Friday, August 7, 2020

Cuyamaca College Arabic instructor and interpreter helps ESL students endure COVID-related hardships

In pre-pandemic times, Aklas Sheai, an adjunct Arabic instructor at Cuyamaca College, was known for the extra things, like bringing homemade desserts and snacks to share with her students.

Additionally, her yearly efforts to increase awareness of Middle Eastern culture were epic: elaborately staged events featuring students in intricate costumes she stitched herself. She also established the Middle Eastern Students Club, or MESC, to culturally engage students in and out of the classroom.  

Even with the pandemic quashing on-campus interactions, Sheai’s contributions to the college and the students she holds dear to her heart still persist. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Expanding help to students top priority as fall semester nears at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

More laptop distributions are planned for fall. 
Registration is now open for fall semester classes starting Aug. 17 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, where a range of support from technology to basic needs is available to students for mostly online classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

More than 95% of the courses offered at the two colleges will be online. Many faculty have spent the summer learning ways to make online classes engaging and accessible. The in-person, socially distanced classes on campus will consist of science labs, allied health classes and career education classes that don’t lend themselves to online instruction.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Grossmont College grad Jocelynn Johnston: Hooked on acting

Jocelynn Johnston

From her first acting role in elementary school, Jocelynn Johnston was hooked. She knew her passion was performing on the stage.

Her love for acting grew at Grossmont College, where she appeared in several plays while taking Theatre Arts classes. The last play in which Johnston appeared, Clybourne Park, only had one performance before the college campus shut down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnston, 21, hasn’t let the pandemic stop her from performing. She recently appeared in Breathtaking, a play put on over Zoom by Moxie Theatre and Common Ground Theatre. Johnston, a June 2020 Grossmont College graduate, portrayed a student about to graduate who is talking to her mother on Zoom because the mother, suffering from COVID-19, is quarantined.

“It was so weird not being in the same room with the other actor,” Johnston said. “When you’re performing on stage, you can feed off the energy of the audience. On Zoom, you don’t know if a joke landed or if the audience is even enjoying the play.”

Johnston was around eight years when she got her first acting role as the narrator in Charlotte’s Web. Her love of acting developed quickly.

“I love that I can create a character from nothing,” she said. “I can use a character to tell a story to an audience and make them feel a certain way and make them think about their own thoughts and behavior.”

Johnston began attending Grossmont College after graduating from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. She said Grossmont College seemed like a good alternative when she realized she couldn’t afford to attend the arts schools to which she had applied.

“The arts at Grossmont College are so good,” she said. Asked to name her favorite instructors, she listed the entire Theatre Arts Department faculty and staff.

“Grossmont has been amazing for me,” she said. “I’ve learned so much and developed so much.”

Johnston will be attending the University of California at Irvine in the fall. Classes will be offered online, and she has already auditioned and gotten a callback for a play to be performed online at the university. She hopes to focus her acting career in the theatre.

“I love the craft and I want to do this,” Johnston said. “I love being on stage.”

Monday, July 27, 2020

Cuyamaca College's youngest graduates "Cross the Bridge"


On Thursday, July 23, the Cuyamaca College Child Development Center (CDC) hosted a

socially-distanced “Crossing the Bridge” ceremony for students moving on to kindergarten. At the end of each academic year, children leaving the Center and moving on to kindergarten are invited to cross over a wooden bridge on the CDC playground to symbolize their transition from preschool to kindergarten. This year’s ceremony was different, but no less important.


“This is such a special time for the children, their families, and our staff,” said Melanie Roberts, Coordinator, Cuyamaca College Child Development Center. “Despite the pandemic, we wanted to make sure we celebrate and reflect upon the children’s time with us at the CDC.”

Nearly 20 families participated in a drive-through, parade-style celebration in the Cuyamaca College parking lot. Staff lined the route with celebratory signs/ decorations, and waved, clapped and cheered for each student as he or she drove by with their family in the car. At the end of the route, families received a certificate of completion and a small gift for the child. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Grossmont College Outreach and DA's office pair to provide Information and Community Resource Night

Like the coronavirus, crime is ever-present, and the county’s top prosecutor wants to alert the public about new risks arising in the era of COVID-19.

Grossmont College’s Outreach Office is partnering with the District Attorney’s office for a free virtual Information and Community Resource Night 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, accessible via Zoom videoconferencing.  

According to the District Attorney’s office, reports of internet crime against juveniles, such as the sharing of illicit photos of minors, have tripled since the pandemic started. The information night is an opportunity to get the latest on crime, as well as educational resources available at Grossmont College. The college’s outreach office will offer application assistance in English, Spanish, and Arabic during the event.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Grossmont College English language program for international students gains reaccreditation

Students in the ACE classroom

American Collegiate English (ACE), an intensive English language program for international students at Grossmont College, recently gained 10-year reaccreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).

ACE is a not-for-credit program that serves international students on an F-1 visa and helps them develop their English ability enough to succeed in the credit program in English as a Second Language classes. Most go on to earn a degree or certificate from the college and transfer to a 4-year university.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Grossmont College CalWORKs student workers receive student leadership awards



Sudad Abdulrazak
Uhmbaya Laury
As student workers in Grossmont College’s CalWORKs department and as members of the CalWORKs Club, Sudad Abdulrazak and Uhmbaya Laury help some of the campus’ neediest students.

CalWORKs serves students who qualify for Temporary Aid for Needy Families, a federal assistance program, and often face challenges relating to life’s circumstances: poverty, refugee status, joblessness, domestic violence.

With challenges of their own, Abdulrazak and Laury have helped fellow students and made such an impact  that they received special recognition as recipients of the  President’s Student Leadership Award.