The sweet sound of silence
By | Staff Writer
Sept. 11, 2013

Turn off your voice. Speak with your hands. Exclaim with your eyes. Express with your body. Listen with your heart.

These are the rules for City College professor Kevin Clark’s classroom.

Clark is deaf, but not silent. He quietly conducts his class by weaving elements of deaf culture into the vibrant dialect that is American Sign Language, helping his students to understand the rich and sometimes tragic history of his community.

Clark, 45, an active guy, who just happens to be deaf, enjoys cycling and hiking. He has taught A.S.L at City College for 10 years. He has also traveled the world, including Europe, South Africa, Venezuela and Japan.

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One step back, two steps forward
By | Guest Writer
May 9, 2013

Heather Oakley loves baseball. Her father coaches the sport, and she has been playing since she was 5 years old. For Oakley, a first-base player, the softball field has been a home away from home for years. But there is one softball field she hopes to never step on again.

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Rise to the occasion
By | Guest Writer
May 9, 2013

Tomatoes for $3? JuanLaChica says that is something he cannot get used to paying. Tomatoes are the same produce he picked in the Central Valley fields as a child. LaChica’s father planted and picked toma­toes in the fields. At the young age of 9, he joined his father in the tomato fields, working in the heat of the valley.

A City College counselor for more than 30 years, LaChica says he worked every job possible in and out of school but always appreciated “the value of a dollar” and all the hard work and obstacles that occurred just to earn a living. Growing up, LaChica says he never even dreamed of going to college or anything outside his daily world. He grew up a true Californian Chicano, born in the Imperial Valley and raised in the San Joaquin Valley.

But one day after a school official spoke to his brother about the option of being paid to attend college, LaChica was sold. Having originally majored in computer science, LaChica quickly realized he was definitely more of a people person who thrived on his interactions with others, so he changed his major to sociology. He graduated with a bachelor’s in sociology…» Read More

It’s OK to be a little different
By | Guest Writer
May 8, 2013

The dirty t-shirt, holey jeans, glasses and Afro will make you look twice. After you ask him how his day is and he explains how rotational pulls and vectors are affecting his mood, you’ll raise an eyebrow. Once he continues about how he tripped over his foot because he is quite clumsy, you will crack a smile.

Some say Michael Armstrong is a perfect combination of Screech and Steve Urkel. He does not prefer that comparison. He considers himself a knowledgeable gentleman. Everyone agrees Armstrong is unique.

Armstrong, 27, is in no way a conformist. He does not dress conventionally, he does not talk like anyone else, and he does not do what anyone else does. He is one of a kind.

After a few bumps, Armstrong is on a road to redemption. Some of Armstrong’s bumps include being discharged from the military, suspended from school and mourning the death of his mother.

“Education is everything to me,” Armstrong says. “It’s how I got my mother’s approval.” Armstrong, whose mother died at the beginning of April, slows his speech and lowers his head at the mention of his mother.

“She thought me to learn all I can,” Armstrong reminisces. “I’ll…» Read More

All the right stuff
By | Guest Writer
May 8, 2013

The background action is seemingly unruly asseveral male athletes loudly bombard the room, taking helmets, shoulder pads and searching for other gear before practice.

In the foreground a slender man covers his neatly trimmed white hair with a baseball cap. He is deep in concentration as he examines the equipment’s buckles and straps and checks for cracks and possible dangers that would bring harm to the players.  Born with a hole in his heart and told he could not play physically demanding sports, Sacramento City College’s equipment technician Dave Whittington has nonetheless been part of the athletic family for 20 years.  Whittington underwent heart surgery when he was 5—a procedure that made him physically strong. Now, his love of sports is a theme throughout his life. He speaks fondly of the City College sports program and says, “A lot of our coaches are loyal.”

“I always loved football, always wanted to be around football,” remembers Whittington. “That’s what turned me into being a student equipment manager.” He personally fits shoulder pads and helmets to each player doing his part to keep the Panther football team safe. Though he takes care of all sports-related equipment, Whittington tends mostly to football because…» Read More

Add Just A Dash of Something Extra
By | Staff Writer
May 8, 2013

At the sliding glass doors of Rodda South, she heard it for the umpteenth time.

“What’s up, Subway girl?”

