Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rio Salado College and KJZZ Celebrate Opening of RSC Thomas & SPOT 127 Youth Media Center

Both locations offer educational opportunity to traditional and at-risk students in Maryvale

Phoenix, AZ – Nov. 5, 2012 — Rio Salado College and 91.5 KJZZ will join together to celebrate the opening of both RSC’s Thomas location and KJZZ’s SPOT 127 Youth Media Center on November 28. The public is invited to attend a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony and program at 8 a.m. and/or a block party celebration that afternoon from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at 3631 and 3701 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ.

“These two locations bring educational opportunity and empowerment to the residents of Maryvale and central Phoenix,” said Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante, Ed.D. “It is imperative that we reach out and serve students in their local neighborhoods to help them take the next steps in achieving their academic goals.”

RSC Thomas focuses on bridging pathways to post-secondary education, internships and career advancement. It provides adult basic education, where students can come take GED preparation classes or learn English as a second language. Essential student services such as academic advising, computer accessibility, a testing center and tutoring are also available at the site for RSC’s online learners. The location is also home to a demonstration kitchen, lab spaces and classrooms to support post-secondary classes.

“I don’t see how I cannot succeed, in coming here,” said GED student Stephanie Caroll. “I think this is just the first step to a wonderful life, and I can’t wait.”

The newly renovated facility is more than 22,000 square feet and opened to serve students in July. The new location is currently serving more than 500 students. While these adult students access resources at RSC Thomas, at-risk high school students are served next door through KJZZ’s SPOT 127 Youth Media Center.

SPOT 127 is an innovative after-school program designed to empower high school students through the development of state-of–the-art skills in digital media, radio and journalism. The nine month long program provides access to professional media equipment, mentoring by industry leaders and project-based instruction. The center opened in June with 11 students attending a boot camp session. It is currently teaching a class of 50.

“Studies show that students who participate in high quality after-school programs are more likely to earn better grades, develop strong work habits and experience a higher level of self-confidence,” said KJZZ’s General Manager and Rio Salado College Division of Public Service Vice President, James Paluzzi, Ph.D.

The nearly 7,500 square foot building was made available through a partnership with the Phoenix Union High School District. Renovations were made possible through the generosity and donations of many community partners.

SPOT 127 participant Gabriel Gamino said that he likes the hands on aspect of the program.

“You learn it, you do it, you experience it,” Gamino said. “Just take the opportunity, any open door you get, just go for it, and someplace like this, it’s going to change your life.”

Media previews are available upon request.


Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, was recently recognized as the fastest growing community college in the nation serving nearly 70,000 students annually. In addition to providing high-quality instruction for 100+ degree and certificate pathways, Rio Salado is dedicated to providing flexible, affordable access through; adult basic education, collaborative partnerships, early college initiatives and online learning.

KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station that is licensed to the Maricopa Community College District. It is a community service of Rio Salado College’s Division of Public Service, which also includes KBAQ 89.5 and Sun Sounds of Arizona. KJZZ features a mix of local and NPR news, entertainment, jazz and blues—serving nearly 319,000 weekly listeners. For more information, visit