A delicate balance of survival and success
By | Guest Writer
Feb. 25

Beep, beep, beep, snooze. Beep, beep, beep, snooze.

Five more minutes, and the alarm clock still manages to win the fight every morning. Wake up, wash face, brush teeth, and eat breakfast.

It’s a routine most parents live by.

Especially single mother of four Ursula Yost-Johnson, 33, a City College student. She never stops to think about herself as she strives to make life better for herself and her children. Through all the trials and tribulations, she never stops or gives up. She fights every day, not to fail, even when life says, “Give up.” Instead for Yost-Johnson, hope whispers, “Just try one more time.”

When Yost-Johnson was 24, she says she made a regretful mistake that ended with her going to the Central California Women’s Facility, also known as Chowchilla, for two and a half years while pregnant with her third child.

“I thought my life was over,” says Yost-Johnson. “I thought I would never see my babies again. It was like dying.”

She says life was telling her to stop fighting, to just let go. But she couldn’t, at least not with a bun in the oven. She eventually made contact with prison offi cials and was approved…» Read More

From football to fugues
By | Guest Writer
Feb. 25

Beside her desk is a brown push-pin corkboard with pictures telling the story of her life. She turns her head to look at them, staring at each one in turn. Her daughter in tap shoes in one. She playing tackle football in another. She glances over them as if counting to make sure they were all there. Turning away, a smile forms on her face, but not just any smile. It is a smile that tells a dual story of accomplishment and triumph.

Kathleen Poe, despite obstacles and a multi-occupational life, chooses to spend her time giving the gift of knowledge and empowerment to her students. Yes, she is a music teacher, but music is not where the lesson stops. She shows her students how music and perseverance can help lead to any goal their hearts are set on.

Poe, the City College music department chair, started teaching music on campus in 1996 before graduating from Sacramento State.

“I just went into music completely with my whole heart,” says Poe, now in her 40s. Poe composed a piece for a concert held in November 2014 by the City College Music Department.

“I think my students don’t really influence my composition as…» Read More

By | Guest Writer
Feb. 23

Through evolution, early humans struggling to survive developed a taste preference for foods that were high in sugar, salt and fat. Fast forward a few hundred thousand years to the current day: Students with busy schedules and a taste preference for fatty foods often end up with a diet filled with highly processed foods like Top Ramen, Doritos and DiGiorno pizzas.

Foods that are highly processed might contain artificial flavors, preservatives, food coloring and other unnatural ingredients to boost flavor and maximize shelf life. Although these foods are engineered to taste good and last a long time, many healthcare professionals say that it’s best to just say no to these foods.

Standing at 5 feet, 10 inches and armed with a 10-speed road bike, a trendy faux-hawk haircut and skinny jeans is 19-year-old City College student Tomas Woolston, one of the rare individuals who chooses to completely abstain from eating commercially processed foods that we all know, love and love to hate. For Woolston, living a simpler life is not only about taste; it’s a lifestyle that goes beyond the dinner table. He is so dedicated to this mindset that he chooses to not own a car to reduce his…» Read More

Photography professor Paul Estabrook
By | Photo Editor
Feb. 2

One dictionary definition of teaching reads as follows: “Teaching is an act to impart knowledge or skill.”

Professional photographer and City College photography professor Paul Estabrook would agree. For the 47-year-old FACT-CHECK AGE, he believes teaching is more than just enlightening a student’s mind.

In photography, Estabrook gets the chance to continue his career and help others build and achieve their success. He believes sharing ideas spreads ideas around and allows others to learn from them. Collaboration is a way to effectively teach skills.

Estabrook’s passion in helping students find their artistic career side has made a difference in many people’s lives.

“Paul Estabrook is my teacher from the very beginning and through my educational journey,” photography student Penelope Kahn says. “The positive learning environment he creates for his students is awesome because he encourages everyone to interact and learn from each other.”

Estabrook is always changing and adapting each year, and still learning as a teacher himself.

“Every semester, every student, it’s a little bit different because everyone brings something else to the classroom,” he says. “Watching students develop with getting better and growing into their creative selves, that’s what keeps me going.”

Estabrook has been teaching since 2002.

» Read More

By | Contributing Editor
Dec. 21, 2014



What years did you attend City College as a student, and how long have you worked for City College? What other, if any, positions have you held at SCC?

“I was a student in 2000-2002. I was hired at SCC in June 2012.”

Describe the path you took from City College student to City College employee.

