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Rosie The Riveting 

Does Rosie Garcia Ever Stop Working?

A WISE MAN once said that a camel was a horse built by a committee. If that's the case, Rosie Garcia has helped build enough camels to equip Lawrence of Arabia.

Rosie's a joiner. She'll jump on any bandwagon if it's headed in the right direction, and if a needed bandwagon doesn't exist, she'll start one. She's on three or four committees right now, and estimates that over the years, she's served on more than 25 such bodies. What's odd is that after what has to have been an adult life of running headlong into (bureaucratic) brick walls, she remains the quintessential cockeyed optimist. Of course, running into brick walls will make anybody cockeyed; the optimist stuff has to come from within.

Besides being a current board member for Borderlands Theater and the Latin American Community Advisory Board, she's also a consultant for the Luz Academy Charter School, and is gearing up to help run Sunnyside School Board member Linda Lopez's campaign for the state Senate in District 10 next year.

On the latter situation, she's no novice. She helped run Macario Saldate's run for the state Legislature, but he lost. Then she helped out with Terry Goddard's run for governor, but he lost, too. Although, she's quick to point out that Goddard did really well here in Pima County. The only reason he lost is that every white person in the Phoenix area voted for J. Fife Conviction-Currently-In-Legal-Limbo III.

Despite the setbacks, she's committed to staying active in the political arena. "I was taught by my parents that if you believe in something strongly enough, you have to get out and do something about it. You can't sit back and expect others to do things for you. My parents have always been very strong advocates of getting involved in good causes."

By the way, her parents' names are -- get this! -- Napoleon and Josephine. Can you imagine?! After those two people met each other, they had to feel like they got slapped up side the head by the hand of God. Personally, I don't believe in fate, but these two had no choice. Ain't no way Rosie's going to say, "These are my parents, Napoleon and Susie."

Just imagine if your name was Romeo and you met some woman named Juliet. You might as well stop right there. Or what if your name were Heathcliff? No, that's no good. If your name were Heathcliff, ain't nobody gonna marry you under any circumstances, no matter how much they liked that book.

Rosie's dad is Chilean. If I ever meet him, I'm going to ask him if he knows which members of the CIA killed Salvador Allende. I'd also like to know whether Coca-Cola ever properly thanked the CIA for keeping Chile free from any threats on the people's rights to consume carbonated, sugary beverages.

I don't know if Napoleon Garcia will know anything about this stuff, but how often do you get to meet somebody from Chile?

A lifelong Tucsonan, Rosie attended Sunnyside High School and then went on to the University of Arizona, where she got her bachelor's degree in education and a master's in something. She then returned to Sunnyside High, where she has been teaching Spanish for the past 20 years or so. She has also taught at Pima, off and on, over the years.

At Sunnyside, she has one of the highest number of students passing the Advanced Placement Test in (and receiving college credit for) Spanish in the city. A couple years ago, 15 of her students got either 4 or 5 (a 3 is passing) on the AP exams. She's also the advisor for Sunnyside's chapter of the National Honor Society.

Something of a flitter, Rosie tends to move quickly from one cause to the next. Just a couple years ago, she was instrumental in starting the Luz Academy, a Catholic charter school. Now there are two words that should never be put together, "charter" and "school." I think that in 20 years from now, we're going to hear that phrase and wince the way we do today when we hear "poly" and "ester."

It's funny (ironic form) about Luz Academy. They got it going and had it running at Regina Cleri, a Catholic Church-owned group of buildings way out on the east side of town. Regina Cleri had pretty much lain dormant for the previous 17 years, but when the Church saw Luz Academy sorta working, Luz got booted out after one year and the Church now has plans to start a new Catholic high school on the site. Might as well; their football team couldn't possibly suck any worse than Salpointe's does.

All this work on committees at school, with the church and in the community over the years has kept her so busy, she never got around to getting married. That may change soon. She now has a fiancé with the all-time great name of Kipper Countess.

Hey, I don't write this stuff! Well, I do write it, but I don't make it up. Well, sometimes I make it up, but not this time.

Kipper Countess. You just know he learned to fight early on. Kip, which he started calling himself after getting tired of beating up rude people, is half German and half French. He's probably constantly surrendering to himself.

It's weird; several years ago, Rosie was dating a visiting German professor named Volker. That was his first name; I won't even try to spell the last name. Suffice it to say that, when spoken, it sounds like the noise you'd make if you sneezed real hard while you had a mouthful of coconut cream pie.

I think that's her problem; she's too picky. She only dates German guys whose names end with "er." Somewhere out there, there's a guy named Gunther who feels vaguely unfulfilled.

I had to ask her: seeing as how she's relatively ethnocentric (and trying hard to avoid the slippery slope that is macho stereotyping), how is it that she hasn't dated Hispanic men?

"I don't know," she laughs. "They only want me for meetings."

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