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

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