Friday, November 30, 2012

"Your Passport to the Future" at Grossmont College

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The Adult Reentry Program will host “Your Passport to the Future,” a free informational meeting from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Griffin Gate.  Reservations are not required.

The meeting is designed to assist adults interested in returning to school after a length of time to complete a degree or certificate, or to upgrade their skills for a new job or career.

Speakers will include former students who successfully returned to the classroom, along with information on admission procedures, transfer programs and financial aid. 

For more information, phone Nancy Davis at (619) 644-7615 or Susan Esparza at (619) 644-7697, or visit

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sustainability symposium at Cuyamaca College Dec. 13

Cuyamaca College, known throughout the state for its longtime commitment to the green movement, is hosting its third annual Sustainability Symposium Thursday, Dec. 13, at the college’s performing arts theater.
This is the first year the 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. forum will be followed by a Green Vendor and Networking Fair from 1:30-3:30 p.m. In another first, the event doubles as a scholarship fundraiser for students pursuing careers in green or sustainable industries.
Admission is $35 for the public or $5 for students and includes parking, a continental breakfast and lunch. All proceeds will be donated to the Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges Foundation to create a scholarship endowment for students taking sustainability courses at Cuyamaca College. With last year’s event drawing 300 attendees, organizers are hopeful that the symposium will strongly kick off the Foundation’s green scholarship endowment drive.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Winter Wonder Jam December 7 at Cuyamaca College

Like the incessant sounds of a metronome, the clock is ticking for music students working behind the scenes on the Winter Wonder Jam -- Cuyamaca College’s answer to Lollapalooza -- set for Saturday, Dec. 7, in the performing arts theater.
Open to the public, the event will showcase five local bands rocking at the Rancho San Diego college from 7-10 p.m. This year, students in the college’s Music Industry Studies Program came up with the idea of a toy and food drive for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and the campus food bank for needy students with families.
Admission is $5, or free with a donation of an unwrapped toy or three cans of food.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cuyamaca College educator honored for dedication to teaching economics

Tony Zambelli

A Cuyamaca College educator passionate about improving the teaching of economics has been honored by the California Council of Economic Education for his dedication to the field.
Anthony (Tony) Zambelli received the 2012 Adam’s Apple Award at the California Association of School Economics Teachers Conference Oct. 26 in Yorba Linda.
“I’m greatly honored by the award,” Zambelli said. “But I’m even more honored that so many economics teachers attended the conference for the same reason I did – to improve our craft by continually learning how to teach economics better.”
Zambelli began teaching at Cuyamaca College in 1979, just a year after the community college in Rancho San Diego opened. After a law was enacted in 1985 requiring high school students to take an economics class before they can graduate, he often conducted workshops for teachers to help them instruct their students about the subject.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grossmont's Griffin Radio to participate in Chargers blood drive

For the 14th year in a row, Grossmont College students who are part of Griffin Radio, the student-operated on-campus radio station, will attend and man their own exhibit booth at the San Diego Blood Bank’s Chargers Blood Drive.

The blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the Town and Country Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Mission Valley. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thank you, East County!

This column by Chancellor Cindy L. Miles appeared today in the East County Herald.
On Election Night, I had the pleasure of being part of the excitement at Election Central in downtown San Diego. You could feel the energy everywhere as the results trickled in. Thousands of people milled around the cavernous hall, some carrying signs and chanting for their candidate. Television stations set up their anchor desks around the edges of the hall, and cheers went up from some in the crowd when they reported national or statewide returns. Candidates for public office – from state and federal officeholders to members of  local school boards or public agencies -- celebrated their wins or mourned their losses.
It was exhilarating to be there and be part of all the activity, but I had a special interest in this election. I knew that the results would truly determine the future of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and its two East County colleges.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Student veteran finds success at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges

Tommy Marquez
In honor of Veterans Day, we profile another of the more than 2,000 veterans who attend Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

