Metropolitan Education Commission News

Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC) 2017-2018 Meeting Schedule

All meetings take place at:
Tucson Pima Public Library, Lower Level Meeting Room
101 N. Stone Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701
4:00-6:00 p.m.
*except where noted


* RETREAT – Saturday, August 6,
7:45 a.m. – 12:00 Noon, U of A Student Union/Catalina Room
September 20
October 18
November 15
December 20


Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress (YAC/TTC)

The MEC’s Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress (YAC/TTC) is recruiting new members!

Since its inception in 1990, the Metropolitan Education Commission’s (MEC) Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress (YAC) has proven of exceptional value. Composed of middle and high school students representing public, private, charter and parochial schools across our city and county, the YAC/TTC gives youth a strong positive voice in our community. In October of 1993, the Tucson Mayor and Council and the Pima County Board of Supervisors amended the resolutions establishing the MEC to include two youth representatives on the MEC. These students are chosen by the YAC/TTC to represent youth in the MEC’s decision-making process.

The goals of the YAC/TTC are to provide youth/student input on policies and programs designed to improve the quality of education throughout Pima County and to engage in activities, which foster leadership, citizenship, and the best educational opportunities for all Tucson youth. The YAC/TTC has been identified and utilized as an important contributor to the City of Tucson and Pima County community organizations to increase youth civic involvement.

The Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress regular meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at the Metropolitan Education Commission office, 930 E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, Arizona, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m (unless otherwise specified). The 2017-2018 YAC/TTC Meeting Schedule is as follows:

  • August 2017
  • MEC Retreat August 5, 2017
    7:45 a.m. — 12:00 Noon
    U of A Student Union Catalina Room
  • September 2017
  • Wednesday, September 6 
  • Wednesday, September 20 
  • October 2017
  • Wednesday, October 4
  • Wednesday, October 18
  • November 2017
  • Wednesday, November 1
  • Wednesday, November 15
  • December 2017
  • Wednesday, December 6
  • Wednesday, December 20
  • January 2018
  • Wednesday, January 3
  • Wednesday, January 17
  • February 2018
  • Wednesday, February 7
  • Wednesday, February 21
  • March 2018
  • Wednesday, March 7
  • Wednesday, March 21
  • April 2018
  • Wednesday, April 4
  • Wednesday, April 18
  • May 2018


If you have any questions please contact MEC Executive Director Arlene Benavidez at 520-670-0055.

Please select the link below for the application:

YAC TTC Letter and Application 

Email completed application to: or fax to 670-1110

Regional College Access Center (RCAC)

Facilitates the access to and success in college for all Pima County students, with a special focus on students from low-income households or who are the first in their family to attend post-secondary education programs. For more information, please follow the link below:

The Key To Employment For The 21st Century Symposium

The MEC is pleased to announce the 20th Annual Key to Employment for the 21st Century Symposium!

The Symposium will be held on February 8, 2017 at the University of Arizona Student Union Ballroom, 1303 E. University Blvd.

Students and educators from around Pima County attend this annual event which is supported by the City of Tucson, Pima County, the University of Arizona, and Pima Community College. This Symposium is designed to introduce students to high tech industries as career options for their future, and since its inception has reached over 6,500 students. The Key to Employment for the 21st Century Symposium is a Signature Event of the AZ Sci-Fi Tech Festival.

Exhibitors can start arriving at 7:30 a.m.; students will start arriving at 9:00 a.m. One parking pass per exhibiting entity will be provided.

2017 Key to Employment Exhibitors: Fill out and submit an exhibitor form for this event. Forms must be submitted by January 20, 2017 to reserve a space at the event. 

Please donate to this great event. The Key to Employment has inspired students to pursue college, science, technology, and 21st Century STEM-related careers. Your donation allows more youth to attend and learn about hi-tech careers that are available to them. Let's show our students that they can be a part of the 21st Century. Donate now.

27TH Annual Crystal Apple Awards Luncheon

The 27th Annual Crystal Apple Awards Luncheon will take place on Friday, April 28th, 2017 at the Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel, 7350 S. Nogales Highway, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Reservations are $75.00 per seat for individuals. For Table, Patron, Gold, or Platinum Sponsorships, please click on one of the links below for the Crystal Apple Awards Luncheon Pledge Form:
Crystal Apple Awards Pledge Form docx
Crystal Apple Awards Pledge Form PDF

Twenty-seven years ago, the Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC) founders had a dream of creating a Tucson/Pima County Education Commission.  Community leaders like Edith Auslander, Chuck Ford, Dorothy Finley, Don Deal, Vivian Juan, Raul Grijalva, Panfilo Contreras, and others, envisioned an organization that would advocate for our children’s education and develop programs to address high school graduation and higher education access and success.  Since its inception in 1990, the MEC has achieved that goal, and much more. As the first of its kind in the United States, the MEC has launched programs like the first in Arizona Regional College Access Center (RCAC), the RCAC’s Student Ambassadors Program, the Key to Employment for the 21st Century Symposium focusing on STEM programs, and the Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress (YAC/TTC) which has been the model for other youth advocacy groups across the United States.

The 2017 Crystal Apple Honorees are:
EDUCATION ADVOCATE AWARD: Jeretta Douglas & Ruth Solomon
TEACHER AWARD: Chrissy DeBono, Cottonwood Elementary School, Vail School District
SCHOOL COUNSELOR AWARD: Karen Seabolt, Gridley Middle School, TUSD
CORPORATE AWARD: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
YOUTH AWARD: Hailey Floyd, Mountain View High School, Marana USD

A video chronicling the MEC’s history and accomplishments was produced by Media Source America and presented at last year’s event.  The video may be viewed here: 

If you have any questions please call us at 520-670-0055 or email at

Crystal Apple School Counselor Award

Do you know a school counselor in Pima County that has gone above and beyond to help students stay in school or provided exceptional guidance toward college and/or a career?

