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Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

“There are not enough words to express how much they’ve helped me,” says My Le, 19, a first generation American whose goal of becoming a nurse has been supported by the TRIO staff.

Le was accepted into the TRIO program in 2001. Over the past two years she has experiences both educational and personal obstacles that have made her academic pursuits even harder to obtain. Le is extremely grateful for the support and guidance she received from TRIO staff during those trying times. “No matter what decision I made, they always supported me. They became like a second family to me.”

In the midst of the turbulent civil rights movement of the 1960’s, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Higher Education Plan of 1965 was formulated, of which the Student Support Services Program (TRIO) was one aspect.

TRIO was established to provide educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstances. It is a collegiate program designed to promote student success and improve academic performance for students at Modesto Junior College and prepare them to transfer to a four-year college or university. With funds from the U.S. Department of Education, TRIO works with underrepresented students who are the first-generation of their families to considers post secondary education.

The Modesto Junior College chapter of Student Support Services Program (TRIO) was established in 1997.

Initially TRIO was made up of only three specific programs. Upward Bound is geared towards at risk high school students; Education Talent Search identifies at risk mid-to-college age students, facilitating their educational process through graduation and higher education. Student Support Services helps people from families with low incomes stay in college until they earn a baccalaureate degree.

Over the years since TRIO’s inception, many changes have been made to it. With the addition of a couple of new programs, it was necessary to change TRIO’s name. Now it is more widely known in colleges across the country as Student Support Services.

“The TRIO program works hard to keep students on track,” says Martha Robles, director of Student Success and Special Projects. “It is important for us to make a connection with the students, be intrusive when it comes to advising and to provide networking opportunities. We take part in the students’ academic career and campus life experience.”

Almost 600 have gone through the TRIO program, graduated and continued on to ebe successful in their individual academic goals.

MJC student Angeline Hass has only good things to say about TRIO too. Although new to the TRIO program itself, Hass isn’t new to MJC. Hass came to the United States from her native Fiji with two purposes in mind: to be reunited with her parents who had already settled here and to pursue her academic aspirations. She relates that even if she had continued on in educational system in Fiji and obtained a degree in her chosen profession that she still would have had to take more classes here in the United States.Having someone to guide her through the educational process from start to finish, is something that Hass appreciates greatly.

“They make it easier to attend MJC,” says Anjaline Hass, 21, a business major.” They help you to pick out classes relevant to your major so that you don’t waste time and money taking ones you don’t need.”

Throughout the academic year, TRIO students will take trips to colleges and universities, museums, conferences, live performances and to cultural events or programs. These co-curricular activities are planned to give students a chance to socialize with each other while experiencing academic or cultural enrichment that may help students with career,school and lifestyle choices.

All program services are provided free of charge to students who maintain their eligibility for program services. Interested students must submit an application and verification of income for the previous year. Students are then scheduled for a personal interview to review eligibility and discuss program services that will help them achieve their educational goals. For additional information or to request an application, please contact TRIO/Student Support Services Program office at MJC or call 575-6189.

Peddler’s Fair

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Peddler’s Fair
Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
December 2000

December is a time when families gather together to celebrate the holiday season, exchange gifts, indulge in rich foods and share memories.

It is also a time of suffering, sadness and loss for thousands of people nationwide. There are thousands of people who are out of work, homeless or barely making ends meet from paycheck to paycheck. Many families live in shelters or are totally dependent on local organizations to provide their every day needs.

While some of the local organizations receive government subsidiaries, most are privately ran and rely mainly on money and equipment donated by sponsors in the community.

Since 1990 The Modesto Bee has ran an annual insert called “A Book of Dreams”. “ A Book of Dreams” lists the specific needs of local families and community organizations. That same year, Modesto Bee employees began to hold internal fund-raising events like pancake breakfasts’, pasts and poinsettia sales to raise money to donate to these organizations.

“This year they decided to host an external event as well. On Saturday, December 6, they held a Peddler’s Fair in their parking lot on 14th street. The event included a variety of arts, crafts, collectibles, foods and entertainment.

New health service frames students

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New health service frames students
By Wendy Mills

Wanted: Eyeglasses for participation in a medical program sponsored by the Modesto Junior College Health Services Department. Applicants will not be discriminated for lack of luster, chipped edges or lost lenses; however, cute and funky frames are encouraged.

