Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nearly Two Years of Winning and Still Overlooked?

By Hobson Lopes

In recent months, all Connecticut Huskies fans have had a lot to talk about. They had the football team being competitive in every game and even included defeating the great Notre Dame. All of this fighting through the adversity of losing one of their own after this seasons homecoming game. The men’s basketball team gave Coach Jim Calhoun a five year extension, which has yet to be signed. Calhoun has had health issues in the past and this season is no exception. He missed a couple weeks due to his latest health scare and the team has struggled for most of the season. Recently, the team has worked together to pull off multiple upsets setting them up for a trip to the NCAA tournament later this month. Through all of this, one thing that seems to be forgotten is the women’s basketball team coached by Geno Auriemma. What makes that more amazing is the fact that the team has won 69 straight games. With all those wins, do they lead off Sportscenter? WIth all those wins, do they recieve front page coverage? Maybe if they were playing LeBron James or the New York Yankees.
You have to go back to the 2008 Final Four in Tampa Bay, Florida, to find the last loss by this team. Since that 82-73 loss to Stanford, the Huskies have dominated all opponents. They have won each game by at least ten points. They have easily gone through the competition in the Big East Conference winning 32 straight games. They avenged their loss to Stanford by defeating them in the 2009 Final Four in St. Louis, Missouri, 83-64.
These numbers all look great, but it pales in comparison to how well the Huskies play against the top ranked teams in the country. Seventeen of the victories have come against team ranked in the top 25 polls with a margin of victory of over 28 points. In their seven playoff games since their last loss, the Huskies margin of victory has been almost 27 points.
Many people feel that Auriemma’s team will not get beaten this season and would finish with their second consecutive undefeated season and third overall in their great history. If the Huskies win all the remaining regular season games, they can tie their own Division I women’s basketball winning streak with a win in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament on March 7. Thus, a second consecutive perfect season will give them 78 straight wins, only ten shy of tying the all time collegiate streak record held by UCLA.
Coach Auriemma just knows how to coach, and more importantly, knows how to recruit. He will lead the women’s Olympic basketball team in 2010, and has already booked his ticket to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
This year, led by Maya Moore and Tina Charles and their over 35 points per game, this duo is near the top of the list in UConn’s great legacy, which include the duos of Jen Rizzoti & Rebecca Lobo and Diana Taurasi & Sue Bird. With Charles ready to graduate this spring, she’s completing her WNBA resume as she recently broke the All-time UConn records for points and rebounds. Moore & Charles feed off each other and make sure to incorporate Kalana Greene and Tiffany Hayes into the action.
While the diehard fans know all of this information already, what I am concerned about is this team is expected to win, so a streak of this caliber is overlooked. Although attendance is high at each game, whether home or away, it still seems that in this area, they are looked past. This reminds me of the situation that the Atlanta Braves faced in the 90’s. Starting in 1991, the Braves were the best team in the National League, and got to the World Series multiple times, but only won once. With each winning season, the attendance figures dropped at Turner Field as the fans just expected the team to win. I know once March Madness sweeps the area, fans will be all over the men’s and women’s teams, but I would still hope to see more enthusiasm from the locals all season long, especially as records come and go.


By Jessenia Cintron

There was a time when people could fly
But for generations we've been born with no wings
Just like you I wished to touch the sky
To reach the unattainable wishes that sleep within my belly
On a day just like any other my wings began to grow
The envy of those around me began to show
New joy gave hope to impossible dreams
And so I began to rise on lonely wings
I wanted to take you high with me
For love they said we'll rip these wings
Now here I am all alone
My beautiful wings are now tattered
The desire for us to fly burning deep within my heart
I hope that with time they will mend
But in the meantime I will build new wings
A pair for you & me
On these imperfect wings we'll build our future
And birth a new generation who we will teach to fly

Part I: The Face of a Storm

By Loriann Cordero

Society shows little mercy. It dictates success as having a great job, nice house, and a hefty bank account. However, beneath what our society mandates as the foundation for everyday life, exist a population which is the opposite; a way of life that “normal society” refuses to acknowledge. An Underground City: this population, also known as “the homeless, bums, vagrants, losers”, has become invisible because according to “the norm” it represents failure. There is a stigma that follows the homeless. It is believed that they have brought this failure upon themselves and now they do not deserve a second chance.

The first time he rolled up to the street ministry, it had all the resemblance of the darkest thunderhead ever imagined. He did not want any one to talk to him, or even look at him. His clothes resembled the aftermath of a storm as well. They were ratted, torn, and dirty. By his matted and greasy hair, and the smudges of dirt on his face, it was apparent that he had not bathed for days. His eyes were red and bloodshot; and even at several feet away the smell of alcohol was strong and overpowering. The name of the gentleman being described is John, and he was bringing the storms of change to the lives of many that day.

John was new to the ministry site. This was not unusual because the weather was turning colder. Along with this change in temperature, many more homeless came out from the woods for hot food and beverages. John stumbled his way into line and immediately began to argue with the others around him who were patiently awaiting their turn for hot dogs and soup. John began to push and accuse people of cutting in front of him. He snapped at a woman who entered the line, “What the heck are you doing?” The woman’s expression revealed shock at first, and when she quickly recovered, she replied in an agitated tone, “What are you talking about you old drunk, I was already in line!” She then continued, “You cut in front of me!” John’s face held all the fury of a volcano as he erupted with, “Shut-up or I will beat the tar out of you!” A heated argument ensued and then others in line started to join in. In order to keep things calm, ministry volunteers brought John food and gently, but cautiously, directed him to a seat under a tree. As John sat and ate his food, he continued to snap and snarl at the other homeless guests that were being served. “Get away from me, I don’t want you over here,” he yelled at Don who tried to share the ledge near the tree. Don just grumbled something about “you old fool,” as he walked off.
One of my duties in the ministry is to assist in providing employment opportunities. In doing so, I have the opportunity to walk around and chat with the homeless about their daily lives and the people they encounter while living in the camps. This day, as I was speaking with a gentleman named Stan and his topic of conversation was about none other than John. Stan spoke to me out of concern for John’s safety. He looked at me with furrowed brows and concerned eyes as he said, “John keeps telling everyone he wants to commit suicide.” Stan glanced over at John, making sure he was not being overheard and then quietly continued, “He told me that he lives in a house with no running water, no electricity, no heat, and it was condemned by the City of New Britain a few years ago.” He sighed, helpless, “If the city finds out John is still living there, they will throw him out on the street.” Stan went on “Lori, John tried to kill himself three weeks ago, but ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.” Then he explained further “He has been drinking heavily again today and that is why he has been threatening everyone with harm who even attempt to come near him.” After Stan chatted with me a few more minutes I found myself facing a decision. In my heart I knew I had to try and speak to John. However, my mind was telling me that this was a dangerous option. My heart, as usual, won.

As I looked over at John, it was almost as if I could see the thunderclouds over his head. Actually, it was more like a typhoon, hurricane, and tornado rumbling simultaneously above his head. I cautiously walked up to him and asked him if he would like any more to eat. He spun around, looked at me, and grumbled, “No, I am fine.” I then introduced myself “My name is Lori, by the way.” “My name is John,” he grumbled.

I carefully sat down next to him and asked him how he is managing. He began to tell me about his life and his living circumstances. “I live in a house that was condemned by the City,” he stated flatly. He did not look at me as he was talking. He just stared down at the hot dog resting in his hand. I did not say anything. I decided to let him talk as much or as little as he wished. “I do not have any heat,” and added “It is just as cold in my house as it is outside.” We sat silent for a few moments. Then I ventured, “John, what about your family? Can you stay with them?” He shook his head sadly and said, “My wife divorced me and my children abandoned me.” Then John looked at me with deep red eyes. I was not sure if they were red from the alcohol or from the sting of tears. “I was a Marine and I served in Vietnam,” he said as a matter of fact. He went on to say “The military taught me how to kill, but they never taught me how to love again.” He looked back down at the ground, “I did not show my family any love, so I cannot blame my family for abandoning me.” He then stated bluntly “I have nothing to live for anymore.” When he was done speaking, he stood up and reached for the bags at his feet that held his belongings. I looked at him, and asked him softly, “John, can I give you a hug?” John looked at me with both a puzzled and startled expression on his face and asked, “What did you say?” I repeated, “Can I give you a hug, John?” He asked “Why would you want to give me a hug?” Even as he asked the question he was already tentatively opening his arms and his bags were still in his hands. John’s voice was filled with emotion as he said to me, “No one has given me a hug in about thirty years.”

As I stepped into his arms, I wrapped mine around his neck. I felt his arms gently close around me. I was close to his ear and said, “Because I care, John.” When I said that, I felt the bags fall to the ground and I felt his hug tighten. It was my every intention to comfort him. However, suddenly a wellspring of tears just bubbled up from inside me and I just started to sob. Through my tears, I repeated to him, “Please do not kill yourself, John, please don’t. I would miss you so much if you did.” John began to give me comfort instead. When I pulled back and looked at him, he took his dirty hand and patted my check. I looked into eyes that were no longer red, but bright blue and smiling. His face had actually softened. He had the expression of some one who was just handed hope.

