Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trio picked for district's annual employee excellence award

Three classified staffers have been honored by the Governing Board as this year’s picks for an employee excellence award lauding behind-the-scenes workers key to Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and the East County college district.

Grossmont College Administrative Assistant Janet Carter, Cuyamaca College Administrative Assistant Cheryl Alvarez, and District Instructional Design Technology Specialist Debbi Smith each received trophies and plaudits as the 2014 recipients of the Chancellor/Classified Senate Award.

“Our colleges and the district are indeed fortunate to have such excellent workers serving students and our community,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “Their contributions are valued beyond measure.”

Classified Senate President Yvette Macy said the awardees are dedicated to the universal mission of student success.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bill Garrett returning as Governing Board president for 2015

Bill Garrett

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board has unanimously selected Bill Garrett to serve an eighth straight year as president, while Mary Kay Rosinski was picked as vice president and Greg Barr as board clerk for 2015.

Garrett has served since 2008 as board president for the East County district, which enrolls about 30,0000 students at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, in addition to the district’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training program.. The Governing Board meeting got under way Tuesday with Garrett giving the oath of office to trustees Barr, Debbie Justeson and Edwin Hiel, who ran unopposed in the November election. 

Garrett thanked fellow trustees for their support and said the board’s cohesiveness and collegial relationships are key to its strength, as well as the support and trust it has built over the years with faculty, staff and the community at large.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cuyamaca College's past presidents lauded at portrait unveilings

From left: Former Cuyamaca College Presidents
Geraldine Perri, Sherrill Amador and Samuel Ciccati
        Cuyamaca College’s past presidents are now part of campus history for all to see after Monday’s unveiling of four framed portraits in pencil.

Drs. Wallace F. Cohen (president, July 1, 1977-July 30, 1983); Samuel M. Ciccati (June 20, 1984-July 1, 1993); Sherrill L. Amador (March 1, 1994-June 19, 2001); and Geraldine M. Perri (Jan. 7, 2002-June 30, 2008), were honored for their years of service and contributions to the college at a reception hosted by current President Mark Zacovic.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Grossmont College, Point Loma Nazarene University partner for 4-year nursing degree

Seated l to r: PLNU nursing dean Barbara Taylor;
Debbie Yaddow, Grossmont College dean of allied health and nursing
Bob Brower, PLNU president
Sunita V. Cooke, Grossmont College president
Starting next fall, graduates of the Grossmont College nursing program can seamlessly continue their education and receive their bachelor’s in nursing from Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) in just 15 months without ever leaving the community college campus.

The groundbreaking pact between the two institutions for the four-year nursing degree was announced this morning at a press conference at Grossmont College. Created to address growing workforce demand, the new agreement addresses the omission of nursing programs from recent legislation allowing select community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Student success profile: Glynn Long takes a leading role at Grossmont College

Glynn Long
Glynn Long was living in El Cajon when the Marine veteran decided to explore the opportunities at Grossmont College.

“I happened to be in the area and Grossmont College was close,” Long said. “I decided to try out an acting class and ended up stumbling upon the best theatre department at any community college in the region.”

The El Cajon resident has found his home on the stage and is a rising star at Grossmont College.  Long played the part of Athos in the Grossmont College Summer Arts Conservatory’s production of The Three Musketeers, the King in last spring’s Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department’s production of Alice in Wonderland, Walter Lee in the Grossmont College’s “Inside the Actor’s Process” production of A Raisin in the Sun, and Prince Bassianus in the Intrepid Shakespeare Company’s production of Titus Andronicus.

What does he plan for an encore?

“Ultimately, I plan to transfer to a four-year school and go into the theatre,” Long said.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter means it's time to jam at Cuyamaca College's annual music fest

Winter Wonder Jam -- Cuyamaca College’s homegrown music fest put on by students in the Music Industry Studies program and featuring four local bands and musicians playing pop, rock and folk music – is set for 7-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, in the performing arts theater.

Open to the public, admission is $5 or a donation of three canned goods to the San Diego Food Bank. Ample free parking will be available at the college at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mexican consulate awards $15,000 for scholarships to Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students

           For the second year in a row, the Mexican Consulate has awarded $15,000 to the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District that will be used to award scholarships to 15 Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students of Mexican descent.

