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 @ and
Thank you for listening

Join a Club!

By Jamar Paris

Congratulations everyone on your choice of attending Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) and to those returning, welcome back. Now that everyone is settled into their schedule and routines, this is a great time to start thinking about joining a club and getting involved with some of the other ongoing student activities at the college.
As students, obtaining a degree should not be the only goal during college. Another goal to have is to develop into a well-rounded individual, with experience in activities outside of the classroom. Involvement in clubs and student activities is what will make some students stand out from the crowd when applying for a job or for transfer to a 4 year university.
College is a great place to network, a place to develop team working skills, develop leadership skills, and get a feel for how government works. Networking will be a very important part of your life. Sometimes getting what you want in life comes down to whom you know rather than what you know. The great thing about the clubs on campus is that there is a club for everyone. You can either get involved in a club that interests you or try something new.
It takes a lot of work and help from different people to keep the clubs going strong and the student activities happening. By getting involved, you will learn and develop the necessary teamwork skills that are needed throughout life. Our society is very diverse consisting of people from different cultures, many different practicing religions, and different political views. It is necessary to be able to work with a diverse group of people in order to get a job done.
To become a leader in life, you need to develop leadership skills and these skills are developed through the experience of working with others, volunteering, and taking on responsibilities. Clubs and student activities offer students a chance at developing leadership skills throughout the many club officer and committee positions available. Positions are available with the Student Government Association, Student Activities committees, and the volunteer work that is done throughout 42 separate and distinct clubs that are at NVCC.
Getting involved with a club is as easy as just showing up to a meeting or visiting the student activities office located in S515 in the prism lounge. All are welcomed and encouraged to attend club meetings as well as the SGA meetings. The SGA meetings are a great way participate in the local student government and experience how local government works. More importantly, all students are charged a student activities fee as part of their tuition, and the SGA decides where that money goes. Going to the meetings would be a way to learn how government works.
The campus community benefits greatly when more students are involved as your involvement and commitment is important to the success of the clubs, SGA, and student activities and for your future.

A New Life

By Luis Reyes and Lara Chamberlin

The important words, “Life is never a straight line,” resonated in the minds of students at NVCC’s CafĂ© West, as motivational speaker J.R. Martinez spoke about his life struggles, what he had gone through and what brought him to who he is today.
Martinez begins by explaining how his mother came from El Salvador to America in pursuit of a better life for her son, who was born on June 14, 1983. Martinez’s mother was left with a difficult choice to leave her daughters in El Salvador so that she could give her son the life her family never achieved. Having his father leave him at nine months, and having a sister he had never met die when he was five years old, left him with somber memories of his life as he grieved for the sister and father he never knew. Martinez remembers Going to El Salvador for the first time and seeing his sister’s grave site. He did not know who she was but he began to cry. Even though he had never met her and she was basically a stranger to him, Martinez’s heart still felt the pain and the loss of losing his sister and this was something he would never forget.
As Martinez grew, he developed a strong motivation to play football and did everything in his power to achieve that goal. He grew up thinking his purpose was to become a N.F.L football player. However, everything he tried never seemed to work out. His grades not being where they needed to be got him suspended off the team. When he finally got the grades he needed for next season, he injured his ankle so bad that he needed surgery and once again he could not play. Martinez did some research and decided to move to Dalton, Georgia, where he could play football for one of the Universities. He went to college and was able to play football, but was notified by the university that he could not play due to his grades. Martinez became angry and refused to go to college because he could not pursue his dreams. However, he still wondered if there was any possible way to turn his dream into reality.
As a last resort, Martinez decided to join the army, where he believed that this was the only option he had left. He joined as an infantry man and was soon sent to the frontlines in Iraq. On April 5th, 2003, Martinez was in the leading vehicle (loaded with enough ammunition to destroy a building) in a convoy of military vehicles when he was fully unaware that he was about to drive over a land mine. Without warning the truck blew up and catapulted every solider out of the vehicle except for the unlucky Martinez. He was conscious as his body was covered in fire. He felt pain as his skin melted from his body. Martinez felt as if this was end. He began to explain how he had given up for the first time in his life and he closed his eyes to accept that it was his time to go. However, Martinez saw a woman…his dead sister. She said to him that “Everything was going to be okay”. Within seconds of these words, Martinez was pulled out of the fire. He survived the fire, but with terrible third-degree burns that covered approximately 40% of his body.
During recovery Martinez wanted to see what he looked like. When he took one look in the mirror and saw the damage to his face and body he considered himself a freak and a monster. Martinez became frightened to even step foot anywhere as people would fear him and walk on the other side of the street. He began to feel as if maybe he was a mistake in this world. Martinez said, “God never gives you something you cannot handle.”
At the hospital and during his recovery he was asked to speak to a certain individual who had similar problems and this changed his life forever. He realized that he could help people by providing them comfort and purpose…this gave Martinez peace and joy.
Martinez was beginning to understand his true purpose in life…a life he was always suppose to have but just never knew. If it wasn’t for his passion for football Martinez would have never taken the paths that lead him to where he is today. When we see and hear the story of a deformed man with a perfect heart it touches us. Most of us have never experienced J.R. Martinez’s pain, but when he speaks to us, it’s as if we were right next to him at the time it occurred.
Martinez was supposed to be marked with his scares and burns to send a message to individuals that the struggles we go through bring us closer to the meaning and purpose of our lives. If J.R. Martinez became a football player, then we would have missed out on the insight that he gained from his experiences. In life, everything has a purpose…though you may not understand it in the beginning, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t in the future. Martinez now understands that, “life is never a straight line.”

