The silent world of sign language
By | Staff Writer
Oct. 11, 2012

A world without sound. The sound of the rain pouring onto a tin overhang, gone. The sound of a sultry singer’s smooth falsettos, gone. The sound of a loved one’s familiar voice never known.

This is the everyday life of someone who is deaf. While this seems sad to those who can hear, the silent world is all people of the deaf community know.

Many people only know that people are deaf, and they speak sign language. Most do not know much about the deaf community.

Pat Masterson is there to teach people about the many different aspects of the deaf community.

Masterson, 59, is a sign language professor at City College. Every semester she comes to campus hoping to excite students about sign language

“I want to get them so excited that they want to stay in class,” Masterson says. Students can become frustrated when they feel like their workload is too much in one class. Sign language can be one of those classes.

“Once they realize how much work it is, if I don’t have them excited, then they will drop,” Masterson says.

Masterson knows all about the work it takes to get through sign language courses. She…» Read More

A love for words
By | Staff Writer
Oct. 10, 2012

City College student and poet Marlette Reaves is a 23-year-old English major who says she’s known for her trademark love poems that were influenced by her yearning for true love.

Inspired by music and the desire to have an actual romantic relationship, Reaves says she began writing at the age of 14 and has been sharing her raw emotion ever since.

Reaves, who won third place at the City College Poetry Slam contest on Sept. 10, aspires to encourage people of all ages who go through the highs and lows of being in love and says she hopes to touch as many souls as possible throughout her journey of becoming a famous poet, author and an accomplished song writer.

“When I recite, I want people to be inspired to want true love, to get over heartbreak and to understand that people only put you through dirt so you could see that you want to be clean and free,” says Reaves.

Reaves’ love poems not only inspire her fans who can watch her recite them on her YouTube channel, her friends say, but also those who are close to her because they are relatable and pertain to real life.

City College student Terry Buford, 21, is a close friend of Reaves and an inspiring poet. He says he remembers a Valentine’s Day card that Reaves gave him…» Read More

By | Features Editor
Sept. 26, 2012

Economics professor Sandra Camarenasays she believes that teaching the basic principles of economics should be taught in manner in which students can grasp realism.

She relies on Deborah Saks, new dean of Business Division, to help figure out a way to continue teaching in a way that she believes will best reach her students.

“The second unit of my class on supply and demand is very important because it affects everything [in microeconomics],” says Camarena. “I take a little more care, precaution, and time with this unit in my class because if the students aren’t able to accurately grasp the theory I will lose them for the rest of the semester.”

Camarena holds auctions to teach to her students about supply and demand: students bid on items for cash and the highest bidder takes home the winnings. However, in order for an auction to be successful, to demonstrate demand there must be an adequate supplier.

Saks, dean of the Business Division, says she does what she can to help with Camarena’s process.

“I want to do what I can to help [with] that,” says Saks. “I’ve taken economics and I know that it can be a little bit dry. Having…» Read More

A man with a camera.
By | Staff Writer
Sept. 26, 2012


Wheeling more than 100 pounds of camera equipment into the room, professor Nathan Schemel sets up a complicated system of metal poles, gears, and wheels that grip across the room as his students watch, fascinated and bemused. With the film lights turned on and heating up the room, he shows how it works with ease.

Schemel, 34, teaches filmmaking classes at City College.

“I believe the world’s full of opportunity, and being ready for that opportunity is an important part of being a professional,” the Sacramento native says.

Schemel produced a show for the Sacramento Kings called “House Party”. As a wrap-up and a set-up for Kings’ games, the show ran for five years, according to Schemel, and introduced him to his next gig: a show for the DIY network. Bill Swan presented an opportunity for Schemel to produce a show on the network called “Turf War.”

“I had the creative side, but I also had the sports mind,” says Schemel. In Swan’s eyes, Schemel says, this made him ideal for a competitive landscaping show.

A former student, Skip Smith, 55, touts  Schemel’s filmmaking experience as a major factor in the class’s effectiveness.

“It makes the difference,” he says.

Schemel initially didn’t break into filmmaking for the artistic aspect.

“If I got into filmmaking, that would give me diversity in my life,” remembers Schemel, who earned a…» Read More

A male instructor.
By | Guest Writer
Sept. 26, 2012

Teachers are about as diverse as classrooms. Some may be mean, others empathetic. Some grade hard, some give extra credit. And some are just born to teach.

Professor Steve Cirrone is one of the latter.

“I never wanted to teach until I realized I was born to teach,” says Cirrone, who cites a childhood game of teacher-and-student with his younger sister as the moment that revelation took place.

Cirrone, who has taught English and creative writing courses at City College for the past five years—and 15 years prior at community colleges from Virginia to California—has a knack and a passion for teaching rivaled by few.

“He is hands down my favorite teacher at SCC,” says Brittany Bogan, a student of his and also the editor-in-chief of last year’s campus literary journal Susurrus. “I’ve made sure to take at least one class of his every semester I’ve been here.”

