Pierce College News

May 20, 2008

Athletics Department named Outstanding Community Organization by WRPA

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 1:59 pm

The Pierce College District Athletics Department has been named the 2007-08 Outstanding Community Organization by the Washington Recreation and Parks Association.

Pierce College Athletics Award

The award was given to the Athletics Department in recognition of its role as host of the WRPA’s Hot Spot Basketball Shooting state championship March 9. The championship event was the culmination of a statewide search for the best basketball shooters between the ages of 7 and 14. A hundred young athletes participated in the state championships, which were held at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s new Health Education Center in Lakewood.

This was the first time the state championships were held in Pierce County.

Pierce College Athletics Director Duncan Stevenson said hosting such community events allows Pierce students to connect with others, particularly youth, and to see themselves as leaders.

“Events such as the Hot Spot competition are excellent opportunities for our students to give back to our local youth in much the same way that others helped them in their involvement with sports activities at a younger age,” he said. “It helps them to realize that most children view college athletes with a sense of awe and respect, and that they have the ability to be positive role models in a child’s life.”

Nineteen Pierce College students and staff volunteered at the event.

A public presentation of the award is scheduled tentatively for the June meeting of the college district’s board of trustees.

May 15, 2008

Pierce College District boasts five winners of coveted state vocational scholarship

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 10:39 am

Five Pierce College District students will receive two years of free tuition at the public or private school of their choice after having been selected as winners of the prestigious Washington Award for Vocational Excellence (WAVE) by the state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.

The following are the WAVE scholarship winners for the Pierce College District:

George Lang
• George Lang, 42, of Malone, began at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom last spring after a workplace injury ended his 20-year career as a carpenter. Lang enrolled in the college’s construction management program using funds from the state’s Labor and Industries (L&I) worker retraining program. With his L&I funding running out at the end of the current quarter, Lang didn’t know how he would continue his education.

“The money from L&I is the only money I have available,” he said. “I want to go on and get my four-year degree, but I’m married with two kids. I have a family to support. Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t have any funds to continue.”

Lang will use his WAVE scholarship for two years at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. He plans to earn his bachelor’s degree in business management. He wants to stay focused on the construction industry.

“I have 20 years in the trades already and I want to utilize all those skills I already have,” he said.

Oscar Gonzalez
• Oscar Gonzalez, 32, of Lacey, will use his scholarship to continue his work with male perpetrators of domestic violence. Gonzalez, who is completing his associate’s degree in social services and mental health, plans to continue his education at the University of Washington-Tacoma this fall. Ultimately, Gonzalez wants to lead the domestic violence groups that benefited him when he was the perpetrator of a domestic violence incident against his ex-wife many years ago. The group changed his life and created in Gonzalez a desire to educate men on abuse.

“After I was involved in a domestic violence incident, I did a year of treatment,” he said. “It brought a lot of focus and freedom to my life. I spent so much of my time preoccupied with things I had no control over, but I learned that having control of yourself is having complete freedom. It’s put me in a good place now.”

Gonzalez said part of his mission is being honest about what he did and sharing that with other men, while empowering women to recognize abuse and leave dangerous situations.

“I keep an open mouth about it because people need to be educated,” he said.

Gonzalez juggles his education with a number of volunteer positions. He teaches parenting classes and works within the court system to provide therapy for abusive men in Thurston County through Cain, Atwell and Associates. In addition, he is trying to start a divorce support group for men and is advocating to local legislators to get domestic violence education programs in high schools.

At Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, where he works in the Veteran’s Services office, Gonzalez worked with the Women and Family Services office to have special flyers posted in the men’s bathrooms. The “Am I Abusive?” flyers let men know that abuse is not limited to physical violence.

“It made me feel good to see those flyers,” he said. “I hear from men all the time who say, ‘I didn’t know that was abusive.’ The better educated we are, the better off we are.”

Kaylee Eckert
• Kaylee Eckert, 20, of Federal Way, will use her WAVE scholarship to complete the dental hygiene program at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. She started the program last fall after spending 17 months working as a dental assistant. She said she saw first-hand the good work being done in the dental community and wanted to play an even bigger role in helping people have healthier lives.

“I absolutely love it,” she said of dental hygiene. “It’s so rewarding to get down to the nitty gritty and educate people. So many people don’t know how to take care of their mouth and their teeth. It sounds so simple, but it’s something a lot of people have never been educated on.”

Getting the rest of her education paid for is a huge relief for Eckert.