Gospel Choir celebrates its 10th Anniversary

By Rita O’ Sullivan

In the beginning they could do 2 of 3 things. They could clap and sing. They could rock and sing. Or they could clap and rock. What started as 13 students with little experience of gospel singing beyond a great love of the music has become the rocking, rousing NVCC Gospel Choir, now celebrating its 10th year bringing this joyful music to the college community and beyond.

The 10th anniversary year will culminate with the annual spring concert at the college in May. Previous concert venues have included the Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center, Westover School, B'Nai Israel Synagogue, the Meriden Mall at Christmas-time, and many area churches.

"My most moving experience as a participant in the Gospel Choir has been singing at the Meriden Mall," said Marie Catuccio of Watertown, a member since the choir's first year. "I was so elated to take the gospel message out of the school halls and into the market place. I felt that was where we should be." Many shoppers stopped to enjoy the Christmas spirit.

The choir has participated in memorable Martin Luther King/Black History Month events at B'Nai Israel Synagogue in Southbury, and has also provided choral accompaniment for several plays written and produced by a NVCC professor, one of which was performed at the Mattatuck Museum.

The Gospel Choir was formed in 2000 through the efforts of Mr. Stuart Gillespie, former head of the music department at NVCC. He was seeking ways to involve more students in the music program and felt that a gospel choir would attract a diverse group of singers and would be a good addition to the existing musical offerings in the department.

Mr. Gillespie approached James Hurdle, a choir director at Zion Baptist Church in Waterbury, to help in establishing a gospel choir at NVCC. Mr. Hurdle, who is also a teacher at Waterbury's North End Middle School, was initially reluctant to accept the offer, thinking it beyond his abilities. However, he now admits that this decade as a gospel instructor has been a special experience. "Gospel singing," according to Mr. Hurdle, "is truly a ministry in itself."

Mr. Hurdle likes to quote Mahalia Jackson, the queen of gospel music: "When you sing gospel, you have the feeling there is a cure for what's wrong."

The Gospel Choir is composed of students and community members, several of whom have been with the group since the first season. This core group, affectionately called "the founding sisters" by Mr. Hurdle, forms a framework of an established gospel choir that new students can fit themselves into each semester without the need for starting a whole new choir each academic year. Blending the energy of new students with the experience of Gospel Choir veterans gets the choir performance-ready in short order.

The group sings modern and classic gospel songs, based on old Negro spirituals, incorporating jazz and rhythm and blues. Improvisation by soloists is welcome. "We are not bound by the notes," said Mr. Hurdle.

