“Cha cha cha y’all, one hop this time, right foot two stomps and sliiiide to the right!” It wasn’t quite a flash mob, but cousins Jizzelle Godoy age 3 and 6-year-old Little China Poblana, Mila Villalobos, were dancing up a storm at the 6th annual Douglas Days this past week-end.
Indeed, Friday evening and Saturday ‘til midnight there was much music, lots of laughter and a palpable pride from Douglasites in the community. A small opening ceremony opened the festivities on Friday evening followed by a talent show for young people. Singer Kevin Grijalva took first place overall, while folklorico dancer Eliam Sainz won the children’s competition. Saturday morning the festivities began full force with the parade down G Avenue under crystal clear skies. Douglas High School Marching Band members stepped down the avenue to the beat of the snare drum, under the direction of Lee Bottleberghe. Dancing horses bearing riders big and small entertained the crowd with fancy moves and more music followed from third place winners, Paul Huber and Ray Borane Middle Schools’ marching bands under the direction of Nathan Darus.
Soon the crowd wandered up to Raul Castro Park for the formal opening ceremonies. The Douglas City Children’s Choir with members from age 7 to 16 sang the Star Spangled Banner to kick off the day’s activities. The bi-national choir began two years ago and offers an opportunity to learn formal choir music. Mariana Lopez, age seven and the youngest member said, “I love the songs we learn. It’s so much fun to sing for people.” Twins, Kelly and Erika Ocano, aged 16, expressed their enthusiasm, “The songs we learn are really wonderful, our teacher is amazing, we are with our friends and we represent Douglas! Who could ask for more?”
Oziel Aleman, David Cota and Zaylan Aleman worked for over a month on their bed race entry, “Rampage” This was the second year they ran the race and apparently for them, two was the charm given that they took first place with a time of 12.56 seconds.
Cochise College student potters had a table showing off handmade teapots, coffee mugs, plates, etc. with a variety of glazes. Beautiful work from the hands of our local college students.
Also on display at the park were children’s trinkets, clothing, hats and blankets from Mexico, a car show with brightly colored cars from days of yore and of course, the food. Lest no one go hungry or thirsty there were aguas frescas, tacos, burritos, corndogs and the ever present funnel cake. Although there were not huge crowds at this year’s Douglas Days those folks in attendance enjoyed themselves right up until the last cumbia played on Saturday night.
Cochise College awarded 1,596 associate’s degrees at its 54th Annual Commencement which was held Friday evening on the lawn of the Cochise College Campus in Douglas.
Cochise College President Dr. JD Rottweiler said this year there were graduates ranging in age from 18 to 73, coming from various cities and towns in Cochise County while others came from Korea, Japan and the Netherlands
“This year we have graduates from 49 of the 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” he said.
This year’s graduating class was led by two former Cochise College graduates, Dr. Andrea Overman (class of ’89) and Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels (class of ’85) who served as honorary Alumni Marshalls.
“Tonight’s ceremony recognizes that what has happened over the past year is worth celebrating,” Rottweiler said in his welcoming remarks. “For these graduates, tonight’s ceremony is not about an end to a journey but rather a beginning. Commencement is a form of departure for the next phase of their lives. This class, like the 53 before it, will go off and commence in an adventure that each of you, our graduates, gets to direct.”
Rottweiler said each of the graduates leaving Cochise has a story that has yet to be told.
“Going to college takes courage and determination,” he said. “Tonight, when you see these graduates walking across the stage remember it took courage for them to come here and hard work and determination for them to complete their degree requirements.”
Rottweiler honored Mr. Randall Dorman and Ms. Helen Garcia with Faculty Emeritus honors.
“Emeritus is an honorary title given to one upon retirement for meritorious service,” Rottweiler said. “The Faculty Emeritus title is referred upon a select group of our most outstanding faculty members, upon the recommendation of the faculty, the provost, the president and approval of the governing board. To date Cochise College has bestowed the Faculty Emeritus title on 33 very distinguished individuals.”
Rachel Hansen of Sierra Vista was the student guest speaker. She received her Associate of Arts degree Friday night and plans on continuing her education at the University of Arizona in history and public policy. Her ultimate goal is to attend law school to study constitutional and business law.
“Over my three-years here I have encountered the most dedicated and intriguing professors,” she said. “Our success here came by hard work and dedication. … The most rewarding part of my experience here at Cochise College was witnessing just how much grit my classmates present. After all, most of us are not your average college student.”
She added she and her fellow classmates all have one dream and that is to achieve that degree they all long for; that they’ve worked for.
“Congratulations class of 2019,” she closed with. “I will forever be in awe of your preservice and stamina you exuded every day here on campus. I’m excited to see where we all land in life. With as much grit as we all had we are bound for great success.”
“Graduates, thank you for choosing Cochise College and becoming part of a past that we embrace and a future we celebrate,” Rottweiler concluded. “You entered as our students and you leave us as our colleagues.”
Former Douglas Bulldog Hunter Long has been selected to be the new head football coach at Douglas High School.
His hiring is pending board approval which is expected to come at the June 4 meeting.
Long replaces James Fitzgerald who left after two seasons.
Hunter, 26, has been playing football since he was 8-years-old starting out with the Douglas Charger youth football league before joining the Bulldogs as a freshmen in 2007. He was a three-year starter for DHS on both offense and defense. His senior year, 2010, he landed All-State honors due to his outstanding defensive play as a middle linebacker.
Throughout his high school career, he played for Abe Grijalva, John Necas and Dick Keith.
After graduating Douglas High School in May 2011, Long played at Victor Valley College in California which was followed by one year at the University of Arizona.
“This is such a tremendous opportunity,” Long said Friday after meeting with the players. “I am very humbled and very excited to come back to my roots and give back to a program that helped me.”
Long said he is looking forward to continuing to help build a program that has a lot of respect, character and discipline.
“I hope to reinstall all those things that were put into me as a child and made us successful when I was here in high school,” he said.
While in high school, Long was known for his work ethic in the weight room. He said he plans on continuing with that now that he is the head coach.
“The weight room is going to be heavy, heavy, heavy,” he said. “We’re going to make sure our guys are big and strong.”
Long’s first practice with the Bulldogs will be Monday, June 3, the same day the Peak Performance Testing (PPT) program begins its third year.