The MJC Health Services Department has a variety of programs to assist students with their individual medical needs. The “Health Services Partnership’ is one such program, which is geared toward students who may not have medical insurance and cannot afford to pay for dental and optometrist costs on their own. Through limited funding , the program is able to provide money for initial dental and vision exams for students, as well as supply used frames for students needing eyeglasses. While the program was the initial brainchild of Brenda Freitas, a former MJC Health Services Technician, Emmaline Rippe steadfastly pursued the idea until it came to fruition.

“The Health Services Partnership was started with the intention of providing qualifying students with much needed emergency vision and dental care,” asserts Rippe, 65, MJC nurse. “We hope to bring this program, and others, to the attention of students and the MJC community as a whole.”

Currently the program consists of two optometrists, and Health Services staff members are actively working to find a dentist.

Donations of eyeglass frames are needed to restock the dwindling supply the program already has on hand. Glasses can be dropped off at the Health Services office in Morris Building Room 108 on the MJC East Campus.

For more information about the ‘Health Services Partnership Program,” and other programs provided by the Health Services Department at MJC, please contact Coordinator of Health Services Hilda Sielicki at 575-6037 or at


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Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

Service to others high priority for Modesto Junior College campus club.

The Able/Disabled Association of Modesto Junior College was established on the MJC East Campus in 1976. It was initially started to make things more user friendly for disabled students on campus, as well as in the community, and is directly responsible for getting Dial-a-Ride set up. Membership then, and now, included the students with a variety of disabilities, as well as non-disabled students. It is an organization that has several goals: to sensitize non-disabled persons both on campus and in the community to the physical and emotional needs of people with disabilities, to encourage the development of human potential to all facets of life, to function as an advisory group to the coordinator of disability services at the college and to sponsor social and recreational activities.

“Our main purpose is to help students on campus and out in the community as well,” said Elsa McCoy, current president of the club.

While McCoy was only recently elected president of the club, she has been a member of it for two years. She hopes to carry on the good work of her predecessor Rene Jay, whose leadership abilities led the club to be voted ‘Best Club” on campus three years ago. One way to do this is by making sure that club members stay active in a variety of fundraising activities. They have hosted a White Elephant Sale, baked goods, sold pastrami sandwiches, flowers and coffee mugs.

“Over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the members of Able/Disabled gifted four needy families with food baskets, “said club advisor, Molly Boyott. Boyott is proud of the club member’s dedication to helping others.

“I’ve been a member for about five years,” said Chris Rowton, 44, a Human Services major. “I returned to school after to further my education. A friend of mine introduced me to the club.” After being brain damaged in a severe car accident eleven years ago, Rowton has had to learn to rely on other people to help him through his every day life. What better way than to get involved in a club whose main purpose is to help others? “I got involved because it was really important to me to help others. To give back to the community some of the help I’ve received in my personal life.”

Soon the club will be presenting a $300 check to the Salvation Army earmarked for the new homeless shelter that opened up recently on South ninth Street. Profits from upcoming events will be set aside to buy food and presents for Easter Baskets the club plans to present to women and their children at a local women’s shelter.

The club meets bi-weekly during the fall and spring semesters. Meetings are held in room 100 of the electronics building from 12:30 p.m. To 1:30 p.m. A small membership fee per semester is required. For more information about the Able/Disabled club call Disability Services at 575-6225.

Year round college discussions well underway

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Year round college discussions well underway
New scheduling would cut sessions to three 15-week trimesters
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
May 11, 2000

Do you dream of spending April in Paris? Or September in New York–without having to delay graduation? That flexibility may be an option for Modesto Junior College students a few years down the road.

MJC administrators, faculty and a few students attended a Strategic Conversation Tuesday night, May 2 to discuss whether MJC should change from its current academic schedule to a year-round trimester system. The idea has been around for at least two years, when the district commissioned an independent study to find how students felt about different scheduling options. Overwhelmingly, students favored shorter semesters.

Those present at the meeting also responded favorably, although there was many concerns.

Strategic conversations are informal forums designed to encourage communication between the Yosemite Community College District Board of Trustees, faculty, students and the broader MJC community.

“Tonight we are here to think, plan, brainstorm and put ideas on the tables,” said Chancellor Pamila Fisher.