Meet Dean Mitch

By Jamar Paris

On a cool October afternoon, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dean Mitch Holmes who is the Acting Dean of Academic Affairs here at Naugatuck Valley Community College. The goal of the interview was for students here at NVCC to meet one of their deans and to find what he does. Many of us here at NVCC wonder why there are so many different deans and we haven’t a clue as to which does what. After reading this article, hopefully more students will have a better understanding of what Dean Holmes does.
Holmes has a degree in political science and 3 minors (Spanish, philosophy, and Latin American history) from the University of Utah, a master’s degree in international relations from George Washington University and an MBA from Sacred Heart University. Holmes came to NVCC in 1999, after working at Sacred Heart University for a number of years at various positions. Holmes came to NVCC as the Business Division Director before taking the role he has now. He accepted the role of Acting Dean of Academic affairs at the request of President De Filippis. “The President asked me. I love the institution and I believe in her. So it seemed like the right thing to do and I feel honored and privileged to be in this role.”
So what exactly is the role of Dean of Academic Affairs? Well as Holmes’ puts it, “I support and cheer for the academic divisions within the campus. Within an organizational chart I oversee the 6 academic divisions: arts and humanities, social behavioral science, math & science, business, engineering, and allied health. I also work with the library, oversee distance learning, and support the operation in Danbury where we also have a campus. I sit on the cabinet which is the Presidents cabinet with the other deans and we help make decisions to best manage and be stewards of the government’s money and taxpayer’s money and to also make sure students have the availability of courses and the support and agreements to leave us and go to the work force or a university. It’s a big and exciting job.”
When asked about his experience here at NVCC Holmes replied, "I'm delighted at the excellence level of education here. We do education very much as well as many of the privates in the state and I'm sure as well as most of the public in the state. We get real high level education and in a way that allows our students to afford it and move on to bigger and better days.” He went to say, “By and large what we do here is way above standard, and certainly in the state of Connecticut. I think we have one of the best technology programs and nursing programs in the state, I'm sure of that. And I know that we are unique in aviation, horticulture, digital arts, all of these programs you can't get anywhere else."
Some of Holmes’ accomplishments here at NVCC include playing a major role in the development of the A.C.E. learning center, leading the Connecticut Charitable Giving Campaign and many more including the Workforce Achievers Value Education, or W.A.V.E. W.A.V.E. is an urban youth program on campus. Holmes said, “I’ve been delighted to have an impact on our diversity graduation rates and the number of active urban youth on campus and how well they’ve done in school. My students graduated between an 88-92% rate depending on the year and as a result that’s impacted the college’s ability to graduate people of diverse backgrounds. I run that in conjunction with other colleagues but I was the originator of the grant and I’m the one that oversees the grant every year.”
One of Holmes’ goals as dean of academic affairs is to graduate more students. He firmly believes that education is the key to a fulfilling life. “The more people that are educated, in my mind, the better our society will be. The only barriers in my mind left in America aren’t about race or religion or money. It’s all about education. It’s going to be about those who have an education and those who don’t. We’re going to be divided by education and I see it happening already. The results of that will be socioeconomic, but the barrier really is education. The world according to Mitch, that’s’ my world.”
Holmes also feels that, “students don’t always realize how lucky they are to have a campus like this, that’s small, where you have access to your president, deans, faculty, and directors. And my one message to students is take advantage of it. Get to know your faculty and administrators because those folks can be really valuable to you in your education and connecting you to go forward with your education. I have always relied on faculty and administrators to help me find jobs and help me be connected with the community. And I find that not enough students ask me for that kind of help.”
“You have to find your voice. Students are adults. You turn 18 and society looks at you as an adult. In an adult world where you are choosing to be in school it’s an obligation in my mind to talk and ask questions. And if you’re not asking questions and engaging your faculty you are missing out on an important part of your education because the 100 plus full-time faculty here and the other 200 administrators and support people all were carefully chosen to do important work here on campus and they all have connections. In my mind we’re the best example of a bureaucracy because we’re supposed to be responsive and for the most part we are. But students don’t take advantage of that, and don’t seek out help when they’re having difficulty in a class, that’s a mistake. It’s a mistake certainly that the faculty member or administrator doesn’t reach out but it’s also a mistake of the student. Success is all about engagement. Students who are engaged succeed. Students that are not engaged don’t succeed. You are the measurer of success. What are you doing here? What are your goals? Make sure that your goals are able to be realized while you’re here. Now if your goal is only one class, then your successful if you finish that one class but I hope our students have a goal of graduation. What’s your goal?”

