Wednesday, April 17, 2019

College district wins multiple statewide PR awards

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District received six 2019 PRO Awards Thursday from the Community College Public Relations Organization, a professional development organization that seeks to promote excellence in California's community college public relations and related professions. 

Each year, CCPRO recognizes the marketing and communications efforts of the 115 California community colleges with the PRO awards. This year, almost 350 entries were submitted from across the state.

The college district’s awards presented at CCPRO’s annual conference held this year in San Diego were:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Music Talents on Stage May 4 at Cuyamaca College's Coyote Music Festival

A performer at the 2018 Coyote Music Festival
Some of the region’s top young musical talents converge May 4 at Cuyamaca College when the 11th Annual Coyote Music Festival returns to the Rancho San Diego campus’s Grand Lawn.
 The free family-friendly festival features groups with styles ranging from dream pop to alternative folk and R&B playing on two stages from noon to 4 p.m. Food trucks and vendors will be on hand, too.
 The entirely student-run event culminates a semester-long Music Industry Seminar class that covers everything involved in staging a music festival, including marketing, promotions, production, booking, staging and sound engineering.
 “We’re giving our students real-world experience in producing a music festival that promotes local artists while also bringing the community together,” said marketing instructor Annie Zuckerman, who noted that Cuyamaca College is the only community college in the county offering a transfer program that combines music with marketing and production.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Grossmont College Literary Arts Festival stacked with authors, events

Christa Parravani closes Grossmont College's LAF on April 25.
An April 22 panel presentation by a trio of local writers on the modern era of agent-free self-publishing, and later in the evening, student readings and performances of original work kick off Grossmont College’s 23rd annual Literary Arts Festival.

The weeklong festival organized by the English Department’s Creative Writing program highlights poetry, memoirs, literature, student writings and more, and also is an opportunity to hear writers from across the country talk about their inspirations and struggles putting pen to paper.

The festival is free and open to the public and concludes April 25. All events will be held in Griffin Gate in Bldg. 60. 

“Our Literary Arts Festival offers the chance to engage living authors and literature in ways rarely made possible at a community college,” festival co-coordinator Karl Sherlock said.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Grossmont College theater students taking Shakespeare on the road

Grossmont College theater students hit the road in vintage truck.
Shakespeare from the back of a ‘70s Ford pickup?

Thanks to a generous grant from the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, it’ll be theater on four wheels instead of theater in the round for Grossmont College Theatre Arts students who just began a monthlong tour in a borrowed vintage truck.

The truck serves as both transportation and a set for the 30-minute traveling show, a partnership between the college and the San Diego organization Write Out Loud to promote reading and to introduce theater to teens throughout the region. Ten Grossmont College students will spend their Fridays and Saturdays through April 27 rolling up in the truck at schools, libraries, bookstores and at the Shakespeare Birthday festival at the Old Globe. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April 19 concert at Cuyamaca College features internationally renowned chamber musicians

Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich and pianist Orion Weiss, who is among the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians, team up for an evening of masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy and Ysaye on Friday, April 19, at Cuyamaca College’s Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre.

The 35-year-old Hadelich, who was named Instrumentalist of the Year in 2018 by Musical America, returns to the region after headlining a trio of concerts at the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in February, and he is widely considered to be one of today’s top violinists. Weiss, too, has performed with the San Diego Symphony, in addition to the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic, among other major orchestras. 

Augustin Hadelich & Orion Weiss: Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Ysaye, is the latest performance in the ongoing ECHO Chamber Music Series at Cuyamaca College. ECHO is an acronym for the East County Harmonics Organization, and the series is underwritten by Sam Ersan, a vice chairman of the San Diego Symphony Board of Directors who has helped transform the chamber music landscape in San Diego County. Ersan is a major funder of the Mainly Mozart Festival, the force behind the Sam B. Ersan Chamber Music Fund at UC San Diego and the founder of the Camera Lucida piano quartet and the Myriad Trio. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Grossmont College student Kevin Bennett: Navy veteran committed to life of service

Kevin Bennett
Kevin Bennett has spent his entire adult life serving others. Navy veteran. Two decades as a volunteer firefighter. Now he’s  enrolled Grossmont College’s award-winning Cardiovascular Technology Program as he prepares for a career aimed at saving lives.

