MONDAY, MAY 24, 2004
Alumna Credits Mt. SAC for Her Confidence to Succeed
WALNUT, Calif.— When Vivian Zheng-Ward started taking classes at Mt. San Antonio College in the summer of 2000, she wasn’t sure if she could handle the rigors of college. She had been in the U.S. for a few years and had limited English skills. Yet with tenacity and encouragement, she overcame language and cultural barriers to become a successful designer for an engineering firm in San Dimas.
“When I started, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to earn my associate’s degree,” said Zheng-Ward, “but Mt. SAC really built up my self-confidence.”
Now a 44-year-old West Covina resident, Zheng-Ward arrived in the U. S. in 1992. She had worked as a waitress, babysitter, and clerical worker, but wanted more out of life. That’s when she enrolled in Mt. SAC’s Vocational English as a Second Language program, a specialized program that combines training in English skills with vocational skills.
She was immediately drawn to the Engineering Design Technology degree program, but soon found out just what a daunting task she was up against.
“When I took my first class, I told my husband, ‘I’m afraid I can’t make it,’” she said.
That’s when her inner strength—along with encouragement from faculty at Mt. SAC—took over.
“The professors always encouraged me,” she said. “They said I could do whatever I put my mind to, and that’s exactly what I needed.”
In the vocational component of the program, Vivian took classes in computer-aided drafting, computer-aided manufacturing, mechanical desktop, and 3D studio. She set goals for herself and stuck to them.
During her last semester at Mt. SAC, she managed to get part-time work as a computer-aided drafter with the City of West Covina, and soon after, she completed three certificate programs in Engineer Design Technology and graduated with an associate’s degree as part of Mt. SAC’s Class of 2002.
Along with her determined nature, Vivian credits the instruction and the environment at Mt. SAC with helping her reach her goal. She encourages students to set goals and pursue their dreams.
“You have to trust yourself, pursue your goal, and don’t give up,” she said.
Now, Vivian plans to continue her education and earn a bachelor’s degree. But there is one lesson she learned from one of her professors at Mt. SAC, who told her there are three kinds of people: Those who never know what’s happening, those who watch things happen, and those who make things happen.
“I’ll never forget that,” she said. “I wanted to be the kind who makes things happen. Everyone has the ability to do that.”
WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 2004
Student Commencement Speaker Counts His Blessings
WALNUT, Calif.— Student Damean Easter won’t be graduating with Mt. San Antonio College’s Class of 2004 this May, but he will be at graduation nonetheless as one of the commencement speakers. The irony is that Damean was set on dropping out only a few months ago.
“I didn’t think I would be going this far with my education,” said Damean, who is one of the top community college forensics students in the nation.
Last October, just before wildfires destroyed thousands of homes in Southern California, a fire that started in the Easter’s garage burnt to the ground the family’s home where Damean lived with his mother and younger sister. While no one was injured in the blaze, the family was decimated.
Without a place to live, Damean considered dropping out of school.
“I was going to quit school to be there for my family,” he said. “I felt it was my responsibility to take care of my mom and sister.“
Then he began dropping classes, one by one. He had dropped out of most of his classes and was ready to drop the forensics team—the same team with which he won four gold medals at the Phi Rho Pi National Speech Championship the year before.
“But my mom kept telling me to stay in school,” he said.
With urging from his mother and Mt. SAC Forensics Team Coach Liesel Reinhart, Damean agreed to stay on the speech team. And it was a good thing for Mt. SAC that he did.
The 22-year-old sophomore went on to compete for Mt. SAC at the American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament last month at Cal State Long Beach and placed third in the individual sweepstakes out of more than 550 competitors from 120 two-year colleges and universities, the highest finish by any community college student in the tournament’s history.
But it was also a good thing for Damean. Staying connected with the team brought him back to college.
“Just being on the team has shown me the importance of relationships,” he said.
The other ironic part about Damean’s speaking at graduation is that he never considered himself a good student.