Mattatuck: More Than a Museum

He shut off the lights, put on the projector and I fell in love. Yes, simple as it sounds, this simple act by an elderly professor was the start of my passion with art history. Sitting in the darkened room and looking at beautiful images of people, places and objects, I realized that I wanted to make a career that would involve me in the art world--particularly in museum work. And I would like to share this enthusiasm with you by acquainting you with the Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center.
If you were a student in the Waterbury School system you most likely visited the museum either in 4th or 5th grade—a field trip that provided primary lessons in the region's history and in the basic elements of art. And it is also likely that you have not visited much since then. Well, now's the time. There is a lot to see and do at the Museum and in future columns Museum staff will be telling you about our exhibits and programs. In this first account let me begin by introducing you to Fortune.
In the early 20th century, the Mattatuck Museum was given the skeleton of an African American man named Fortune, who had been enslaved in Waterbury during the 18th century. His bones had been preserved by the man who had enslaved him, a local doctor. The bones remained in the doctor's family for four more generations, until they were given to the museum.
Research has now revealed much about Fortune’s life and the world in which he lived. A team of anthropologists, archeologists and historians, working with the museum’s staff, have given us new insights into local history and slavery in Connecticut, through their study of Fortune’s bones and historical documents. His story awaits your discovery in the Museum's history exhibit which presents the story of our region from the colonial era to the present day. You can find portraits of the people who figured in that era in the art galleries upstairs where the story of American art is presented from the 18th through 21st centuries. Changing art exhibits provide visitors with a variety of styles and subjects from contemporary Hispanic art to paintings by American masters at turn-of-the-century.
Now is the time to start a new relationship—with the museum. Visit: you can study the past, see art of the present, and, in new paths of self-discovery, learn where you fit in. Find out about the current exhibitions and special event programs at . We look forward to seeing you.

A Visionary's Gratitude

By Lara Chamberlin
I was in my communications class with Professor Foster when he made the announcement that after many years of being the faculty advisor for the Tamarack that he would like to give up his position as advisor as he needed the time to fulfill other special interests in his life. It just so happens that I too had stumbled upon some ideas myself, a vision.
I recognized that at least some young women on campus were very shy and lacked the skills and the ability to speak for themselves. I saw young women who wanted to say something, but could not bring themselves to speak out loud. When I spoke to them they had so much to say and then I would watch them become very weak and timid in the presence of others, especially professors and men.
Upon taking my Women’s History class I began to understand that women were often seen as radical for having beliefs or opinions and that this had been a common practice for antiquity. The powerful message of the class was that there were many women, who were left out of the history books and the classrooms, who were strong admirable women who fought for what was important to them. This includes strong women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who wrote and presented the “Declaration of Sentiments,” which was a document that defined social injustices forced upon women, such as not being able to own property, or get a divorce, or have rights to their own children. Stanton also expressed resolutions, ways in which society should treat all human beings. Her voice was essentially the beginning of the suffragist movement which eventually earned women the right to vote, some 70 years later. Women such as Jane Addams, who when she graduated from college there were only a few jobs available for women, found a way to put herself and other female college grads to work. She formed and became the leader of what was known as HUD House, a place that supported the influx of impoverished immigrants that were coming into Chicago that lived in sub-standard housing and could barely speak English and take care of basic needs and their children.
I learned that there were so many women who had done wonderful things with their lives, but I had never heard of them until now. Which is why when Professor Foster presented the opportunity to the class in regards to the paper, I knew I had to take it. I saw in the paper an opportunity to manifest my vision, like Stanton and Addams. I saw a place. I saw a home where I could help women to grow and develop their voices so they could be leaders of tomorrow. As part of this vision I also formed a Women’s club called, Women On Campus, where women have a home to express their concerns and learn how to advocate for their needs and learn how to become effective leaders.
It is the vision of one who can make a difference, but the efforts of many who make possible the dream into reality. The point of this article is to express my gratitude to those who helped me with my vision with The Tamarack and Women on Campus. I am trying not to sound too Golden Globe like about this, but they were on as I wrote this, so please bear with me.
I wish to thank the following; Karla Ekquist-Lechner for listening to me go on and on about my vision and for being my mentor and W.O.C. advisor. Yhara Zelinka, the co-advisor to W.O.C., who works tirelessly at her job, being an effective leader and mentor to the students at many different levels. To Karen Blake, who answered every question and helped me to bring both clubs and The Tamarack office into a level of operation. To Dean Mitch Holmes, whose kindness and spark was very instrumental in helping the Tamarack to obtain an office where we could call home. To Dean Troup who was very effective at any loose ends that needed to be tied. To Beth Ann Scott, who didn’t even blink when she was asked to be the Tamarack advisor and allows the Tamarack the breathing room to explore our own vision for the paper. To Professor Foster, who always has a way of making my day come alive with laughter and who only appears to be semi-retired from the paper as he is always there for suggestions and help. To Neph Villanueva and the IT department for getting our office up and running. I also need to thank President Daisy De Fillipis, who cares very dearly about all the students and all their visions and wants to make all our dreams a reality. Oops! I think I hear the music playing…I have to get off the stage…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all!