“It’s a great program, a great program,” said Bennett, 45. “And it’s really well put together.  I’m not going to lie to you, though. It is very rigorous, as it should be. I’m in class four days a week and I’m in labs the other day. And that doesn’t count the hours and hours of study when I get home. But the instructors are amazing and the education I’m getting is second to none.”
Bennett’s road to Grossmont College has been a long one. He was born and raised in Farmington, N.M., some 40 or so miles southeast of where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet at the Four Corners area of the United States. He enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school, Bennett quipped, “because it wasn’t Farmington.”

Assigned to the amphibious assault ship Peleliu, Bennett spent four years in the service as a communications technician, including a tour off the coast of Somalia in 1994 . Later, during a freak accident while pulling a cable near the top of a boiler on the San Diego-based ship, Bennett fell backward and tore up his shoulder, an injury that led to surgery and rehabilitation, and rendered him unable to lift anything for months. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Grossmont College taking the lead to cut high textbook costs

 Dave Dillon and librarians David Feare and Melanie Quinn.
Grossmont College Counselor and Professor Dave Dillon will pick up a national textbook excellence award in Philadelphia in June, but it is his passion for providing free textbooks to all students that gives him the greatest satisfaction.

This academic year, students at the campus are saving nearly $1.3 million, thanks to the efforts of Dillon and other faculty members supporting the college’s push to sharply reduce textbook costs.

A full-time faculty member since 2007, Dillon began exploring textbook alternatives after hearing repeated student complaints about escalating prices for books. When he noticed that students were taking fewer classes or even resorting to taking cellphone photos of pages from classmates’ books, he decided it was time to confront the issue.

By 2013, the average cost of textbooks and supplies, at $1,500, exceeded the $1,334 for tuition at Grossmont College. Dillon said the cost of textbooks rose more than 800 percent between 1978 and 2010.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Margen Dishmon: Former foster youth flourishing at Grossmont College

Margen Dishmon
The odds were stacked against Margen Dishmon. A foster youth since the grandparents who were raising her passed away when she was a young teen, Dishmon found herself being shuttled through shelters and bouncing between foster homes. It didn’t take long to fall behind in her schooling. Her plans for the future were opaque at best.

“I missed so much of my education,” Dishmon said. “It really messed me up.”

How times have changed. Now 23, Dishmon graduates in June from Grossmont College with an associate degree in business administration. She already has been accepted to Cal State San Marcos, Cal State Los Angeles and San Francisco State University, and she is waiting to hear back from San Diego State University before deciding where to secure a bachelor’s degree in finance en route to a career running an organization helping foster youth find their way.

Her achievements have left an impression on many.

“Margen grew up in foster care, and she had very little support for college,” said Brian Woolsey, a Grossmont College counselor who works closely with current and former foster youth. “She faced both housing and food insecurity while at Grossmont, but she took advantage of the resources the college has, got involved with the nonprofit Just in Time for Foster Youth and worked hard to keep herself afloat financially – and to earn the grades to get into a good university. She is an amazing example of a student who set a goal and pursued it.”

Monday, March 25, 2019

Middle Eastern Culture Celebrated at Cuyamaca College

Middle Eastern Heritage Month comes to Cuyamaca College in April with a menu of cultural events highlighted by an all-day Syriac House Exhibition and an afternoon theatrical performance of storytelling and music reminiscent of a historic Baghdad coffee house.

“Cuyamaca College has a very diverse Middle Eastern community in terms of ethnicity, nationality and religion and we are using this opportunity to highlight the community’s rich cultures and traditions,” said Aklas Sheai, an Arabic language instructor who is organizing many of the month’s events.

All are free and open to the public. Included in the April lineup:
  • The Syriac House Exhibition on April 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second floor of the Student Center. Art, antiques and collectibles will be on display. Presented by the Middle Eastern Students Club and sponsored by Cuyamaca College Student Affairs, Engagement & Equity, Associated Student Government and Our Mother of Perpetual Help Syriac Catholic Church.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Abdi Hussein: Cuyamaca College Student Determined to Help his Community

Abdi Hussein
Abdi Hussein wants to protect his community. Cuyamaca College is helping him reach his goal. 

Determined to pursue a career improving preventative health care in the Somali community, Hussein, 21, graduates this spring with an associate degree in university studies, behavioral and social sciences. He is waiting to hear from back from several Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) before deciding where to pursue a bachelor’s degree in public health.  

