By | Guest Writer
May 2, 2012

Honor. Courage. Commitment. These are the core values instilled in Marines from the moment they set foot on the yellow footprints at a Marine Corps recruit depot until the time they take off their uniform for the last time. When they raised their right hand and swore to defend the U.S. Constitution, they knew it would come with great sacrifice. Family, school and personal freedoms take a backseat to mission accomplishment.

Nobody is more familiar with these sacrifices than Cpl. Mike Wong, 24, a former City College student who returned in February from a six-and-a-half month deployment to Afghanistan.

In 2008, with America still engaged in two wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—Wong heard his call to serve. Despite being a full-time student and working part time at a local ophthalmology practice, he enlisted anyway.

More than two years into his enlistment with no deployments under his belt, he finally received the news. Wong would be deploying to Afghanistan the following summer. However, instead of being ordered to go, he volunteered.

“I was excited when I found out I was going,” says Wong, a landing support specialist with 4th Landing Support Battalion, based at Sharpe Army Depot in Lathrop, Calif. “I signed up for it so I was glad I got to go.”

Though he was eager for his chance to serve overseas, he soon learned the harsh realities of war.

Within weeks of…» Read More

By | Guest Writer
May 2, 2012

A young man found his calling in a car accident.

Apart from the impact, shock smacked this young man when he collided with the car in front of him. Shock turned to numbness as he apologized. But shock came back when the woman he hit told him it had all happened for a reason.

This young man is Jacob Mendez, and since the accident he says he has lived life with eternal optimism. He took an experience that originally caused him to feel pain and translated it into something that gave him guidance for the rest of his life.

Mendez, 21, is a City College student on his way to becoming a pastor. Mendez’s grandfather, Paul Galindo, is the pastor of El Sendero Centro de Fe y Poder, a South Sacramento church. Galindo is getting older and will eventually need to pass on his job.

“If it’s me, God willing, that’s a great thing,” says Mendez, with hope in his brown eyes. “If it’s not, that’s okay. I’m just here to help him out.”

Mendez describes his grandfather as a faithful servant of God and great role model. With a lot left in his journey toward the ministry, Mendez says…» Read More

By | Guest Writer
May 2, 2012

You’re always caught by surprise when a Chihuahua sends a Rottweiler running away and whining with its tail between its legs.

Nancy Hamaker does this on a daily basis.

“Get over it, and do some work!” she barks at her students. One student towers over her by a good foot, but he stays attuned to everything she says as if his life depended on it.

Hamaker watches over her 10 students who make up the front ensemble of the C.K. McClatchy High School Marching Band, as they plunk away carefully on their percussion instruments. For almost seven years, Hamaker has been involved with a front ensemble, or more casually “the pit,” of a music program. Hamaker teaches students who are eager and willing to learn the art of mallet instruments, such as the xylophone, marimba, vibraphone and chimes.

“I really like to affect people,” Hamaker says. “It’s always kind of been a thing.”

At 21 years old, Hamaker has already taught at three high schools around the Sacramento area as a pit technician. In addition to teaching at McClatchy High School, she teaches at Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove and the combined ensemble of Galt High School and…» Read More

By | Staff Writer
March 28, 2012

When City College nursing major Cheryl Coleman was 4, she got in touch with her creative side by taking her mom’s sewing kit and stitching things together.

Now about 26 years later, Coleman has taken that creative side one step further by creating her own jewelry line, “Cheryl’s Dope.”

Although juggling school, work and being a mom is difficult, the 30-year-old jewelry designer says it’s worth all the hard work because it provides her family with extra income.

“I wanted to help out my husband with the income to provide for our two sons and still have a little income of my own to pay for school and such,” says Coleman. “I really wanted to make money for just me. You don’t necessarily have to just wait until your career is over to start making money. You can do it on your own time.”

But it wasn’t just about the money, says Coleman’s husband David. It was also about finding herself again.

“‘Cheryl’s Dope’ is my wife’s way of expressing herself through jewelry in a way only Cheryl can do,” David says. “She’s always made our sons and I proud of her.”

Even though Coleman is busy with school and…» Read More

By | Staff Writer
March 28, 2012

What would you do if you knew you had two to five years to live? Would you go skydiving? Follow your dreams of becoming a singer or someone well-known in your field? Cherish your friendships and family members?

These are all the things that 53-year-old former City College student Cathy Speck has accomplished in her life so far.

Speck spoke on March 14 to psychology professor Joanne Moylan-Aube’s class on “The Psychology of Death and Dying.”

As Speck strolled down the classroom aisle, she was aided by her walker, decorated with mini-stuffed animals and purple streamers that hung from either sides of the handlebars and shimmered when they hit a certain light. With assistance from Moylan, silence filled the room as everyone focused on Speck as she moved to the front of the classroom.

When Speck finally arrived, she looked at the class and said, “Death and dying is a serious matter,” and she then tooted the horn attached to her walker.

“Whoops, that wasn’t supposed to happen!” she said. The class let out a laugh and Speck said, “I am so happy and blessed to be here.”

In 2009, Speck was diagnosed with a rare but fatal disease called…» Read More

By |
March 14, 2012

Filmmaker Curtis Chin has been giving presentations to over 200 colleges around the globe, all asking the same question: “Who is Vincent Chin?

