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Editorials, Opinions and Letters to the Editor
Jan. 9 - Feb. 17, Volume 55, Issue 5
Opinions expressed in the Viewpoints section are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Sun Staff, the Editorial Board or Southwestern College.
The Spinning Wheel
ANGELA VAN OSTRAN
Amber Leigh Skyes Angela Van Ostran Diana Lyn Inocencio Serina Duarte Albert Fulcher Nickolas Furr Samantha Mendoza Mary York, editor Lina Sandoval, assistant Ernesto Rivera, editor Ana Ochoa, assistant Angelica Gonzales, editor Kyla Guerrero, assistant Ana Bahena, editor Anna Ven Sobrevinas, assistant Daniel Guzman, editor Alexis Dominguez, assistant Tom Lord, editor Nathan Hermanson, assistant Christopher Soto, editor Walter Graham, staff Jiamay Austria, co-editor Pablo Gandara, co-editor Margie Reese Thomas Baker Jessica Bedolla Lee Bosch Jacob Coogan Diego De Alzua Airha Dominguez Andy Garcia Valeria Genel Paola Gonzalez Jose Guzman Ernesto Leon Shawnie Lopez Enrique Raymundo Eileen Salmeron Marianna Saponara Angela Soberanes Joanna Wong Yvanna Yepiz Rashid Hasirbaf Carlos Magaña Demi Alvarado Hugo Cayeros Eter Dafne Estrada Amparo Mendoza Roosevelt Palafox Gabriel Omar Villalpando Amanda L. Abad
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Perseverance key to success in education
An education is no quick fix, which trade schools can imply, though it becomes a balance between highly expensive and quick, or the cheaper route taking a very long time to achieve. It’s easy to get lost in a field of frustration and to lose interest in goals if it seems like they’re taking forever to achieve. Work schedules, family needs, changes in schedules and frustration just makes it that much easier for a student to drop out of school. Reaching the point where graduation is in sight can feel a lot like Frodo’s exhausting quest. Last semester felt a lot like I was dragging myself through the Dead Marshes, being led through bogs filled with eerie sparkles of light. This semester I’ve started working in my professional feild, and the lights which have grown dim from years of sitting in classes, questioning if I’m even going in the right direction, finally turned on. All it took, for me at least, was a taste of where I want to work someday. Finally, the clouds lifted and I feel like I’m back on track. Finding a way to spark that energy back into my education wasn’t easy. It took lot of exhausting nights, jam-packed to-do lists and chaotic scheduling before I really looked at what I was doing to myself. Last semester I made the mistake of picking my classes after a stressful, angry day – which inevitably led to a stressful, angry semester. As a result, I was disorganized and pushed myself harder than I should have, and it showed in my grades and the bags under my eyes. Getting through school can be a long and arduous trek, and keeping that momentum going can sometimes be harder than any test. Too many things along our path, from friends, relationships, kids, employment and family responsibilities, can lead us astray from even a well-planned path. Having friends with the same goals, with the same challenges, can often lighten the load. The goal to graduate and become a better person, to have a job and live a good life is a lifeline between friends that can easily make or break a college education. Friends who have unhealthy study habits and life choices make it easier to walk away from responsibilities and harder to focus on work and turn in assignments on time. Teachers have little tolerance for excuses, especially those who push to prepare their students for a fouryear university. Once that momentum is found keeping it going is the hardest part. Keeping the end goal in mind can offer a realistic picture of where the path will lead. Those who volunteer or intern can literally get their foot in the door to their future profession. Students who put themselves out there and volunteer or intern have a better idea what to expect and what they’ll need to know once they get there. As I step into my internship I feel like all this schooling has finally come together. Taking a test with the latest memorized terminologies is a far cry from sitting directly in front of someone and applying that hard-earned knowledge in person. Volunteering and interning has turned the question “Why do I need to know this stuff?” into “How will I use this someday?” … Which is a very different question than the one I asked myself before. Getting that momentum going, finding it, keeping it, making it and breaking it all depends on the point of view of the student. Sometimes the strongest encouragement isn’t based on grades, but attitude and perspective. Keeping the goal in sight is what matters and only you can make sure you get there. Find something that draws you closer to graduation and keeps you going, whether it’s dollar bills, raising a child, having a nice house or just having a nice life. Your friends and family may encourage you, but that cap and gown only fits one, and this path is all your own. Make it count. You can reach Angela by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Issue: Southwestern College board members have showed wisdom by behaving in a transparent, cooperative fashion.
Our Position: Our college must never go back to the old ways of secretiveness and duplicity that got it in trouble with WASC and the District Attorney.