"I’ve never really been into school,” he said. “In high school, I just did enough to get by.”
Although he was involved with student government in high school, he confesses that he was never fond of academic subjects.
He started taking a few acting classes at Mt. SAC in spring 2001. He acted in several of the Mt. SAC Theater productions, including Three Penny Opera, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Crimes of the Heart. And somewhere along the way, he became genuinely interested in education. Currently, he has been receiving offers to transfer to universities and plans to attend Azusa Pacific University.
“Now, I want to be better at school,” he said. “Now, I want to get good grades.”
And that enthusiasm for education is part of his commencement address at Mt. SAC’s 58th commencement on May 21. His address, “Life Is So Good,” exemplifies the importance of education through the real life story of George Dawson, who was 98 years old before he learned to read.
“Basically, the message is don’t take stuff for granted because you have more opportunities than you realize,” said Damean.
###Mt. SAC Graduate Hopes to Make a Name in Film
WALNUT, Calif.—Move over Steven Spielberg. Make room for Justin Lin. For the 20-year-old Mt. San Antonio College graduate, the future is bright with possibility. Already, Justin, who plans to make his career as a filmmaker, has his pick of some of the most prestigious film schools in the nation.
“I love movies and animation,” said Justin, who carries a 4.0 g.p.a. “They represent everything I want to be and want to show other people.”
He has already been accepted at UC Berkeley, USC, and New York University’s film program, where he was one of 30 accepted from a pool of 4,500. And while a number of other schools have welcomed him, Justin realizes that it has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point.
With David Fincher (Fight Club, Panic Room) and Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi) as two of his favorite directors, the budding director/screenwriter hopes someday to incorporate film noir, sci-fi, and Asian elements into his future films. But his beginning interests in film came almost as an accident.
The incident involved a high school English class project that called for a video version of MacBeth.
“I shot and edited the first film of my life, and I discovered that my passion for filmmaking and storytelling was real and deep,” he said.
From then on, there was no stopping him.
Justin spent two summers in USC’s film production workshop studying film production, screenwriting, and the film business. He took visual effects classes in Hollywood, and he served as assistant director for two of Mt. SAC’s theater productions, U.S.A. and The Foreigner.
Later, his talents were recognized. He was honored with the Bank of America Award for Excellence in Art for video production and studio arts. And along the way, he got an added boost to his career from Mt. SAC after enrolling in fall 2002.
“Mt. SAC helped me a lot,” said Justin. “Once I came here, everything changed.”
A resident of Rowland Heights, Justin said it was while he was at Mt. SAC that he found the direction and work ethic he needed.
“I knew I had to get in shape academically before I could go anywhere that would teach me the art of storytelling,” he said. “I was able to get my act together here at Mt. SAC.”
At Mt. SAC, he was a member of the Honors Program, was nominated as a Student of Distinction, and won several scholarships. He also credits at least part of his bright future to the faculty at Mt. SAC.
“I like the close attention the teachers at Mt. SAC give their students,” he said. “I think Mt. SAC helps students realize their potential.”
“I worked hard at everything I could,” he said. “I never settled for second best.”
And with the kinds of offers from film schools that Justin has been receiving, he may not have to.
Mt. SAC Bridge Program Gives Students a Head Start on College
WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College is now accepting applications from new, freshmen students for its seventh annual Bridge Program Summer Academy, offered June 28 through Aug. 5, to help students get a head start on college.
The Summer Academy is a six-week program that helps first-time students make a smooth transition to college while orientating them to the academic and social aspects of college. The academy helps students succeed in college through the use of learning groups and linked classes to develop a sense of community. The program also provides access to other support services available at Mt. SAC to help students.
Through the Bridge Program, classes in math, reading, and English are offered in a cohort setting, and students earn five units of college credit. The program also features educational field trips to UCLA, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Museum of Tolerance.
