Thursday, April 30, 2020

MCOM video will help market Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

Call it 60 Minutes, Griffin style.

Students in Grossmont College’s Media Communications 217, Television and Video Producing and Directing, recently completed the first edition of the Griffin Report, a three-segment news video promoting the colleges and Red Cross blood drives, a common occurrence at the campuses.

The Grossmont segment reported on Gizmo’s Kitchen, the college’s food pantry for students, and included interviews of students and staff addressing the issue of food insecurity. A  segment shot at Cuyamaca College featured the Rancho San Diego campus’ Center of Water Studies and included instructors and students talking about careers in the water industry.

The final segment featured television journalist Kyle Kraska’’s 2nd annual Celebration of Heroes, an event that Kraska sponsors each spring as a show of gratitude for the care he received and the more than a dozen pints of donated blood he needed after being shot outside of his home five years ago. In addition to an interview of Kraska at the celebration event, the segment focused on the critical need for don
ated blood in San Diego and elsewhere.

Besides posting the video on YouTube, instructor Evan Wirig said he is providing a copy to Cox Cable for airing as a public service announcement .  He added that local high school counselors have been given copies for college recruitment.

“This is a new innovation for us to use student-produced work to promote the District and highlight East County community events,” said  Wirig said.

Wirig said students are currently working on the second edition of the Griffin Report.

“Working remotely, students are setting up interviews via Skype and Zoom to talk to students, faculty, staff and administrators about the impact of COVID-19.”

Sunday, April 26, 2020

College district receives $90,000 to help students learning remotely

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is receiving $90,000 from The San Diego Foundation as part of a regional grant to help community college students who need laptop computers and internet connectivity.
The San Diego Foundation awarded a $500,000 grant to be shared among the five community college districts in San Diego County – Grossmont-Cuyamaca, San Diego, Southwestern, MiraCosta and Palomar.
Chancellor Lynn Neault said the district is coming up with a plan to purchase laptops and internet service for the students who need it most.
“Since we moved to offering all of our courses online, many of our students have struggled because they don’t have the resources they need to be successful in their classes,” Neault said. “We’re grateful for this grant from The San Diego Foundation to help more of our students bridge the digital divide.”

Friday, April 24, 2020

Memorial ride for Grossmont College counselor and cycling advocate Gordy Shields goes solo

The coronavirus outbreak has transformed a memorial bike ride held annually in the memory of a former Grossmont College counselor and local cycling legend into a solo event.

The 7th annual Gordy Shields Memorial Bike Ride is set for Sunday May 3, to honor the  decades-long cycling advocate who rode competitively well into his 90s.

Instead of the 35-mile fun ride that each year attracts scores of riding enthusiasts, members of the cycling community and the general public are invited to remember Shields in their own way with a solo ride to honor the late Fletcher Hills resident who died in 2013 at age 95.

To participate, riders must register at  , then ride anywhere – even on a stationary bike -- for a minimum 10 minutes. Log your Sunday ride on your Love to Ride profile and share riding photos for chances at winning prizes, including a free bike tune up valued at $90 and gift certificates from Adams Avenue Bike Shop.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Governing Board meetings to livestream on YouTube

The next regular meeting of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board on Tuesday, April 21, will be its  first  livestreamed on YouTube. 

The virtual monthly board meetings will continue until stay-at-home orders are lifted by the state. A YouTube link will always be posted with the agenda 72 hours prior to regular board meetings and 24 hours prior to a special meeting. 

Tuesday’s board meeting starts at 5:1 5 p.m. The agenda can be accessed at  and the YouTube link is at . 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Rate video to help Grossmont drone technology crew win People's Choice Telly Award

click to rate video
Graduates of Grossmont College’s Drone Technology program and their instructor have their sights set high as nominees of the prestigious Telly Awards, which each year showcases the nation’s best in television or video production.

Nominated for a People’s Choice Award is an aerial video of Smackfest, a popular volleyball tournament played on the sands of Hermosa Beach. Led by instructor Skip Fredricks, students Dan Hall, Steve Pollard, Sophia Bailey, Steve Lewis, and Jayden Logan took part in the shoot as pilots, camera operators, visuals observers, and Interns.

The college’s high-demand drone program is a grant-funded offering that provides free comprehensive training in two tracks, UAS Surveying and Mapping and UAS Cinematography.

Judges will consider the video for the cinematography and editing categories the entry is also nominated for, but the People’s Choice Awards are determined by ratings from online viewers. Fredricks, who has had a nearly 20-year career in broadcast television, film and new media, is counting on the Grossmont College community and others to help boost the video’s ratings.