Left to right: Selam Gebrekristos, Grossmont College scholarship
specialist; Grossmont College student Esau Cortez;
John Valencia, associate vice chancellor, adv. and comm.;
Sally Cox, executive director, Auxiliary
            The Mexican government awarded the scholarship money to the East County colleges and four other education institutions in San Diego County – University of California San Diego, University of San Diego, Southwestern College, and Access.

            “We are interested in helping the Mexican population living in the United States have access to improve their education,” said Remedios Gomez Arnau, Mexican consul general in San Diego.

            John Valencia, the college district’s associate vice chancellor for advancement and communications, said the scholarships will be awarded for the spring 2015 semester to 10 Grossmont College students and 5 Cuyamaca College students. To be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship, a student must be of Mexican origin, have at least a 3.0 grade point average, and write a 500-word essay describing their Mexican heritage and the reasons why they should receive the scholarship.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cuyamaca College center working to boost high school students' financial literacy

             The Cuyamaca College-based San Diego Center for Economic Education will help update the financial literacy curriculum at high schools in the San Diego Unified School District under a new two-year, $161,533 grant.

            The San Diego Center for Economic Education at Cuyamaca College trains scores of elementary and high school teachers each year on the best methods for teaching economics in the classroom and how to infuse economics into other subject areas such as history or geography. The San Diego Center for Economic Education is the only one of 11 such centers in the state that is located at a community college.

            The Cuyamaca College center’s latest effort will help train 50 economics teachers at more than two dozen San Diego Unified high schools in the latest methods and theories in financial literacy. It also will pay for substitute teachers needed to cover for the economics instructors while they are undergoing training. Some 8,000 high school students will benefit from the training each year, according to San Diego Unified.

            “This is a huge responsibility and we are honored to partner with San Diego Unified School District in making sure that thousands of high school students will have the financial literacy education they need to make sound decisions in the future,” said Anthony Zambelli, a former economics professor who worked to have Cuyamaca College designated as the Center for Economic Education serving San Diego and Imperial counties and who is the center’s director.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Registration begins for intersession and spring semester classes

Registration has begun for winter session – or intersession – classes at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges that start Jan. 5. Registration has also begun for spring 2015 classes, which start Jan 26, 2015.

The colleges will offer nearly 70 intersession classes between Jan. 5-24, about 20 more than a year ago, when the courses returned after a four-year hiatus due to severe budget cuts. 

Intersession classes, while intensive, are a quick way to earn up to three college credits in just three weeks.  Most classes meet 31/2 hours a day, five days a week and others are offered online. They also provide a great way to get ahead by satisfying prerequisites.

The classes are identical to regular semester-length classes and the units are transferable to most four-year universities, including San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego.  At $46 a unit, California community college courses are an affordable way to obtain a college degree. Visit either college’s financial aid website for information on applying for financial aid.

Apply online for Cuyamaca College or Grossmont College, and allow one or two business days for the application to be processed. Then go to  to activate your student WebAdvisor account and register online for classes. Check out the Video Tutorial .

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Campus and Parking Services director pulls into a spot at college district

Nicole Conklin
Nicole Conklin, the district’s new Campus and Parking Services (CAPS) director, describes herself as a “parking nerd,” having dealt with the many issues involved in parking since she was 16 years old.

Her mother, an administrative assistant in the Parking Services office at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y., told her about a part-time job writing parking tickets on campus and the then-high school sophomore jumped at the chance. She went on to receive her bachelor’s and a master’s degree in geography with an emphasis in urban planning from the university in upstate New York.

Conklin now oversees the department at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District that provides parking enforcement and services including safety escorts, room unlocks/locks, and lost-and-found at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Barbecue honors Cuyamaca College student veterans

Veterans and other participants in the barbecue

After more than eight years in the Navy, James Kenney had his sights on going back to school to study computer science. It didn’t take long for him to settle on Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges.

            “I had a friend who told me that Grossmont and Cuyamaca were more veteran-friendly than any other community college in San Diego County,” Kenney said. “So I’ve been taking classes at both of them. I haven’t been disappointed.”