College needs to remain transparent
Southwestern College’s season in Hell is over, but the door of Hades has been left cracked open. Three new trustees are working feverishly to close it once and for all. Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader and Humberto Peraza have the courage and vision to end SWC’s suffering and steer the college into an age of rebirth. Part of their wisdom is their understanding that the college has to come clean and put all of the misdeeds of the past out into the light before SWC can really be free. Our college suffered on all levels – academically, administratively, publicly and politically – when SWC’s previous administration chose to erect walls of secrecy and chicanery. Backed by a dysfunctional 4-1 governing board majority, the prior administration’s lack of transparency and blatant secrecy from 2007 – 2010 disgusted the entire community, leading to a toxic atmosphere that has proved epically destructive. Raj K. Chopra, Nicholas Alioto and the board led by Yolanda Salcido brought the college to the brink of being shut down by its accreditation body. Little did we know they would also lead us into the biggest corruption scandal in San Diego County history. Captured by Chopra, SWC’s annual golf tournament and Educational Foundation fundraisers became vehicles for money laundering and influence peddling. Instead of filling scholarship funds, these once-cherished events filled campaign warchests. With no regard for the Brown Act or the American value of open government, the board and administration hid documents and punished inquisitive faculty. “Transparency” and “openness” vanished from the college’s vocabulary. This clampdown left people questioning the closeddoor actions of the administration and board, forcing the public and the media into antagonistic positions to uncover the truth. Increasingly desperate efforts to hide that truth led to the incumbents’ defeat at the ballot box and the resignation of more than a dozen administrators. Hernandez, Nader and Peraza brought a passion for education that the former governing board sadly lacked. They have also been champions of transparency and openness. They meet often and keep the public, students and press informed. This house-cleaning board majority will need to consistently remind nervous employees that the old way of doing business is over. There will be none of the reflexive administrative circling of the wagons or other defensive behavior. Record requests will be honored. Investigations will be made public. Questions will be answered forthrightly. Administrators will treat faculty, students and media as allies and stakeholders, not enemies to deflect and deceive. People who act guilty in this time of search warrants and indictments will be presumed guilty and part of the problem rather than part of the solution. It is important for all college trustees and employees to remember that we are being closely watched, and that our behaviors and actions will have heightened meaning. Stay on the side of the angels. Right now, the district attorney is in the middle of a huge investigation into past and present board members of the Sweetwater Union High School District and its former superintendent. Three are connected to our college. Arlie Ricasa, SWC’s director of student development and health services, is currently on administrative leave. Greg Sandoval, the former acting superintendent/president, and Henry Amigable, who oversaw Proposition R construction in 2009 and 2010, have been charged with multiple felonies. Questions abound. “Who’s next?” Former V.P. Alioto and former facilities director John Wilson are likely candidates. Other contenders for headlines are Salcido, former SWC superintendent Chopra, and Dan Hom, president of Focuscom, a PR firm in league with Alioto, Wilson and Amigable. San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis released the dogs on Sweetwater and she has a few more in the pen, warming up for Southwestern College. When it came to the D.A.’s 2011 investigation, the new governing board had three choices: work with the D.A.’s office, work against it, or to simply let the investigation happen by taking as little action as possible. Hernandez, Nader, Peraza and former trustee Nick Aguilar opted smartly to work with them, opening SWC’s doors and books, and promising them the first results of an internal review of the college’s finances that has been underway for most of a year. This is the high road, and it sends a powerful message to the community that this college will no longer hide misdeeds and unethical activities. It is up to the courts to determine guilt or innocence, but the evidence collected so far is shocking. Voters who tossed out two ineffective trustees at Southwestern in 2010 are getting out their brooms to sweep out Sweetwater corruption this November. For our new leaders, this is the point of no return. It falls upon them to make certain that the promises of truth and openness are actually reflected by the actions and deeds of the administration. It also falls upon them to not let the fear of bad press and shocking headlines overshadow the promise made to be fully transparent. Nelson Mandela knew that South Africa had to come clean before it could heal. Southwestern College is in the same place. Hernandez, Nader and Peraza understand that. Here’s hoping our new administrators get it, too.
Ana Bahena Daniel Sanchez
Amanda L. Abad Shannon Pagano Max Branscomb
Student Press Law Center College Press Freedom Award, 2011 National Newspaper Association National College Newspaper of the Year, 2004-11 Associated Collegiate Press National College Newspaper of the Year National Newspaper Pacemaker Award, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 General Excellence Awards, 2001-11 Best of Show, 2003-11 Columbia University Scholastic Press Association Gold Medal for Journalism Excellence, 2001-11 California Newspaper Publishers Assoc. California College Newspaper of the Year, 2011-2012 Student Newspaper General Excellence, 2002-11 Society of Professional Journalists National Mark of Excellence, 2001-11 First Amendment Award, 2002, 2005 San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards 1999-2011 California Chicano News Media Assoc. La Pluma Awards Journalism Association of Community Colleges Pacesetter Award 2001-11 General Excellence Awards, 2000-11 San Diego County Fair Media Competition Best of Show 2001-03, 2005-2011 San Diego County Multicultural Heritage Award American Scholastic Press Association Community College Newspaper of the Year
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