Working in shelters and outreach programs these last twelve years has taught me one important thing: hope is what the homeless look for in the faces of those who pass them by on the street. Sit and talk with anyone who has spent even one night on the street or in a shelter, and the first thing you will hear is that they no longer feel like a person. They feel invisible and forgotten. No one ever wants to feel that way. According to the CT Count 2009 report released by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, “an estimated 4,154 people were experiencing homelessness in Connecticut on the night of January 28, 2009. Among those counted in sheltered settings, there were 2,482 single adults and 423 families with minor children. Counted in places unintended for human habitation such as streets, cars, parks, abandoned buildings, were 488 single adults and 7 families with minor children.” While packed with statistics, what the report failed to show was the hopelessness those individuals felt that night. However, that is the intent and purpose of this two part series; to not only give voices to those who are silenced by that hopelessness, but to also bring those out of the shadows that society would prefer invisible.

Not Myself

By Stasia Mihaly

I am crying on the inside
Can’t stop it on the outside
I want relief from this black hole

I feel like my insides are screaming
I know they are bleeding
My eyes are swollen
Welled up with tears

I can’t even finish a sentence
I don’t feel like going out anymore
I want to stop crying
I want everything in the world to just stop
I want to stop crying
I want to stop crying

I want to be myself
I need to feel myself
Nothing feels real
Everything is a washed out dream

Twisted, turned upside down, spastic
My world is spinning into disaster
My world is stuck in the black hole

Finding Good Through it All

By Paul Singley

The gawky teenager runs awkwardly down the court, sheepishly waits under the basket and hesitates before calling for the basketball.

All season long, players have tried in vain to feed him with passes, but time and again Jimmy has dropped the ball. As a special needs student, he is embraced by his peers for his uncanny work ethic. But to score a basket just doesn't appear in the cards.

This time would be different, though. Jimmy posts up, catches the pass and turns toward the hoop. A quicker, stronger and taller defender immediately swarms him and can easily block the shot. But the opponent realizes this may be Jimmy's only chance to score a basket. Without being obvious, the defender backs away and lets Jimmy shoot. The ball bounces off the backboard, off the front rim and drops in the bucket. Two points go on the board.

The crowd roars, realizing they have just witnessed Jimmy's first points of the season and possibly the shining moment in his recreational athletic career.

Though this vignette involves a player, a ball and a score, it has little to do with sport. It is about the graciousness of teenagers - a group that seldom gets recognized for its good deeds - and how a small moment in time can leave a lasting impression on the soul.

As Jimmy's coach, these are the moments for which I devote my time. It's not about wins and losses, it's about seeing kids succeed and rise above their expectations.

Over the past two weeks, I have pondered the power of the moment when Jimmy scored. I've wondered why it is that people don't choose to be as gracious as his defender on a regular basis. Why does it seem all we ever hear about is conflict or negativity?

We can blame the media for not covering enough positive stories. As a journalist, I too, am guilty of covering a fair amount of negative news, though I try, every day, to seek out the positive.

Or we can blame society for allowing our world to turn into one where conflicts are resolved through war and strife.

But I think the responsible person would also choose to blame himself or herself.

As human beings, too often we do not seek out those little moments in time when we can say we're proud to be part of this society.

We watch the eleven o'clock news and stay focused on the latest home invasion, murder or other story of misery. While it's important to know what is happening in society, even if it's negative, it's equally important to stay tuned to the positive: Millions of people helping to rebuild Haiti; the community of Cheshire rallying around Dr. William Petit after his wife and daughters were murdered during a home invasion; people who rescue abused animals and place them in happy and healthy homes.

These are just a few of the positive stories that can be found in the aftermath of bad news. People always seem to step up most during times of struggle, and it's important to notice those stories too. I'm trying hard to find them now, and I'm uncovering gems in everyday life.

I noticed two students from entirely different backgrounds helping each other with math homework after my communications class.

I noticed the man holding a door for an elderly woman; the student who never grasped the concept finally starting to learn; and the couple holding hands as they strutted down the hallway.

We call these the little moments, but once you see them, they make all a huge difference in your appreciation of the world and its people.

I figure we can all use some good in our lives considering that, according to researchers, we live in the second most unhappy state in America ahead of only New York. A recent study conducted by the University of Warwick in England discovered those results.

Think about that: New Orleans is still trying to overcome the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and yet the collective state spirit is happy as a clam (Louisiana ranked first in happy states per the study, which, interestingly enough, was conducted before the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras). We haven't seen a natural disaster of Katrina's magnitude in our state's history and yet we can't crack a smile?

It is my untested and unscientific theory that people would be a heck of a lot happier if they found joy in life's little things. Look for the simple joys in life and you might find that the evening news won't make you as upset, and you won't be irritated as much by your pet peeves, such as when a student in your class is texting away right in front of you (btw students: tell ur friends ttyl cuz that really makes your profs :-(, lol.)

Like Jimmy, I think we should take a shot. We should try, even just a little, to look beyond the obvious and focus on the good details in life.

Too often, we'll watch the game, look at the score, but won't notice that kid standing stiff under the basket. We won't celebrate his hoop because it's just two more points in a lopsided game. And inevitably, we'll miss that magical moment.

Paul Singley is an adjunct professor of communications at NVCC. He is also a full-time journalist for the Waterbury Republican-American newspaper. E-mail him at psingley@nvcc.commnet.edu.

Let There Be Education for All Who Strive to Learn

By: Nancy Xu
Community Colleges all over the country are making a crucial step towards making education more accessible to everyone by offering four year degrees.
I had the fortune of experiencing my first year of college worry free because all my finances were covered by my parents while I was studying at the State University of New York in Albany. Unfortunately, near the end of my first year, as our economy started to crack under pressure and businesses began to collapse, my father lost his job. I could no longer attend the school I had grown used to. I was bitter and helpless, so I reluctantly packed up and moved back home to Connecticut.
I am determined in my quest for a higher education and will stop at nothing to reach my goal of becoming a physician one day. I was sure of one thing though, I had no money and I did not want to put any strain on my already struggling family, so I decided I would pay for college on my own. I got two jobs and felt like I was on my way, until I ran into a major obstacle. As I scrolled through the local college websites and did some calculations, I realized that my two minimum wage jobs could not even make a dent in any of these four year colleges’ tuition. I was distraught.
By the end of my first year at NVCC, I had fallen in love with my school. I never expected so much from a school that I paid so little to attend. My teachers were all so knowledgeable and enthusiastic, not only that but my class sizes were so small compared to my first college that I could actually interact with my teacher and colleagues. These schools also offer students a flexible schedule so that they can work and pay for school. Community colleges, as the name states, are also very involved in the community and offer endless opportunities to become an active community member.
Since I have come to realize what a great gift community college is to motivated academics everywhere, I wondered why I could not just stay at my current school to get my four year degree. It would be so important to me if my college would offer a four year degree. Not only have I come to love the diverse people, enjoy all the opportunities and learned as much as I can from my intelligent professors, but it would mean I would not need to incur heavy debt before I even finish undergraduate school. This is the next major step in education and a gift to eager students striving to learn.

Hospitality Management Spring Lunch Series

Dumpling Day
Thursday, April 1st

Every ethnic kitchen has its own dumpling. Taste authentic Shanghai Dumplings, Italian Ravioli, Polish Pierogi, or Spanish Empana¬das. There will even be a des¬sert dumpling to finish off this unique meal.
Beverage included $12.
Reservations accepted between 12:00 – 1:00

Comfort Foods,
with a twist
Thursday, April 15th
Some of the old time favorites updated with some new ingredients.
Dessert and beverage included $18.
Reservations accepted between 12:00 – 1:00

Please join us for these two fun lunches! Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Hospitality Management students will cook for you and serve in style!

A portion of the proceeds from these lunches support the scholarship program.
Lunches are served in the new Technol¬ogy Hall Dining Room, T531.

To reserve, please call Karen Rotella at 203-596-8739, or email at krotella@nvcc.commnet.edu.

Horoscopes by Yisel

January 20 - February 18
You will soon start saving money by car pooling with your friends. No need to bring your bathing suit.
February 19 - March 20
Your romantic life could use some maintenance. Do something spontaneous in order to sweep your partner off their feet.
March 21 - April 19
You are confused, unpredictable and generally blurry. So is your future.
April 20 - May 20
You have been feeling lost lately and your life needs to take a new direction. A GPS navigator will help.
May 21 - June 20
You have a lot of drive in you. Make sure you don’t forget your bus pass.
June 21 - July 22
Today’s forecast: Sunny. It is a Great day for bright ideas.
July 23 - August 22
Life is short. You need to Grow up!

August 23 - September 22
You will jump start into a new career as well as your car. You forgot to turn your lights off.
September 23 – October 22
Today’s lucky numbers are 5, 10, 23, 13, and 3. Sorry… Better luck tomorrow!
October 23 - November 21
You must begin to take full control of your life and put the Wii controller down.
November 22 -December 21
You’ve been feeling down and in the darkness. Get up and turn the lights on.
December 22 - January 19
Life will be coming at you full speed. Buckle up!