The program is also unique in that it incorporates the use of peer advisors to help students adjust. The peer advisors help by giving students in the program additional support.
A program orientation for students and their parents will be held Saturday, June 19.
Interested students who are unable to attend this six-week long session can participate in an extended "Orientation to College" program by enrolling in one of the specially designed Counseling 1 courses. These courses help students prepare for the fall semester through assistance with academic planning as well as access into hard to get English, math and study skills courses.
For applications or more information, call (909) 594-5611, ext. 5392.
###Spring Vocal Jazz Concert - Award Winning Jazz Groups Singcopation and Frontline Perform at Mt. SAC Clarke Theater
WALNUT, Calif. - The award winning vocal jazz groups, Singcopation and Frontline, will take the stage for an evening of dynamic entertainment on Saturday, May 15 at 8 p.m. at the Sophia B. Clarke Theater at Mt. San Antonio College's Performing Arts Center.
Under the direction of Professor of Music Bruce Rogers and backed by a live rhythm section, Singcopation will perform a wide variety of vigorous vocal jazz ranging from Latin, Swing, Ballads and Funk. Dubbed by Downbeat Magazine as being the number one community college vocal jazz group for 2001-02, Singcopation's remarkable versatility and whimsical sensibility has earned them numerous awards and accolades.
Professor of Music William McIntosh has been conducting choirs in the southern California area for over two decades. Directed by McIntosh, Frontline has won numerous awards and has received superior ratings, including three Downbeat Magazine awards. Frontline's repertoire will include music by Rogers and Hart, McCoy Tyner, Donald Fagen (of "Steely Dan" fame) and other renowned jazz artists.
General admission is $10 and $8 for seniors, students and children under 12 years old. Ample parking is free.
For information regarding tickets, special and advanced seating, directions or other special arrangements, please contact the Performing Arts Center Box Office at (909) 468-4050.
###Chamber Winds Orchestra to Perform in Concert at Mt. SAC at Special Sunday Matinee Performance on May 16th
WALNUT, Calif.-The Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Winds Orchestra will perform a special Sunday afternoon concert beginning at 4 p.m. on May 16 at the Mt. SAC Performing Arts Center's Recital Hall.
Under the direction of Professor Jason Chevalier, this special, end-of-season Chamber Winds concert will highlight every genre of music from the medieval to the ultra-modern. The program will include a flute concerto written by renowned composer Paul Schoenfield, entitled Achat Sha'alti, Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano by one of Britain's most pre-eminent composers, Sir Malcolm Arnold and Hummel Trumpet Concerto written by famed Austrian composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel.
Pamela Vleik (flute) and Steve Mahpar (French Horn), both accomplished musicians and members of Mt. SAC's music faculty, will accompany the Chamber Winds.
As an added highlight of this concert, the award-winning Mt. SAC Chamber Singers, under the direction of Professor Bruce Rogers, will perform Eric Whitacre's beautifully crafted a cappella work, Sleep.
General admission is $10 and $8 for seniors, students and children under 12 years of age. Ample parking is free.
For information regarding tickets, special and advanced seating, directions or other special arrangements, please contact the Mt. San Antonio College Performing Arts Center Box Office at (909) 468-4050.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2004
Mt. SAC to Award 1,771 Degree at 58th Commencement May 21
WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College will award 1,771 associate’s degrees to the Class of 2004 during the college’s 58th commencement on Friday, May 21, 7 p.m., at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.
Many of the graduates, ranging in age from 18 to 73, will join in the colorful pageantry of the commencement procession, which includes students, faculty, administrators, trustees and distinguished guests all robed and hooded in traditional academic regalia.
Dr. Fardad Fateri, President of DeVry University in Southern California, will challenge the Class of 2004 in his commencement address, “Who Is the Architect of Your Future?”
The college will also celebrate the induction of retired El Monte Police Chief Wayne C. Clayton and State Senator Nell Soto as 2004 Alumni of the Year. Both honorees have distinguished themselves in the area of public service.
