Photo courtesy of the Watts family.

A life led in pursuit of childhood education

Dr. Elvie C. Watts, child education advocate and educator left her mark on City College and many other places in her 97 years. She died March 29, leaving behind a legacy of working on behalf of early childhood education.

“She affected people’s lives,” says her daughter, Ethel Watts, a current student at City College. “She believed that all children should begin with a preschool education. She believed in supporting parents of preschool-aged children by sharing knowledge of the different stages of early childhood.”

Former City College student Cathy Speck speaks to professor Joanne Moylan-Aube's Psychology 390 class inside Temporary 6 March 10 about her struggles with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and how she copes with death within her family. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, according to Elizabeth Ramirez | staff photographer |

Learning to love life

Legendary Yankees player Lou Gehrig is not only known for his triumphs as an all-time great first baseman, but also as a pioneer in raising awareness for the terminal disease that killed him in 1941.

“I might have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for,” said Lou Gehrig in 1939 during his goodbye speech at Yankees Stadium, explaining that even though his disease stopped him from playing baseball, he didn’t let it stop his love for life.

Lou Gehrig’s disease—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)–is a disease that gradually kills the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which control the muscles all over the body, eventually making it hard or impossible to walk, talk, eat, swallow or breathe. Most people diagnosed with the disease die within 3-5 years after the onset of symptoms, but in rare cases, people can live for much longer.

From left to right, Victor Sr., Victor Jr., and Gilbert Lagunas exercise in City College’s North Gym

Fitness: a family affair

Drops of sweat collect on the rubber-padded floors of the City College gym as Victor Lagunas Sr. approaches the 10-mile mark in his workout riding one of the schools stationary bicycles. Lagunas biked 13 miles on this day, one more than his usual 12.

At the 13-mile mark Lagunas stops. Momentum from the turning wheels carries his legs through a few more pedals until he comes to a rest. He takes the white gym towel draped around his neck and wipes the sweat from his thinning gray hair and forehead. His two sons, Victor Jr. and Gilbert—also wrapping up their workouts, come over to meet their 90-year-old father, as they have after every workout for more than a decade.

The Lagunas family’s tenure at City College spans over 50 years. Lagunas’ oldest son Victor Jr. attended classes in the mid-1960s, graduating with an associate’s degree. Lagunas’ three other children followed suit, each spending time at City College before transferring to four-year institutions.

City College volunteer Girtha Davis waits at Union Stadium's entrance gate March 1 to collect money and stamp the hands of spectators attending the game.

Photo by Staff Photographer | Dianne Rose |

Athlete makes career at City College

Girtha Davis has been a hard to miss fixture on campus since the late 1960s when she competed in basketball, softball, field hockey and track. She continues to be a daily presence even after retiring from the athletics department.

An accomplished athlete, Davis set the single game scoring record for City College women’s basketball, scoring 35 points in a game in 1968.

“I really enjoyed playing. My girls were the best,” said Davis of her teammates and her athletic career at City College.

Despite her storied playing career, Davis is known more for her presence off the court than on it.

Randy Hicks applauds at a City College men’s basketball game Feb. 21. Hicks has been attending games since 1998.

Panthers fan shows 16 years of pride

Bright lights reflect off hardwood floors, scoreboards and shot clocks light up, and the crowd anxiously anticipates the start of the game. The bleachers are filled with alumni, friends and family of players from both home and visiting teams, and fans of basketball. This is the typical scene for home games at City College.

And Randy Hicks, 49, is usually part of that scene, taking his place among the crowd of cheering fans. Hicks, who has been attending games since 1998, said he uses his love of sports and cheering for the many City College athletic programs as a form of therapy to help himself cope with a painful disability.

Most fans that come to the games at City College are currently students or alumni, but Hicks has never attended classes, nor does he have a relative that has. In fact, he has absolutely no connection to City College other than living the area.

“When I moved up the road I said, you know what? City’s here, this is my school. There’s a lot of history here,” said Hicks. “There’s a lot of history at Sac City.”

Professor of sign language studies Pat Masterson teaches class Jan. 30 silently by sign language. Teri Barth | Online Editor-in-chief |

Communicating with the world

No talking. That is the rule written on the whiteboard for all to see.
When students momentarily forget, she gives them the look—the one that says, “You have been warned.”

When students momentarily forget, she gives them the look—the one that says, “You have been warned.”

Meet Pat Masterson, 61, a professor of American Sign Language at City College. Though a small woman, only 5 feet 3 inches, her commanding presence would make the biggest lineman jealous.

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Lending a hand

Imagine waking up early before the sun has risen. Frost still covers your car. You arrive one half-hour early to prepare for a 10-hour day. First, you defrost your frozen hands on a hot cup of coffee. Next, you get paperwork ready for newcomers before you fetch the wing commander to start training.

Roberts’ family poses with Congressman Tom McClintock, Nathaniel Roberts, Edith Roberts, Joshua Roberts, Maggie Green,  at the Tuskegee Airman, "Spanky" Roberts Chapter, 72nd Anniversary Gala Education Assistance Fundraiser at the Aerospace Museum of California on Nov. 23rd.

(Multimedia Editor/Dianne Rose/

Tuskegee family continues to fly to new heights

REPLICAS OF FAMOUS AIRPLANES hang from the ceiling of a former McClellan aircraft hangar, punctuated by the one with the tail painted red. Formally dressed people of every age and skin tone mingle with active service members and, maybe most significantly, older black men in red jackets with a very special historic insignia on the breast.

The Color Guard places the flags of the United States and California at each side of a small table with a single place setting, candle and another American flag.

Harold Knox, City College English professor spends time in the library Nov. 21. Tamara M. Knox | Staff Photographer |

Stumbling onto success

This is the man who saw it all. He has been everywhere, and he has tried it all.

He sits down to enjoy his morning coffee at Starbucks after a life full of adventures.

“I’ve lived many lives,” says Harold Knox, an 87-year-old English professor who has been teaching at City College for 46 years.