Grossmont College student Tommy Marquez has time and again proved wrong the high school counselor who suggested he should limit his goals to working as a mechanic or gas station attendant.
After spending more than ten years in the Navy, including a deployment working with Navy Special Forces in Afghanistan, Marquez realized he needed to get a college education to prepare him for a civilian job. The Alpine resident said he choose Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges because other veterans told him the campuses were vet-friendly.
Marquez said teachers such as Grossmont College English Professor Sydney Brown and Cuyamaca College Child Development Instructor helped him realize that he is intelligent and capable.
 “It literally changed my life and my perspective on life,” Marquez said. “I not only got teachers, I got mentors. When I wanted to quit, they said, ‘Keep going. Don’t give up.’ It really gave me a boost of confidence.”
 He earned his AA degree in child development and a second AA degree in social and behavioral sciences, and he’s now taking classes at Grossmont that will allow him to transfer to San Diego State University in the spring. Since April, Marquez has been serving as the military and veterans caseworker for U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, assisting veterans who have issues involving their government benefits.
Marquez said he’s happy he can work through Hunter’s office to help other veterans who can benefit from his own experience.
“When I hang up that phone, I know I’ve made a difference,” Marquez said. “I don’t get a medal, but it feels good that I can pay it forward.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

GIS Day at Cuyamaca College Nov. 14

Ever wonder how your car or smart phone is able to pinpoint your location through GPS navigation? Or how your local supermarket is able to track your purchases and knows what coupons to send you to entice future buys?
In celebration of GIS Day, a global event for users of Geographic Information Systems technology to highlight such real-world applications as mapping and marketing, Cuyamaca College and Helix Charter School in La Mesa are co-hosting a local demonstration event,
“GIS  –  Designing our Future,”  from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Cuyamaca College Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cuyamaca student veteran prepares for a new career

Kaylin Rosal
In honor of Veterans Week at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, we profile a student veteran.
When a hip injury ended her military career, Kaylin Rosal turned to Cuyamaca College to get the education she needed to start her civilian career.
The 30-year-old Spring Valley resident, who was medically discharged in April after two years in the Navy, enrolled at Cuyamaca last summer under the new G.I. Bill.
“I really appreciated the fact that as a veteran, I had priority registration,” Rosal said.
Rosal said her first semester back in school was intimidating.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” she said, pointing out that in the military, a person gets used to following directives nearly every waking hour and not having to make any decisions on one’s own. “I didn’t know what forms to fill out, who they go to, where to get them – nothing.”
With help she received from Cuyamaca’s veterans services office, Rosal said she gained confidence in herself and became attuned to the paperwork process to consistently receive the VA benefits that have allowed her to continue her education.
Still, accustomed to a strict military regimen, Rosal said getting acclimated to life as a student was a bit disconcerting at times.
Some changes were unexpected, like the simple act of walking outdoors while carrying something in her right hand. On a military base, she explained, uniformed personnel aren’t allowed to walk with anything in their right, or saluting, hand in case they encounter a senior officer.
“Talking on the phone or texting while you walk was new, as was eating or drinking while in motion,” she said. “All these things I had to remind myself that it’s OK to do now. The biggest thing for me is waking up every morning and not putting on a uniform. I really miss that.”
These days, she’s busy with her classes and her part-time job as a student worker at the veterans’ counseling office at Cuyamaca, where she helps with phones and assisting other student veterans.
The nursing major is currently completing her prerequisite courses and plans to transfer into the nursing program at either Grossmont College or San Diego State University.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Victory for Prop. V and Prop. 30