Fisher explained that no decision would be made (that night), but that the administration was interested in knowing what faculty, support staff and students thought about the concept, and to encourage them to speak freely, regardless of their position in the MJC community.

The proposed trimester system would create three equal academic sessions running 15 weeks each. There will be about a two-week break between each session. Students could enroll in any two, or all three sessions, to be considered a full-time student. Full-time faculty would teach two out of three semesters.

Topics discussed included: Benefits of the trimester system, cost of implication, increase of instructional hours, whether the year-round schedule would coincide with CSU or UC calendars, impact on facility, staffing and student services.

Benefits could include a wider variety of classes and more scheduling options, increased flexibility in completing the degree and certificate programs, the chance to graduate faster if students enroll in classes year-round, or to take a trimester off during the season that is most convenient for working students and parents.

Studies also show that more students actually complete classes and stay in school when there are fewer weeks in the semester (trimester), according to faculty member Diane Wirth, who followed the success of similar transitions in other California community colleges.

At colleges such as Pierce and Santa Monica Community College, “Students retention and success is greater, and faculty are very happy with it,” said Wirth. “ The Opportunity (it provides) are extraordinary for both faculty and students.”

A main concern among faculty members was whether funds would be available to hire additional faculty to handle the influx of students,especially in the new, extended summer session. They were also worried about having enough support staff, maintenance, and security to handle the increase in students and academic tasks. Impact on financial aid awards, coordination of our calendar with other colleges, universities and high schools, and complications in class scheduling were also discussed.

“If it is out decision to do this, I think that there will be a lot of challenges and difficulties,” Wirth commented. She was nonetheless positive about the college’s ability to work through them.

A faculty/administration resource team is at work exploring these issues and will take responsibility for developing a set of recommendations that will then go on to the Board of Trustees. Negotiations between the Yosemite Faculty Association and the YCCD District will be another hurdle to clear, as there are many issues in the prospect of a year-round calendar that affect faculty. Eventually there will probably be faculty and student senate votes to affirm decisions reached in this lengthy process.

“Broad input is what has been valued all along,” said Stroud.

Although the trimester concept has been a long time in development, it appears that the school is ready to move on it when all the issued are ironed out.

“The reason it took so long is we were prepared to hate it,” said Faculty Senate President Stephen Stroud, but after studying the plan’s success elsewhere, “I have been convinced that it could work.”

PEAK students learn tolerance, diversity

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PEAK students learn tolerance, diversity
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

“Hate will only take us to destruction.”

This was the conclusion of Adela Toledo, one of 30 PEAK (Pre-Collegiate Education for Academic Knowledge) Basic Skills Learning Community students who participated ina two-day excursion to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California, Octorber 8-9.

The PEAK program was created at Modesto Junior College in Spring 2001. It was formed to promote innovative learning, quality instruction and academic success for traditionally underrepresented students. The project provides a cluster type learning community experience for developmental students as they work intensively in three or four pre-collegiate level course to build a strong foundation in basic skills such as reading, vocabulary, writing, study skills and math. Student affective issues, such as motivation, are also addressed in these learning communities by including theme-based curriculum and adding experiential learning components.

The trip was an experiential learning opportunity based on the program’s ‘Beyond Tolerance’ theme.

The MOT visit was the basis of assignments studied before, during and after the trip, geared to measure students’ responses to the learning experiences and gauge their awareness of the issues of tolerance and diversity.

Student responses to the trip were overwhelmingly positive. They all admitted that while they had been raised to be tolerant of other people’s differences, that the trip was an eye-opening experience for them. It made them even more aware of the atrocities that have happened and will continue to happen until racism is permanently eradicated.

“The biggest impact that the MOT trip had on me was hearing about the cruelty and hardships of the Jewish Holocaust survivors,” says Adela Toledo, 23, a first generation American whose goal is to become a nurse.

Toledo’s classmate Calvin Kloak agrees. “I like learning about other people and their cultures,” says Calvin Kloak, 19, who is pursuing a career in dentistry.

It is only one of many reasons why he and other students like the PEAK program so much. Not only are they afforded the opportunity to participate in cultural events like the MOT trip, but the comfortable learning environment as well.

MJC Learning Communities encourage collaborative or cooperative learning opportunities that require students to become resources for each other, allows them to learn through a myriad of potential activities, such as group visits to museums or other cultural events and opportunities to work on projects that offer practical applications fo of course content.

