Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Salsa Under the Stars at Grossmont College

If salsa music gets your hips swaying, but you’ve got two left feet on the dance floor, Grossmont College’s “Salsa Under the Stars” is just the perfect evening starting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25.

Complete with free dance lessons an hour before the main event, the music department’s “Salsa Under the Stars,” is a fundraiser for student scholarships and a CD release celebration for music instructor and internationally known salsa bandleader, composer and recording artist Manny Cepeda.


Randy Voepel: From Grossmont College to the state Legislature



Randy Voepel
After serving eight years, eight months and 21 days in the Navy during the Vietnam War, Randy Voepel returned home to El Cajon in 1978 unsure about his future and with his mind affected by the horrors he had witnessed during his military service.
“I had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but I didn’t know it,” said Voepel, now an assemblyman representing eastern San Diego County in the state Legislature. “We didn’t know what it was. They simply said we were shell-shocked.”
Voepel enrolled in Grossmont College through the G.I. Bill and he credits his experience there with saving his life during that troubled time. He said having the goal of obtaining a college education, along with the support he received, helped him deal with the challenges he was facing.
Most importantly, he said, Grossmont College provided a place where he could connect with other veterans.
“I needed support and camaraderie with other veterans. Grossmont College provided that,” Voepel said. “I simply persevered. If a veteran gets up in the morning and perseveres, then they have a chance of success.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

World-Class Musicians Highlight 2017 Fall Concert Series at Cuyamaca College


Talk about taking it up a notch. The 2017 edition of the Fall Concert Series at Cuyamaca College will include a trio of world-class musicians from as far away as New York who will perform the first in an ongoing calendar of classic concerts underwritten by a well-known patron of the arts. 

             The Camera Lucida Piano Trio will play music by Mozart and Brahms during an Oct. 3 concert at the Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theater. The Camera Lucida Piano Trio comprises pianist Reiko Uchida, who teaches at Columbia University in New York and who has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a number of other orchestras around the world; violinist Jeff Thayer, who holds the Deborah Pate and John Forrest Concertmaster Chair of the San Diego Symphony; and internationally renowned cellist Charles Curtis, a graduate of Juilliard who teaches at UC San Diego.  

             The concert is being underwritten by Sam Ersan, who has helped transform the chamber music landscape of San Diego.
        

Monday, September 18, 2017

Michael Ryan: Overcoming the Odds at Cuyamaca College


Michael P. Ryan
Michael P. Ryan had just $800 in his pockets when he walked out of Chino Institution for Men a free man in the fall of 2015. Today, the 56-year-old East County resident who has spent more than half of his life behind bars is building a new future at Cuyamaca College, where he has a GPA just shy of 4.0, is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and is steadily moving toward a new career in the water and wastewater industry. 

Being named the new president of the American Water Works Association for the California-Nevada Section’s student chapter – which includes the likes of UC Davis, San Diego State University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas – won’t hurt him in reaching his career goal.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without the people and programs that are available here at Cuyamaca,” said Ryan, who hopes to transfer to San Diego State for a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences. “Everything is top shelf, from the Health & Wellness Center to the counseling staff to the financial aid people and the auxiliary support. Everything and everyone is aimed at getting you what you need to succeed. I have nothing but good things to say about what is truly a great college.”

Ryan was among the Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students recognized Sept. 9 when he was awarded a $500 Osher Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges during a ceremony at the Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theater.

“I’m honored by the recognition,” said Ryan. “I can’t say ‘Thank you’ enough.”

 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jesus Suarez: Cuyamaca College student leader advocating for equity


Jesus Suarez
Jesus Suarez, the new Associated Student Government president at Cuyamaca College, has a passion for helping others and promoting equity for all.

Suarez was a force behind a new Contemplation Room at the campus Health & Wellness Center for those facing a crisis; was instrumental in establishing a food pantry for students who don’t have enough to eat; and was diligent in bringing frank discussions on topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement and feminism in the modern age to Cuyamaca’s Cross Cultural Center.

His dedication was recognized nationally in February when Suarez was just one of just six community college students from around the country named an Achieving the Dream scholar. 

“Keeping busy is good,” said Suarez, who turns 23 in November. “I’d rather be busy trying to contribute than sit around doing nothing.”

Keeping busy is a bit of an understatement.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges celebrate Latino Heritage Month


United Dreamers will have a table at Cuyamaca's event.

The Grossmont College Latino Film Festival and a Cuyamaca College Latinx Heritage Celebration kick off an array of special events honoring Hispanic Heritage Month at the two East County colleges from mid-September to the end of October.

All events are open to the public and free, with the exception of “Salsa Under the Stars.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Racism, social justice, tolerance topics of Diversity Dialogues


Discussions on topics ranging from social justice to the unique cultural challenges facing Muslim immigrants in the region highlight Cuyamaca Colleges fall menu of Diversity Dialogues, which launches Sept. 14. 

Diversity Dialogues were developed by Lauren Vaknin, associate dean of student affairs at Cuyamaca College, in spring 2011. From initially offering three workshops that drew about 50 students, these days, up to 300 people mostly students -- attend the workshops each year.