            Kenney was among the dozens of veterans feted Nov. 13 at a free barbecue for veterans and active-duty students at the Water Conservation Garden at the Cuyamaca College campus. The event was funded by the El Cajon Elks Lodge and co-hosted by Cuyamaca College.

Monday, November 10, 2014

College district names new vice chancellor of human resources

Tim Corcoran, a leader in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s human resources department since 2010, has been named vice chancellor of human resources following a nationwide search.

Tim Corcoran
Corcoran joined the East County college district four years ago as the director of employee and labor relations, and was promoted to associate vice chancellor of human resources in January 2012. He twice served as interim vice chancellor during leadership transitions, and the skill he ably demonstrated during those times made him the best candidate for the top-level post, Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said.

“Consistently, Tim displays his talents for thoughtful leadership and problem-solving in negotiation processes with employee groups and in individual relations with employees,” Miles said. She noted that his acumen with collective- bargaining negotiations played a big part in the recent contract agreements signed for the first time in several years by all three of the district’s employee unions. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Two Cuyamaca College employees honored for dedication to their duties

            Both came to Cuyamaca College after long careers in other fields. Both have become invaluable, behind-the-scenes employees who are making sure that operations at the 9,000-student East County campus run smoothly.

             And both Michael Erickson and Corina Trevino have been honored with the Cuyamaca Way Award, which honors students, faculty or staff who best exemplifies the values of Cuyamaca College.

            They join an exclusive club. Just two dozen people have been honored with the award.

            “Michael and Corina have each stepped up on multiple occasions to take on additional responsibilities. The can-do attitude they exhibit is the kind of service that students, staff, and the community have come to expect at Cuyamaca College.  They are valued members of our team,” said Cuyamaca College President Mark Zacovic.

Corina Trevino
            Trevino says she wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

            “I know this college well because all my kids came here,” she said. “My daughter and I used to walk and run on the track. It’s such a beautiful campus. It was my dream to work here.”

            A San Diego native who has lived in East County almost all of her life, Trevino worked for Bank of America, General Dynamics and an off-road motorcycle firm before Cuyamaca College hired her in October of 2013 as its Business Services Specialist. In that position, the National University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration was responsible for routing all business forms and contracts, along with making sure paperwork was properly completed and signed. The post also includes being the campus switchboard operator.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Two new members on district's bond oversight committee

         A retired bank manager and a healthcare educator have been appointed to serve on the citizens’ committee charged with ensuring that revenues from two construction bonds for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District are spent as promised to voters.

Sharon Bullard, who managed bank branches in East County for more than 15 years, was selected to serve on the district’s Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee, along with Marlene Ruiz, director of  Education and Consulting Services for Southern California Kaiser Permanente.

Both appointments were approved by the district’s Governing Board Oct. 21. Board trustees also voted to extend the term of the oversight committee’s student member Zack Gianino, the Grossmont College student trustee.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

East County college, high school districts form alliance

          A unique partnership designed to provide East County high school students with a smoother path to college and a career was announced today by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and the Grossmont Union High School District.
Seated left to right:
Bill Garrett, Cindy Miles, Ralf Swenson, Robert Shield

            An agreement formalizing the East County Education Alliance was signed at Cuyamaca College by Bill Garrett, president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board; Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the college district; Robert Shield, president of the Grossmont Union High School District Governing Board; and Ralf Swenson, superintendent of the high school district.

            The Alliance was formed to increase collaboration between the two districts so that students are better informed about their college and career options after high school and have a smoother path to college. The partnership has set goals of increasing the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for college, along with increasing the numbers of students who graduate from college ready to enter the workforce.

            “Too often, college and high school districts work in silos – they have different funding streams, different governance structures and different cultures,” Miles said. “What we need to remember is we are serving the same students – just at different times in their lives. The East County Education Alliance helps us to do just that.”