“PEAK is really a phenomenal concept that makes learning more meaningful for students and faculty,” says basic skills English instructor, Annaliese Hausler-Akpovi.”It has revolutionized our approach to teaching.”

Persons interested in learning more about the PEAK program please contact the Division of Literature and Language Arts office at 575-6604.

Great Valley Museum auction

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Great Valley Museum auction
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday, April 27, 2000

The Great Valley Museum is extending invitations to everyone in the Modesto Community to attend its annual auction on Saturday, Ma6 6. The 7th Annual Arts and Adventure Auction will be an evening filled with fun, food, and entertainment. A live auction will be the highlight of the evening and those who attend will bid on such items as:theatre & concert tickets, vacations, original arts & crafts, and unique jewelry. Refreshments will include complimentary wine and hors d’ oeuvres like Salmon Crispies, marinated mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese, pesto, olive and tomato paste Arams and chocolate dipped strawberries. Besides bidding on items in the auction, attendees will have the opportunity to see some exotic animals up close. Pet handlers will circulate through the audience with their animals and answer questions posed to them.

The event will be head at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 1528 Oakdale Road. The auction starts at 6 p.m.and will end at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10/members, $12/nonmembers. Tickets can be picked up at the Great Valley Museum at 1100 Stoddard avenue. For more information call 575-6196.

First TRIO student sets her sights high

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First TRIO student sets her sights high
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday May, 11, 2000

Elida Vizcarra, 21, enrolled in classes at MJC in the fall of 1997, and was the first student ever to join the TRIO/Student Support Services. She is the first person in her family to ever graduate from college. She hopes that her younger siblings will also seek higher academic goals for themselves. While she says that her family supports her, Vizcarra said that it was hard for them to understand why furthering her education was so important to her. Neither parent completed school higher than the elementary level.

Vizcarra is graduating from MJC with an associate’s degree in business with a minor in International in business. She admits that attending MJC was a struggle. “If it wasn’t for the encouragement and support I received from the TRIO Program staff and financial aid, I don’t think I could have attended MJC,” Vizcarra said, crediting the TRIO Program as being the main factor that enabled her to achieve her academic goals.

While succeeding in college was important to her, Vizcarra found time to enjoy it. Last summer she was selected for an internship through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, affording her the chance to work for the United States Air Force on a Texas base. She won this year’s Latino Leadership Scholarship, was an active member in the Puente Club and has served as peer advisor for other MJC students.

“Elida is an all around outstanding student,” TRIO/Student Support Services Program Representative, Peggy Kroll said.

She plans to transfer to California State University at Stanislaus where she intends to earn a bachelor’s degree in business. Her ultimate goal is to work for the United States Embassy in Germany.

Uprising: Heroic true stories of Jewish resistance fighters film review

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Uprising: Heroic true stories of Jewish resistance fighters film review
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

“Uprising,” is the accomplished, highly realistic four-hour miniseries that premiered on NBC Nov.4 and 5. It depicted the heroic true stories of Jewish resistance fighters who battled the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War 11.

After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, the Nazis decreed that 350,000 Warsaw Jews be forcibly moved into a cordoned area of the capitol city known as the Warsaw Ghetto. The miniseries is a fictional retelling of the lives of the men and women who chose to fight for freedom, rather than submit to Hitler’s rule.

Watching his people forced into slave labor, brought to the brink of starvation and deported to death camps, idealistic teacher Mordechai Anielewicz decides the Jews must rise up against the Nazis. Undaunted by the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of organizing a resistance without arms, food or communication with the outside world, Anielewicz enlists fellow Jews to the cause and creases the Jewish Fighting Organization (JFO).

He tries to secure the support of Adam Czerniakow, the morally conflicted head of the Warsaw Ghetto’s Jewish Council. But Czerniakow declines because he knows that any act of resistance will provoke the Germans to kill even more innocent Jews to deter further acts of opposition. Determined to mobilize a resistance, Anielewicz recruits his best friend, Yitzhak Zyckerman and Yitzhak’s wife, Zivia, as well as his own girlfriend Mira, and friends Devorah and Marek Eldelman.

Joining their cause are Tosia, Kazik, Ari and Frania, covert couriers whose ability to pass as Aryan helps them smuggle in arms and explosives from outside the ghetto, building up an arsenal to fight the Nazis.