We want to know about them too!

The Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC) is seeking nominations for the School Counselor Crystal Apple Award to be given to a K-12 school counselor who has provided exceptional support and guidance to students. Nominations will be accepted by an individual or group using the accompanying form. The nominations can be submitted along with endorsements and anything else that supports the claim that education and future planning is a top priority for this nominee. guidance toward college and/or a career?

Through the Crystal Apple Awards the MEC brings the community together to support systems of education that ensure both equity and excellence. The presentation of the Crystal Apple Awards celebrates the positive collaboration within the communities of education, business, government and the general population. The Crystal Apple Awards Luncheon will take place on FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2017 at the Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel, 7350 S. Nogales Highway, 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

No contribution is too small in the eyes of the MEC because community recognition is a powerful tool that can educate and motivate people! Please take the time to complete this nomination form and give the MEC an opportunity to recognize a school counselor’s efforts on behalf of education in our community.

Download:  School Counselor Nomination Form

Or email us for more info:

2017 Dorothy O. Finley Outstanding Teen Citizen Awards

The MEC's Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress (YAC/TTC) is pleased to announce the 21st Annual Dorothy Finley Outstanding Teen Citizen Awards Honorees! The award is presented to deserving young persons who have contributed or made a difference to the community, as well as improving their own life.

Ten youth are selected by their peers and acknowledged as winners of the Dorothy Finley Outstanding Teen Citizen Award. One of these ten winners is the recipient of the MEC's prestigious Crystal Apple Youth Award. The ten youth are recognized and honored by the community at the 27th Annual Crystal Apple Awards Luncheon, which will take place at the DesertDiamond Hotel & Casino on Friday, April 28, 2017.

The 2017 Outstanding Teen Citizens are:

Dahiro Adan, Rincon High School, Tucson USD
Marlene Cabrera, University High School, Tucson USD
Audrina Campa, Sunnyside High School, Sunnyside USD
Nicholas Daniels, Sonoran Science Academy
Naomi De La Rosa, Pueblo High School, Tucson USD
Hailey Floyd, Mountain View High School, Marana USD *
Jaelyn Ioane, Amphitheater High School, Amphitheater USD
Jeffrey Kemper, Sonoran Science Academy
Matthew Knight, Canyon del Oro High School, Amphitheater USD
Alondra Solis Lopez, Marana Middle School, Marana USD
Adjo Messan, Presidio High School
Jessica Muth, Presidio High School
Kaylee Price, BASIS Oro Valley
Fatuma Salat, Desert View High School, Sunnyside USD

*Crystal Apple Youth Honoree

Goal One: Graduate!/Meta Numero Uno: Graduar! Poster Contest

The Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC) is proud to announce that the 22nd Annual Goal One: Graduate!/Meta Numero Uno: Graduar!  Poster Contest is underway!  Look below for the link to the flyer for the 2017 contest, which outlines how elementary, middle and high school students can enter. One piece of artwork will be selected representing each of three educational levels.

Contest prizes are: Elementary School - $100.00; Middle School - $100.00; High School - $100.00.

We appreciate your help in distributing the poster contest information to potential participants as in past years. The winners will be invited to attend, and given special recognition at the Metropolitan Education Commission’s Crystal Apple Awards Luncheon, which is scheduled for FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2017 at the Desert Diamond Hotel & Casino, 7350 S. Nogales Highway. Your continued support is greatly appreciated! PLEASE SEE THE LINK BELOW FOR CONTEST RULES AND SUBMISSION FORM. Thank You!

Click on the link for rules and form: Rules and Submission Form

The 2017 Goal One: Graduate!/Meta Numero Uno: Graduar! Poster Contest WINNERS are:

Elementary School Category:
Heydi M. Acosta
4th Grade, Santa Clara Elementary School
Sunnyside USD

Middle School Category:
Olivia Labonte
7th Grade, Immaculate Heart School
Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson

High School Category:
Maheen Gul
9th Grade, Tucson Magnet High School
Tucson Unified School District

MEC Teen Town Hall

The MEC’s 23nd Annual Teen Town Hall will take place on Friday, October 20, 2017 at Catalina High School. Last year, 219 students from every school district in Pima County and 37 community leaders were in attendance.

The Teen Town Hall, sponsored by the MEC’s Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress, Pima County, and the City of Tucson, brings students from around Tucson and Pima County together to express their opinions and voice their concerns on any topic of their choice to elected officials, school superintendents, high school principals, law enforcement representatives, MEC Commissioners, and other community leaders.

The Teen Town Hall offers youth an open opportunity to discuss any issue they have on their minds, and for community leaders to hear what is taking place in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. We invite you to dialogue with youth, answer questions, and/or make suggestions. These events are catalysts for positive change; previous Teen Town Halls have resulted in the revision of curfew laws and the establishment of teen centers in neighborhoods where there were few opportunities for youth activities. 

A video of interviews with participants was produced by Tucson Unified School District’s Communications Office, here is the video below:

2016 Student Civic Engagement Day

At the MEC’s 2016 Teen Town Hall, the main issues brought forth by students were lack of adequate education funding; the loss of teachers, classes, and electives, and school programs resulting from the lack of education funding; and standardized testing issues. The Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress took away these topics and organized a Student Advocacy Day, traveling to the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix on March 1, 2017 to meet with Arizona state legislators in order to discuss these issues. The students met with House and Senate leadership, as well as with members of the Southern Arizona Legislative Delegation.