In addition, brief presentations will be made by College President & CEO Dr. Christopher C. O’Hearn, Board of Trustees President Fred Chyr, Associated Students President William Chiu, forensics champion Damean Easter, and Academic Senate President Robertson Wellen.
Each semester, Mt. SAC serves nearly 40,000 students and community members.
Note: This year's ceremony will be webcast at < rtsp://broadcast.mtsac.edu/broadcast/grads/main04.rm >.
###Mt. SAC to Hold Memorial Blood Drive
WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College’s Information and Educational Technology Department and the Technology and Health Division will host the third annual Memorial Blood Drive in honor of Breanna Schmidt on Tuesday, June 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in front of the college’s Administration Building and the Student Life Center.
The blood drive commemorates Breanna Schmidt, the infant daughter of Mt. SAC Electronics Professor Dave Schmidt. Breanna, who was born with a lung condition called pneumothorax and was awaiting a lung transplant, passed away in June 2001.
Donations made at this blood drive will go to the American Red Cross.
To schedule an appointment for the blood drive, call (909) 594-5611, ext. 8000.
###Police Chief, Senator Named Alumni of the Year
WALNUT, Calif.— Retired El Monte Police Chief Wayne C. Clayton and State Senator Nell Soto will be honored as Mt. SAC’s Alumni of the Year during the College’s 58th commencement ceremony on May 21.
Soto, who attend Mt. SAC in 1947-48, is currently the State Senator for the 32nd District, representing the communities of Pomona, Ontario, San Bernardino, Colton, and Fontana. Throughout her career in public service, she has focused her efforts on education, health care reform, and economic development. She chairs the Public Employees Retirement Committee and serves on the Transportation, Insurance, Local Government, Governmental Organization, and Veterans Affairs committees. Soto also served three terms in the State Assembly and three terms on the Pomona City Council.
Clayton, Class of 1959, has served 42 years in law enforcement, mostly with the El Monte Police Department. He is a pioneer of community-based policing and has been recognized nationally for his work in this area.
The nominees are selected for the Alumni of the Year award based on the significant contributions a former student has made to his or her community, the contributions made to his or her profession, or philanthropic efforts.
###Mt. SAC Students Named to All-State Academic Team
WALNUT, Calif.— Mt. San Antonio College students Andrew Worley and Ge Wu were recently selected for the 2004 All-California Academic second team, as chosen by Phi Theta Kappa, the national community college honors society.
Worley and Wu, both students in Mt. SAC's Honors Program, were honored and received cash stipends during the Community College League of California awards luncheon held recently in Sacramento. The academic team award is given based on grades, leadership, and community service.
A resident of Covina, Worley, 19, is a business major and carries a 4.0 g.p.a. He serves as a vice president for Phi Theta Kappa and volunteers as a tutor for the campus “School on Wheels” project, which provides academic support for students. Off campus, Worley is a lifeguard with the City of Covina and works with children in athletic programs offered through Covina’s recreation department. He plans to transfer to USC.
A resident of Walnut, Wu, 19, is also a business major and carries a 4.0 g.p.a. She is involved with several campus clubs, including the Accounting Club and the International Club. Wu also serves as president of the College’s Business Club and captain for Students in Free Enterprise (S.I.F.E.). She plans to transfer to UC Berkeley.
The All-California Academic Team winners represent some of the best of the 1.5 million students in the state’s community college system.
###Mt. SAC Students Advance to SkillsUSA Nationals
WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College students won five gold medals and three silver medals at the SkillsUSA (formerly the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America--VICA) State competition held recently in Riverside. As a result, Mt. SAC will send four students to the SkillsUSA national competition to be held June 21-26 in Kansas City.
