FACING ARIZONA

Facing Arizona: In a small town, more reasons to stay than to leave

Jun 28, 2018, 3:42 PM
(KTAR News Photo/Sure Shot Photography)...
(KTAR News Photo/Sure Shot Photography)
(KTAR News Photo/Sure Shot Photography)

Editor’s note: Facing Arizona is a series that will appear on KTAR.com and social media  — follow KTAR News on Instagram and Facebook for updates — highlighting unique and everyday people across our state and give you a glimpse into their lives.

My name is Shawnie Davis, and I am 21 years old. I am from Whetstone, Arizona, which is about 15 miles south of Benson.

Whetstone, a tiny town of about 2,000 people, is based around farming. Benson is where I ultimately grew up and went to school. Benson is a small rural community of approximately 5,000 residents. There isn’t much in the way of job opportunities within the town itself.

When I graduated from high school, I attended William Penn University, in Iowa, on a softball scholarship. It was a huge culture shock for me, coming from a community as small as Benson, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I returned to Benson after my first year. Unfortunately, I had to start over because my credits did not transfer to Arizona standards.

I am happy to say that I just finished my associate’s degree and I am looking forward to pursuing my undergrad this fall. I was always in the mindset that I wanted to leave Whetstone/Benson for that big city dream, with so many opportunities after college, but that changed. I refer to it as the bubble. Everyone I know that has ventured out comes back to the bubble of the small town. I came back because I feel it is such a great community. Comparing Benson to Phoenix, Tucson, or even Flagstaff, people would say there aren’t opportunities for people in the way of education or employment, and they are correct. We don’t have the industry or educational institutions at our disposal that a larger city does.

However, on a daily basis, Benson offers the chance for me to be a part of a close-knit community and I feel that’s pretty special. I still think about leaving from time to time, but in the end, there are more reasons for me to stay. I’m not sure where I will be in the next five to ten years. I know that I will finish my degree, more than likely in education, possibly nursing, and then I will have to see what happens. — Shawnie

Facing Arizona

(Thomas Yoxall / Sure Shot Photography)...
THOMAS YOXALL/KTAR NEWS CONTRIBUTOR

Facing Arizona: In Trump era, civility toward government needs to trump all

Hello, my name is Ken Flynn. I would like to see a bit more civility toward the government. I feel they are doing the best they can with what they have and under the circumstances.
3 years ago
(Thomas Yoxall / Sure Shot Photography)...
THOMAS YOXALL/KTAR NEWS CONTRIBUTOR

Facing Arizona: Being an Arizona Ranger is a great responsibility

I am Jeff Smith, I am 54 years old, and I am an Arizona Ranger. We carry a great responsibility and I am proud to be a member of such a spectacular group.
3 years ago
(Thomas Yoxall / Sure Shot Photography)...
THOMAS YOXALL / KTAR NEWS CONTRIBUTOR

Facing Arizona: 90 and has witnessed Glendale’s growth in real time

My name is Joe Zuniga, I am 90 years old and I was born in Glendale. Things have changed since then -- Glendale has grown faster than it knew what to do.
3 years ago
(Thomas Yoxall / Sure Shot Photography)...
THOMAS YOXALL / KTAR NEWS CONTRIBUTOR

Facing Arizona: Arizona’s a great place to live because of the different cultures

My name is Ashley Reinhold, I am 22 years old, and I am an Arizona native. There are many different cultures in Arizona, so it's an exciting challenge.
3 years ago
(Thomas Yoxall / Sure Shot Photography)...
THOMAS YOXALL / KTAR NEWS CONTRIBUTOR

Facing Arizona: I am a rare Arizona native

My name is Chris Harrell. I am 47 years old and I was born here in Arizona. To some, that may be weird because Arizona is a transient state and there aren't many native Arizonans left.
3 years ago
(Thomas Yoxall / Sure Shot Photography)...
THOMAS YOXALL / KTAR NEWS CONTRIBUTOR

Facing Arizona: I want to inspire Navajo children to be successful

Hello everyone, my name is Darlyn Owens. I choose to stay in Window Rock, Arizona, because I am Navajo, my roots are here, and I want to give back to my community.
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Wide receivers John Brown #12 and Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona C...
Arizona Department of Gaming

The most memorable games in Arizona sports history every fan needs to know

Sports teams in Arizona have seen their fair share of instant classic games, but there's a few that every fan needs to know.
...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
Facing Arizona: In a small town, more reasons to stay than to leave