TJC employees spent an eventful last week making final preparations for Fall 2021, participating in professional development sessions and assisting students for a successful start of the semester.
Throughout the week, TJC offered extended hours for advising and registration as well as free testing services, to ensure students were able to get the help they needed in getting ready for the semester.
Also last week, the Apache Band completed its summer camp in preparation for this year’s halftime show, the 74th and 75th lines of the internationally famous Apache Belles held their formal introduction of this year’s team and officers, and the Apache athletic teams began practicing for another year, following last season’s historic four national championships.
Dr. Juan E. Mejia
On Friday, TJC President Juan E. Mejia led two general sessions for TJC employees and provided a State of the College address. In his speech, Mejia celebrated the numerous success stories and expressed appreciation to the many wonderful colleagues who make TJC the amazing institution that it is.
“Each year, we unite our campus with a laser focus of serving our students and communities,” Mejia said. “We work together and create synergy, and we are able to impact our communities for the better. Be everything you can be to the point of excellence. The quality of your life and mine is directly related to our commitment to excellence in everything that we do in every aspect of our lives.”
Held in Wise Auditorium in the new Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center, the general session kicked off in high-energy, TJC style, with the curtain rising to reveal multi-colored lights, fog and a rock band comprised of TJC employees who performed a program of Journey and Bon Jovi tunes.
The TJC rock band included Mejia on bass guitar; Sarah Van Cleef, vice president for financial and administrative affairs and chief financial officer, and Charles Praytor, piano professor, on keyboards; Jeremy Strickland, director of bands, on drums; Dr. Jim Richey, dean of the School of Humanities, Communications and Fine Arts, on lead guitar; and Tom McGowan, director of percussion studies, on lead vocals.
“Dear beautiful, beautiful people! This is the home of the black and gold, and we do things uniquely, our way,” Mejia said during his opening comments welcoming new and returning employees.
The general convocation also included the ceremonial transfer of leadership of TJC Faculty Senate president from Stephanie Lassanske to Dr. Tammy Burnette. Both were celebrated, along with their cabinets, for their willingness to go above self to serve others.
From left: David Funk, Presidential Honors program director; Mark Pierce, campus police officer; Lara K. Smith, speech and theatre department chair; Mitch Andrews, vice president for institutional advancement; Kim Lessner, vice president for operations; Loretta Swan, dean of the School of Professional and Technical Programs; Devon Wiggins, director of financial aid; Mark Gartman, director of facilities and construction; and Dr. Belinda Prihoda, director of institutional effectiveness.
The session ended with a TJC Family Feud competition led by Vice President for Operations Kim Lessner, and with teams captained by Mitch Andrews, vice president for institutional advancement, and Loretta Swan, dean of the School of Professional and Technical Programs. The game show approach was not only engaging but informative and fun.
“It is an honor to work with you at world-class, premier and award-winning TJC! Feathers up!” concluded Mejia.
On Sunday night, more than 650 new TJC students attended the “Walk with an Apache” event hosted by the Apache Chiefs and Student Ambassadors. The new students brought their class schedules and TJC student leaders escorted them around campus to help them find their classes in preparation for Monday’s first day of the semester.
The event also included assistance with IT questions as well as a live DJ and refreshments.
TJC will offer support and involvement events throughout the next couple of weeks, to welcome students to campus and provide any assistance they need with settling into the new academic year.