Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wheelchair basketball at Cuyamaca College Oct. 30

Eye-opening as it is exciting, the 16th annual Cuyamaca College Wheelchair Basketball Game is set for noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at the Cuyamaca College gym as part of the college’s annual commemoration of National Disability Awareness Month.

The public is invited to watch and even join in the free game at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego.

An event where members of the college’s men’s basketball team quickly learn they are at a disadvantage playing against some of the most seasoned wheelchair competitors in the county, the game provides a new awareness to students and others of what dedicated athletes with disabilities can accomplish. And then, there’s the sheer fun of the game, where the sound of squeaking rubber isn’t from the soles of Air Jordans, but from low-to-the-ground, custom-built wheelchairs pivoting and spinning across the gym floor.

The five-on-five games feature a mix of Cuyamaca’s shooters playing alongside athletes who compete on local teams in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Several of the wheelchair athletes – most of whom have suffered spinal cord injuries – have returned year after year to play in the popular Cuyamaca event.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Two Grossmont College artists featured in new Central Library's inaugural exhibit

Ceramicist Jeff Irwin and photographer Suda House, both members of the Grossmont College faculty, are among eight San Diego County artists whose works are now on display through March 29 in the Ninth Floor Gallery of the new Central Library in downtown San Diego.

Their works were selected by Kathryn Kanjo, curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, for the exhibit which opened September 30, the same day the new Central Library at 330 Park Boulevard was opened to the public. Kanjo reviewed works from 125 exhibitions that had been displayed at the Central Library’s previous site since 1997.

“It’s quite an honor for Grossmont College that our faculty members comprise fully one-fourth of the exhibitors selected for this inaugural event at the Central Library,” said Steve Baker, Dean of Arts, Languages and Communication.  “Suda and Jeff not only are widely admired artists but also are highly rated faculty members, who have inspired legions of students.”

House utilized the technique known in French as trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) to create an image on cloth of other fabrics.  She said that when she was in New York City on sabbatical leave, she went to various museums and galleries for research, “and we were coming back to the hotel and there were these three large dumpsters with sheets and towels and blankets just draping over them in the late afternoon light.  I photographed them, and printed them on poly-silk, which is coated with ink jet receptors, and so it looks like fabric.”

House titled her eight-photograph combination “Sanctuary,” explaining that people of her grandmother’s age would sometimes use such expressions as “I can’t handle it anymore; I am going to my bed.”  In the 19th century, House added, “they ‘swooned,’ or they ‘succumbed to the vapors’” and so beds were construed as places of sanctuary from the troubles of the world.  “I saw this fabric that way,” she said.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grossmont College's new student trustee

Zack Gianino

Zack Gianino, who was installed Tuesday evening, Oct. 15, as a student trustee on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board, describes himself as a man who is “strongly against apathy.”

“I do as much as I can to combat it,” said Gianino, who also serves as vice president of the Associated Students of Grossmont College.

It was not always so. He said that he was an indifferent student at West Hills High School in Santee.  However, in the summer before he began attending Grossmont College in Fall 2011, Gianino purchased an iPad, and started “researching politics, what it is, what types of governments there are.” His research led him additionally to inquire into why people behave the way they do, what kind of variables may influence their behavior, and how different religions differ.

High school friends, who preferred to talk about upcoming concerts and gossip about celebrities, soon tired of his probing questions, Gianino said. No matter, he was on an intellectual self-improvement mission.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Public invited to join Cuyamaca College in earth-friendly events

For the Saturday gardener or community volunteer, Cuyamaca College is hosting a pair of events that will score you some points with Mother Nature and answer the call of community service.

Local members of the California Conservation Corps are linking with Cuyamaca College for the Corps’ annual Volunteer Day event, Saturday, Oct. 19, and are inviting the general public to join in from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to work on the campus’ new Intergenerational Garden in Rancho San Diego. Two weekends later, from 9 a.m.-noon  Nov. 2, the public is invited to join the college’s Ornamental Horticulture Alumni Network at Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy for a morning of planting native plants along the San Diego River Park trail.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New vice president of student services at Cuyamaca College

Scott Thayer
Scott Thayer, Cuyamaca College’s new vice president of student services, is as passionate about helping students succeed as he is about sports.

And that’s saying a lot.

A three-sport letterman in high school in Minneapolis, Minn., Thayer was also a standout athlete at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn., where he was a regional MVP baseball player and football competitor. A baseball scholarship paid his way through Rollins College, a private school in Winter Park, Fla., where he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Thayer grew up dreaming of a career in the NFL, but his mother’s wisdom prevailed and his boyhood dreams were supplanted by a more practical ambition. With a mother who always told him he would be a great school counselor, an uncle who was a longtime counselor at Los Angeles City College, and a brother working as a high school teacher, a career in education was the logical progression.

“Education has always been a focal point for my family,” said Thayer, who earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Southern California. He earned his master’s in counseling and guidance from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. “I always tell people I began my college career at 4 years old. That was when my mother returned to school to complete her bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota. She would take me and my brother to class with her. I remember how supportive her instructors were.”

With both Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges undergoing accreditation review – a process capped every six years with campus visits by an accreditation team of college administrators from across the state – Thayer’s arrival comes at a crucial time.

“Accreditation is the top priority as the site team will be on campus in mid-October,” Thayer said. “I am really excited to be here at Cuyamaca College.”