Meanwhile, he’s busy seeking every opportunity to learn more about his calling. 

In January, Hussein attended the 4th Annual Making Medical Equal Conference at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and a UCSD Medical Education for Diverse Students symposium aimed at expanding pathways to healthcare careers for students from underrepresented populations.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Critically Acclaimed Piano Quartet to Perform at Cuyamaca College on March 18

One of the world’s leading piano quartets is set to perform masterpieces by Gustav Mahler, Gabriel Fauré and Franz Schubert at Cuyamaca College’s Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre on Monday, March 18, when the Fauré Quartet takes the stage for the latest ECHO Chamber Music Series concert.

Comprising pianist Dirk Mommertz, violinist Erika Geldsetzer, violist Sascha Frömbling and cellist Konstantin Heidrich, the Fauré Quartet has earned a reputation as visionaries challenging tradition. After meeting during their studies in 1995 in Karlsruhe for the 150thanniversary of Gabriel Fauré, members realized this combination could yield new insights into an undiscovered repertoire. They have since made several critically acclaimed recordings with works by Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn, not to mention pop songs written by Peter Gabriel and Steely Dan. The quartet showcases its nonconventional approach with international tours, appearing at the world’s leading chamber music venues, such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires and Wigmore Hall London.

General admission tickets are $15 each, $10 if purchased in advance online, and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased by visiting EchoChamberMusic.orgor by calling (619) 660-4288.

Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival returns to Cuyamaca College

Plants will be on sale at Cuyamaca College's nursery
Butterfly releases, thousands of landscape and garden plants for sale, museum tours and more are on tap when the Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival returns to the Cuyamaca College campus for its 26th year on April 27.
 Several thousand visitors from throughout the region and beyond are expected to visit the college, which houses The Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum, and all three have planned an array of family friendly events. The Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture Department will hold its largest plant sale of the year and Old Town Trolley Tours of San Diego will provide free, narrated rides to and from the garden, the museum and the college.
 Making this year’s festival especially noteworthy: Cuyamaca College is celebrating its 40th anniversary and The Water Conservation is celebrating its 20th. Both will be hosting displays recalling their histories.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Joseph Barr: journey from Jerusalem leads to Grossmont College

Joseph Barr
Joseph Barr was looking for a new beginning. He found it at Grossmont College. 

As he works toward an associate degree in economics, Barr is an academic standout . He’s planning to transfer to San Diego State University, and is determined to secure a master’s degree – if not a doctorate - before embarking in a career in finance advocating for the underserved. 

“Grossmont College has provided me with a great present and a promising future,” said Barr, 33. “I truly enjoy coming to school. I feel like I’m doing something meaningful. I feel like I’m doing something important.” 

His achievements were recognized with an Osher scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges during a January awards ceremony. 

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Barr grew up in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family – his father is a Rabbi at a Yeshiva, or a Jewish academy of Talmudic learning – and attended religious school that focused on Torah and Talmud at the expense of subjects such as mathematics and science.  

“Any book that wasn’t written by an ultra-Orthodox Jew was forbidden in our house,” said Barr. “I always felt like I was missing something. I was prohibited from doing a lot of stuff.” 

Barr’s yearning for something new reached its crescendo in 2010. His epiphany came while traveling to the Red Sea during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot that commemorates the Exodus. “My parents were American, so I was an American citizen and I had an American passport. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I decided it was time to go.” 

He returned home, sold all of his belongings, bought a plane ticket and flew nearly 16 hours to Los Angeles with just $200 in his pocket, a packed suitcase and a backpack. Despite not knowing anyone, Barr landed a steady stream of retail jobs for several Israeli companies. It was a hard life.  

“I remember one time I was in Los Angeles, my car broke down on the 101 freeway, I didn’t have any money to buy a burger, and I didn’t have any money in the bank,” he said. “Something had to change.”

Indeed it did. He found a better-paying job in construction, saved everything he could, then set off for a months-long backpacking trip to South America that included meeting his future wife – who later earned a master’s degree at the University of San Diego School of Law – in  Brazil.  

He also picked up several languages along his journeys, including Portuguese and Spanish in South America. He’s also taking Arabic courses at Grossmont, while improving his English.  

