By Lori Dugan
THATCHER — More than 200 people came together last weekend for Eastern Arizona College’s seventh annual Day of Champions service project. The project, hosted by EAC’s Intertribal Club, has grown under the leadership of EAC counselor and club adviser, James Pryor, to include a cross section of Associated Students of Eastern Arizona College (ASEAC) clubs as well as people from all across campus and the Gila Valley who want to give back to their community.
The Day of Champions collaborated with many groups for the massive community cleanup effort by members of EAC Sports Medicine, EAC Communicative Arts, EAC Math Department, Phi Theta Kappa, Advance Team, ASEAC officers, Physics Club, EAC biology classes and club, Engineering Club, Gila Monster Tennis, EAC Football, Women’s and Men’s Basketball teams, EAC Volleyball, EAC Automotive, EAC Baseball and Softball, Gila Force, EAC Mailroom, EAC Counseling, EAC Marketing and Public Relations Office, EAC Business classes, LDSSA, Pima High School Gear Up, Safford High School Gear Up, Thatcher High School Football, University of Arizona Extension, Mt. Graham High School, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Intertribal Club, International Club, Sigma Kappa Delta (English Club), EAC Choir and Drama Club.
Participants met at EAC in the morning and rode buses to Thatcher High School, Thatcher VFW, Pima High School, Old Central Cemetery, Our Lady’s Pantry Garden, Safford Middle school, Discovery Park Campus, Downtown Safford Multi-Cultural Festival, Saint Vincent DePaul, Mt. Graham High School, Graham County Chamber of Commerce, Sage, Ft. Thomas Lions Club Memorial and Dankworth Pond.
“The Day of Champions started seven years ago,” Pryor said. “A big part of the culture at Eastern Arizona College as well as at each location we helped is to give service to others, and we wanted give back to the Gila Valley.”
Seven years later, the group of 10 volunteers has exploded to more than 200 and the group was able to spread their efforts over more locations.
“The credit goes to the students from EAC, Thatcher, Safford, Mt. Graham and Pima Schools for putting in the work,” Pryor said. “But the day would not be possible without the support of Provost Jeanne Bryce, Sharon Allen, assistant dean of counseling, Patti Wren, ASEAC adviser, Jim Bagnall, EAC athletic director, Dr. Janice Lawhorn, dean of instruction, and Greg Watson, CTL director. Their support makes this work.”
External financial and indirect support came from the Gila Valley Rotary, Safford Lions Club and Pat Rowan from EA Glass.
“They make it a positive experience for all the participants,” Pryor said. “These students worked hard with each other, which allowed them to earn trust and respect with each other. That’s what makes ‘Monsters for Life.’ That’s EAC.”
For more information about the Intertribal Club at EAC or to volunteer for next year’s Day of Champions contact Pryor at (928) 428-8902.