“I was taking out loans and stuff, even though I knew it would come back to bite me later,” she said. “Winning the scholarship made my day, my week, my year. I never win anything!”

Adriane Wilson
• Adriane Wilson, 31, of Lakewood, has battled homelessness, single motherhood, and poverty to finish her associate’s degree in business from Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. She will now take her WAVE scholarship to The Evergreen State College, where she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in business.

Wilson started taking classes at Pierce in fall 2006. With four children to support, she needed more than temporary employment, which was all she could get after dropping out of high school.

“I was a single mother tired of the 9 to 5 grind,” she said. “I did temp work and I was in and out of Washington. I needed to be settled and I needed a better life for my kids.”

With little resources, Wilson struggled. She and her children lived in their car and in an abandoned apartment for a period of time, but she never stopped taking classes and working towards her degree.

“I don’t think people realize how hard it is for some students,” she said. “If you don’t have a home, you don’t have access to computers. You can’t cook or take showers. But, I made it through. I never dropped out. That’s what I’m trying to teach my kids.”

Wilson said many people on campus helped her. One of her teachers even bought her a hotel room for a week.

“What helped me were my teachers. They knew what I was about. They knew I was struggling,” Wilson said. “That’s the only way I’ve gotten through it.”

Homeless no more, Wilson has given back by volunteering at the college’s Multicultural Leadership Institute. She started a program to have necessities available for students suffering economic hardship. Now, there are things like meal vouchers, blankets, and shampoo available for students.

Having the next two years of her education paid for is a huge relief for Wilson.

“For me to have this to continue my education is huge,” she said. “At least now I don’t have to worry about dropping out of school. Honestly, I don’t even know how to feel just yet. I’m in shock.”

Jake Brain
• Jake Brain, 18, of Puyallup, is now enrolled in the two-year construction management program at Pierce College Puyallup. He plans to finish the program next June and transfer to a four-year university to study either architecture or business.

In the meantime, the scholarship is good news for Brain and his parents.

“It’s pretty big. It takes a lot of financial stress off me and my parents,” he said.

Brain said he was especially surprised to win the scholarship. He applied last year and made it to the state finals, but his name was not chosen. He was encouraged to try again and won.

“It was really nice to win this time,” he said. “My parents are pretty impressed and thrilled.”

Brain started at Pierce last fall. He graduated from Puyallup High School in June 2007.

WAVE scholarships were established by the state Legislature in 1984 and provide undergraduate educational tuition for two years at any accredited public or private college or university, or at any licensed private vocational school. Winners, who must have completed either a high school or a college career and technical education course of study, are selected by a committee with members representing business, labor, education, government, and private citizens.

May 13, 2008

Pierce College student to debut her one-woman play in Tacoma on May 16

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 10:40 am

Fionna Larcom
Pierce College student and Navy veteran Fionna Larcom will share her experiences processing the remains of war casualties in the premier performance of her gritty one-woman play, “Table for One, No Wait,” at 7 p.m. May 16 at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave.,Tacoma.

Larcom’s play describes her work in the medical examiner’s office in Washington, D.C., assisting with the autopsies of soldiers killed in the Iraq war. It’s an honest, intimate look at what happens after death and the effect such a large-scale exposure to death can have on a young, female soldier serving in a non-combat role during wartime.

“I got a very up close and personal look at mortality when I was very young,” Larcom explained. “It might seem kind of morbid to talk about, but it’s made me very confident in myself and it showed me that war isn’t what you see in movies. You don’t honor the soldiers by sensationalizing their deaths. There’s more to it than the pretty, glossy, official funeral at the end.”

Larcom, who served six years in the Navy, enlisted two days after her 18th birthday. She ended her service in November 2003. Since, she’s studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in both New York and Los Angeles. She is now working towards her transfer degree from Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.

Though she’s written several plays before, this is her first non-fiction, biographical show.

Larcom hopes her play will give her audience a new perspective on death and reinforce the idea that hope is possible even in the most difficult circumstances.

“Be OK with your life. Don’t leave loose ends,” she said. “Death is the one thing we all have in common and there’s no reason to be afraid of it.”

This show has graphic subject matter and may not be appropriate for small children.

May 12, 2008

Pierce College to host evening open houses in Puyallup and Lakewood on May 22 and 29

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 1:44 pm

Tired of daydreaming about a new life and a new career? Take the first step and get all the information you need to realize your possibilities at the open house events this month at Pierce College Puyallup and Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.