Remembering the words of a Fullerton rabbi who became a close friend, Barr resolved to further his education after returning to the United States. “Rabbi (Haim) Asa told me, ‘You need to go to a community college. You’re going to do really well, you’re going to move on to a university and you’re going to become very successful. And when you get there, I want you to help other people, like I helped you.’” 

“Sadly enough, he passed away almost 5 year ago and never saw me going back to school,” Barr said. “I’m going to honor his words.” 

He’s doing that through Grossmont College. Barr’s determination has left an impact on his professors. 

“Joseph Barr is tenaciously committed to learning and to excellence,” said English instructor Ryan Griffith. “Seldom in my career have I worked with a student of his intelligence, curiosity, and work ethic.  He will do great things.”  

Nemie Capacia, co-chair of the Mathematics Department, is similarly impressed. 

“He emailed me even before the start of the semester for a copy of my syllabus and the title of the book so he can purchase it and work ahead,” Capacia said. “He was one of my students that semester who frequented my office during office hours to ask questions about homework or to clarify things that were covered in the class. He was very inquisitive and made sure he not only understood the mathematical processes on how problems are solved, but the how and why behind a mathematical concept. He was very determined to excel in my class and he did.” 

Likewise, the support Barr has received in helping him reach his goal is leaving a lasting impression on him. 

“This is the first time I felt like I belonged to a community since I moved to the United States,” he said. 


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Faculty, staff at Cuyamaca, Grossmont colleges lauded with top teaching, leadership awards

Two faculty members at Cuyamaca College and a team of professionals at Grossmont College are among the academic year’s rock stars at the two East County campuses.

Rachel Jacob-Almeida, a full-time sociology professor, and Peggie Daley, a part-time English as a Second Language professor, recently received the 2019  Award for Teaching Excellence, a recognition by students who nominate faculty members.

“Our students deserve the best and that is what they receive from our colleges,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “These award winners are unparalleled in their intentional and untiring efforts on behalf of our students.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Women's History Month events at Cuyamaca, Grossmont colleges

In recognition of Women’s History Month, designated by Congress in 1987, both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have a number of events planned that are free and open to the public:

Cuyamaca College
  • A Heritage Book Club talk led by Cuyamaca College English Professor Lauren Halsted from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, in Room I-208 of the Student Center. The discussion will center on an essay, “We Should All be Feminists,” by celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
  • Cuyamaca College will continue on March 13 and 20 an art activity launched earlier in the month presented by the Associated Student Government, “Why Feminism Matters,” at the Student Center Quad from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Students will join student government in making signs about why feminism matters to them. Students will also have the opportunity to share their message on social media and display them around campus. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Emily Kongsima: Finding a future at Grossmont College

Emily Kongsima
You can’t beat free. That’s the lesson from San Diego resident Emily Kongsima, who was working at various restaurant jobs when she discovered Grossmont College’s Office Professional Training program, a program providing the skills needed for work as an office assistant, administrative assistant or office manager.

Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime.

“I didn’t have any money at all to go to school, but it was a free program,” said Kongsima. “You can’t get much better than that.”

After acing her classes, tutoring others, volunteering where she could and completing the program this past summer, Kongsima secured a Retiree Network Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, money that will come in handy when she pursues associate and bachelor’s degrees in business administration.

Kongsima, 29, was honored with other scholarship recipients during a January 12 awards ceremony at Cuyamaca College. Meanwhile, her newfound expertise in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Access, financial accounting and business communication have made her infinitely more marketable as she begins a job search after taking a break from work to care for her ill mother.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Nhi Nguyen: Journey from Vietnam leads to Grossmont College

Nhi Nguyen
She has attended colleges and universities across the world, from law school in Vietnam to an MBA program at Marshall University in West Virginia and a student exchange program in Sweden. But Nhi Nguyen is sold on Grossmont College, where she’s now studying business administration. 

“I know it’s a community college and not a university, but it gives me much more than what I expected,” said Nguyen, 28. “In a small class size, you can easily talk to your professor, plus a lot of professors here are also teaching at a university, so what’s the difference? If you’re taking general education or lower division courses in a particular subject, and you’re learning from the same instructors, it makes sense to go to a community college, which is a lot more economical.”

 Nguyen, who has long aspired to work at one of the Big Four accounting firms, took a detour to Grossmont College after a combination of financial challenges her parents were facing in Vietnam and the added cost that came with her younger brother’s decision to pursue a college degree.  