Cirrone has certainly shown his passion for learning: He earned a bachelor’s in English and Russian literature from Binghamton University, SUNY. Shortly after receiving his master’s in English literature from Claremont University, he landed his first teaching job at the age of 22. He later went on to earn a doctorate in Renaissance…» Read More

A woman in glasses and dark hair wearing a light blue blouse stands outside in the City College quad.
By | Web Manager
Sept. 23, 2012

After entering Rodda Hall North, Room 277, with a quick turn to the left past a humble setting of desks and workspace equipment will lead to the first point of contact for the media and the public at City College.

This is where Crystal Lee can be found. Lee, 29, a former City College student, is the new full-time City College public relations technician. Until Amanda Davis returns from maternity leave, Lee

» Read More

By | Guest Writer
May 2, 2012

MF Doom, Talib Kweli, CL Smooth, Mos Def and Common are all some of the greatest hip-hop lyricists, and one day Alberto Rocha hopes he can be included on that list.

Twenty-two-year-old Rocha is a full-time college student at City College, part-time worker and an aspiring hip-hop artist. Rocha is half of the hip-hop duo Primitive Instruments, which also consists of his cousin, 20-year-old Marco Gonzales. Together the two hip-hop emcees are known by their stage names, Retrospek and MG.

Rocha says they formed the group because of their love for hip-hop and the avenue of expression it has allowed for them.

“We always wanted to rap but I never thought I would hop on a microphone,” Rocha says. “But you have to start somewhere.”

Growing up, Rocha was not a big fan of hip-hop. Instead he listened to the likes of the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, which were all influences from his older sister.

Alex Rocha, who is Alberto’s younger brother, says, “I remember us kids were really into some of the older rock ‘n’ roll our older sister would show us.”

Around the time he entered middle school, some family members introduced him to hip-hop. The…» Read More

By | Guest Writer
May 2, 2012

The room is cold. Cluttered. Simple. No computer on the desk, no phone on the wall. The only glimpse of life in the tiny office is the many plaques and pictures of triumphant athletes that hang on the otherwise bare, quiet white-washed walls.

Plain? Sure, these walls may seem plain to an onlooker, just like the old man himself. No trophies tell tales of his own achievements, no glory given to himself. However, once you look closer the walls share a fascinating story of a City College legend.

Bob Lanza, 74, has been with City College for 42 years. As a physical education instructor and coach of the women’s and men’s track teams for 33 years, he retired in 2003. He says he loved the game too much and returned in 2004 as an assistant coach for the women’s and men’s javelin and high jump.

While waiting to catch the bus for practice in late-March, Lanza shared some of his memories throughout the past years.

“I love to coach,” says Oakland-born-and-raised Lanza. “I guess you can say it’s in the blood.”

Checking his watch every so often, the small-framed man in his baseball hat, athletic clothes and tennis shoes does not want to be late for practice. Lanza is as dedicated to his athletes as they are to…» Read More

By | Guest Writer
May 2, 2012

“There’s no business like show business.” Those words. You’ve heard them everywhere, all the time. You’ve heard them spoken in movies and uttered during a quick passing backstage of a play. But most people don’t cling to and live by them every day the way that  Lauryn Gardner, a two-year City College student does.

One recent morning, Gardner jumps out of her hot pink bedsheets, startling her cat Hollywood, throws on a Disneyland sweatshirt and ties a ribbon in her hair. The frazzled blonde frantically sprints out the door after packing her dance bag, school bag, lunch bag and anything else she may need for her jam-packed day. If she wasn’t the loud and bright blue-eyed person she is, someone could quickly miss her with a single blink—she moves so quickly.

At 20 years old, Gardner is an actress, a teacher and a dancer for the City College dance team. She has a multitude of interests that branch into even more hobbies and goals. But it’s clear what this woman’s true passion is: performing. She says she feels like she gets closer to reaching her dreams every day, but it’s not without a little hard work.

About 20 productions into…» Read More

By | Guest Writer
May 2, 2012

Carole Bodnar plays many roles: a proud mother and wife, a hardworking nurse, a studio art enthusiast and a world traveler. Amid her changing life, there is something she will always be doing—learning.

The 63-year-old Bodnar is no stranger to a classroom. Graduating with a nursing degree more than 30 years ago, Bodnar now attends City College to study a true passion of hers: studio art. Bodnar retired from nursing last year and is now an attendant for the Kondos Art Gallery on campus through a work-study program.

Bodnar believes City College is a good place to learn and get exposure to new things. She is impressed with both the faculty’s credentials and their commitment to their students.

“It’s so obvious how much the teachers here care about kids succeeding,” says Bodnar.

Though Bodnar’s soft-spoken demeanor lights up when elaborating on what she’s passionate about, her eyes remain focused on a spot straight ahead of her, giving off an almost faraway look.

“I’m hopeful,” Bodnar says, finally turning her head away from the artwork hanging on the gallery’s white wall in front of her.

She turns to a painting behind her where the words “as is” are etched into the…» Read More