When Brother Obama (yes, I still claim him as part of my Black family) was elected, everyone who supported him actively or otherwise, had a agenda for him to pick up. This has always been true of the "First Black" anything. There is no way he could become all things to all people, let alone all Black People. In our hearts we have always known this to be true, but some folks hold on to the possibility anyway. The next move is for some folks to claim the person is not Black enough. I say, enough of that crap.

He will NEVER be able to do what everyone thinks he should be doing. There are bound to be people disappointed in his agenda and/or timetable. This too, is natural and we have waited a long time for this moment.

This is a part of the unresolved issue of American politics. Is an elected person someone whom you trust to do the right thing, or someone who does whatever you want, whenever you want it, no matter how many times you change your mind? (Sounds a little like finding the right mate, doesn't it?).

So my response is this: if you feel the issues that you hold most dear are important enough, keep on keeping on. My belief is that the people who criticize the loudest are the ones doing the least. President Obama just got the biggest job in the world. I still trust that he will make a difference.

Once again, this is my personal opinion.

Brother/Professor William H. Foster III

Mattatuck: More Than a Museum

During Connecticut's colonial era, women were warned to avoid exciting their minds with reading and writing books. And as late as 1888, a Louisa May Alcott character is described as being "too fond of books… they have turned her brain." Cultural constraints worked against women's full participation in the public world until the mid-1800s, but changes in society in that period (immigration, urbanization and industrialization) resulted in new opportunities. As we celebrate Women's History Month, we have the occasion to identify the achievements of three women in Waterbury who were pioneers in re-defining what women could attain.
These women, who remain largely unknown in our city's history, set an early standard for feminist success. They were Martha Dunn, Caroline Conkey and Amelia Porter. They came from middle class households, were educated and had satisfying careers. They were all medical doctors practicing in Waterbury in the 1880s.
The first American medical schools were for men only. After exerting intense pressure, women began to gain admission around 1850. Waterbury's first female physician was Martha M. Dunn who graduated from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1879. She began her practice initially in Utica, New York before coming to Waterbury in 1882. After a successful practice of five years, Dr. Dunn gave up her practice and she married in 1888. Her successor was Dr. Caroline R. Conkey.
Born in Massachusetts and trained at the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, Dr. Conkey came to Waterbury as a successor to Dr. Dunn. An article in the Waterbury American identifies the tenor of the day regarding gender bias: "She will find that in Waterbury the prejudice against women physicians has been almost entirely removed by the personal virtues and professional success of her predecessor." Dr. Conkey enjoyed a large and important practice and was an attending at the Waterbury Hospital. Her positive position in Waterbury society was assisted, no doubt, by her participation in the city's social activities, including the Young Women's Friendly League. Led by Waterbury's prominent women and supported by St. John's church, this group aimed to develop "intellectual, industrial and social character in self-supporting and wage-earning girls and young women.” A photograph of Dr. Conkey, on view in the museum's current exhibition, shows her at work at her desk looking professional, dignified and competent.
Waterbury's accepting attitude towards women physicians probably motivated the arrival of Ameila A. Porter who arrived in the city just after graduating from the School of Medicine of Boston University. Though she developed an extensive practice, ill health caused her to retire in 1890 before passing away in 1891.
These pioneering women deserve to be known and our city's acceptance of them should make us proud. You will be when you visit the Mattatuck Museum and see the exhibit, Our Beautiful City: Waterbury 1880-1930. Visit our website www.mattatuckmuseum.org for further information.

Celestial Marathon

By Mark Wilson

The society of heavens surround in craze
Seatin’ to watch this annual race
Bright darkness flashes in my face
Readyin’ for the long chase

A rocket pierces the vacuum quickly
I run the pace admirably
Solar winds flood my eyes violently
Invisible wings build on me so rudely

Beads of water appear from nowhere
As these slopes defies truth’s dare
Time slows into a glare
I swear I’m runnin’ on no air

Olympics fear where I stare
The unforgiving turbulence never cares
This undulation tests my inner hare
Losing sanity with each blare

An ocean of me spreads out slowly
Soakin’ my body freely
Yet the miles pile on steadily
As that finish line grows clearly

I walk the line in Faith’s pace
As I triumph by a face
My burnt vessel laughs in place
As I finally walk out of insanity’s maze

Bud Selig: His Past, Present, and Future

By Dennis Brown

Baseball is “America’s Pastime.” Baseball is a sport that has brought joy to people in this country since first appearing during the civil war era. Any sport or business however, would be lost without a leader. Allen H. Selig, better known as Bud, has been the face of Professional baseball for eighteen years. Since coming into office as commissioner of the MLB, Bud Selig has had his share of controversies and tough decisions. At the age of seventy-five, it is no surprise that there has been talk of retirement for Bud, but what would this do for the sport of baseball?
Just two years after being named acting commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1992, Bud Selig was faced with the strike between the players and owners regarding their salaries. He set a deadline and when it came, the 1994 season was cancelled because no agreement had been reached. One year later, after meeting with President Clinton at the White House, Selig stated “we are committed to playing the 1995 season and will do so with the best players willing to play.” This was huge for the sport, implying that replacement players may be used in the striker’s place. Throughout the years Bud Selig has also made other big decisions like adjusting Hack Wilson’s RBI total and Babe Ruth’s walk total.
Controversy struck the MLB big in 1999 as the Los Angeles Dodgers attempted to illegally sign Adrian Beltre at the age of fifteen. Selig took control and fined the Dodgers ball club $50,000 and forbid them from scouting players from the Dominican Republic for an entire year. Bud said “He participated in the scheme,” and denied Adrian his free agency. Other notable actions taken by the man in charge include suspending both, Braves pitcher, John Rocker for racial remarks in an issue of sports illustrated and Yankees outfielder Darryl Strawberry for testing positive for cocaine in 2000.
Bud Selig was criticized most for the 2002 All-Star game in which it went into extra innings. In the 11th inning, both the National and American leagues had used up all their pitching. Selig was questioned about what to do and decided to end the game in a 7-7 tie. Because of this game, now the All-Star game means something. The winning team each year now, gets the right to home-field advantage in the World Series.
The last few years it seems that steroids have been bigger than the game itself. The news was talking about the users of steroids more than the season and players on field performances. Every sport around has had random testing for illegal drugs and steroids for many years. Bud Selig placed this random screening into Major League Baseball in 2001. Since then, more and more tests have been taken and many baseball players have been caught and/or have come out with the truth.
In 2002, David Propson wrote in Flak Magazine, “Bud Selig is the dark lord of baseball. He tried to kill two teams last fall, and this summer he has sworn not to give into the player union, even if it turns out to mean provoking a season-ending player’s strike. Fans, reporters, players, and even other owners hate him. Clearly, the man must be a genius.” Genius or not, the MLB seems to be a strong organization and Selig has played a major role.
Many fans have their own opinion on Bud such as Brian Jennings, a junior at Central Connecticut State University who says, “I had no idea Bud Selig was retiring. It’s surprising because he’s been there so long. He has built the MLB to where it is now (successful). He could’ve made the league even better though, by being stronger on the steroid issue and maybe installing a salary cap. Also, baseball would be better in the future with fewer regular season games, so that they don’t end the season playing in cold weather.”
Another opinion was formed by Eric Stadalnik, a freshman at Uconn of Waterbury, he states, “I was aware that Bud Selig was thinking about retirement. I think that he has done all he has been able to do, both good and bad, at this point so I think a change would be good. Much like how better the NFL has been since Roger Goodell took over for Paul Tagliabue a few years ago. I believe with the right person getting the job, the MLB as a whole would benefit greatly. I can’t say I hated him, but I think some things could’ve been better during his time as commissioner, he is replaceable.”
So the fact of the matter is, whether you like Selig’s talk of retirement or not, you must respect him as not only a business man but also as a leader in American athletics. He has had a great love and respect for the sport throughout his life. The actions he has taken show he is strict and not afraid to change the sport for the better. Bud Selig may be replaceable, but it won’t be easy.

Law Abiding Citizen: Action packed from beginning to end

By Hobson Lopes
Anchor Bay Entertainment’s recent DVD release “Law Abiding Citizen,” starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler is an action packed movie about a man who had his family taken away from him during a home invasion. That man, Clyde Shelton (Butler) is on a mission to find out what is actually right about the American judicial system. Nick Rice (Foxx) was an upstart hotshot district attorney at the time of the home invasion. He makes a deal with one of the invaders, Clarence Darby (Christian Stolte) the man who actually put the knife in Shelton’s wife, and took the daughter away, to get out of jail after five years.
As the movie fast forwards ten years, we are about to witness the pain free lethal injection of Darby’s partner, Rupert Ames, when the execution goes wrong. The police find evidence at the scene leading them to Darby, but their investigation of Darby leads them back to Shelton. Shelton masterminds a plot throughout the movie to dismiss anyone who may have wronged him ten years earlier. You won’t believe where this roller coaster will take you as Nick Rice and Clyde Shelton battle to see who is truly smarter.
Since this is the DVD review, we need to talk about the special features. “The Justice of Law Abiding Citizen” is a great feature that shows how realistic the movie turned out. Former district attorney’s appeared in this feature to discuss the ins and outs of the case, and shows how much research was done during development of the movie to make sure everything is accurate. “Law in Black and White” was a great behind the scenes extra feature. This feature showed real conversations between the actors and directors on making improvements to the movie. There was also a visual effects feature that a lot could have been done with considering how much action there was in the film. Overall, I would give the movie 4 ½ out of 5 Tammy’s, and the bonus features 4 out of 5 Tammy’s.
Make sure to complete this month’s crossword puzzle on Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx to be entered in a contest to win a copy of the DVD. Please send completed puzzles to Beth Ann Scott’s mailbox in room k611.
To be eligible for the prize please include name, phone number and email address with submission. We must receive at least 15 submissions for DVD giveaway to take place.