            Within the next year, Alliance members plan to

·         align curriculum so that the  lessons students are taught in high school better matches  the knowledge and skills they are expected to have at college,

·         provide communications to high school students, parents and counselors about how best to prepare for college or a career,

·         increase programs allowing high school students to take college classes,

·         raise scholarship funds for students who commit to goals that prepare them for college or a career,

·         launch a website and communications to keep students, educators, and community members informed about resources, progress, and how to get involved.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caleb Martinez: Finding redemption at Grossmont College

Caleb Martinez
This is another in an occasional series of student success stories at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.
Grossmont College academic standout Caleb Martinez has experienced quite the journey. The 25-year-old East County resident grew up in a series of neighborhoods rife with crime, and he often found himself in trouble as a teen. His mother had to work two jobs to make ends meet, and his brother was murdered in a gang shooting in El Cajon.

Today, Martinez maintains a 4.0 grade point average, is the president of the campus EOPS Club, is planning to transfer to a University of California campus with plans of becoming a lawyer and is raising a young daughter as a doting single father.

Grossmont College has been pivotal in the transformation.

“Grossmont showed me that education is the way out, the way out for a lot of people who come from challenging backgrounds,” Martinez said. “The school helped me connect with the community and interact with different groups. It taught me so much about life in general."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Grossmont College president Sunny Cooke selected to lead MiraCosta College

Sunita V. Cooke
After seven years as president of Grossmont College, Sunita V. Cooke has been chosen to serve as the new superintendent/president of MiraCosta College in northern San Diego County beginning in January 2015.

             Cooke was unanimously selected today by the MiraCosta Community College District Board of Trustees to replace Interim Superintendent/President Dick Robertson.

            "Sunny Cooke has been an exemplary leader for Grossmont College, and her focus has always been on providing the best services possible so that our students can succeed," said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “This is a bittersweet moment for us. We’ll miss her smart, caring and charismatic leadership, but we congratulate her on achieving this new phase in her career.”

            Cooke began serving as president of Grossmont College in 2007 after spending 12 years in the Lone Star College System in north Houston, Texas, culminating in a position there as vice chancellor for workforce development. 

            Grossmont College, on a 135-acre campus in El Cajon, serves more than 18,000 students. It offers over 150 degree and certificate programs, including renowned programs in nursing and allied health, administration of justice, culinary arts, and theater.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nurses put on thinking caps to brainstorm about new alumni group

Nursing alums
About two dozen nurses had a reunion of sorts recently at Grossmont College to launch a nursing program alumni group with the support of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges.

The mostly recent graduates of the college’s high-demand nursing program returned to the campus Wednesday to be part of the Grossmont College Nursing Blue-Ribbon Panel to brainstorm ideas to expand membership of the new alumni group and get nursing grads numbering in the thousands to reconnect with the program.

“It’s not only a wonderful way for our graduates to renew ties and foster networking opportunities, it’s a way to support the program and its current students,” said Debbie Yaddow, the college’s dean of allied health and nursing.

Of the estimated 7,000 Grossmont College nursing alum existing today, about 80 percent are believed to be employed in in the field, well above the 54 percent statewide average for other nursing programs.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Student success story: Grossmont College student using lessons learned in Theatre Arts

Kassandra Wallies
As William Shakespeare once wrote, all the world’s a stage. Just ask Kassandra Wallies, an active participant in Grossmont College’s Theatre Arts Department who is planning on a career as an elementary school teacher.
“I love teaching, and I think a good background in theatre will help a lot,” Wallies said. “A good teacher has to be able to capture their students’ attention.”

She’s also been capturing the attention of Grossmont faculty and staff, who laud Wallies for her work ethic and determination, not to mention her 3.5 GPA.

“Kassandra is just a fabulous young lady,” said Alexis Popko, Grossmont College Theatre Operations Facilitator. “She is a very good singer, she has played a number of roles and she does an outstanding job as our house manager. She’s established good working relationships with everyone here, and her organizational skills are excellent. We’re just so lucky to have her here.”

Besides being involved at the Grossmont College Theatre Department, Wallies has been working as vocal director at Clairemont High School, from where she graduated just three years ago. She also has performed with Theatre Alive! in downtown San Diego, and will be cast in its production of `Evil Dead, the Musical,’ from Oct. 24 thought Nov. 1.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Foundation steps up fundraising efforts with new staff

The Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges has stepped up its donor recruitment and fundraising efforts to benefit students with the hiring of new staff members.