When the Germans begin deporting 300,000 Jews to the Treblinka death camp, the JFO initiates acts of resistance that culminate with ghetto fighters firing their first shots against the Nazis. Stunned Germans respond to the uprising with a massive military operation designed to eliminate the Jews entirely. Though Mordechai’s army of over 200 trained fighters is dwarfed by the tanks, artillery and professional troops that storm into the ghetto, the fiercely determined resistance fighters open fire on their oppressors, killing dozens of Nazi soldiers.

After it becomes clear that the JFO is a force to be reckoned with, the German High Council sends in General Stroop, who is determined to end the uprising in two or three days. Capturing the horror that unfolds is Fritz Hippler, a filmmaker assigned by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist, to promote anti-Semitism with a film about Jewish life in the ghetto.

As the Nazis continue to suffer more casualties in battle after battle with the ghetto fighters, General Stroop decides to raze the ghetto. But even that can’t stop the JFO. Forced to go underground into sewer bunkers but energized by their success, the Resistance fights on. Fact: they held off the Nazi army longer than the entire country of Poland did when invaded by Germany. The Jews are determined to live with honor–and if need be, die with honor–while lighting the torch of resistance in occupied Poland.

The screenplay, written by Jon Avet and Paul Brickman, is character-driven, as would be expected in a television movie. The cast featured an international array of young adults who were sometimes hard to differentiate.

Jon Voight’s portrayal of General Stroop was comically ineffectual, but David Swimmer gave a more than believable performance as co-leader of the JFO Yitzhak Zuckerman. Hank Azaria’s portrayal of Mordechai Anielewicz, was passionate, yet restrained. Leelee Sobiesky gave a stellar performance in her role as Tosia Altman, a young woman who, after losing all her family in the events the film recounts, turns her grief into unwavering commitment to those remaining Jews who fought to survive.

New School Uniforms debut

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New School Uniforms debut
By Wendy Mills, Tamara Dow
Staff Reporters
Saturday April 1, 2000

The Modesto Junior College President’s office released a statement today confirming rumors that uniforms will be required of all fall and part time MJC students next fall. The rumors started after one student overheard two others discussing the college district’s decision.

“I was shocked!” said Ethan Allen, 25, a carpentry major. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Isn’t forcing us to wear uniforms against our rights as students? We’re not living in a fascist state!”

Allen stated that he was walking through the student lounge on the way to his next class when he overheard two students talking about the surprising change in policy. Recognizing ASMJC President Melissa White, he paused and listened, hoping that his ears were playing tricks on him. He was still recovering from what he had heard, when the two girls noticed him, exchanged funny looks and quickly left the lounge.

After the President and Chancellor’s offices were bombarded with incoming calls from concerned students, MJC President Maria Sheehan issued a statement to be read.

MJC spokesperson Linda Hoyle read the statement to a group of students, staff and faculty members gathered in the student lounge.

“It is with great concern for our students’ academic success that the Yosemite Community Colleger District has decided to issue a mandatory dress code to students attending our facility. We feel that MJC students are spending too much time on things outside of the scholastic environment and not enough time on their academic studies. In neglecting their studies, students are not only hurting themselves, but the faculty members as well. Drastic times call for drastic measures. By eliminating students’ worries over their appearance, we hope to see an improvement in study habits. By establishing a mandatory dress code, we believe that our students grades will improve dramatically.”

Uniforms for female students will consist of a white turtleneck, navy polyester slacks and white comfort shoes. Male students will wear short, black polyester knickers, a black bow tie, white short-sleeved dress shirt and white comfort shoes. Uniform costs will be $75.00

Hearing that the rumors were true, students leaped to their feet and angrily protested, stating that the school was infringing on their rights of freedom of expression. Fearing for her safety, Linda Hoyle rushed out of the student lounge and called campus security. Alfie Johnson, head of campus security, arrived moments later with his men and quickly brought the protesting students under control.

“I have never seen any MJC students react this way to a statement before, not even when we were fighting the Vietnam War,” said Johnson.

Laura Paull, advisor for the MJC newspaper commented, “Protest is their right.”

An emergency session of the Student Senate has been called for Sunday, April 2, at 4p.m.outside the ASMJC office, on the steps of the Student Union Building. All students are urged to attend.

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