Why we need Journalism at NVCC!

Why not? It is something that we deal with everyday, whether it’s through tv, newspapers, or the internet. For back to back semesters, I have enrolled in Journalism I, only to have it cancelled each time, including on the day of the scheduled first class. While I understand the politics behind cancelling a class with only seven students, why can’t the school notice that there is still a demand at the school for the class, and for the journalism itself? The seven students who signed up for the course care about writing. They care about getting a message out to the masses. They want to share their writing talents with the rest of the campus, and beyond. Why should any of these students be punished for something that isn’t their fault?
This situation can lead me into a completely different route. How can a school that raises tuition about 4% each year, only care about the students in the popular programs? That’s a question I can’t personally answer, but would love to hear a response to. What happened to the days of having smaller class totals, so it can be a more personal approach to the teaching and learning process? It’s all about money now. It seems that the relationships that could be formed in the previous teaching style is secondary now, just as long as the bottom line looks good.
Hobson Lopes
There is no Journalism course at Naugatuck Valley and this is a major issue. From a very young age, writing has been my passion. Therefore, when the Journalism class was cancelled, I was one of many disappointed students. I’ve chosen to major in the field of Journalism and taking a class here and now at Naugatuck Valley would help perfect my writing and get me ready for the future. I feel that we have willing students that will not allow this opportunity to go to waste, and will work their hardest to achieve their goals.
The college emphasizes good writing in every class; this is obvious because essays are abundant. Whether you are taking an exam or just working on a homework assignment, many times essays are present. This journalism class would not only make the newspaper better, but students essay writing will improve as well. The project of trying to get this class up and running has already had a major impact. Lara and Hobson have recruited some of us to write for the Tamarack as journalists. With this class, I feel students can do even bigger and better things.
Dennis Brown
I have been thinking about pursuing a career in Journalism, but I am not sure if I have the skills and personality to succeed in this field. A journalism class would be essential for me because I need the tools to learn the craft of becoming a journalist. Journalism is very broad, therefore I need to study and explore the various aspects of it. Through this class, I would have the opportunity to practice and improve my communication skills through speaking, listening, reading and writing. I am certain that this class will be critical in determining if this is the career path that I would like to take. In general, Journalism impacts our lives in many ways. As a society, we need it to communicate to the public the important issues that need to be addressed. It is the way to speak for people who can’t speak for themselves. It also allows our voices to be heard in ways that other mediums do not allow. I believe that we can all benefit from a Journalism class. I am looking forward to acquiring all the knowledge that Journalism I has to offer at Naugatuck Valley Community College.
Yisel de Oleo
According to their welcome page, the Journalism Department within the University of Connecticut subscribes to the definition of journalism education as given by Edward W. Barrett, former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University:
"The primary aim of education for journalism is the development of disciplines, arts and attitudes of mind: the discipline of giving attention to the distasteful as well as to the appealing; the discipline of learning to gauge one's best effort to fit an allotted time span; the discipline of continuing self-education; the art of expression that is lean, direct, precise and deft; the art of grappling with a complex new subject, extracting information from inarticulate specialists, and synthesizing the finds faithfully and coherently; the art of recognizing fine points of accuracy and subtle gradations of meaning; the attitude of approaching new problems with the open-mindedness and imagination that makes solutions possible. Above all, one seeks the attitude of ruthless fairness, of reporting what he dislikes as honestly as what he likes -- in short, true intellectual integrity."
This concept of education; this type of mentoring; is what a student was expecting to receive upon registering for the Journalism classes that were offered at Naugatuck Valley Community College. It was a deep disappoint to find the course had been cancelled.
In order for development to occur, on any level or by any stretch of the imagination, first lay a foundation. No one will ever argue that the best foundation in life is found in education. For individuals that wish to enter the incredible field of journalism, a program of learning in which the education consists of both classroom and hands-on training, would be exceptional and benefit the students tremendously. The basic concepts of journalism would be taught within a classroom structure, and the close up inner workings of journalism would be taught hands-on through an internship program at a local newspaper publication. An educational program of this caliber would be extremely valuable, as it would make the graduating student completely marketable to either a four-year college or for gaining employment in the industry. However, it should also be noted that journalism programs would even be extremely useful to students who are not pursuing a major in journalism. The development of proper journalism techniques is a tool that is useful in many other genres as well.
To use my medical education and serve the poor in both the United States and abroad is a great desire of mine. The living conditions, the neglect, and the injustice that the underserved are exposed to everyday is something that should be reported. It is my hope that these articles will be used to bring real change and reform to the lives of the underserved in many areas. Learning the proper techniques of journalism would enable me to write all that is seen and experienced in a way that will grab the attention of not only the public, but also the individuals who are in power and can produce the necessary change.
Journalism is a powerful weapon. Benjamin Franklin himself stated “The pen is mightier than the sword.” It is my belief that only good can from a program that develops the “attitude of the mind” and not only provides the student with the real weapons to change the world, but to give a voice to those who are otherwise forgotten.
Loriann Cordero
Journalists are essential in providing accurate and reliable information to the public, whether it’s showing positive changes or unveiling the bad. Journalism also serves as a form of protection for those who cannot speak for themselves. This is the reason why journalists are important to society and one of the many reasons why NVCC needs to consider a journalism class.
There are many reasons why someone would be interested in taking a journalism class. Maybe they are interested in writing a newspaper column some day, or they are interested in going into broadcast journalism and need to have the basics for understanding what style of journalism they wish to pursue. Some like journalism because they want to reflect societal injustice and bring changes where needed. Others look at it as a way to bridge concepts and ideas they have acquired from other studies or careers. One thing is for sure, journalism helps to develop the voices of those who seek it.
While I’m a firm believer in one’s own natural abilities, there are concepts that reporters need to explore and understand in order to develop their skills and be successful. Journalism classes teach about accuracy in reporting, attributing the information to the right sources, being objective in one’s approach, providing clarity, showing human frailty, finding leads, how to interview, laws that protect them and the laws that protect others. More importantly, Journalism teaches one how to have a balanced approach to one’s work.
Just as some colleges require you to take photography classes and to have developed a portfolio in order to apply to their photography program, or to have taken forms of dance in order to get into a school of dance; such is the case with journalism. It is very important that Students learn the different styles of journalism so they can become familiar with what style suits them and to develop a portfolio of work to present to future prospective colleges or employers.
As Managing Editor, I am not a teacher of Journalism. I do not have a journalism degree myself and can’t take a journalism class to learn about the different styles of journalism due to the fact that the class has been cancelled two semesters in a row. I do not mind working with students on articles, as I do enjoy the many relationships I have developed while doing so.
The face of journalism is changing, but this does not mean that journalism is gone; quite the contrary. We need to learn to adapt and find where we fit in. With the web, the opportunities are endless.
It is very important for Journalists to understand what type of laws they should understand, their rights, confidentiality, etc. These issues and more are discussed in basic journalism classes. More in-depth information is provided at later 4 year institutions. However, if we don’t provide the early training, then we are not providing the future voices of tomorrow that will help to serve the community and work to protect its citizens.

Lara Chamberlin

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Haiti still needs your help

My teacher is heading out to Haiti on February 17. I am looking for donations to send over there with her. One of the major airliners is offering to ship everything over there free of charge. Their biggest need right now are sleeping bags and tents. The homes in Haiti were completely destroyed and the rain season is coming up quickly. They barely recovered from previous storms when the earthquake hit. Most people are sleeping amongst the rubbish and rubble. It would be nice to offer some of them, especially those with children, a sense of personal space and privacy during their great hour of need. Many bodies are still being moved and discovered, lying out in the streets. Having a small tent to shield their eyes from the situation even for a short amount of time can be of great comfort. I am sure blankets, tarps, airbeds, airpumps would also be acceptable sunstitutes, even if it is just a children's tent. Other important items we deeply needed are
cold medicine (for adults, children and infants)
diarrhea medicine (for adults, children, and infant)
Diapers (for adults and children of all sizes accepted)
feminine pads, tampons, and hygenic products
Here is a list of other supplies needed:
1st aide tape
adult allergy medicine
eye wash — Visine
grocery bags, the kind form Stop & Shop — as many as possible.
measuring things for dispensing — ml or oz
kids Tylenol
chewable vitamins for kids
bone setting things: casts, etc.
needles, catheters, etc.
If you want to help, you can contact the church directly at (860) 242-4660, or you can contact Creedible at tsimmons@creedible.com and we will be happy to pick up your donations and deliver them to the church. You can also join the Good Samaritan’s Rebuilding Fund facebook page. Here is a link to my teacher's website to prove this is legitimate. Anything you can do to help is appreciated. http://www.creedible.com/blog1/supplies-needed-haiti/ Volunteers will continue to go to Haiti in weekly shifts for an entire year. Please remember to these people are helpless and could benefit from our abundance. We will be grateful to receive your support over the next
year to help turn this disaster around.