“As a student at Sac City, I was very involved in the Express newspaper production class. I was a staff writer one semester and then the news editor and online editor the following semester. I considered it a job and loved every late night working to meet deadlines. In 2002, I transferred to UC Davis and graduated in 2004 with a degree in International Relations. After I graduated, I did a brief stint as a coffee barista, then a receptionist for a general contractor for construction projects. I got promoted to project coordinator, then accepted a better paying position at another contracting company. Then, I got laid off. In my state of unemployment, I decided to take a chance and see if I could make a living as a journalist. I switched gears and accepted a position as the Publicity and Development Manager at the Davis Art Center. Then, I was excited to hear about an opening at Sac City in…» Read More

From Students to Staff: Joshua Roberts
By | Contributing Editor
Dec. 21, 2014

For many, attending community college is a means to earn a degree in order to gain employment. For others, the “community” in community college means working with teachers who truly care about the future of their students in an effort to better themselves.

Not only did City College English professor and department chair Joshua Roberts experience the latter scenario, he decided to become one of those teachers.

A self-described poor student leading up to his graduation from Kennedy High School, Roberts began attending City College in 1991.

“I was a horrible student in high school,” says Roberts. “[It wasn’t] because I wasn’t sharp enough, I was just a bad student. When I came here, I was pretty clueless as to what I wanted to do. I kind of took classes on and off for about five years, just enough to still be in school but not really.”

It was at that point that Roberts decided he wanted to become a teacher.

“It was the instructors here that really helped me learn how to be a student and focus myself and go after the things that I wanted,” says Roberts, who shares with his students that he attended City College and went through similar struggles as a way to help them feel like he knows what they’re going through. “I…» Read More

By | Editor-in-Chief
Dec. 21, 2014

Chris Torres — once a young single father who dropped out of high school and, at one time, was sleeping on a friend’s couch — has come a long way.

Sitting in front of his desk at City College, where he serves as student affairs specialist, on a quiet Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break, Torres reflects on the journey that brought him back to work at his community college alma mater — the school, in his words, that “completely changed what was possible.”

In 2008, Torres graduated from City College with associate degrees in administration of justice and sociology. He then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Sacramento State in 2010, where he is also in the process of earning a master’s degree in counseling.

“I didn’t really have anything. I dropped out of high school — I had three kids at a young age — my son was born when I was 18,” says Torres. “I went into provider mode and took whatever jobs were willing to hire me.”

For Torres, who left Hiram Johnson High School before his 1992 class graduated, higher education was not a consideration. However, in 2005, after what he characterizes as a series of poor life choices and jobs without a future, he took some advice from his mother.

“I had just moved back from San Diego with about $75 in my pocket,” says Torres…» Read More

By | Guest Writer
Dec. 21, 2014

The haunting screams of sirens pierce the air. Heat sizzles off the asphalt, reflecting shards of broken glass strewn about. In the midst of it, a young man lies there, toeing the line between life and death.

Jerome Coleman woke up in a Tucson, Arizona, hospital with no recollection of anything. Surrounded by a cacophony of beeps and boops, he listened intently as a nurse informed him that he had been on the verge of death after being ejected from his friend’s SUV.

It was April 15, 1999, and Coleman and his friends were on their way to the joint Jay-Z, DMX and Method Man & Redman Hard Knock Life tour in Phoenix. Steady beats vibrated throughout the SUV. Excitement filled the air.

The dusty desert landscape stretched as far as the eye could see, bisected by six lanes of hustle and bustle. The SUV carrying Coleman and his friends hurtled down the northbound lanes of Interstate 10 toward a lone piece of construction rebar lying in wait for its unsuspecting victims. When the rebar appeared in the middle of the road like a mirage, the driver of the SUV swerved at the last second, causing it to roll over…» Read More

Loreen Willenbeg: Blooming with Health
By | Guest Writer
Dec. 21, 2014

It’s a chilly November day at the Leland Stanford Mansion, and all is quiet but for the sound of her voice, which is calm and authoritative, and the crunching snap of her pruning shears as she tends to the roses.

Unsurprisingly, one of her favorite topics is gardening. The other favorite is a decidedly less common one: immunology.

Loreen Willenberg, formerly the owner of her own thriving landscaping business, is now a City College bioethics major at the age of 60. How this came to be is part of two of America’s ongoing stories—HIV/AIDS and corporate exploitation.

Willenberg is HIV-positive, but totally asymptomatic—without benefit of HIV medication. It turns out that she has an extremely rare genetic endowment – Willenberg is one of only 1,725 HIV-positive people in the world whose genes appear to control progression of the infection. Altogether, she has five of the seven such disease-controlling genes so far understood. One of these genes is a mutation that allowed Northern Europeans to survive the Black Plague.

Like the flowers she tends so lovingly, Willenberg is blooming with health.

“I center myself with gardening, says Willenberg, as she bends her tall form carefully over her thorny “babies.” her voice…» Read More