Signal Peak Campus’s Lisha Finley named April Student of the Month

Lisha FinleyBy Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - Central Arizona College's Learning Center employs several tutors across its many locations, graciously sharing their skills and wisdom with other students while earning a paycheck. Lisha Finley, however, is not your typical tutor.

For starters, Finley, who lives in Casa Grande, works on a volunteer basis, receiving no monetary compensation for the accounting tutoring that she provides. This is in spite of the fact that Holly Milligan, Career & Technical Education (CTE) mentor at CAC, met Finley last fall and attempted to hire her as a tutor after a glowing recommendation from Dr. Vaun Day, professor of accounting at CAC.

"When I met her," Milligan says, "I realized that she was more than a well-qualified accounting tutor. Lisha's a caring, impressive woman."

For the previous year, Finley had already been volunteering her time to tutor her classmates, some of whom had even registered in the same classes with her so that Finley could better assist them. It's not surprising then, that when Milligan offered her a paying job as a tutor, she declined for very personal reasons.

When Finley first enrolled in classes at CAC, she actually was on the other side of the tutoring table, seeking the guidance of tutors in courses that she struggled with. But her struggles ran deep, which, coupled with the Learning Center's very busy schedule, meant that there weren't enough hours in the day for her to get the help that she needed.

This is why Finley not only voluntarily tutors students but does so off-campus, for as much time as they need. Her tutoring sessions can last anywhere from three to eight hours, sometimes ending at two in the morning. And, every once in a while, Finley will miss the occasional class she knows she has worked ahead in so that she can tutor a student.

"I do it because it's what I wish I had when I started at CAC," Finley says.

And, although she claims to "have no life," it's not as though Finley has a clean bill of health and a wide-open schedule.

Twice a week, she undergoes a regularly-scheduled medical procedure at a local hospital but manages to schedule most of her classes and tutoring around it. She is currently enrolled in one course that is offered through Interactive Television (iTV), which allows her to attend class while she is in the hospital.

"My health doesn't affect my schooling at all," she says. "I don't stop."

It's for Finley's tireless, selfless work that she has been selected as CAC's Student of the Month for April.

"I didn't think people cared [about what I was doing]," she says. That couldn't be any further from the truth.

"Having observed her tutoring," says Milligan, "I have been impressed with Lisha's ability to guide and encourage students to find the answer, but never give them the answer. She's a natural teacher."

Milligan's remarks are fitting, considering Finley's plans for the future.

In addition to graduating from CAC next month with a certificate in accounting, which she plans to use when she helps her mother start a new business, Finley will hold a second job counseling new college students with mental illnesses.

In order to help them get over their new-student fears, Finley will attend classes with them until they feel comfortable enough to attend classes on their own.

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814