-Jessenia Cintron

Monday, February 1, 2010

You’re so cold now

By Stasia Mihaly

You are so cold now You’re hands no longer hold the warmth they used to You’re hair, it’s gone But the daily trips have done you no harm

They shove the needle in your wrinkly chest They leave so many bruises on your already worn body You have lost so much weight You’re pants, they stay up with your suspenders and your belt And still, I see you pulling them up

You pull it off as if nothing fazes you Because you’re strong, or you’re supposed to be But deep down I can see it I can see it eating away at you

Secret Society

By Wade Tarzia

So few of us seem to exist
that we wink out like fireflies,
radar reporting ghosts, suggestions
of objects here or not.

"Yes, I have read
Tristram Shandy..."
a voice insinuated, a dream inserted,
through a Devonshire fog.
In the essay piles they shine
like secret fairy signs drawn
on walls of mossy forest stones.

“Hey, I found Moby Dick and
read it in three days….
but don't tell anyone."
Reaching out hands
for the secret handshake,
I nod, speak a code word, then seek
sudden safety in the crowd,
my back seen escaping,
newspaper thrust ordinarily under arm,
as spy films teach.

Mad folk hear voices, so
I’m mad. In between
"When is it due... why so many...
I don’t have time... when’s the exam..."
I am tuning in to whispers of joy and fear --
"I am ready... I have read...
That author you mentioned who...
I could not stop...
I felt the character’s hunger,
and I had to eat..."

They will find us if they know.
We will be

Make the secret sign and I will see.
Make brief eye contact,
wear grays and greens to fade out anywhere,
and know
in the in-betweens we’ll foster worlds,
in the vacuum of space we’ll breathe
the quantum froth,
and if anyone finds us there
they’ll be (you know).


By Jessenia Cintron

Why am I Bound in this man made prison?
Why am I a slave to this imperfect system?
Hog tied with no escape in sight
Bound by my words
Bound by my actions
Bound by circumstances
My hands are trapped now
Because my mind is bound
Poisoned to be a part of the world around me
Though no one could possibly care less about me
Bound was what I never sought to be
Being bound was what I carried in my mentality
I will free my mind
So that no one can bind my hands again
And when I attain my freedom once more I will share my new unbound destiny

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Young Adult Authors Bring Their Books to NVCC

By Hobson Lopes

In November, Courtney Sheinmel and Nina Nelson came to the Playbox theatre at Naugatuck Valley Community College to talk about the process they take when writing their novels and to answer questions from the NVCC student body. Sheinmel, the author of My So Called Family, and the recently released Positively and Nelson's Bringing the Boy Home were the main topic of the event. They were both very excited to come to NVCC to talk to our students and faculty about their books. The event was coordinated by English instructor Steve Parlato who is also an author himself. Parlato, the instructor in the first ever adolescent young adult fiction class at NVCC wanted to bring the author’s to “do ‘something special’ for my inaugural YA fiction class.” When asked about why he chose Sheinmel and Nelson to appear at the event, Parlato said that, “they’re both filled with positive energy and love what they do. I thought it’d be nice to bring a couple of authors who had a real spark for their genre.”
The event started off on a high note as Nina worked out her nervous energy by jumping around the stage, which drew plenty of laughter from the crowd in attendance. Nina talked about the process she uses to write her novels. She is even her own biggest critic as she had Courtney read off a list of critiques about Nina’s work, which turned out to be Nina’s own comments. Nina went on to say that, “you have to approve of yourself no matter how you wrote,” which was her way of saying don’t let a poor writing day bring you completely down. Courtney’s presentation showed us how she got into writing. She was a lawyer, and hated how she had to take every bit of creativeness out of her work. Once she realized writing novels is what she wanted to do, she was only able to spend, “one day a week for six months” to write her first book Sincerely Sophie, “because being a lawyer sucks.” Due to issues inside her publishing company, that first book has now turned into her third book. Courtney read a passage from Positively, before turning the podium over to a Q&A session from the audience.
Courtney said growing up, she and her sister, “used to ‘play’ at being writers.” Writing was the only career that made sense to her because, “I have all these stories in my head, and being a writer validates them.” Nina had several inklings throughout her life that led her to the career she has now. She finally decided on this career path when as she put it, “I was bored out of my mind and battling with pregnancy induced insomnia.” John Greene, Chris Crutcher and Suzanne Collins are some of the authors credited to inspiring Nina. Both authors have great advice to anyone who may want to be a writer some day. Nelson’s advice for potential writers are, “trust the process, separate yourself from the process, enter contests, join a good critique group and go to conferences.” Sheinmel recommends inspiring authors to “read a lot; write a lot about things that interest YOU, and to be persevering.”
Positively is about a girl named Emerson, Emmy for short, who loses her mother to AIDS. Emmy is HIV positive, and after the loss of her mother, has to move in with her father and step mother Meg. Emmy does not want to get close to her father because he left her mother, and she especially doesn't want to get to close to Meg in fear that her mother is watching from heaven, and would be upset because Emmy shouldn't like her. Emmy experiences difficulties in all relationships after the death. She lashes out against her friends and family. She says at one point, “I hated everyone who didn’t have AIDS.” After an episode where Emmy broke Meg’s dishes, her dad decided to send her to a HIV camp. Emmy doesn't want to go, but is forced. What happens at the camp is Emmy begins to realize that people do care about her, and she makes strong connections with her fellow campers, especially Whitney. When Whitney has to leave the camp unexpectedly, Emmy feels lost again. While at camp, Emmy grew and actually ended up missing her father and Meg.
Bringing the Boy Home is about a tribe in the Amazon called the Takunami. In this tribe, all boys must complete the soche seche tente test that requires the boys to use all of their senses to get through the jungle. In this book, we follow the very different paths that Luka and Tirio take to their respective soche seche tente tests. What makes this test so important in this tribe is if you don’t pass the test, you are exiled from the tribe. Under these circumstances, your mother and father must have another boy that will have to take the test. Only when the boys pass their test, will they meet their father. During the test, the father will communicate to his son telepathically to help him through the jungle. Expect the unexpected with this book and the surprise ending will leave you in awe.
The next book from Courtney is the first book she wrote, Sincerely, Sophie/Sincerely, Katie and will be published in June 2010 by Simon & Schuster. It is a story about two cross country pen pals who confide in each other about their personal lives. She is also working on another book to be released in 2011 called You Can’t Even Measure It. This book allows Courtney to use her knowledge she obtained while earning her law degree for this first time as an author. Nina’s next book is a contemporary, humorous young adult book called Greener Pastures. She describes this book as “Dear John meets John Deere.”
The authors visit is a first in what will hopefully be many more such events at NVCC in the future. Courtney and Nina had a great time at our campus and everyone at the Playbox was excited to have them here. The tips and advice they gave about life as an author was great knowledge for anyone who may want to become a writer. As Courtney put it, whether or not your work is published, as long as you are writing, you are an author. An event like this helps expand the culture here on campus, and hopefully help influence our students who may want to become authors themselves.

