Commentary: POW monument evokes strong emotions

Unveiling of Liberation Moment statue at Miramar National Cemetery (Photo: SDJW)

By Philip Tipple

SAN DIEGO–On Friday Sept. 16, I had the honor, privilege and pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Prisoner of War (POW) statue, “Liberation Moment,” at the Miramar National Cemetery.  I wish more Americans were aware of the sacrifice made by all US military service personnel, especially our POWs, and make known that we stand behind both our POWs and all our soldiers, no matter the situation.

I grew up wanting to be in the Marine Corps since I was seven-years-old, and after listening to what World War II vets had to say and I was enraged at their Japanese and German captors for not following the international code of conduct for captured  prisoners of war.

People at the ceremony expressed a gamut of emotions, ranging from overwhelmed, to excited and happy, to enraged and angry.  Most were excited and happy that our POWs have received recognition for their valor in service overseas.

The ceremony was overwhelming to me, being that it was my first time ever attending something like it. I was very happy to sit down and talk with any and all of the vets who attended. They had endured pure agony and hell, all because they were fighting for the freedom of the United States of America. Honor, valor and heroism were shown by each and every one of those vets, and I can’t leave out our current soldiers fighting overseas right now. I would like to give a big “OORAH!”  for all our soldiers and vets who have ever served. Thank you for your service and God Bless the U.S.A!

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Tipple is a student in MediaComm 132; contact him at philipT@gcsummit.com

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Seven Texans on Grossmont football team

By David Hurst

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — On Jay Z’s song Big Pimpin, Native Texan Pimp C (Port Arthur) ask the listener with a boastful mix of pride and passion, “Now what y’all know about them Texas boys?!!” The Lone Star State is a high school football hotbed like no other. One can look to the number #1 selling, and award nominated Friday Night Lights book, movie, and television franchise to see that.

College campuses from all over the country usually are represented by native Texans and Grossmont is no different. The 2011 roster features seven such players: Running Back Dontae Williams (Houston/Aldine High School), Joseph Carheel, Wide Receiver (San Antonio/ Madison HS), Rion Smalls (Laredo/United HS), Blake Bullard (Killeen) and three players from El Paso: Twin Brothers Marcus and Eldredge Calhoun (Austin HS), and Kicker Andres Carrillo (Bel Air HS). “There’s a lot of talent there,” says head coach Mike Jordan.

Being from the same state is one thing. But getting the players to agree on whose city best represented the Lone Star State was a dubious task. “West Texas all day,” said Eldredge Calhoun, who recorded a big 62 yard interception return in the Griffins 37-40 loss to Southwestern College. “South Texas all day,” countered Smalls. “Centex is where it’s at,” boasts Bullard who is from the Central Texas football hotbed, Killeen, Texas.

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Cross-country Coach Robert Claessen’s 19-year career longer than some team members’ lifespan

By Jessyka Holguin

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — Coach Robert Claessen is easily recognized on campus. He often can be seen riding his bike or running around campus with a pack of young women! The women’s cross country mentor has coached track for 19 years– as long as some team members have been alive!

He said has been interested in running since he was a child and was naturally drawn to the running trails around Lake Murray. Injuries prevented him from competing in cross country as a college student here at Grossmont. However, he later started coaching cross country at Humboldt State College.  The coach said some of his favorite experiences were running through the fog and forests up there in northern California.

He also has run in different countries and says, if he could. he would love to travel all over the world.

The coach said ths season his main goal is for everyone on Grossmont’s team to be healthy and to have fun with the work outs. He said that one of the great things about cross country is that it transfers into everyone’s personal life. It helps people deal with challenges and makes them stronger for it, he said.

This year’s team has a positive drive and a desire to help one another out, Claessen said.  He added this is one of the reasons he predicts that the team will do really well in the conference this year. Cross Country has much to be proud of at Grossmont , with teams in 7 out of 8 years making it to the Southern California Conference. If the team does well in this conference it will get the opportunity to run in the state championships.

What sets Grossmont’s team apart from other competitors is that it has great access to mountains and trails within a few miles of the campus, Claessen said.  For example, Cowles Mountain and Mission Trails Regional Park are weekly work out sites for the team. These work outs get the team ready forcompetitions elsewhere.

The coach noted that the season is still young and there still are openings on the Women’s Cross Country Team.  He said Cross Country is a sport that requires people to work out all year in order to compete. Claussen said one of the attractions of Grossmont’s Cross Country Team is that everyone becomes like a family. This not only is a benefit for the individual members; it is a key to the team achieving its goals, he said.

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Holguin is a student in Media Comm 132.  She may be contacted at jessykah@gcsummit.com

Chairman of Assembly Higher Education Committee to hold news conference on campus


By Kellen Brauer

Marty Block
Marty Block

GROSSMONT COLLEGE- Marty Block, chairman of the Assembly committee on higher education, will be participating in a campus news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday ,  Sept. 27,.

