|Bradshaw Mountain junior Carley Watkins, right, shares her plans for college with AAUW member Randy Clerk, who tells Carley, “I like options,” during the AAUW’s luncheon at Yavapai College on Nov. 7.|
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
|Bradshaw Mountain senior Athena Bowman, right, tells AAUW member Mary Bauer on Nov. 7 of her plans to attend ERAU in the Global Security and Intelligence Studies program. AAUW invites high school girls to a luncheon at Yavapai College twice a year.|
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
|"Keep your thinking open and your motion forward."|
- Claudia Greenwood
When people know a good thing, they are eager to share. Twice a year, enthusiastic members of the American Association of University Women convey their love of learning and the importance of higher education to high school girls over lunch at Yavapai College.
At the AAUW's Sister to Sister luncheon on Nov. 7, members encouraged young women from Bradshaw Mountain and Camp Verde high schools to attend college and earn a degree. In turn, the students talked to their AAUW partners about their dreams and asked questions about scholarships and programs of study.
Claudia Greenwood, AAUW Community Action co-chair, said Prescott was the perfect place to retire to, "although it would be more perfect if we supported education," referring to the failure of Prescott voters to support a school district override two days prior. She asked the adults to share how their college experience made a difference in their lives.
Several members said their parents wished for more education for themselves, but during the Great Depression, it wasn't possible. Some parents encouraged their daughters to go on to college, others didn't think a higher education was necessary for girls.
Many women didn't start - or finish - degrees until they were in their 40s or 50s. Several continue to take classes; one Navy veteran said she enjoys having a 20-year-old lab partner in her current Environmental Geography class. Nearly everyone mentioned that getting a degree made a huge difference in their lives, giving them choices and opening up all kinds of opportunities.
Svetlana, a visitor to Prescott, attended the luncheon as a member's guest. She grew up in a small town in Russia where her parents wanted her to study to be a music teacher or a nurse. She chose to "listen to my heart" and became a journalist.
"Have fun with your dreams. Do it because it's right for you," she advised the girls.
Carley Watkins, a junior at Bradshaw Mountain, said her dream is to find a career that has something to do with animals. Briana Geter, from Camp Verde, also shares a love of animals - her goal is to attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix on her way to becoming a veterinarian. Her mother, she said, thinks that is too far to go, so maybe she will begin with Yavapai College.
BMHS senior Athena Bowman is definite about her goals: attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and obtain a degree in Global Security and Intelligence Studies. The school offers scholarships for women, she said.
Representatives from four colleges in the Prescott area spoke about what each school has to offer its students. Keynote speaker Holli Kenley talked about some of the risks created by careless use of social media, and how that can derail dreams. She advised the girls to thoughtfully respond rather than immediately react.
"It's heartbreaking for me to see how the culture is changing, how young people are purposefully injuring others and themselves," she said during the luncheon.
She wants the girls to develop an understanding of texting and Internet behavior, rather than telling them, "Don't do that."
"Awareness creates a chance for more change," said Kenley, who is a marriage and family therapist.
The AAUW members invite students from Chino Valley and Mayer high schools to a spring luncheon. Educational Talent Search assists and promotes the program at Yavapai County schools.
For more information on AAUW, contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit aauwprescott.net. For information on ETS, call (928) 717-7655.