NPC Friends and Family

Former Claude Millet Endfield Scholarship Winner Receives Prestigious Honor













Celena Ambrose, a former student of Northland Pioneer College (NPC), and current early childhood educator with Holbrook AZ’s Headstart, was recently named as one of only eleven PBS Kids Early Learning Champions nationwide. The award, established in 2018, recognizes and celebrates passionate educators who work with our nation’s youngest students, from infants to second graders.


In 2020, Celena completed NPC’s Early Childhood Development program under the leadership of Faculty Chair, Dr. Allison Landy, and with the support of the Claude Millet Endfield Early Childhood Development Scholarship. This past December, Celena was elected to the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA), an advocacy and awareness group that furthers positive change in the field of early childhood education. Her focus on becoming an accomplished teacher has driven her to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Studies, which she will begin in spring 2022. As a PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion, she will be able to further immerse herself with other professional learning and networking opportunities to benefit the youngest students in our rural area.


According to PBS, the Early Learning Champions program represents the diverse teaching community impacting young learners today. As children move through the pandemic-impacted learning territory, they need tools and resources from educators and PBS Kids to build skills in and out of the classroom. This year’s honorees were chosen for their passion and devotion to early education, as well as their desire to foster relationships with their students and local PBS stations.  


Of the eleven national honorees, Celena was one of only two selected from small, rural communities. When asked how she feels about being recognized with the honor, she laughed and remarked: “It is still pretty mind-blowing to me! It feels very surreal!” She noted that she has been pleased to meet her peers among the select group of champions, reporting that, “They are all doing amazing things!”


It is safe to say that there will be many more firsts for “Teacher Lena”, whose talents and determination are part of many successes yet to come. She joins a dynamic group of early learning champions, and the tiny students at Holbrook Headstart are in excellent hands.

Celena Ambrose.jpg
Head shot for newsletter (2).jpg

Hello, Friend!

I hope this finds you and your loved ones well in these unprecedented times! I want to share with you some great news. As a great supporter of the students of Northland Pioneer College (NPC) through NPC Friends and Family, I want to share this with you and encourage you to listen to it. I want you to hear firsthand about how you have made a real difference in students’ lives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, an arm of NPR, called APM Reports released a story called “Covid on Campus,” on their website. One of the colleges covered in their story is NPC! The webpage contains a short written synopsis of the audio story. The audio story is great and features several people at the college including our president and an NPCFF scholarship winner. You can listen to this story at:


The link to play the audio story is located UNDER the photograph on the webpage. PLEASE GO TO THE AUDIO link (which is much more comprehensive) than the written version. NPC’s part of the story starts in the audio recording around 22:26 and ends around 36:05. It is a great example of who we are and what we do, and most of all, how you have helped us! Please know how much I appreciate you, and enjoy!

Take good care,


Betsyann Wilson, Executive Director

NPC Friends & Family

1611 South Main Street

Snowflake, AZ 85937



Back by popular demand after a two-year stint as a virtual event is NPC Friends and Family’s Pedal the Petrified! On Saturday, October 1, 2022 the tenth annual Pedal the Petrified, a non-competitive cycling tour of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest will be presented by NPC Friends and Family, in partnership with Petrified Forest National Park.  All proceeds support scholarships for the students of Northland Pioneer College. Due to COVID restrictions the ride was held in 2020 and 2021 as a virtual event, with participants creating their own tours and posting stories and photos on Facebook. Early registration numbers indicate that riders around the country are eager to be back on their bikes, together and in-person!


The supported ride features a choice of both Metric Century and Metric Half-Century routes, with stops for food and water approximately every five miles. A team of over 50 volunteers, most of them NPC employees, make it all happen, assuring riders enjoy themselves and feel appreciated with everything from homemade goodies to photo booths! 


Registration for the 2019 live event was filled to capacity within less than four weeks of opening in January 2019. In 2014, 81 riders took part; in 2015 there were almost two hundred. The ride has filled to capacity ever since, with the vast majority coming from outside Navajo County.


Space is limited to 250 riders. Many of this year’s registrants are returning, and about a third of them have ridden Pedal the Petrified every year, since it began with a field of forty-five in 2013. The 2014 event brought in almost $12,000 for scholarships, while 2019 saw that figure more than quadruple.


A pre-ride event will take place on Friday, September 30 in the parking lot of the Painted Desert Campus of Northland Pioneer College, 2251 E. Navajo Boulevard in Holbrook. Riders can check in between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., and learn about Northland Pioneer College and the many students who have benefitted from the scholarships raised by the ride. Volunteers will be on hand to provide tours of the campus, and answer questions. All are welcome! Whether or not you are part of the ride, please join us and find out about how you can transform your life at Northland Pioneer College and how NPC Friends and Family can help you on the way!