“A  panel of questioners will include Russ Lindquist, editor of the GC Summit; Marc Arizmendez, news director of Griffin Radio; and Sue Gonda, the president of the Academic Senate,” said the organizer,  Journalism Instructor Donald H. Harrison.  “He will be welcomed to the campus by both the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Cindy Miles and Grossmont President Sunita Cooke.”

The first half hour of Block’s presentation will be questions from the panel while the second half will open up questioning to the floor.

Block, a Democrat representing San Diego, chairs the committee in the Assembly to which all legislation concerning colleges and universities is initially referred.  Before his election to the Legislature, he served for eight years as the chairman of the San Diego City College Board.   Prior to that he was a member of the San Diego County Board of Education.

“I will be asking questions that either I came up with or that the Jounalism class (MCOM 132) crafted together and decided,” said Lindquist. “I figure that I will get a whole lot of information from him that is useful for me but also useful for our readers.”

“I am going to be asking basic general questions,” said Arizmendez. “Hopefully I am going to get together with Russ and Mr. Harrison and come up with some good hard hitting questions.”

“I am looking forward to it [the conference] because the economy is shaky in general, so I look forward to getting some real practical advice from this legislator for the sake of making the right choices upcoming as I move onto a University,” said Lindquist.

Gonda was not immediately available for comment.

Arizmendez said the press conference will be a good way to present Grossmont College’s problems to Block, whose role is key to higher education in the state.

“Hopefully we get the answers that people want to hear,” said Arizmendez.

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Brauer is a student in Media Comm 132.  He may be contacted at kellenb@gcsummit.com

In ‘Umoja’ — unity — is increased success in reaching academic goals

By Nicolle Fedor

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — The “Umoja” program on campus since 2006 has been reaching out to African and African-American students–and their friends from all other ethnic groups — to build a sense of community and connection to Grossmont College.

Funded by Grossmont College, “Umoja” — meaning “unity” in Swahili — is directed at helping community college students successfully transfer to four-year institutions to complete their studies, according to student ambassadors Cynthia Nelson and Katrina Piliaris.

The students said the free program was created to ““instill in our students the knowledge and skills necessary to enable them to make positive differences in their lives and the lives of others.”

Counselor James Canady and DSPS Instructor Patrice Braswell-Burris are advisers to Umoja.

Here is an excerpt of  a brief  audio interview with Nelson and Piliaris: Umoja-Fedor

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Fedor is a student in the Media Communications Department.  She may be contacted at nicollef@gcsummit.com

National College Radio Day comes Oct. 11

By Nicolle Fedor

GROSSMONT COLLEGE –National College Radio Day will take place on campuses across North America on Tuesday, Oct. 11, in what organizer Rob Quicke says is an effort to “save and celebrate this valuable medium.”

The purpose of College Radio Day is to encourage those who have a passion for radio to “come together” and support the voice of the student, Quicke said. He explained that in response to the recession this past year, a number of FM radio stations at the national college level have been sold in an effort to raise funds.

Removing radio eliminates a huge platform for students to develop their skills and ultimately silences their creativity, Quicke said.

Within four weeks after Quicke announced the initiative on June 6, over 100 radio stations and the alternative rock band Coldplay have registered for this event, bringing the total to over 200 college and high school A.M. ,F.M. and On-Line stations, including Grossmont College’s Griffin Radio,

The radio stations will promote increased listenership and awareness in a special live broadcast feed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Oct. 11, that will be heard in the Main Quad.

Here is the official College Radio Day promotional advertisement:  CollegeRadioDay-RockFormats!

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Fedor is a student in Grossmont College’s media communications department

Author Cris Mazza returns to S.D. County as Grossmont ‘Creative Writing’ speaker

GROSSMONT COLLEGE (Press Release)– Author Cris Mazza, a San Diego native whose writings have been reviewed nationwide, will be speaking Oct. 12 at Grossmont College as part of its Fall 2011 Semester Reading Series sponsored by the college English Department’s Creative Writing Program. The Oct. 12 event will be held at 12:30 p.m. in Building 26, Room 220, on the El Cajon campus. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Mazza,, who now lives in Chicago, is a professor and director of the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mazza’s writings discuss the psychological and emotional complexities of life, as well as how a region’s society and culture impact the human experience, including sexuality, family, authority and gender. Her most recent novel, published in January, is “Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls,” is a story about a woman whose life changes when she decides to rescue a teenage Mexican prostitute.

Mazza’s fiction has been reviewed numerous times in The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, MS Magazine, Chicago Tribune Books, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Voice Literary Supplement and The San Francisco Review of Books. Among her other novels: “Homeland” (2004), about a woman and her elderly father grappling with a 30-year-old family tragedy while they also find themselves homeless, living in the canyons of suburban Southern California alongside migrant agricultural workers; “Indigenous/Growing Up Californian” (2003), featuring Mazza’s collection of personal essays; and, “Waterbaby” (2007), a novel about how local legends still live and grow in a seacoast town in Maine.

Mazza is among several featured speakers for Grossmont College’s Creative Writing Program’s Fall 2011 Semester Reading Series. For more information about the programs, visit http://www.grossmont.edu/english/creativewriting
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Preceding provided by Grossmont College’s Public Information Office