Endurance skaters endearing to students | PostIndependent.com

Endurance skaters endearing to students

Last fall, Jodi Thimsen and Cris Hauskins of Mountain Inline Skating contributed their skating talents to a scholarship fund-raising effort called Endurance For Education (EFE).

It was sponsored by Alpine Bank and CMC Foundation, and the money raised during the event has been providing financial aid to adult education students at CMC campuses in the Roaring Fork Valley. All of the funds are used to supply students with textbooks and class tuition.

“These are people who are helped by no other funds. It might just be the thing that helps a family move ahead,” said Hauskins.

Hauskins’ background includes previous experience working in the Women In Transition program and with students attending the GED Learning Lab.

Hauskins and Thimsen skated 262 miles along the Florida Gold Coast from Nov. 11-17, 2001.

Hauskins said the event raised about $3,200. “We’re hoping to do it again. I think it was very successful,” Hauskins said.

Students express gratitude for the support.

“I had polio when I was little,” says Maria De La Torre. “I had an operation in June 2000. My doctor told me to take one or two months off from work. I did housekeeping.”

De La Torre, 37, is originally from Mexico and has three children. Following her doctor’s advice meant finding another job she could perform without putting stress on her legs. She decided to get her commercial driver’s license so she could drive a school bus.

De La Torre turned to the Learning Lab at the Glenwood Springs CMC campus for help in earning her CDL. After a second operation, she is still on crutches but manages to work as a school bus driver for the Roaring Fork school district while studying for her GED.

Her goal is to master the English language, complete her GED and go to college. She studies in the lab three days a week after finishing her bus route.

Carlos Cruz, 48, also from Mexico, never went to school because he had to work during his youth. When Cruz was 22, he learned to read. He read about 200 books over the next four years.

Cruz is studying for his GED through the Learning Lab.

“I want to take my GED and then go to college. My dream is (to study) computer or some business. I want to speak very well and clearly with customers,” he said.

Cruz received free textbooks from the skating scholarship and said, “Thank you for the books.” He never saw such generosity toward students before.

Jose Hernandez, 24, is also from Mexico. He is a computer buff and will be teaching the students in his Learning Lab group how to use basic computer applications in Spanish and English.

Hernandez said he will focus on teaching Excel, Word and Windows and how to use the Internet.

He is striving to complete the GED program, although he finds math difficult. He also received free textbooks.

Under the direction of Diane DeFord, Learning Lab students share much in common: learning a new language, putting in daily effort to improve the quality of their lives and making their dreams a reality.

Thanks to Endurance for Education, these students have been afforded the opportunity to forge ahead and change their futures.

“These are stories of courage,” DeFord said of her students.

“They’re just amazing. Endurance for Education has certainly helped these students and others in their educational journey.”

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