She left Marshall University in 2018 and moved to an aunt’s home in La Mesa determined to enroll at a community college to save money. Her experience with Grossmont College left her impressed. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Five from East County college district receive national award for community college excellence

Linda Bertolucci, Jennifer Fujimoto
Three instructors and two managers from the East County community college district are recipients of a national award recognizing excellence in community college teaching and leadership.

Cuyamaca College instructor Donald Jones, Grossmont College instructors Oralee Holder and Richard Uris, and District Services managers Linda Bertolucci and Jennifer Fujimoto were honored today at the 2019 Innovations Conference in New York City, which drew community college representatives from across the United States. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Isaac Phillips: Failure not an option for Grossmont College student

Isaac Phillips and family. Nari Wilborn, left;
mother Deborah Williams, center; Miriah
Wilborn, right; Dhario Wilborn, in lap.
Isaac Phillips doesn’t believe in failure. Every time the 31-year-old Santee resident comes face to face with a life-changing challenge, he not only moves forward, he thrives.

Like when his career plans were put on hold after his brother was shot and Phillips and his mother took responsibility for raising his brother’s two youngest daughters and son. Phillips stood firm, enrolled at Grossmont College to build a better future for him and his family, and along the way became a scholar, a tutor, a peer mentor and an invaluable member of the campus Umoja community.

Or when, in late January, Phillips heard the sound of gunfire while getting into his car, sped away from the danger, clipped another vehicle and crashed into a tree. Less than a week after the accident that left him hospitalized with serious injuries to his back and legs, Phillips was back at Grossmont and learned he was accepted to Tuskegee University, scholarship included. Now he’s waiting to hear if he’s been accepted to Harvard.

“Things have a way of working out,” Phillips said. “You can’t focus on the negative.”

It’s that attitude that has left a long list of admirers at Grossmont College, where Phillips will graduate in June with an associate degree in communication and political science.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

District Chancellor Cindy L. Miles announces retirement

The 10-year era of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District with Chancellor Cindy L. Miles at the helm will soon draw to a close.

 With what she described as “mixed feelings,” Miles announced today that she will be retiring at the end of the year. Her retirement contract, set to go before the Governing Board Feb. 19, calls for Miles to remain until the end of the year to allow time for a successor to be selected.

“I’m a believer in listening to the rhythm of one’s soul—and, after 30 years of teaching and leading in community colleges, there’s a calling impossible to ignore that’s pulling me in a new direction,” Miles said. She adds that her primary goal has been to clear the way for the college and district communities to “make amazing things happen for students.”

Friday, February 8, 2019

Cuyamaca College spring concert season features musicians of note

Mariachi  Real de San Diego kicks off  concert season.
A wide assortment of musicians ranging from a San Diego mariachi band that has played at the Super Bowl to one of the most in-demand French hornists in the country will be performing in this year’s Spring Concert Series at Cuyamaca College beginning Feb. 28.

All performances, except the Coyote Music Festival, will be held at the Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre in the Samuel M. Ciccati Performing Arts Center. The annual Coyote Music Festival will be held at Cuyamaca College’s Grand Lawn.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Grossmont College's drone technology program helps careers soar

Drone technology students at Grossmont College

With the burgeoning field of drone technology translating into exciting job opportunities, Grossmont College will offer a comprehensive training program that can transform amateurs into licensed commercial drone pilots in just three months.

Best of all, the training that can cost as much as $3,000 in the private sector is free to anyone who is at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen, as required by the grant. The noncredit program is targeted to groups including veterans, Native Americans, military spouses, ex-offenders, women, high school students and the unemployed and underemployed. Drones are provided during the training.

Registration is now open for classes starting in March.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Black History Month offers an array of events at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

Rapper and political activist Jasiri X  will speak at Grossmont.