Beyond Chicken Noodle

An unreleased recipe from Soup: Jonathan Miller, Food Editor

It seems in recent weeks, I have been approached by many people about the trick to making the perfect soup. Many home cooks are faced with the challenge of creating soups beyond the basic chicken noodle. With so many ingredients available in today’s society, it is becoming increasingly easier for home cooks to create different variations off a single recipe.
Whenever you embark on the journey of soup making, a high quality stock is essential. Many products are available, such as low-sodium chicken bouillon and bouillon granules. Many of these products, however, even if low-sodium, may have other undesired ingredients such as monosodium glutamate known as MSG. Therefore, it is wise for the home cook to look into other possibilities. The thought of making your own stock is a daunting task, after all who else makes their own stock nowadays? But once properly made, it will be hard to acknowledge how you’ve ever managed without it. With superior flavor, and greater health benefits, it is hard to deny the positive implications to the perfect start of soups; homemade stock.
Stock: The Journey to the Perfect Soup
In the process of making stock, it is often difficult to write a concise recipe. There is not one recipe that will produce the same results every time. Instead, stock is an art form. One must trust his or her own judgment and discernment. There are only guidelines in making stock, not rules. Here I will make a set of guidelines that will set you on the path to success. I recommend you read all the guidelines before starting you first stock to avoid confusion.
Beginning Your First Stock
• The Bones: It is impossible to make stock without bones. Usually, after Thanksgiving I save the turkey carcass to make stock. You can save bones from beef to make beef stock. Bones from veal, turkey, chicken, and beef may all be used. Cut bones into 3 – 5 inch pieces with a sharp object. I use a meat cleaver, but you can use a hefty chef’s knife. It is okay for the bones to still have meat on them. I use whole legs, wings, even the skin of poultry. Freezing bones is a good way to preserve them for use at a later date.
•Water: Place the amount of bones using in a large stock pot. Fill with cold water until completely covering bones by 1” – 2”.
•Vegetables: Celery, carrot & onion. 4 oz. celery, 4 oz. carrots, and 8 oz. onion per 3 gallons of water used. Measurements do not have to be exact, however, should be used within close proximity. The onions do not have to be peeled; I even put the crinkly skins in. The carrots should be peeled.
•Flavor: 1 tsp. of thyme, dried or fresh, ¼ cup parsley & 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper. Again, this is for 3 gallons of water. If you only use 1 ½ gallons of water cut all measurements by half. DO NOT SALT YOUR STOCK. Only salt the stock when used in its final stage in a soup. The salt level will depend on other flavors added in a particular soup.
•Simmer: DO NOT BOIL. Boiling will cause impurities in the bones and meat to release into the water causing it to be cloudy. Cloudiness is okay, however, these impurities could taint the flavor slightly bitter or sour. Only a few bubbles should make it to the top every 30 seconds or so. Use your own judgment here. Simmer stock for at least 8 hours. Simmer time depends on the type of bones, the amount of water and other variables. Some stocks will take 8 hours, other 15 hours. How do you know when the stock is done? Scoop approximately ¼ cup of stock in a bowl, add 1 – 2 tsp. of salt and taste. It should taste like the broth for chicken noodle soup. If not, simmer longer. If too strong, add 1 cup of water at a time until desired flavor. Many times the deciding factor for making stock is the time factor. If this is the issue, you can make the stock in a slow cooker turned on low with equal results.
•Straining: Strain your stock through a colander into another container for storage.
•Cool: After your stock has been refrigerated, it should resemble the consistency of gelatin. At this stage, you will see a hardened film, yellow or white in color. This is fat that has hardened on the top. Scoop this off with a spoon.

Now your stock is ready to be used in a variety of ways. You can freeze this stock successfully for up to 1 year.

Valentine’s Day: The Most Romantic Dessert

By: Jonathan Miller, Food Editor

Cheesecake: one of earth’s most romantic desserts. But what happens when you add 70% bittersweet chocolate? Luxury on a fork! This cheesecake is smooth and dense, reminiscent of a New York style Cheesecake.

Deep Chocolate Cheesecake
Serves 12-16
9 oz. cream filled chocolate cookies, such as Oreo’s
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
10 oz. 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate
4 8-oz. packages cream cheese
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dutch processed
4 large eggs
¾ cup whipping cream
6 oz. 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend cookies in food processer until fine crumbs. Add melted butter. Process until fully incorporated. Press firmly into bottom of a 9” spring form pan. Bake in oven just until set, about 5-8 minutes. Cool completely.

Melt 70% chocolate in a glass or stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool until lukewarm but still pourable. In an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a flat paddle, beat cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute. SCRAPE BOWL AFTER EACH INGREDIENT ADDITION THOROUGHLY. Add half the amount of sugar; beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add remaining sugar and cocoa powder, beat 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time; beat one minute on medium speed & scrape bowl after each egg. On low speed, with the mixer on, slowly pour chocolate in a thin stream, blend thoroughly, about 1 – 2 minutes. Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake in 350°F oven until center is just about set and appears dry, about 60 minutes. Turn off oven; crack the oven door and let cool for 1 hour. Cool on cooling rack until just until room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving.
Chop chocolate; place in heat proof bowl. Heat cream and sugar over low heat until hot, but not boiling. Pour cream over chocolate; stir until chocolate is melted and is combined. Note: The topping mixture may appear extremely thin. It will thicken as it cools to room temperature. Whisk until lukewarm. Pour over center of COOLED cheesecake. Spread evenly over top, leaving ½” around the edges of cheesecake. Top with chocolate curls, chocolate roses or raspberries.

NVCC Hosts the 2010 Elementary School Leadership Conference

By Jamar Paris
On Monday January 11, 2010, while many of you were still enjoying your vacation, NVCC was jam packed with 4th through 6th grade students from all over the state. NVCC was host to the Elementary School Leadership Conference sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Schools. More than 100 students were in attendance and participated in various workshops and activities. Several students and faculty from NVCC were also in attendance as volunteers and workshop leaders.
The goal of the conference was to teach the students leadership and communication skills. Students were divided into small groups of 20-25 and sent to different workshops located in classrooms throughout the NVCC campus. The workshops that were presented to students pertained to productive thinking, communication and decision making.
Volunteers from NVCC led two different workshops. The NVCC team was engaged in a fun maze activity and a “Media and YOUth” workshop. SGA President Paula Massey led one team that conducted the maze activity. Students were presented with the challenge of having to go through a maze without receiving any verbal help from their peers. The rules were that they could only move forward and sideways, exit the maze the same way entered if they were unsuccessful at passing through, and no talking. The goal of this activity was to teach the students on how to work as a team while using a different form of communicating. This activity was a great success. The students successfully made it through the maze after working together as a team and had fun along the way.
The “Media and YOUth” workshop was put together by and led by Lara Chamberlin. Lara did a tremendous job in engaging the students in discussion concerning the media and their age group. To start off the class, students viewed a one-minute video in which a model goes from being a regular person to being on a billboard. Students viewed how tons of make-up artists were used to transform the model and then after the photos were taken, photo shop was used to further change the model. The video ended with, “no wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.” Next, Lara explained the concept of buzzwords and presented the students with magazine clippings in which the students were asked to identify the buzzwords. The students were very successful at identifying many of the buzzwords such as “hotter, best, perfect,” and many more. Lara then went on to define culture for the students and asked them where they learn their culture from. Some of the responses were TV, Internet, radio, and magazines. This led to the question as to why the media targets the students’ age groups. Some responses were, “because we are gullible,” “they want us to buy their stuff,” “we don’t feel that confident,” and many more thought out responses.
Students were then presented with the information that a family with 2 parents who earn up to $40,000 a year will spend on average $125,000 on their children from birth to age 17 and that a single parent earning up to $40,000 will spend just about the same much on their child from birth to the age of 17. When students were asked their thoughts about this, there were a lot of great responses. One response that stuck out was that, “maybe the single parent buys their child more stuff to make up for not having the other parent around.” Again, these were elementary grade students!
Lara’s “Media and YOUth” workshop ended with an activity in which students were asked to select a page from a magazine and write about and advertisement. They had the option to write about the ad being positive, negative, or a mixture of the two. Some of the ads chosen were of women with a ton of make up on and some of the responses to them were, “this ad is negative because she looks fake, they want you to spend a lot of money on their product, and their product may not work like that.” Other ads that were chosen had women in expensive outfits with the price tag for each item. Some responses to those ads were that “this ad is negative because I added up the price of the outfit and its $129” and “this ad is negative because this outfit is way too expensive and they just want you to spend your money on it.” Although many of the students perceived the ads as negative, there were many positive responses as well. One positive response was to an ad that showed a group of girls who were not being portrayed as the super slim model dressed in fancy clothes. One student commented, “I think this ad is positive because these girls are dressed regular and look normal. They’re all different sizes.”
The “Media and YOUth” workshop was a great success in helping the students to develop the skills needed to discern the media while also getting everyone involved in critical thinking and discussion. Everyone was very impressed and sometimes surprised at many of the responses the students gave. It’s safe to say that these students will not be fooled by magazine advertisement.
After this final lesson, all the students began to leave, many still laughing at the entertainment. Others were talking about the workshops they experienced. This conference will be a memorable one for the students and they will always remember NVCC for it.

My trip to Spain

By Jen Veilleux

In May I boarded a one-car train to Saint-Jean-Pied-du-Ponte, France. As the train made its sleepy way through the foothills of the Pyrenees, I wrapped my toes and thought about the journey before me. My friend and I were making our way to Saint-Jean to register at a popular starting point of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. The Camino is a pilgrimage route that makes its way from all parts of Europe to converge on the city of Santiago de Compostella, Spain, where a massive cathedral holds the remains of Santiago, Saint James, one of the original apostles. There are several Caminos, which roughly translates to The Way or The Road, and the one we were taking is called the Camino Frances. It begins in France and traces a route west across the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. Our point of registration is approximately 500 miles from the city of Santiago de Compostella and I planned to walk almost the entire way over the next four weeks. As I took stock of the situation I reflected on the fact that I was not in any extraordinary physical shape, I would carry a backpack stuffed full of trekking gear, and on my feet I wore new walking shoes. But I had no inclination of how walking so many miles was really going to feel.

I had first heard about the Camino de Santiago from a woman in a bookshop in 2004. I was buying something with a scallop shell emblem on it. She asked me if I were a pilgrim. I naturally thought she was slightly crazy and with a laugh asked nervously what she meant. She explained that the shell is the symbol of the Camino, an important pilgrimage road in Spain, and I should read about it. I went home and looked it up. Immediately I knew I had to walk it. But life got in the way. This year was the first time that I decided to take the time and money and actually go for it. I invited my friend Carolyne to join me, so we met in Paris a few days before and had traveled out of the chaos of Paris to quiet Bayonne to pass a peaceful night’s sleep before beginning. Carolyne would be my companion for the first leg of the journey, for about two weeks. She is a Marine and had recently returned from her first tour in Iraq and was used to carrying a pack and walking for long periods. I just prayed I could keep up.