Heather Cavazos
Lisa Connor is the director of development, a job that entails connecting with potential major donors. Heather Cavazos has been brought aboard as a development coordinator to plan events for the foundation’s retiree network and alumni association, as well as finding ways to increase community involvement in the philanthropic organization.

John Valencia, associate vice chancellor of Advancement and Communications for the district and CEO of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, said that engaging the community is crucial to developing a robust fundraising program to bolster the colleges.

“People need to feel a connection with the campuses in order to give and we need to facilitate that connection,” Valencia said. “People who are engaged give to things they care about. This is a first and crucial step in a comprehensive fundraising program.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Grossmont Middle College High School students score big

Four of the top high school seniors in the country are enrolled at the small Grossmont Middle College High School, according the latest results of a National Merit Scholarship competition.

            Three students – Devon Decker, Claire Negus and Ryan Zentmyer – have reached “commended” status; one – Finian Lickona – has reached the prestigious level of National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. With only 36 seniors at the school on the Grossmont College campus, that means more than 11 percent of the senior class has reached elite status in the nationwide competition involving some 1.5 million students.

            “We have a rigorous program, and I think these scores confirm the excellence we have here at the Middle College High School,” Grossmont Middle College High School counselor Sharon Neumann said.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Grossmont College's Hyde Art Gallery opens "Of the Element" exhibit Sept. 29

Local artists’ work will go on display in “Of the Element,” opening to the public Sept. 29 in the Hyde Art Gallery at Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon.  The five local artists represented include David Fobes, Steve Gibson, Anne Mudge, Marisol Rendon and Robert Treat. Their work will be on display through Nov. 6.

 “This group exhibition examines one of the foundations of art – design,” said Jennifer Bennett, Associate Professor of Art at Grossmont College, who co-curated the exhibit with gallery director Prudence Horne. “The work on display explores subject, form and content through a selection of interdisciplinary artists. Specifically, there is a focus on artwork that selectively employs the art elements and the principles of design. It’s fascinating to discover how each artist approaches intention, process and practice, resulting in objects that engage in unique and surprising ways.”

An opening reception will be held from 5 – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the Hyde Art Gallery, located in building 25. The gallery will also host several of the exhibit’s artists to speak on their work and inspiration, including:
     11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, with Steve Gibson

     1:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 10, with David Fobes

     1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 29, with Robert Treat

All events are free and open to the public. Complimentary parking for the opening reception will be available in Parking Lot 1; vehicles must park in designated stalls.
Hyde Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with the exception of legal holidays. Admission is free and open to the public. Visitor parking is available from the vending machine in Parking Lot 1, section F.

For more information, visit the gallery website at

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cuyamaca College to host congressional debate

             Cuyamaca College will host the only debate between Rep. Duncan Hunter and challenger James Kimber in the campaign for the 50th Congressional District seat.

             The debate is set for Friday, Sept. 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theater, Building B, 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway, in Rancho San Diego.

            “As an integral part of the East County community, Cuyamaca College is honored to host this debate between Congressman Duncan Hunter and James Kimber, as it will provide our students and area residents an opportunity to learn more about the candidates and the political process,” said Cuyamaca College President Mark J. Zacovic.

            The debate is sponsored by Veterans Campaign, a nonpartisan, non-ideological organization whose mission is to train veterans to run for public office. Kimber, a Democrat who works as a physician assistant, is a Navy veteran who spent 20 years in the service; Hunter, a Republican who has been a Congressman representing the area since 2009, served in the Marine Corps and continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grossmont College music professor Justin Grinnell: Hitting all the right notes

Justin Grinnell
Follow your passion.

That has been a guiding principal for Grossmont College music instructor and jazz bassist extraordinaire Justin Grinnell, who ditched plans to study mathematics shortly after enrolling at San Diego State University back in 1999 and meeting musicians “who were doing music all the time.”

Good thing. Grinnell has become an integral part of a vibrant Grossmont College music program and gigs as a pit orchestra member at myriad venues, including the Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, and the San Diego Civic Theatre for a number of Tony Award-winning musicals.

And now his debut disc, the Justin Grinnell Quartet’s Without You, has been nominated for a San Diego Music Award for best jazz album.