Pierce College Puyallup, 1601 39th Ave. S.E, will host its open house from 4 to 7 p.m. May 22. For more information, call (253) 840-8470.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. 1601 Farwest Drive S.W., Lakewood, will host its open house from 4 to 7 p.m. May 29. For more information, call (253) 912-3740.

These one-stop events will give you the information you need about academic and worker retraining programs, financial aid and scholarships, Running Start, advising, transfer, student programs and activities, and support services.

“This will be the best opportunity to get the broadest information regarding our services and our academic programs, all in one place,” explained Sabrina Crenshaw, outreach manager for Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. “You can learn about the various ways to finance your education, the services we provide our students, and the certificate and degree options available for you to pursue.”

In addition, current Pierce students will be on-hand to share their personal stories and to provide inside information on life at Pierce, while experts from such areas as financial aid and advising provide one-on-one information suited to your needs. Campus and facilities tours, including those of Pierce’s two child development centers and science labs, will also be offered throughout both open houses.

Refreshments will be served and visitors will have opportunities to win prizes, including Pierce College merchandise and a $500 scholarship (one available at each campus).

Visitors at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom can also enjoy a visit from the KISS 106.1 FM Party Crew, which will be at the campus playing music and games, and giving away prizes.

May 9, 2008

'The Adventures of Don Quixote' to be performed May 13 at Fort Steilacoom campus

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 9:17 am

Central Washington University’s Theatre Ensemble will make a special appearance at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom with an all-ages performance of “The Adventures of Don Quixote” by Steven Fogell, based on the classic novel by Cervantes.

The free performance will be at 3:30 p.m. May 13 in the Health Education Center, Room 302, at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, 9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood.

The show is funny, perfect for children of all ages, and lasts about an hour. This adaptation of the Cervantes novel emphasizes the message that love, courage, and creativity are the only tools necessary to finding our own destiny.

The Central Washington troupe is performing as part of a statewide tour through the end of the spring quarter.

Pierce College to highlight environmentally-friendly programs at Livable Communities Fair

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 9:14 am

The Pierce College District will showcase its efforts to promote environmental stewardship and education at the Livable Communities Fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17 at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.

Parking and admission are free, but organizers are requesting fair attendees each bring canned food items to donate. All food will be donated to the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

The Pierce College booth will highlight the work of college faculty and staff in developing academic and worker training programs that promote greater environmental responsibility.

For example, representatives from the construction management program will be sharing information on their shift towards responsible green building, while highlighting the college’s own first example of this new trend in building, the Health Education Center that opened last fall at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.

In addition, representatives from the early childhood education program will be demonstrating how environmental awareness is being taught to very young children.

Joining Pierce College at the Livable Communities Fair will be more than 150 interactive booths, workshops, and speakers that provide resources and information aimed at improving the community’s overall quality of life. This year’s theme is “Changing the World One Fair at a Time” and incorporates such efforts as recycling, low impact development, affordable housing, roads and transit, emergency preparedness, public safety, the environment, recreation, and more.

For more information on the fair, visit www.livablepiercecounty.org.

May 1, 2008

Pierce College Theater Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Student Literary Magazine

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 11:37 am

TACOMA — Pierce College’s Student Literary Arts Magazine (SLAM) has celebrated the many and varied voices of student writers for the last decade. On May 7, Pierce’s theater department will make those voices ring from the rafters with a one-night performance of “SLAM Slam: Pierce College Theater Acts Up SLAM’s First Decade.”

The free performance will be at 7 p.m. May 7 at Pour at Four, 3814 N. 26th St., Tacoma. The show lasts about an hour and a half. The public is encouraged to attend.

About 30 performers, a mix of student actors, faculty and staff, will perform live readings from each of SLAM’s 10 years in print. The readings are an all-encompassing mix of student poetry, short stories and nonfiction, said Patrick Daugherty, director and theater instructor.

“We really wanted to do something creative and a little different for our spring production,” he said. “Working with SLAM and being able to celebrate the written word in this way is such a unique experience. SLAM pretty much hits all areas of emotion. There’s humor, there’s drama, there’s tragedy. We have everything in this show.”

With its warm, intimate atmosphere, Pour at Four in Tacoma’s Proctor District provides the perfect setting for this celebration of the original writings that have made the annual SLAM publication an enormous success for Pierce College.

For more information on Wednesday’s performance or on Pierce College’s theater department, call (253) 964-6683 or visit the college Web site at www.pierce.ctc.edu.