Good Morning, Pueblo Community College Foundation!
Story and photos by Pam Cress
Pueblo Community College Foundation FriendRaising breakfast
at the Fortino Ballroom, PCC Campus benefiting PCC Foundation programs for scholars at 7:30 a.m.
Ernest Montoya rode his bike from Pueblo West to Pueblo Community College every day for the past two years; it didn’t matter if it was extreme heat or snowing. After a gap of almost 35 years, Ernest found himself wanting to get an education to get into a better field of work as a result of the economy changes.
Jill Brown recently discovered that she has a documented learning disability, even though she’s almost 50 years old. She is proudly pursuing three degrees at Pueblo Community College.
There are countless other students just like Ernest and Jill who have an incredible drive to succeed and overcome almost insurmountable odds to make life better for their families and themselves. All too often, these students, talented and promising as they may be, don’t want to put an extra financial burden on their family or can’t afford to choose between the rent payment and tuition.
This is where the Pueblo Community College Foundation comes in. The Foundation hosted a breakfast on Wednesday in the campus Fortino Ballroom to help get the word out about PCC’s programs and paths to success.
PCC has four campuses: Pueblo, Fremont, and Southwest Colorado Community College sites in Durango and Mancos. Since its inception in 1981, the PCC Foundation has raised $3.7 million to support PCC students through their scholarship program, and, in addition, has raised $11.5 million to support college programs.
A perfect example of an “angel” to PCC programs, particularly the culinary arts series, is Mary Jane Voelker. She has given more than $75,000 so that students can learn and receive mentorship, and she even sponsored a trip for the culinary arts students to San Francisco last year. “We’re goin’ to Las Vegas next year!,” she proudly announced to the crowd of about 150 at the breakfast.
PCC President Patty Erjavec gave a “State of Our Union” message and proudly talked about the campus initiatives and accomplishments.
But would-be success stories need help and support. To contribute time, dollars or supplies, contact the PCC Foundation at www.puebloccfoundation.org.
Bianca Flores gives instructions to volunteers before the breakfast begins
Shirley Carey, left, and Wynona Sullivan (board member)
Board members Ross Barnhart and Wynona Sullivan
PEDCO Board Chair Steve Wright and Wynona Sullivan
Scholar Jill Brown greets John Merriam, and advisory council member
Sandy Cunningham, left, board member Marty Poole and Marlene Highberger
Bianca Flores, left, and Tayler Zinanti get ready for the breakfast
CJ Moore of sponsor Kaiser Permanente, left, with Tayler Zinanti
Jamie Manzanares, left, and Jon Brude
Lovely fall centerpieces
Sharon Stealey, left, and Marty Poole
Burnie and Pam Zercher
Beth Davis, left, Barbara Fortino (board member) and Steve Wright
Board President Sharon Swerdfeger, left, and Pam Patterson (also on the board)
Pam Patterson, Carla Barela and Marty Poole (all board members) chat before breakfast
Judy Hildner, left, and Barbara Fortino
Bill Wilcoxson, left, and Ray Erjavec
Board member Joe Welte, left, Ken Conyers and Mark Welte
Elizabeth Rogge, left, Judy McGinnis and board treasurer Tammy Fesmire
Tammy Fesmire, left, chats with Susan McCarthy
Cassandra Passero, with Lisa Hyams and Pete, dog in training
Kerstien Zabukovic, (program director for PCC Foundation), left, with Lori Lovato (board), Steve Wright and Dean DeRudder
John Merriam and Kathy Figueroa
PCC President Patty Erjavec, Ray Erjavec and Mark Kennedy
Patty Erjavec chats with Holly Hanson
Joe Mahoney, left, Burnie Zercher and Ken White III
Burnie Zercher chats with Karen Willie
Mark and Kitty Kennedy
Sue Takaki, left, and Susan Ritter
Marianne and Dave Cardinal
Ashley Valdez, left, and Susan Ritter
Jack Rink and Kathy Figuero
Tim Hart, left, greets Jack Rink
Matt Guy, left, chats with Tim Hart
Mary Jane Voelker, left, and Sharon Swerdfeger
Charnell Mayer (board member), left, and Janelle Hall
Judy Fonda and Elizabeth Rogge
Tatiana Calvo and Lou Mercer
Colleen Corzine and Marty Frick
Josh Wilcoxson, left, Scott Moore an Mark Welte
Supporters at breakfast
John Vigil, left, and Hon. Dennis Maes
Charnell Mayer greets everyone
PCC President Patty Erjavec thanks everyone for their support
Patty Erjavec talks about PCC programs
Jennifer Sherman, left, (dean of business and advanced technology; Sunny Schmitt (chief academic officer); Mary Chavez (dean of health and public safety) and Cynthia Ayala-Cooper (director of TRIO Upward Bound)
Ernest Montoya went back to school after 35 years.
Ernest Montoya talks about his career path
Jill Brown proudly talks about the three degrees she is pursuing
No one helped Jill Brown in determining she had a learning disability until she was in her late ’40s.
Mary Jane Voelker listens to her introduction
Mary Jane Voelker has donated much time and many dollars to the PCC culinary arts program
Thumbs up from Mary Jane Voelker
Mary Jane Voelker at her table, next to Sharon Swerdfeger, as the crowd reacts to her enthusiasm
Mary Jane Voelker with PCC Foundation Executive Director Martha Simmons
Sharon Swerdfeger, left, chats with Dee Brown
Dee Brown, left, and Patty Erjavec
Smiles from Patty Erjavec and Dee Brown
Marianne and Dave Cardinal, left, with Diane Porter
President of PCC: Patty Erjavec; Board President: Sharon Swerdfeger
Martha Simmons, ED; Kerstien Zabukovic, program director; Bianca Flores, administrative assistant and scholarship coordinator; Jeanette Cortez, financial manager
Ernest Montoya, Jill Brown, Mary Jane Voelker
Pueblo Community College Foundation, Xcel Energy, Kaiser Permanente
Board of Directors:
Sharon Swerdfeger, president; Joe Welte, vice president; Kaleigh Barnard, secretary; Tammy Fesmire, treasurer; members: Carla Barela, Ross Barnhart, Barbara Fortino, Barbara Leonard, Lori Lovato, Charnell Mayer, Mickey Moore, Pamela Patterson, Marty Poole, Walter Schepp, Roscoe Stuber, Wynona Sullivan, Ted Trani, Mary Jane Voelker, Jan Williams, Paul Willumstad; Associate member: Jennelle Corak