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Gaining foothold on a career path

Career and Technical Education is thriving at Benson High School.

That’s the immediate conclusion upon hearing and learning about the various group projects and endeavors completed through CTE in the 2018-19 school year.

Program facilitators, which included Benson Unified School District administrators, class and program directors, advisors and business community stakeholders heard all about it at a Wednesday luncheon, planned, prepared and served by the BHS Culinary Arts students under direction of instructor Amanda Goss-Christensen.

Program director Megan Moreno touted the programs, the students and the opportunities derived through CTE. Offered courses enable students to get a foothold on a career path, in many cases, completing prerequisite coursework and certification — in some fields — and ready to join the workforce upon graduation.

It’s also something the students like and have gravitated toward, acknowledged Moreno.

“The cool thing about Benson is that the majority of our students are in CTE courses… I would say 90 percent,” she estimated.

This year, and with support from Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels but initially urged on by late Sheriff Larry Dever, Law and Public Safety is about to complete its inaugural year through CTE at Benson High School, and to thumb’s up reviews. Retired Tucson Police Officer Mark Marine is the course instructor. Students wear uniforms on Tuesdays and recently took part in a burglary-in-progress scenario. Future Farmers of America, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Future Business Leaders of America, HOSA Future Health Professionals and formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, among others are part of the CTE family. There is also a drone class at Benson which quickly is gaining popularity.

The welding team, comprised of Garrett Roberts, Denton Fenn, Brett Miller, and Reeves Stretch, and under the guise of FFA, brought home a state championship recently.

St. David High School participates in CTE and has perennially shared in the success especially as it relates to the HOSA program.

It’s win-win, says BUSD Superintendent of Schools Micah Mortensen.

“Students are presenting real formal presentations, they’re achieving at a high level and the leadership skills these kids are learning by being involved in these programs is awesome,” said Mortensen.

The menu consisted of lemon butter chicken, garlic parmesan orzo, french baguette and peach cobbler a la mode. Attendees raved at the meal and accompanying service.


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4 Stars for Benson Hospital

Benson Hospital administrators are pleased by their recent four-star designation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.

“Benson Hospital staff and physicians have worked hard to ensure we treat patients who come to us for care are treated as we would treat our own family,” said Julia Strange, hospital CEO, in a prepared statement. “It’s a legacy of caring that has defined Benson Hospital and one that we will see carried forward for years to come.”

Overall ratings are assessed by star on a scale from one to five, the latter being highest or best. With the four stars Benson Hospital is the highest rated in the region, per medicare.gov which judged and compared how Southern Arizona hospitals fared with others nationally.

By comparison, Oro Valley Hospital, an acute care facility, received four stars. Tucson Medical Center received three stars as did Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee, while St. Joseph’s Hospital, Banner University Medical Center Tucson and South Campus, St. Mary’s and Northwest General Hospital all received two stars. Canyon Vista Medical Center in Sierra Vista received one star.

The Benson facility offers Level IV Trauma Emergency care.

“Benson Hospital is a community-focused hospital with inpatient and outpatient services,” said Strange. “Along with inpatient and skilled nursing care, the hospital is proud of its Level IV Trauma Emergency Department that is staffed with physicians 24/7, its outpatient services that include infusion therapy and wound care treatment, as well as the primary care clinic on Fourth Streetand and our retail/urgent care clinic located in the Safeway store.”

Administrators cite the existing hospital-community dynamic for its success now and in the past.

“We appreciate the community’s support of Benson Hospital over the years and we will work diligently each and every day to continue to earn your trust,” said Strange.

Go to https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.htm for ratings.


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San Pedro Valley Little League Opening Day Saturday

Play ball!

San Pedro Valley Little League will kick off its 2019 season Saturday with the usual pomp and circumstance and fanfare.

The parade of teams begins at 9 a.m. from the Benson Primary School parking lot with the ceremony to follow at Mauldin [baseball] Field at Lions Park. Games begin at 10 a.m., said San Pedro Valley Little League President Trey Francione.

Close to 300 boys and girls will suit up this year in Tee Ball, Coach Pitch, Minors, Majors, as well as juniors baseball and softball.

Boys and girls will take the field at an improved Lions Park, where crews continue prep work on the baseball and softball fields. The scoreboard is up at the baseball field and new concession stand are the biggest added amenities and landed through Community Development Block Grant funding.

Francione said he and the board are looking forward to another great season of youth baseball and softball.