June 2012


Mt. SAC Planetarium Presents Shows for Kids and Adults in July

WALNUT, Calif.––– The Mt. San Antonio College Randall Planetarium will present a series of programs on the stars and planets with evening and matinee showings for adults and children throughout July.

"Star Tales," a show on the stars, constellations, and planets, will run Friday, July 6. Learn the stories behind the heavenly bodies and find out how to view them from your own backyard.

"Planet Quest," a show on the planets in our solar system, will run Saturday, July 7. Embark on an adventure that explores the solar system by flying through Saturn's rings, walking on the moon, and witnessing geysers on Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. Learn where to find the planets in our solar system in the night sky.

"One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure," a special program for preschoolers, will be presented on Wednesdays, July 11 and 25, at 12:30 p.m. matinees. In this program, Sesame Street’s Big Bird, Elmo and their friend from China, Hu Hu Zhu, take viewers on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star, the sun, and the moon.

"Secrets of the Sun," a unique look at the sun’s role in the solar system, will show at a special matinees time on Wednesday, July 18, at 12:30 p.m. Exploring the nuclear forces churning at the heart of the sun and mass ejections of solar material into space, this planetarium feature traces the life cycle of the sun, going back to its beginnings and moving forward to its eventual death.

"Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope," a program on the worlds uncovered by the telescope, will be presented Friday, July 20, at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Mysterious moons, icy rings and distant galaxies were all unknown before the invention of the telescope. Two Small Pieces of Glass is a full dome digital planetarium show where you’ll visit a local star party and discover the cosmos through the telescope.

"Tales of the Maya Skies," a program on Maya science and astronomy, will be shown on Saturday, July 21, at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Take a journey back in time to the jungles of Mexico and hear the stories of the ancient Maya civilization, and how the planets and astronomical events influenced the Maya people.

Tickets are $6 for general admission, and $4 for students, seniors, and children.

For tickets, call the Mt. SAC Performing Arts Box Office at (909) 468-4050. Tickets are also available online at https://tickets.mtsac.edu and at the door before each program.
TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2012

Graduate Breaks with Tradition to Walk at Commencement

WALNUT, Calif.–––Her ancestors didn’t go to college. Her parents didn’t go to college, and neither did anyone else in her family due to their belief that higher education was something Native Americans just didn’t do. But when Laurie Covarrubias walks at Mt. San Antonio College’s 66th commencement on Friday, she will proudly break with family tradition.

“College wasn’t part of the reality for us,” said Covarrubias, who is part Jicarilla Apache and is involved in a number of Native American causes.

“Tradition dictates that once you finished high school you would get a job and have a family,” she said.

Covarrubias, who will receive her associate’s degree in social and behavioral sciences with a near-perfect 3.95 GPA, is bucking the trend in a big way. She was one of 20 students across the nation named to the prestigious 2012 All-USA Community College Academic Team this spring and was honored as a Student of Distinction at Mt. SAC last year.

“Tradition says you can keep your higher education and degrees. We are going to live our lives as we always have,” she said. “It’s a difference in priorities.”

Instead, the 29-year-old West Covina resident has successfully integrated both worlds while raising her 4-year-old son on her own.

“As a Native American, you know what your elders know about Native culture, but college teaches you a different perspective,” she said. “For me, it’s a matter of respecting my past while embracing my future.”

Covarrubias somehow finds time to be involved in a number of campus organizations, serving as vice president for the campus Native American Intertribal Student Association (NAISA), as a presenter for the college’s Single Parent Academy, and as a volunteer for the Mt. SAC Child Development Center. And if that’s not enough, she champions several Native American causes off campus that include serving as a volunteer at the Victorville federal prison in Adelanto through the Lodge Circle Ministries.

At the medium security correctional facility, she helps organize Pow Wows twice a year to bring a bit of Native American culture and spiritually to the inmates. The prison community events, which are open to all inmates, foster cultural interchange through storytelling, dance, songs, and ceremonies.

“It’s their only outlet for spiritual expression and spiritual relationship with the Creator,” she said.

The semiannual events also provide a measure of compassion in an otherwise darkened world.

“I want them to know that there’s somebody else who cares for them and that their lives still matter,” she said. “A lot of healing goes on there.”

In another Native American cause, she helped bring some of the basic necessities of life to Lakota school children in South Dakota.

She got the idea from a 20/20 episode called “Hidden American: Children of the Plains” about children living in poverty on the Pine Ridge reservation in the Midwest. Via Facebook, she then contacted one of the men interviewed by journalist Diane Sawyer in the episode, Jayson Braveheart, who turned out be a Mt. SAC alumnus, and was able to get him to speak at Mt. SAC last fall about Native American issues.

It was during Braveheart’s visit to Mt. SAC that the plan to help the Lakota children was hatched.

“There are the equivalent of third world countries right here in the United States,” Covarrubias said.

Half a classroom full of school supplies, toiletries, and other necessities was donated by Mt. SAC students, faculty, and staff.

“We actually received more donations than we could handle,” she said.

Just recently, she was accepted at Pitzer College in Claremont where next fall she will major in anthropology with an emphasis in forensic science en route to a career in forensic science.

“College showed me that everyone has their own story and it doesn’t matter if you’re a single parent or if no one in your family went to college,” she said.

And when Laurie Covarrubias walks at graduate as part of the Class of 2012, she does so as one who has walked a path crossing two worlds¬¬—and succeeded.