based in Flagstaff and he attends her class through Zoom video, Barker actually makes the trip to Page in order to give the students face-to-face time like the students in Flagstaff.
“I think that interaction with students is important,” Joe said, adding that he appreciates the fact that CCC has a location in Page, so he can remain close to home and his parents and grandparents.
After he completes his general studies at CCC, he plans on continuing his studies at a university. He’s not sure where yet.
“But I do know that I want to go to university,” he said, smiling. “Eventually.”
CCC in Page is holding a “Spotlight” event Nov. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m.
There will be free food for prospective students, students, parents and families as they learn all about CCC Page.
“The Spotlight event is especially for anyone who has been thinking about attending CCC page and for our current students,” said Kay Leum, executive director of Extended Learning. “The part I like the most is having the representative from Student Services from our main campus in Flagstaff come join us. They each bring their specialty and expertise to share.”
There will be Spring 2020 semester advising and registration, and staff will be on hand to offer information on the CCC2NAU and GED programs. Visitors can also visit with CCC instructors and learn more about the Education Opportunity Centers.
Leum added that there will be three presentations during the evening: Dual Enrollment at 5:30 p.m., Financial Aid and Scholarships at 6 p.m. and Navajo Nation Scholarships at 6:30 p.m.
CCC Page is located at 475 S. Lake Powell Blvd. For more information, contact 928-645-3987, or visit coconino.edu.
Editor's note: Larry Hendricks is the public relations coordinator for Coconino Community College.