Super Bowl Preview

By Hobson Lopes

This coming Sunday, live from Miami, Florida, we will all witness two great quarterbacks, who led their teams to the number one seeds in their conferences, face off. It will be this Sunday, when the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints face off in Super Bowl 44 at Sun Life Stadium. This Super Bowl marks the first time in history that the Saints make the trip. Even the great Archie Manning-father of Colts QB Peyton- couldn’t lead the Saints to the big dance. This marks the second time in four seasons that the Colts make the trip. At Super Bowl 41, Manning led the Colts to the victory over the Chicago Bears in Miami at Dolphin Stadium.

While many people hoped to see the Colts battle the Brett Favre lead Minnesota Vikings team, the Saints ruined those plans with a thrilling victory in overtime in what was one of the sloppiest playoff football games this reporter has ever seen. The way the Saints were able to take the ball away from the Vikings at will is a sign of how good their defense may be. The way the Vikings moved the ball at ease aside from those turnovers is a sign that the Saints may be in for a long flight home after the game. Manning is the smartest player in the NFL. He doesn’t make the same mistakes that the great Favre does. If the Saints want to win this game, they need to look at film from last season to find out how to beat the Colts.

The Colts were 14-0 going into week 16 against the New York Jets. In the second half of that game, Colts coach Jim Caldwell benched his starters to rest them for the playoffs. In week 17, Caldwell left his starters in the game only enough to get some milestones, and then benched them again. While Caldwell received criticism from everyone in the media, and from everyone in attendance at those games, his decision has paid off. The Colts lost both games, and by doing so, didn’t even help the Saints. The Saints can’t go back and look at the film of what the Jets or Bills did that week. It won’t be the same guys on the field that day.

The Saints do have a shot in this game. The Saints have one of the highest powered offensive attacks in the NFL. QB Drew Brees is one of the top three QB’s in the game and his ability to spread the ball around make it difficult for any defense to lock on to just one receiver. Running Back Reggie Bush has come out of nowhere in recent weeks and finally looks like he did in college at USC. Back-up RB Pierre Thomas, who led the team in rushing this year, gives Saints one of the top 1-2 RB duos in the league. It remains to be seen if they can do anything against the Colts great defense. If the Saints truly want to have a chance to win this game, they need tight end Jeremy Shockey to get back to playing like he did in the first half of the season. Shockey, one of the few Saints with Super Bowl experience, needs to play a big part in the receiving game, as well as blocking up front against the Colts highly talented linebackers.

My prediction for this game is the Colts winning 34-28. Peyton Manning will win his second Super Bowl MVP award, and look for former UCONN Huskies star Donald Brown to have a big game. Manning will throw for over 300 yards, with 3 TD, and 1 int. Brees will match Manning’s numbers, but it will be the Colts running attack that makes the difference.