Films, music, a poetry slam, and a presentation on media and society by hip-hop artist Jasiri X at Grossmont College and a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, a black history panel and a look at black women in politics at Cuyamaca College are among February’s Black History Month events.
A diverse selection of events are being offered at both colleges to honor the traditions, legacies and contributions of African-Americans. All events are free and open to the public.      
Also known as National African-American History Month, Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African-Americans in 1926, with the month of February selected because the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were in that month. In the late ‘60s, Negro History Week was transformed into Black History Month due to the civil rights movement, and in 1976 Black History Month was officially recognized by the federal government.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cuyamaca College 'Diversity Dialogues' tackle discrimination, understanding

Religious intolerance, sexual discrimination and the female Latinx experience will be among the topics tackled during Cuyamaca College’s spring lineup of Diversity Dialogues, which gets under way Feb. 5 with a session focusing on Native American culture and tradition.
“Cuyamaca College is committed to a culture of inclusion, and Diversity Dialogues is among the efforts that have established our campus as a leader in building sparking discussion and understanding among various ethnic and religious groups,” said Dean of Student Affairs Lauren Vaknin. “We have lined up an array of experts in their field, and we encourage students, faculty, staff and members of the community to join us for this spring’s series of workshops.”

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Cuyamaca College student selected for prestigious NASA program

Rita Koda
Rita Koda was working as an insurance agent when she decided to give school another try. Good thing she did. Now in her second year at Cuyamaca College, Koda, 23, has been selected to take part in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars experience at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena this summer.
“I was pretty surprised,” said the physics major. “It was a very last-minute thing for me in filling out the application. But I’m really excited and really looking forward to it.”
Koda recently completed a five-week, online NASA course that included researching the Evolvable Mars Campaign, taking part in live video chats with NASA experts and completing several mission design challenges. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Koda will spend four days meeting with NASA engineers and researchers, touring NASA’s Pasadena facility, learning about internship opportunities and working with a team responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Road from Ethiopia to Grossmont College Leads to Success

Amanuel Mikre
Amanuel Mikre believes in creating your own destiny. With the help of Grossmont College – and a deep faith in God – he’s creating his.

“You could whine and complain when things aren’t going right, but only you can change your path,” said the 23-year-old finance major. “Nobody else can.”

Mikre speaks from experience. After an aimless first year of community college in Kansas, Mikre moved to San Diego, enrolled at Grossmont, found the support he needed, became a straight-A student, will graduate this spring, and is hoping to transfer this fall to San Diego State University en route to becoming a financial advisor.

His accomplishments resulted in Mikre being honored with an Osher Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. It is an award that is well deserved.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

College District's 15-year streak of flawless audits remains unbroken

For the 15th year in a row, independent auditors who reviewed the finances of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and its Proposition V bond funding gave the highest opinion possible of the district’s fiscal practices.
Prop. V, a construction bond, received a flawless audit.

The Governing Board received the audit reports last week for the district, the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, and the district’s auxiliary. At the request of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, a separate auditor reviewed the finances of Prop. V, the $398 million construction bond approved by East County voters in 2012, and also gave a positive report. 

“The spotless audit reports reflect our efforts to spend taxpayer money wisely and to be transparent in how we handle our finances,” said Cindy L. Miles, district chancellor. “This didn’t come easily. They are the results of lots of effort by our fiscal team and many people throughout the district.”

Friday, January 18, 2019

Center for Water Studies gives program more depth

It’s official. The Cuyamaca College’s Center for Water Studies is open for business and the program formerly known by the clunky title, Water and Wastewater Technology, is brandishing a new name.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art Field Operations Skills Yard and a newly renovated L Building complete with a water quality analysis laboratory, renovated classrooms and workshops for back flow, cross-connection controls and related hands-on courses, the Center for Water Studies was dedicated during a Jan. 17 ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.

“Nobody else west of the Rockies is doing what we’re doing here,” said Don Jones, who has overseen the transformation of Cuyamaca College’s Water and Wastewater Technology program into the Center for Water Studies.

The Center for Water Studies has been years in the making. In 2013, Cuyamaca College hosted a two-day meeting of water industry and community college managers to discuss how to train California's next generation of water industry professionals. What emerged was a strategy focusing on the importance of regional, ongoing partnerships between education and industry.  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Grossmont College's Theatre Arts launches 2019 spring season

The Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department’s spring season gets under way Feb. 1 with the 14th annual Inside the Actors Process: Monsters, Magic, and Mischief, followed by original productions of Spring Awakening in March and Failure: A Love Story in May.

Inside the Actors Process is an annual production that will be appearing at more than a dozen local high schools throughout the region as part of an ongoing effort at exposing teen audiences to the art of acting. Coordinated by Benjamin Cole, Inside the Actors Process: Monsters, Magic, and Mischief will be performed for the public at the Stagehouse Theatre on Feb. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Resilient Grossmont College student Quincy Hollings

Quincy Hollings
Quincy Hollings found himself at Grossmont College.