It’s been an eye-opening journey, he says.

“Between now and May 5th I’ll be home for like, six nights,” says Curtis. “I’ve gone to Norway, England, Canada to speak to people, so it’s been a very humbling experience as a filmmaker.”

So who is Vincent Chin, and what makes him so important that Curtis Chin is traveling across the globe to speak to college students? Three students at City College found out, learning mostly of his presence through Asian history classes.

In a screening of Curtis’s documentary “Vincent Who?” at the Cultural Awareness Center March 5, approximately 40 more people attended the event to find out more about Chin’s life.

Vincent Chin, an acquaintance of Curtis Chin, was a 27-year-old Chinese American man beaten to death by a baseball bat by two men in Detroit, Mich, in 1982.

The two attackers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, were former Chrysler auto plant employees who were laid off due to the Detroit auto industry experiencing a loss of market share to Japanese automakers. They attacked Chin, believing him to…» Read More

By |
March 14, 2012

It can be difficult to find a link when comparing two things as dissimilar as traveling and teaching but for someone who loves both, the connection is strong. City College English Professor Nancy Olsen says she lives by traveling and by teaching. Her familiarity with traveling is intertwined with the teaching style she uses with her students.

Olsen says she searches for her outlook of the world during travel and those new perspectives relate back to her method of teaching.

Olsen’s travels have taken her to many places, including West Africa, most of Western Europe, Central America and all across the United States.

“I love traveling,” says Olsen. “You meet so many more people, and as a woman you seem more vulnerable to [citizens of other countries], so they end up looking out for you.”

Although she loves to travel, she says she relies on her teaching to pay for the ability to do so.

The two parts of Olsen’s life—teaching and traveling—come to work as one. Time management is needed in both areas, but nevertheless more of Olsen’s time during the year is spent teaching.

“I certainly adore teaching,” says Olsen who teaches writing and reading. “I try to…» Read More

By | Staff Writer
Feb. 29, 2012

In a frantic world that never seems to stop moving, there are people who don’t seem to be negatively affected by life’s hectic pace. Such people come across as calm, helpful and understanding—all words often used to defi ne the qualities of a great leader.

They’re also words that, according to his colleagues, fit Chris Iwata, a City College alumnus and dean of Fine Arts and Humanities. Iwata has worked as the dean of Fine Arts and Humanities at City College for 20 years and also studied at City College from 1974 to 1976.

“I never thought I would be returning to City College in any capacity, let alone [as] a dean,” Iwata says.

After City College, Iwata transferred to California State University, Northridge, where he worked as the assistant coach of the debate program. After graduating, he was hired as the interim director of the debate team at Northridge in 1980.

With an opportunity to teach full time as a communications professor, Iwata came back to City College in 1982. He also became the coach of the school’s speech and debate program, which Iwata says was the first stepping stone to working in administration.

“As a coach, your job…» Read More

Passion beyond words
By | Staff Writer
Feb. 15, 2012



A mentor,” “true hero,” “extraordinary,” “inspiring,” “a dynamo of energy and creativity” are just some of the ways colleagues and City College students describe Rhonda Allison Rios-Kravitz, dean of the Learning Resources Center.

According to fellow colleagues and students, it was Kravitz’s support for students and the community that earned her the national I Love My Librarian Award.

“Rhonda is a great role model, always helping in and beyond the walls of the library,” says Cultural Awareness Center Coordinator Victoria Henderson.

Only 10 librarians receive this award each year; Kravitz accepted hers at a Dec. 8 reception in New York City in a ceremony sponsored by the American Library Association, The New York Times and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Kravitz, who has worked as a librarian since 1979, started working at City College in 2007 when she took over the position of dean of the Learning Resources Center.

Some faculty members and students nominated Kravitz for the award after observing her passion and hard work.

Kravitz was unaware of her nomination until she received a call from the American Library Association.

Henderson cites many reasons why Kravitz was well deserving of the award.

“[Kravitz] does so…» Read More

Beautifying the soul
By | Guest Writer
Feb. 1, 2012

When you walk into the cosmetology department at City College, you feel like you’ve gone to salon heaven. The smell of hairspray fills the air. Dozens of women in scrubs stand at counters with hair mannequins. Perhaps they are learning how to set patterns for pin curls or perfecting their French twists.

This is where City College cosmetology professor Marcia Bonawitz—with her vibrant red hair and sunny disposition—acts like a modern-day fairy godmother, working her magic to help others “maintain a certain level” of attractiveness, while also sharing her talent for hairdressing and beauty with her students.

“I’ve always had a passion for both the industry and teaching as well,” Bonawitz says.

Bonawitz, 66, has worked in the cosmetology industry for 40-plus years. She went to the Federico Beauty Institute directly after high school and has since worked at almost every Sacramento-area private beauty school. She holds a Bachelor of Science in workshop education from Southern Illinois University and is working toward her master’s degree at Sacramento State  University.

From a young age, Bonawitz says she seemed to be drawn to teaching.

“I’ve always loved teaching,” Bonawitz says. “I even remember as a child I had two younger sisters, and…» Read More

Photo of the day: spring break bonus 4/18/2014: City College freshman Courtney Davis catches a strike ball off... via @saccityexpress