Grinnell is no stranger to awards. He is a member of the Danny Green Trio, which won the 2009 San Diego Music Award for Best Jazz Album for its debut CD. The trio’s second release, A Thousand Ways Home, reached No. 17 on the Jazz Week Charts for national radio airplay after its 2012 debut.

“I’m doing what I love,” said Grinnell, who is on track to earn his Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Studies from USC next spring. “The only thing I really want to do is keep working with great musicians, perform with the jazz masters and teach jazz at the college or university level.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

College district wins national diversity award

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Tuesday received the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award, a national honor recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

It is the only community college district in the state and locally, joins San Diego State University and California State University, San Marcos, in its recognition from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest diversity-focused publication in higher education.  The district will be will be featured along with 82 other recipients across the nation in the magazine’s November 2014 issue. 

“With our diverse student and campus populations representing San Diego County’s rich mix of cultures and communities, our district places great importance in providing a welcoming environment to everyone,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “We are delighted that our efforts have been recognized with this welcome award.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rafael Navarrete: Bringing leadership skills from the military to Grossmont College

Rafael Navarrete
This is part of an occasional series on Grossmont and Cuyamaca students who exemplify success.
Rafael Navarrete is all about service. He proved that while serving eight years in the Marine Corps. He proved that while serving as a summer camp counselor at the Boys & Girls Club of East County. And he is proving that as an active member of the Grossmont College Student Veteran Organization and as president of Associated Students of Grossmont College.

“I didn’t want to just be a student at Grossmont, I wanted to be a part of Grossmont,” said Navarrete, a political science major who enrolled at the college in the fall of 2013, just three months after leaving the Marine Corps. “I wanted to serve again.”

He is surpassing his goals. Besides his roles as student body president and veterans’ advocate on campus, Navarrete sits on a college committee engaged in a nationwide search for a new Vice President of Student Services. He also serves on Grossmont College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the Bookstore Committee.

“Rafael Navarrete is making a lasting impact at Grossmont College, and we are honored to have as a student leader a veteran who gave so selfishly to his country,” said Grossmont President Sunny Cooke. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges honor victims of 9/11 attacks

Memorial ceremonies marking the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be held Thursday at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges with the planting of 2,977 American flags representing the victims and the reading of names for everyone who lost his or her life.

            The Associated Students of Grossmont College (ASGC) is sponsoring a Spirit of 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony and Name Reading in the Main Quad. The Name Reading is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. The Remembrance is set to start at 12:30 p.m. and will include comments from former Marine Sgt. And current ASGC President Rafael Navarrete, Grossmont College President Sunita (Sunny) Cooke, and Cindy Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

            The keynote speaker is Lt. Col. Douglas (Lucky) Luccio, deputy operations officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Grossmont College student Javier Partida will be honored with the Spirit of 9/11 Award for scaring off an assailant who had targeted a fellow student, then escorting the victim to sheriff’s deputies at the college to report the crime.

            The Associated Student Government of Cuyamaca College and the Office of Student Affairs are remembering 9/11 by planting 2,977 flags on the Grand Lawn at the campus for a memorial beginning at 10:30 a.m. Speakers for the event include Cuyamaca College President Mark Zacovic; Col. John Farnham, commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar; Mark Arabo, a spokesman for the Iraqi Chaldean community; Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Lannon; and state Sen. Joel Anderson. The San Miguel Fire Department will display its 70-foot flag beside the Grand Lawn during the event.   

            Associated Students at both colleges have teamed up to raise money for the 9/11 Memorial Museum at the site of the destroyed Twin Towers in Manhattan. Donations of $1 or more will be accepted at both colleges.

            Grossmont College is at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in El Cajon. Both events are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fall concert series set at Cuyamaca College

Music from the Middle East, a classical string quartet, contemporary tunes from Argentina, and a pop, rock, and soul ensemble playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon are among the performances set for Cuyamaca College’s fall concert series that begins Sept. 18.

             The fall season gets underway with Kembang Sunda, an Indonesian Gamelan ensemble. Based in San Diego, Kembang Sunda performs traditional Sundanese music from West Java. Gamelan ensembles developed in the ancient courts of Java and Bali, and primarily consist of tuned bronze percussive instruments. Kembang Sunda has been performing throughout Southern California since 2007.