Mt. SAC’s Troy Majeska (Valinda) won the gold medal in the aircraft maintenance competition, and teammate Al Garzon (Azusa) won the gold medal in the computer maintenance division. Mark Stanley (Diamond Bar) won the gold medal in technical computer applications category, and Scott Moore (San Dimas) won the gold medal in the electronic technology competition. Majeska, Garzon, Stanley, and Moore will represent Mt. SAC at the national competition.
Other medal winners at the state competition include David Russey (Hacienda Heights), who won a gold medal in welding; Steve Santana (Riverside), who won a silver medal in welding; Brad Williams (Chino Hills), who won a silver medal in technical drafting; and Charlie Noiboonsook (Chino Hills), who won a silver medal in aircraft maintenance technology.
SkillsUSA is a nationally affiliated vocational club representing secondary and post-secondary students in the trade, technical, and health education fields. The vocational education organization represents more than a quarter million students in over 13,000 chapters.
MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004
DeVry President to Address Mt. SAC Grads May 21
WALNUT, Calif.,— Dr. Fardad Fateri, President of DeVry University, will deliver the graduation address to Mt. SAC’s Class of 2004 during the College’s 58th commencement on Friday, May 21, 7 p.m., in Hilmer Lodge Stadium.
Fateri will speak on, “ Who Is the Architect of Your Future?” This year, Mt. SAC will present 1,771 Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees.
As President of DeVry University in Southern California, Fateri oversees the campuses in Pomona, San Fernando Valley, and Long Beach. He joined Devry in 1995 as Dean of Student Affairs. He was named Dean of the Long Beach campus in 1996, and then was promoted to President in 2000.
A career educator, Fateri has taught various courses in psychology, education, and business. Currently, he teaches leadership courses in the master’s program for DeVry’s Keller Graduate School.
Fateri is active in numerous community commissions, civic committees, nonprofit organizations, and business boards. He has also made several television and radio appearances as a popular panelist and presenter.
###FRIDAY, MAY 07, 2004
'Fermata Nowhere' Takes Second in International Competition
WALNUT, Calif., May 6, 2004—The Mt. San Antonio College men’s vocal ensemble, Fermata Nowhere, literally came out of nowhere recently to win second place in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella held Town Hall Theater in New York City.
Just by advancing to the final competition, the Mt. SAC ensemble became the first community college group to ever compete at that level. But to take second place, that’s another story.
“Normally, it’s university and four-year college vocal groups that compete in this competition,” said the ensemble’s director, Bill McIntosh. “For us to take second place is typically unheard of.”
At the finals, Fermata Nowhere went up against a cappella groups from Cornell University, Virginia Tech, Syracuse University, McGill University in Canada, Millikin University in Illinois, and National Cheng Kung University inTaiwan. The Mt. SAC ensemble--which performs a varied repertoire, ranging from traditional choral music to Top 40 tunes—took runner up with its student-arranged rendition of Outkast’s Hey Ya and a medley from the Chili’s restaurant baby back ribs commercial.
“We wanted to go in there and show them what we could do,” said McIntosh. “Taking second in this competition meant a ton to the guys.”
In addition to the accolades from winning in the competition, Mt. SAC also received some unexpected exposure. While competing, the ensemble was taped by MTV and will appear on an upcoming broadcast by the cable music program.
Fermata Nowhere made the finals after beating ensembles from USC, Bringham Young, the University of Oregon, and the University of Colorado in the semifinals held in March at Stanford, which marks the second consecutive year that the group has competed in the semifinals.
Formed just two years ago, the group takes its name from a play on words using the name of a musical symbol. The name was made up by a Mt. SAC choral student. The ensemble’s future plans include going into the studio to record a CD in June and looking forward to the Best of Collegiate A Cappella competition next fall. This time from out of somewhere.
###Mt. SAC Foundation Board Welcomes New Members
WALNUT, Calif.—The Mt. SAC Foundation welcomed two new members to the Board of Directors this spring--Dennis Chiappetta of Pomona and Frank Shen of Rowland Heights.