A product of San Diego’s impoverished City Heights neighborhood and raised by a single mom who worked two jobs to support him and his younger sister, Hollings said the backing he found at Grossmont College has set him on a path toward becoming an English teacher. Hollings, 21, is majoring in English, works as an English tutor, has a grade point average of 3.7, and has received acceptance letters from San Francisco State University and California State University Channel Islands while awaiting word from several University of California campuses, San Diego State University, and others.
“If I were to describe myself with one word, that word would be resilient,” Hollings said. “There have been numerous circumstances which have threatened to slow my progression as a person, as well as a student. Yet I am a full-time, first-generation college student who continues to strive for greatness.” His accomplishments in the face of diversity resulted in Hollings being honored with an Umoja Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges during a Jan. 12 awards ceremony at Cuyamaca College. He hopes the award will be the first of many that will enable him to complete his educational goals.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Scholarships awarded to more than 200 Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students

Scholarship award winners
Almost $118,000 in scholarships were awarded to 216 Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students on Saturday in a ceremony that highlighted the struggles many of the students have overcome and the bright futures ahead of them because of their education.

“We believe in you and we’re investing in you,” Sally Cox, CEO of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, told the scholarship students at the event held at Cuyamaca College.

The scholarships were created from a variety of sources, including private donors who want to honor a deceased family member or colleague; businesses that want to assist college students with their education; or college departments that want to find another way to serve their students.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Cuyamaca College Powwow set for Feb. 2

A participant in the 2018 Cuyamaca College Powwow
Update: Because of a prediction of steady rain, the Powwow will be held on the second floor of the Cuyamaca College Student Center.

Native American tribes from throughout the West will be well represented at Cuyamaca College’s 5th Annual Powwow on Feb. 2 – a free, public event celebrating American Indian culture complete with bird singing, gourd dancing, storytelling, and more.

More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the powwow, which is scheduled to commence with singers at 10 a.m., followed by gourd dancing at 11 a.m. and the grand entry of inter-tribal dances at noon. The powwow takes place at the Cuyamaca College Student Center and continues until 8 p.m.

A variety of traditional Native-American food will be on menu, including fry bread and Indian tacos, and an abundance of Native-American arts and crafts will be on sale.

Serving as powwow master of ceremonies is Randy Edmonds, who hails from the Kiowa and Caddo nations of Oklahoma and who has served as a powwow emcee for more than a half century. Victor Chavez is the arena director, Robert RedBear Solis is the head man, and Katianna Warren is the head woman. The Asha Takuk Bird Singers will share the traditional song of the Kumeyaay, and the Calpulli Mexihca Aztec Dancers will perform during a dinner break.

The powwow is sponsored by Cuyamaca College’s Native American Student Alliance, the Division of Equity & Engagement, Student Affairs and Associated Student Government.

The word powwow is the Anglicized version of the Algonquian term pau-wau, or pauau – which means “he dreams” – and referred to a religious gathering of medicine men and spiritual leaders. The modern-day powwow is rooted in a Pawnee religious ceremony dating to the early 19th century. Southern California powwow tradition includes bird singing, which tells the history of the Native American people.
Cuyamaca College has a long history of supporting Native-American students and Native-American studies. Its name comes from the Kumeyaay phrase “Ekwiiyemak” – which means “behind the clouds,” “above the rains,” and “the place where the rains come from the heavens” – and the campus is located on traditional Kumeyaay territory. Cuyamaca College became among the first community colleges in California to offer a degree program focusing on the language, culture, and history of a specific Native-American tribe when it unveiled its associate degree program in Kumeyaay Studies in 2015.

In addition, Cuyamaca College at the powwow will unveil the Richard DeCrane Native Community Leaders Scholarship. DeCrane spent the early years of his life on the Crow Reservation in Montana before moving as a young boy to the Navajo Nation, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents. A Navy veteran, DeCrane has long been involved in the Cuyamaca College Native American community. The Richard DeCrane Native Community Leaders Scholarship will be awarded each spring and fall. The $500 scholarship is open to all majors, but recipients must be a member of the Native American Student Alliance at Cuyamaca College.