We were both a bit giddy with excitement as we disembarked from the train in Saint-Jean and we hadn’t the foggiest idea where the registration office was. We located the town map just outside the station and wandered our way around the town for about 30 minutes before we finally found the registration office. It was bustling with activity and we sat down in two empty seats across from a man who spoke a mixture of French and English to explain what we were getting ourselves into. We handed over a two-Euro coin each and received a passport, stamped with the Saint-Jean as our starting point. This passport was to be stamped at every place we spent the night, to log our journey, so that in Santiago we may receive our Compostella – a certificate that states completion of the pilgrimage. He also gave us a sheet of paper with the elevations of each day’s suggested walk. This served as the only form of map or guide that we carried. There are commercially available guidebooks that some other pilgrims carried, but opted out of buying one. After this exchange we filled our water, weighed our packs, which according to the people in the office were entirely too heavy at 23 and 25 pounds, and picked out our scallop shells to attach to our packs. The scallop shell is a symbol of the pilgrimage and wearing the shell indicates to people that you are in fact walking the Camino.

We set off against the warning from the people in the office that 10:00 am was too late in the day to start, and headed out of town to begin our ascent of the Pyrenees. This first day was incredibly beautiful and peaceful as well as incredibly trying. The road took us first through a farming community before it headed straight up, and never let up. Fog descended upon us and we could only see what was directly in front of us. We arrived after four hours of hiking at a building that appeared like an apparition out of the fog and had a hot meal. There the proprietors convinced us to stay the night; they made room for us in a tent, in a camp of two man tents, behind the building. We made a decision that first day to take our time walking the Camino, which turned out to be key to enjoying this walk. There is no need to rush anywhere, because it is the walking, talking, and thinking in this amazing landscape that is the pilgrimage. That initial night on the Camino was the first in a series of celebratory evenings with strangers from all over the world. People stood up and in their own languages or in English told us where they were from and where they planned to walk. These people became a sort of family over the period of the next two weeks. We would see many of them over and over again at the designated alburgues or refugios, the words for the dormitory-type hostels pilgrims stayed in while on the Camino.

The following day, we crossed the Pyrenees and from France to Spain. There was more fog for most of the day, but as we mounted the summit, we popped out above the clouds and the views were absolutely outstanding. It appeared as if we were on top of the world, peaks in the distance reaching up out of mist-filled valleys. We descended that afternoon to our first stop in Spain, Roncesvalle. It became quite clear over the first few days that our goal of walking 20+ miles a day was not going to be possible. We shortened our expected routes each day and enjoyed the landscape, the company of fellow pilgrims, the food of the local region, and relaxed at the end of each day in a new town.

Each day offered a new challenge. On our third day we lost the path. It is marked with painted yellow arrows or by yellow scallop shells on houses, on the asphalt, on fences or trees. We were searching for breakfast and coffee with an Aussie who had walked the road a few years before when he first moved to England, and was walking it again before he headed back to Australia for work. He seemed confident we would pick it up again if we headed along the highway. About an hour later, we came into a town and not only picked up the Camino again, but found breakfast and coffee. The following day the way was covered in massive stones, not big enough to hop on, but too big to avoid without picking our way around them. Another day the way was so muddy that the mud caked on our feet and added pounds of weight to our legs, slowing us down. Some days were incredibly hot, with the relentless sun pounding down making water the most crucial element, and other days there was rain and even hail.

Most of the way though, was good weather and beautiful countryside. We walked through ancient towns to the sound of church bells ringing on the hour, through forest and vineyards, and sometimes through cities. The cities were the hardest to navigate and we almost never stopped to stay in them, choosing instead to head further to have a quieter and safer night’s rest.

The Camino itself is an ancient road and some of the communities we pass through were founded just to serve pilgrims. It dates back well over 2000 years. There were parts of the road that had ceramic fragments from a time when the path was paved with tile. Sometimes the Camino is a dirt path through fields or forest, other times it is an asphalt highway or road that goes through the center of a city. Though it went out of fashion for a bit, during its height in the Middle Ages, there were said to be 500,000 to 1 million people passing on it each year. Its popularity died in more contemporary history until a resurrection in the mid-1990s. It is now said that there are about 100,000-150,000 pilgrims on the Camino each year. I have also read that only 15% of people who start the Camino see it through to Santiago de Compostella. The majority of the pilgrims who walk are Spanish, German, and French, and also quite a few people from Northern Europe and South Korea. There are few Americans and Canadians. I also met people from India, South Africa, Australia, and South America. It is an official Catholic pilgrimage and as such the church maintains many of the facilities, but the pilgrims on the road were from every religion or none at all. I met very few Catholics along the way. Though toward the end, I walked some days with a priest. The people I met all had something in common because we were all seeking something, and most of us with an open heart.

As the journey progressed, it brought with it a daily routine. We would rise early and be off as the sun was rising, and stop shortly thereafter for a light breakfast and coffee. We would walk for hours, stopping at the local shops to buy a sandwich or provisions to have a picnic along the trail. When we arrived at our final destination, we would check into the alburgue, get our passports stamped, stake out a bed, and take a hot shower. Sleeping in the dormitories was an interesting experience. In many places for about 5 Euros you received a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a large space with 50 to 80 other pilgrims. The night featured a chorus of snores, a bouquet of smells, sometimes a shaky bed, but usually exhaustion from walking all day brought deep slumber. I used earplugs every night anyway. Washing machines were rare and access was even rarer, so we tended to wash our clothes in the sink every few days and hang them out to dry on a line in the sun, if there was sun, or inside if there was rain. Another daily routine was application of various balms, band-aids, creams to our feet and legs or whatever hurt. Blister lancing was also a routine of curiosity. When someone had a really good blister, people would gather around to examine it before the owner drained it.

The food is the best part. The food in Spain is especially good. I found myself eating whole tomatoes like eating an apple, and I never eat tomatoes. Each evening, in whatever town we ended up in along the way, either the alburgues themselves, or the local cafes and restaurants would offer a special pilgrim’s menu. It consisted of three courses and was usually at a reduced price. Wine was more common than water and the tables were often set up family style so that you could get to know more pilgrims on the way.

After about two weeks, Carolyne and I parted. We traveled down to a town called Valladolid so she could catch a flight and stayed one night in a hostel recommended to us by a fellow pilgrim. It was total luxury to have the privacy of a room with our own bathroom and balcony. Everything was clean when we entered, though we were covered from the dust of almost two weeks on the road. We wandered the city, which was having a fiesta, in a sort of daze. It was a very emotional time. We said a tearful goodbye at the bus station where I was headed back to the Camino to start at a later point, skipping about a week’s worth of walking in order to make it to Santiago before my flight back to the States. I knew returning to the Camino one week ahead of our collective Camino-family would be putting myself in a whole new group of pilgrims and I was not sure what these people would be like, and how they would view the pilgrimage after having walked one more week than I had walked.

I met pilgrims straight away at the bus station. I was worried about finding the Camino because the city we rolled into, Leon, was much larger than I anticipated. No one in the bus station seemed to know where to go for it. But once I stepped outside I saw a ragtag group of pilgrims examining a posted map. I approached them and we all set off for the municipal alburgue, run by nuns. I would see these pilgrims over and over again in the coming two weeks, and saw every one of them at our final destination in Santiago, though we all came to the city separately. My first day back on the Camino was physically easier than the previous two weeks. I think resting up for two days had done the trick and my strength and motivation were back. I met with a woman from South Korea the next morning at breakfast and we walked the next few days together.

The Camino transforms you through the process of actually doing it. The physical challenges of carrying a pack and walking each day changes your body. I heard that it doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, it takes a physical toll. This physical exertion caused me to stop thinking so much about home, about the daily anxieties that I normally occupy myself with, about anything that would take away from being in that present moment. My mind went numb. It was on the second part of the trip that I realized my body had become used to the new lifestyle of walking everyday, but my mind had not regained its annoying chatter. I tried to hold a thought, to analyze a life decision that awaited me back home, but it was of no use. My mind went back to being blank – it was like the perfect meditation that for years practicing Buddhism I had tried to achieve. One day I walked through a terrific storm in the mountains alone. I arrived at a refugio later that day and had a conversation with a woman who had been walking since Saint-Jean. She asked me about my walk and what I had been thinking about that day. I opened up about the blank mind immediately, telling her how troubling it was. She just smiled and reassured me that every pilgrim experiences this at some point in the journey.

There were many funny and difficult moments along the way. At one point another pilgrim and I thought we were going to be attacked by wild dogs approaching us. Rumor has it that along the way that there are wild dogs who stalk pilgrims. It turned out that these Iberian Mastiffs, although huge and mangy, were just looking for a solid ear scratch. At another point I had a massive blister I could not pop myself and let a complete stranger run a sewing needle through my toe. One of the best nights I experienced was when a man from Mexico City and I played harmonica and sang songs for an alburgue full of over 40 weary pilgrims who sang along and danced in the street.