Chiappetta is the Chief Operating Officer of Athens Services in the City of Industry where he has worked for 15 years. He is a member of 17 chambers of commerce in the valley, the 2100 Club, and the Southern California Waste Management Forum. Chiappetta is also involved with Operation Santa Clothes, which provides clothing for needy children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dominican College.
Shen is the Director of Boeing Huntington Beach Propulsion Mechanical Systems and is a certified systems engineer. He is actively involved with the American Asian Professors Association, the Taiwan Ocean University, and is a board member for the Hacienda Heights Chinese School. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degrees in mechanical engineering.
The Foundation is led by an all-volunteer board that meets six times a year to plan fund raising activities for Mt. SAC. The nonprofit organization, whose mission it is to enhance the college’s ability to serve students, was founded in 1963.
Ingham Named Mt. SAC Foundation President
WALNUT, Calif.— Gary Ingham, a realtor for ERA Advantage who lives in West Covina, has been named President of the Mt. San Antonio College Foundation. Ingham has attended both the Covina and Charter Oak schools as well as Mt. SAC. In the community, he is a member of the Citrus Valley Board of Realtors and a board member of Pacific Homes Foundation He holds a bachelor’s in economics from UC Riverside.
Along with Ingham on the executive board is Scarlet Treu, of Hacienda Heights, who serves as the First Vice President in charge of the President’s Circle, and Kathleen Newe, of Phillips Ranch, who serves as Second Vice President in charge of membership. A sales agent for Century 21 EN Realty, Newe has been an active member with Friends of Diamond Bar Library, Diamond Bar Historical Society, St Denis Church, and community blood drives.
Tina Javid, the Public Affairs Manager for the Gas Company, will serve as secretary of the organization, and Barbara Price, of Walnut, will serve as Treasurer. Price is also the chair of the Citizens Oversight Committee, which monitors bond projects at Mt. SAC.
Also serving on the Executive Board of Directors are past president Heinz Gehner, general manager of the Shilo Hilltop Suites Hotel; Spence Lyon of Hacienda Heights; Rick Meza, Public Affairs Manager for Edison; Kevin Stapleton, Mayor of Covina; and Reyna Del Haro, Area Director Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente.
Founded in 1967, The Mt. SAC Foundation raises supplemental funds for Mt. SAC and is currently involved in fund raising activities to save the College’s 36-year-old Planetarium.
###Mt. SAC to Host Transition Seminar for Disabled Students
WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College’s Disabled Student Programs and Services will host its annual Transition Seminar for students with disabilities on Wednesday, May 12, 9 to 11 a.m., in the College's Social Sciences Lecture Hall.
The Transition Seminar is designed to help new students transition into college life by providing information about programs and services available to students with disabilities.
For more information on the Transition Seminar, call Dr. James Andrews or Vicki Greco at (909) 594-5611, ext. 4290.
###'Firebugs' Light Up the Stage at the Clarke Theater
WALNUT, Calif. – Max Frisch’s wickedly funny satirical farce, The Firebugs, opens Friday, May 7 at 8 p.m. at the Sophia B. Clarke Theater on the Mt. San Antonio College campus, 1100 N. Grand Ave. Additional evening performances are set for May 8, 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. as well as two weekend matinee performances on Saturday, May 8 and Sunday, May 16 at 2 p.m.
In this play, Frisch explores the relationship of a exceptionally vain and very wealthy German businessman, Gottlieb Biederman, with a pair of itinerate pyromaniacs, the very ones who have already burned down half the town.
Originally written in 1951 as a radio play before being adapted for the stage, The Firebugs brings to life the travesty of looking the other way when there is danger afoot, while weaving in hilarious antics and social symbolism.
General admission is $10, and $8 for seniors, students and children under 12 years old. Parking is free.
For information regarding tickets, special and advanced seating, directions or other special arrangements, please contact the Mt. SAC Performing Arts Center Box Office at (909) 468-4050.