            Other performances include the Danny Green Trio on Oct. 21, guitar virtuoso and Cuyamaca College instructor Jonathan Davis on Nov. 20, and the Cuyamaca College Wind Ensemble and Grossmont College Concert Band on Dec. 3. A full list of performances can be found at


Friday, August 29, 2014

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges laud exemplary faculty

The names of the awards may be different, but the intent is the same: to honor the passion and dedication of faculty chosen by their peers as the year’s best at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

Four faculty members – two from each college -- were honored recently with the academic year’s leading awards recognizing exemplary service to the campuses by either classroom or non-classroom faculty. The coveted committee-selected plaudits from each college’s Academic Senate are announced at fall semester convocations.

At Grossmont College, receiving the Distinguished Faculty honor for full-time, tenured faculty was Spanish instructor Yolanda Guerrero. An inaugural Distinguished Faculty award for part-time faculty was given to longtime math instructor Michael Lambe. At Cuyamaca College, receiving the Outstanding Faculty Award for full-time faculty was Spanish instructor Patricia Santana; the honor for part-time faculty was given to Arabic instructor Aklas Sheia, who is only the college’s second recipient of the adjunct award.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rotary Club donates $7,000 to Cuyamaca College as a parting gift

The Rancho San Diego/Spring Valley Rotary Club has gone out with a bang. The service organization, which disbanded this summer after 49 years because of declining membership, has donated more than $35,000 in its bank account to an array of nonprofits and educational groups, including more than $7,000 to Cuyamaca College.
“We’ve always been here to support the community, and we felt that this was the best use of the money we had,” said Rusty Burkett, who served as the Rancho San Diego/Spring Valley Rotary Club’s last president. “We’re honored to have been able to help.”

Cuyamaca College was the biggest winner.

Cuyamaca College’s Unlimited Potential! (also known as UP!), which supports former foster youth and others who have face great financial uncertainty, received $1,670. The Cuyamaca College Give the Dream program, which provides students small emergency grants to help them deal with unforeseen hardships, received $2,670. The Cuyamaca College President’s Fund, used to support college events and programs, received $2,670.

Donations were made through the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges.

“We are thankful for the generous gift from the Rancho San Diego/Spring Valley Rotary Club, a gift that will help increase access for many more students at Cuyamaca College,” said Cuyamaca College President Mark Zacovic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fall semester begins August 18 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges

Fall semester begins Aug. 18 for more than 25,000 students at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges with additional class offerings and instructors at the two East County colleges.

Grossmont College is offering 1,605 class sections, compared to 1,548 last fall and Cuyamaca College, 694, up from 679 in 2013. Students still have the opportunity to register for fall classes, with the colleges continuing online registration through Aug. 15. Schedules and registration links are available on each college’s website, and

“We are looking forward to a great year as we continue our mission of advancing the learning and success of our students,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. About 17,000 students are expected at Grossmont College this fall, while about 8,500 students will be attending Cuyamaca College.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cuyamaca College coach Lyle Barton: Vaulting to recognition

Lyle Barton
Lyle Barton has a simple answer when asked why he became a track and field coach more than two decades ago. “I was a former athlete and I never had any coaching to help me get to that next level,” he said. “That always bothered me. I always felt that if I would ever get the chance, I’d jump at the opportunity.”

Good thing. Barton, who has been Cuyamaca College’s pole vault and decathlon coach the past 14 years, was recently selected as the 2014 Assistant Coach of the Year for Men’s Track and Field by the California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches Association.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by your peers,” Barton said. “It really means a lot to me.”

Barton has found success everywhere he’s coached, which includes West Hills, Grossmont, El Capitan, and El Cajon high schools and Cuyamaca College. One of the first athletes he coached at Cuyamaca, Brian McLaughlin, still holds the school record with a vault of 16 feet, 10 and ¾ inches and later had a successful run at UCLA. At El Capitan High School, Barton led the boys’ and girls’ pole vault teams to the CIF Division 2 championships two consecutive years each.