“A win here will go a long way in helping launch the careers of these drone program graduates, as my first Telly wins did in 1999,” said Fredricks, who owns a production company with past clients including Fox Sports, HBO, Universal Pictures, Google, Apple, and USA Networks. 

“Voting five stars for this project would be an amazing validation of their hard work and talent.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sound of silence not for Grossmont College Guitar Ensemble

Not to be muted by COVID-19 despite sheltering at home, the Grossmont College Guitar Ensemble put on a virtual performance of a spritely melody, “Renaissance Dance,” in a YouTube video created by Grossmont College music Professor Fred Benedetti.

The 2-minute, 48-second video took hours to produce.

Guided by a split-screen video of Benedetti performing a six-part harmony, each student recorded themselves playing their instrument -- bass, flute, keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, tambourine, mandolin and drums. Using software in his home studio, their instructor then extracted the audio, replacing his original audio track with a new track of the students’ performances.

For the video, a Zoom session recorded 17 students, a few of them in costumes, including Spiderman and a tiger hat. Benedetti, who appears in a cameo playing bass and finger cymbals, is wearing whimsical headgear. To overcome sound latency – an inherent problem with Zoom -- the Zoom video then had to be synced with the audio track.

“All in all, it was many hours of work, but the smiles on everyone’s faces and the amazing response was very well worth it,” Benedetti said about the Guitar Ensemble, a performance group of intermediate to advanced music students, which each semester puts on three public concerts.

The pandemic has abolished all live concerts, but Benedetti has his talented students and studio technology to fall back on. A second video "Gankino Horo," a Bulgarian folksong, was recently added.

“We have more to come,” he promised, saying they are shooting for a new video every week.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Cuyamaca College students create 'ear savers' for essential workers

A pair of Cuyamaca College engineering students are making things a little more tolerable for health care workers and other essential employees whose face mask straps can wear thin on the soft tissue behind their ears during their shifts. 

Dill Johnson, 24, and Nicholas Snyder, 20, are using their 3-D printers at home and the skills they’ve learned at Cuyamaca College to produce more than 200 “ear saver” bands to relieve the pressure caused by straps on a face mask.

With essential workers from doctors and nurses to food service employees mandated to wear face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with health officials urging residents to wear one any time they leave their home, ear savers – which look something like a plastic comb and hook around the back of the neck - are becoming increasingly popular.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Grossmont College Culinary Arts instructor wins TV's 'Chopped'

 Kris Saradpon/Saradpon Photography
Chef James Foran, a veteran pastry instructor at Grossmont College and head of the Culinary Arts program, has gotten a taste of celebrity, thanks to winning the March 24 season premiere of “Chopped,” the popular TV cooking competition on the Food Network.

“Chef James provides further evidence that Grossmont College faculty stand among the best academically and professionally. We are proud of our colleague,” said Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh. “He sets high standards for his students and inspires them to rise to the challenge as he has demonstrated on the national scene."

Asked on the show why he was competing in “Chopped,” Foran said he wanted to represent fellow teachers. Foran, who previously worked as a pastry chef at leading restaurants before coming to Grossmont College, credits his students for keeping him passionate about his work as a chef. 
“Your students will be really proud to be saying they are taught by a ‘Chopped’ champion,” one judge told Foran. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

College district helps community during COVID-19 crisis

Loaning ventilators, aiding stranded cruise ship passengers, and stitching home-made face masks are ways that Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District employees are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a time for everyone to respond with the highest urgency,” said Chancellor Lynn Neault. “This global epidemic can only be fought with sense of unity and a common mission to help humanity in any way we can. This scourge has been a humbling lesson in how vulnerable we are, even in this modern age. I am grateful to our employees for opening their hearts and responding with such compassion.”
Grossmont College loans ventilators to hospitals and state
Grossmont College ventilators to be used by local hospitals
Grossmont College has loaned 18 ventilators to two local hospitals and the state as part of an effort to increase the supply of the life-saving equipment for COVID-19 patients.
The ventilators, which are used in Grossmont College’s Respiratory Therapy program, are valued at almost $400,000, said Nancy Saks, Senior Dean of Allied Health and Nursing at Grossmont.
Six of the ventilators went to Kaiser San Diego Hospital, five went to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, and seven others went to the state Office of Emergency Services. They were picked up at the college on Friday and Sunday.
As the number of COVID-19 patients increases, hospitals are experiencing a severe shortage of ventilators. The state of California recently sent out a request to colleges with health-related programs to loan out their ventilators.