 A collective sigh of relief was followed by resounding cheers last night among Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District students, officials and employees with the passage of Proposition V, the college district’s $398 million bond measure, and Proposition 30, a statewide tax measure that prevents further catastrophic cuts to education.
Voter approval of Proposition V by 56.5 percent of the East County electorate paves the way for Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges to address longstanding facility, infrastructure and technology needs. The measure required 55 percent approval of East County voters to be successful.
Statewide, voters backed public schools, colleges and universities with the passage of the governor’s hotly debated tax measure, Proposition 30, thus preventing a $338 million budget cut to California’s community colleges that would have gone into effect  had the measure been defeated.
“The election was truly a landmark event for our district and we are so excited to have the forward momentum that voters have provided,” Governing Board President Bill Garrett said.  “We’re grateful for the public’s support of Prop. V, and we’re pleased that voters understand the critical facilities and technology upgrades needed to better educate and train our students in today’s ultra-competitive world.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

After 46 years, Alba Orr to retire from Grossmont College

Alba Orr
When Alba Orr started working at Grossmont College 46 years ago, the campus had no sidewalks and was a barren landscape with no grass and trees. The college had about two-thirds of the enrollment it does now and none of the landmark buildings that have transformed the campus in recent years.

Orr has seen lots of changes at Grossmont since she started working here on Sept. 1, 1966 as a 20-year-old clerk in the Counseling and Guidance Department. On Dec. 28, 2012, Orr will officially retire as Grossmont College’s longest continuous employee, a longevity record that is likely to stand for decades.

She could have retired 11 years ago at age 55. “I wasn’t ready back then, but now it’s time,” said Orr, 66, a supervisor in the Business Communications Office, the college’s name for the Mail Center and switchboard. “My family says they want to spend more with me, so here I go.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Athletes, novices give wheelchair basketball a spin

Entertaining and illuminating as always, Cuyamaca College’s 15th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Game on Wednesday showcased some amazing finesse shooting in the midst of crashing and spinning chairs.
 The hour-long game, the highlight of the college’s celebration of National Disabilities Awareness month, consisted of mixed teams of wheelchair and able-bodied athletes and non-players. That’s so that the wheelchair league athletes, some of whom have been returning to play at the Cuyamaca College event for years, don’t completely dominate the scoreboard, said Mary Asher-Fitzpatrick, a learning disabilities specialist with Cuyamaca’s Disabled Students Program and Services (DSPS), and event coordinator.
 This year’s wheelchair athletes included members of the San Diego Hammers, a wheelchair basketball league team sponsored by the San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation, one of the agencies taking part in a resource fair that preceded the game. Also joining in the action were former players with the San Diego Xpress and SoCal Sol, two league teams from the past.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Foundation hosts breakfast to honor donors

Chancellor Cindy L. Miles, Grossmont College student
 JoAnn Schneck, Cuyamaca vice president Robin Steinback
When the new Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges was created last year, foundation leaders made a commitment to  donors:  before they asked for a single dollar, they would have a plan in place to properly thank and steward their contributors.

Foundation CEO Glenn Kaufhold,
Steve Devan, Grossmont FCU

The foundation did that this week when they welcomed more than 40 of its most loyal donors to a special breakfast event at Cuyamaca College that was hosted by Chancellor Cindy Miles, and Sunny Cooke, Grossmont College president, and Mark Zacovic, Cuyamaca College's president.
Grossmont College student
Tommy Marquez

It was a chance for the foundation to share important accomplishments and plans from the district and the colleges.  The donors had and opportunity to meet four extraordinary Grossmont and Cuyamaca college students. 

The students talked about how attending Grossmont or Cuyamaca College has improved their lives.

Fred Allen, Sunny Cooke, Dean Colli
"I not only got teachers, I got mentors," said Tommy Marquez, a veteran who attends Grossmont College.

Most importantly, the foundation had the opportunity to personally thank its donors.  The guests included major contributors to the foundation's recently-completed $850,000 Osher Scholarship campaign.  Also acknowledged were some of the charter members of the Possibilities Roundtable, a group of donors who contribute between $1,200 and $10,000 to the foundation annually.

The foundation plans to host the second annual breakfast event next fall. In the meantime, here are some of the images from this year’s event.