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Hotel Colorado Hosts Pikes Peak Community College Students

The Hotel Colorado and the Melville family recently hosted a group of students, most of them non-traditional, first-generation college attendees, to meet, mingle, learn and also enjoy themselves. For the students, it was a chance to cultivate new experiences; for the hospitality-oriented family, it is an ongoing tradition that has spanned 15 years.

“Of all the things we do, this is one of our absolute favorite events,” general contractor for the Hotel Colorado and Melville family member Norm Bacheldor said. “They’re a great group; these young people have overcome tremendous odds.” Many in the group come from single-parent homes, act as primary caretakers for other family members, have suffered abuse or endured financial hardship.

In the past, the Melville family hosted the group in Aspen, Colorado. This year, they welcomed them to the Hotel Colorado. The group of 11 students was accompanied by PPCC mentors and faculty members Carlton Brooks, Executive Director of Human Resource Services and Tim Mazza, Administrative Assistant. 

Activities included attending a formal dinner in the Hotel’s newly remodeled Roosevelt Room. To help them feel comfortable for similar future situations, students learned proper table etiquette and how to make conversation with new acquaintances. They got the chance to practice a short while later over a three-course meal attended by community members, including Glenwood Springs Mayor Michael Gamba. After dinner, Bacheldor handed the students a microphone and invited them to practice their public speaking skills.

Andre “Dre” Guy was the first up. The Army veteran, originally from Maryland, is a business major at PPCC. In addition to entrepreneurial leanings, he also hopes to start a non-profit that will provide relief to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition he has personally experienced. Though well spoken, Dre admits he’s not too fond of talking to new acquaintances—which is why his motto is “get comfortable with being uncomfortable;” a maxim he’s clearly living up to.

Mary Elizabeth Fabian is 33 years old, a mother of three and has even run for public office in Colorado Springs. She will graduate from PPCC in 2019 and plans to enter the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs as a junior in communications, where she hopes to ultimately attain her doctorate degree. After putting her education on hold for a variety of reasons, Mary Elizabeth believes now is the right time to pursue her academic goals. She is on target to help open a charter school and anticipates a future, possibly in politics, where she can facilitate better communication among diverse groups. 

Haley Crawford, a soft-spoken young woman, shared her dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer and lawyer, helping to fight injustices throughout the world. Haley is a member of her school’s Black Student Union and wants to work to improve opportunities for women of color.

An avid volunteer, Alice Blattler devotes much of her time to the dying through her work with both Hospice and Eleventh Hour—a program where volunteers are present with the dying who have no family or friends to accompany them in their final moments. Alice is majoring in social work, and already is leaving the world a better place.

As each student shared their compelling stories, a pattern emerged: hardships and struggles, while inevitable and often unfair, can be the motivation to make the world better for someone else. 

“It’s really an honor to host this group,” Bacheldor said on behalf of the Melville family. “They’re not your typical college kids. They’ve endured a lot in their young lives and they’re not letting it stop them from pursuing their dreams and paying it forward in their communities.”