The young man got too close, insisting he knew her, and backed off when Cassandra Wilson pulled out a knife. People often recognized her from the Subway in Greenhaven, where she used to work, but this time she felt harassed.

“I didn’t know I was in the wrong. I didn’t even know we had campus police,” says Wilson.

Wilson, now 27, recalls talking on the phone when campus police approached her and took her purse. In it, they found her knife. She was then arrested and taken to jail, where she remained for 36 hours. Wilson joked with police officers before bursting into tears.

“My mom’s gonna kill me,” Wilson cried with disappointment. She took anger management classes on campus shortly after the incident.

“I never went back [to jail],” says Wilson, who is now working on a certificate in the cosmetology program and A.S. transfer to California State University, Sacramento.

She is also studying American Sign Language, which she loves because it gives her the chance to help others, she says. Helping others is what she does daily on campus,…» Read More

This guy gives back to City College students
By | Staff Writer
Feb. 7, 2013

When someone says, “school nurse,” the mind conjures a picture of that older woman who placed a Band-Aid on a scraped knee and handed out suckers. One Sacramento City College nurse does not fit that vision.

One member of the City College nursing staff goes beyond just his school nurse occupation to make time for what makes him feel good. Whether it’s volunteering, coaching basketball, or giving back to the community with his own non- profit organization, Jeffery Christian, 43, is a role model in every way to his family and his students.

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Space Walker
By | Staff Writer
Dec. 13, 2012

Being a starving artist is a rite of passage in the music industry. Having to struggle for your music gives it a soul.

Nothing could be truer for starving artist April Walker.

Walker has lived in Sacramento for 11 months and is in her second semester at City College. She is a self-proclaimed free spirit and born-again hippie. Walker, known by her stage name Space Walker, is an up-and-coming, singer-songwriter who believes that an education from City College can help further her career in music.

Confidence in herself and her music has not come easy for Walker. Being labeled a misfit, she says, plagued most of her childhood while growing up in Fairfield.

“I thought growing up that my dreams of being a musician were impractical,” says Walker. “I thought if I couldn’t succeed at it then I shouldn’t even try.”

These deeply planted seeds of doubt became uprooted during a trip she took to Costa Rica.

“The scenery and nature there is so beautiful,” Walker says. “I had a lot of time to contemplate the issues in my life. I came back to Fairfield and I knew I was going to do whatever it took to accomplish my goals.”

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A journey in words
By | Guest Writer
Dec. 13, 2012

Overlooking the sea of students among the tables and burgundy chairs, he sits with his newsboy cap lowered, chair turned backside toward the table, and his hands motioning in the air in front of him, as if they are that of a sculptor shaping his own pottery. When he speaks he is creating, inventing, and most importantly, imparting great knowledge to those he teaches.

As an instructional assistant in the LRC Writing Center since 2008, Dale Nelson, known to many as Crawdad, explores and teaches the writing process with students. Individual sessions, serve as both opportunities to teach and to be taught. The experience is an even exchange for both Nelson and his students.

Nelson, 54, interests number as many as the strands of gray hair underneath his cap. Spanning from literature to history to sociology and cooking, his curiosities do not end there. The man’s eyes see what ought to be seen by many, such as the inherent natural patterns of a bird feather or the distinctive formations of the uncorrupted, earthen farms.

Yes, his mind has traveled over many waters and touched many different lands, it can be said, as he sits in this red chair, hands explaining…» Read More

Living the dream
By | Guest Writer
Dec. 13, 2012

A 15-year-old boy in the southern part of Vietnam fell down his stairs and broke his knee. Needing surgery that would cost more than what his parents could afford, the family had to ask his grandparents and other people to help pay. It brought him and his family closer.

Four years later, and now a biology major at City College, Dat Tran hopes to one day become a pediatrician and help children with their own needs.

It has been more than two years since Tran and his family moved to the United States from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He says that he likes it better here in the United States.

“There’s more freedom here,” Tran says. “More access to higher education. I don’t think I would have the opportunity to further my education if my family didn’t move here.”

Being from another country doesn’t seem to faze the 19 year old, as he is the head of his household. He is the translator for his Vietnamese-speaking parents and takes care of everything around the house. In fact, he considers it his greatest accomplishment so far.

“My parents don’t speak English,” says Tran, who also has a 12-year-old brother, “so…» Read More