I met with some fantastic Spaniards and two young women from America who I still correspond with. The Spaniards spoke almost no English and I had to resurrect my Spanish in short order. We connected straight away and for some reason were on the same physical need to push harder as Santiago came closer. The alburgues became more crowded in the last 60 miles, and most of the pilgrims were strangers. Many Spaniards walk only the last 100 kilometers, roughly 64 miles. This distance is all that is required to receive your Compostella in Santiago. So every morning there was what I called a pilgrim traffic jam as people jostled for space on the narrow paths through the forests. There were also an increased amount of cyclists. You can complete the Camino on bicycle if you ride the last 200 kilometers. Unfortunately though, in many areas there is not a separate lane for bikes and they come en masse at breakneck speed sometimes and you have to make way for them along the paths.

It is hard to say what happened toward the end of the pilgrimage. The last day entering Santiago was nothing I would have expected. I thought that the journey was the most important part. But I realized as I stumbled tired, weary, worn, and emotionally spent, into the city limits of Santiago, that something else was there. It was arrival. As we came through the new city into the old city center, we met with so many of the pilgrims we had seen throughout the two weeks of walking. There was so much celebrating. We took one million pictures. We then walked through a narrow way until we came upon a huge open courtyard, and at the front of it, the Cathedral de Santiago. I could not believe the scale; never mind that I had actually done it, arrived in Santiago! There is something to be said about completing something you set your mind to doing, it gives you a renewed sense of self. And a feeling of grounding. I also found that in the mass that day, being Sunday and Corpus Christi, was one of the most powerfully moving religious moments I have had in my life. The mass was given in seven languages, there were thousands in attendance, and at the conclusion of the mass, with the accompaniment of a dramatically loud pipe organ, the priests filled an unusually large incense burner with frankincense and sent this thing soaring above the masses. I was told that this practice was traditional to the Cathedral because it masked the smell of the pilgrims who had walked for over a month to get there.

Saying goodbye to the Camino and all the people that I met along the way was not easy. But the process continued for two days before I departed myself. We went to an office to receive our Compostellas. We visited the remains of St. James in the Cathedral. We also bought souvenirs and exchanged gifts, email, hugs, and tears. Initially it felt very strange not to be walking in the morning, but I also had no desire to continue. Some people continue another three days to the coast, to a town called Finesterre. I went by car and stared out across the ocean to America that I knew was somewhere on the other side. By the end I had walked about 430 miles. Though it was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced, I was ready to hang up my shoes and come home. Something changed in my being forever, though what that is exactly, I cannot really put into words. I have found a desire to explore Catholicism more and understand the root of what a pilgrimage is, and more about the religion. Each person tends to have his or her own personal Camino experience, and if you are at all curious, I would suggest that you put on a pack and walk it to discover yours.

Haiti: In a tragedy came glimpses of hope

By Andrea Farinango

Imagine not knowing where your mother or father is. Imagine not knowing if you would see your child’s eyes again before you lay them to sleep. These are some of the heartbreaking questions that ran through the heads of many Haitian residents when tragedy struck their land on January 12. In the late afternoon of Tuesday, January 12 the little Caribbean capital Port-Au-Prince in Haiti was shook by a massive 7.0 earthquake. Some residents say the earth just split in half before their eyes. Considering it was just late afternoon when the earthquake struck, many residents didn’t have a fighting chance in most cases because they were in either buildings of employment, education or their own homes. Haiti is also known as a country that shelters the poorest people on the western hemisphere, with its low resources, low life expectancy, and poor education it comes to no surprise that most Haitian residents live on less than two dollars a day.
The quake which has been said to be the worst humanitarian disaster in decades, surpassing the Asian Tsunami in 2004 lasted about 30 seconds and that’s all it needed to cause tremendous damage to the center of Port-Au Prince. Thousands of lives were transformed forever; 250,000 injured, 400,000 million homeless and the death toll government officials say can rise up to 200,000. To add to this sad ordeal burial, officials have ordered that mass graves be created to avoid the spread of disease from all the corpses lying around on the streets. There is no time to give these people a proper burial as their families would have wanted and many of which most corpses are still unidentified. Burial workers who have been working with bulldozers and earth movers to bury the victims say that since the January 12 earthquake they have so far buried 90,000 people.
I had the pleasure to meet and speak to a Haitian native named Franco who is in his first year at college in New York. When I first spoke to Franco I gave him my condolences because his family is one of many who have been affected by this untimely event in Haiti. I asked him how was he coping and he told me he was okay for the most part even though his eyes told a different story, a painful story that not even his brightest smiles could hide. When I asked about how his family was dealing with everything that has recently happened he stated that his family is not coping so well, for the most part his mother who has been heartbroken ever since the quake shook the little island of Haiti. His mother can’t watch the news anymore he says it kills her because that is her country, the country she grew up in, and now in rubbles.
However, with this tragic event also came about great heroes, heroes who may not have badges or certificates, heroes who are normal like you and I that are willing to give a helping hand to their brothers and sisters. With Haiti’s violent history it is touching to see Haiti and its people coming together not to fight one another but to help one another through this devastation. Haitian residents who have been affected by the earthquake one way or another went out and started looking for survivors as soon as they could, bringing drills, flashlights and water to keep victims who were trapped hydrated. There are also miracles happening around Port-Au-Prince, 8 days after the quake an uncle pulls his nephew out of the rubble, his body was weak and shutting down but the boy who was rushed to central hospital in Port-Au-Prince is now showing improvement. Even though the boy’s parents were not as fortunate as him and did not survive miracles like these shine light and hope on to a bitter sad situation like this.
Miracles or not, we as the human race have felt a little of what the people of Port-Au-Prince have felt, we feel their pain but in most cases we have yet to experienced it. Our hearts and love have been pouring over Haiti since the earthquake happened. We’ve expressed our feelings with millions of dollars and aid pouring in from many sources, countries, US military, and relief aid organizations. The Red Cross has put out donation boxes around many established businesses to keep the donations coming and we at NVCC are also taking part in donating money to Haiti’s relief. The Volunteer Club is selling $1.00 cards to help raise money for Haiti; the cards will fill up the Prism lounge to show the support put in the relief effort, other cash donations are also welcome. We have to give what we can because after all the donations have been collected our conscience will be more at ease to know we have done something to help. On the other hand, the people who have been affected by this tragedy are going to be the ones that are still dealing losses and the aftermath that comes with rebuilding their fallen capital.

To Awake the Shephard

NVCC Helps Combat Veteran Suffering PTSD

By Stormy Davis

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event, set of events, or on-going events (like war), in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
PTSD is not limited to soldiers. It can be experienced by anyone who has been through a violent personal assault (rape, robbed at gun/knife point, domestic violence-whether themselves or witnessed among parents), and automobile accidents.
People with PTSD may have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal. They may feel emotionally numb; especially with people they were once close to (why returning veterans isolate themselves). I've heard stories of combat veterans digging bunkers in their backyard and residing there.
Other signs and symptoms may be flashbacks (reliving and visualizing the trauma over and over) as well as re-occurring nightmares, depression (whether it's continuous or SAD-seasonal affective disorder----when leaves and time change). Others signs are being easily startled, feeling on the edge (jumpy) and being unable to sleep and easily bored.
Combat medics in Vietnam during the sixties are among the highest candidates for PTSD. It was my unit that went up “Hamburger Hill” in 1969. Today, I cannot remember how I got off that hill. Today, it is not that important.
Like many returning veterans during that time, I suffered from alcoholism, deep depression, and finally homelessness until I saw bottom. I battled to overcome these setbacks. First I had to fight the alcoholism, which I had used to cover my PTSD.
With a sober brain (like a sponge-soaking up everything I read), I enrolled in Nursing School and worked as an LPN for many years. I enjoyed working with the elderly and children.
I became an indefinite volunteer in the Connecticut State prison system where I counseled young people about the demons of substance abuse. As therapy for myself, I started to write my memoirs of Vietnam experiences. I saw a humorous side to my experiences and wanted to share that with others. I had trouble getting that book published because if you're not famous like-OJ Simpson-it's hard getting an autobiography published. So, I started my own Publishing Company—RACCO PRODUCTION.
While searching for a publisher, I found a lot of interested publishers wanting children's books. Therefore, I wrote and published-”CJ and the Pencil' and “The Adventures of Sir Laugh-a Lot.”
I'm sorry. I almost forgot what I was writing about.
In late December of 2007, after being under tremendous stress, I suffered a PTSD breakdown. After years of covering the PTSD, it broke through with a vengeance.
However, I finally got the diagnosis of PTSD for my combat services. I have retired as a nurse, and NVCC has helped me to cope with being around people again. I can almost deal with sudden/loud noises and am not depressed. I love coming to school, and getting good grades is a great motivating incentive for me.
For PTSD, you can approach me with questions and you can learn more by reading “Fighting The Elements-a combat medic's story” and “Living In a Shoe Box-the story of one young man's journey back to reality.” These are available on-line @ barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com.
Thank you for listening