Pierce Pioneer

See how canceling the 2020 season has affected the baseball program

In baseball, someone who fails 70 percent of the time is considered elite. Yet failing only 70 percent of the time calls for hundreds of hours dedicating yourself to the game. For all the time spent in the batting cage, on the field, and in the gym, you typically get three at-bats to show for it.
However, imagine having no chance to show off your hard work, and the opportunity to prove yourself is taken away. During the troubled times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Pierce College Fort Steilacoom baseball program was deprived of one thing they loved most - baseball.
On March 17, the Northwest Athletic Conference announced the cancellation of the 2020 season for all spring sports programs. Pierce College Athletic Director Duncan Stevenson remained sympathetic to the student-athletes that he worked with.
“My initial reaction to the cancelation was a sense of devastation for our student-athletes,” he said. “Not just for this lost season, and this year’s training and preparation, but for the years of time and sacrifice they and their families have invested in getting to this point.”
According to Stevenson, over the last three decades as Pierce’s athletic director, he has never experienced anything like the COVID-19 Pandemic. The feeling of devastation extended to the program’s coaches and players. Yet, the program remained optimistic as the players began to plan for their futures and the next season.
“Within a day or two of the announcement of the decision, their spirits really turned around, especially as the enormous scope of the national and global situation became more apparent,” Stevenson said.
“They quickly switched gears from being frustrated about the lost season, to making plans for spring quarter classes and looking at options for next year. I am really proud of how resilient they have been through all of this.”
As announced online by the Northwest Athletic Conference, freshman and sophomores enrolled during the 2020 season would remain the same grade athletically for the next season. This would apply to all athletes regardless of the number of games played during the spring season.
Moreover, the sophomores have a big decision to make on where they will play during the 2020 season. Stevenson realized that the baseball program will never get this season back. “For some, this will be the end of their competitive careers,” he said. “As an athlete, you want to go out on your own terms –in the arena of competition. For those that return next year or move on to play at a four-year college [or] university, this will always be their lost season; It is really heart-breaking.”
Pierce’s baseball coach, Kevin Davis, was also crushed by the cancellation of the 2020 season. He knew what this season meant to the sophomores, as he was once in their shoes after finishing his sophomore baseball season at Bellevue College.

“I feel for the sophomores who worked their whole life for this and don't have anything to show for it,” he said. “I also feel for the freshmen who got their first chance at college ball and had that taken away.”
The NWAC was not the first conference to cancel the season, according to Davis. The decision to cancel the 2020 season followed similar decisions by four-year universities in the NCAA. Tournaments such as the NCAA College Baseball World Series and NCAA Basketball were canceled ahead of the NWAC’s decision in March.
Since the spring season ended, the program’s players have kept in touch and continue to train on their own time. “They have been doing home workouts, playing catch together when they can, and we have weekly zoom sessions to goof around and keep in touch,” Davis said.
The team now endures a long offseason where they plan to start their fall season as planned. Next season, they will have the possibility to have a first-ever season with three classes of players. This would include incoming freshman, returning freshman, and third-year sophomores.
Riley Paulino, a freshman pitcher who plans to return for next season, was let down by the cancelation and empathized with his sophomore teammates. “I was very disappointed because I felt that we had a really good group of guys all pulling towards one goal,” he said. “I also felt for the sophomores because, for some, this marked the end of their careers. It hurt me to witness their last season go down like that.”
Even though the rest of the spring 2020 season was canceled, the team was able to play 12 games out of the 45-game season. Paulino, who led the team in strikeouts, said his teammates were what made the short season and preparation worth it.
“My favorite part of this last season has to be the countless hours that I have spent grinding day in and day out with this group of guys,” Paulino said. “There is nothing like having 30 guys you know would run through a wall for you. This makes us push each other harder because we truly care about the success of each other.”

Hunter Bungert/ Photo Illustration

Cody Russell, a sophomore shortstop who is continuing his playing career at Washington State University, is only one of a few sophomores who knows where they are playing next season. According to Russell, he received the news of the canceled season during a meeting with this team.
“At first I was really shocked,” Russell said. “I didn’t really think it was true. It probably took me a week for it to click in; I’m not going to be completing my sophomore season up here.”
Since Russell has a sense of direction to work towards, he started his off-season early in preparations for his jump to division one baseball. But with no facilities and teams to practice with, it has been difficult to train for the next step in his career.
“It’s tough; we don't really have gyms right now,” he said. “So, we've got a little setup in our garage; my brother and I are lifting almost every day, hitting at the cages, playing long toss, and running. Just all the normal things that you can try and do without having a school gym or whatever we had before this whole thing happened.”
Additionally, Russell will be joining his brother at WSU, who is a freshman. He looks forward to the opportunity to play at the highest level with his brother. “I’m playing with my brother, what else could I really ask for?” he said. “It’s D1 baseball with your brother; It’s kind of a dream come true for both of us. I’m pumped, I can’t wait to get down there, get rolling and get with the team.”
With his junior college career at an end, Russell embarked on what he will remember most about playing for Pierce. “The grind, the attitude, and the culture that coach Davis built around the team was the coolest thing,” he said. “It was crazy how last year it was two different teams. This year it was like we were brothers, everyone was so close, hung out almost every day; everyone had classes with each other. The energy that the team brought was so different, I think that would have taken us a lot farther than last year.”
According to Russell, the majority of sophomores remain unsure about the next step in their baseball journey. Yet, the team continues to express optimism in the pursuit to play baseball for a four-year university. Only time will tell where they will end up and how the program rebounds from a canceled season.
With no way of making up the canceled season, the program endures a long off season to improve individually. COVID-19 guidelines make it hard to train as a team and each player’s commitment will be tested in preparation for the fall season. Even with a pandemic limiting the access to facilities and players, it won’t stop the program from striving to challenge themselves everyday. The program's sense of resilience will push them through quarantine and prepare for another season as a Pierce College Raider.

Pierce faculty persist through the online transition

Jezreel Proo Staff illustrator

Math professor Judy Petkovsek endured her first quarter of online classes at Pierce College. 

Petkovsek taught one online class in previous quarters at Tacoma Community College, which gave her familiarity with online courses. However, in preparation for the spring quarter, she remained concerned for the students who believed that math could only be learned in a classroom. “My biggest fear was teaching online to students who didn’t want to take online courses,” Petkovsek said.

In April, all Pierce College classes moved online. The spring quarter of 2020 marked the first time that many teachers experienced online classes, which required faculty to adapt to a mandatory virtual environment. With Canvas, teachers could reach students through an established platform that allowed for a smooth transition online.

Petkovsek is one of many professors at Pierce College who had to adjust to teaching students virtually, rather than in person. With online classes being mandatory, the amount of productivity and self-motivation of students may be in question.

“I was teaching students who signed up for online classes, and they knew what they were getting into; they knew they had to be self-motivated, and they knew they had to work hard at this on their own.”

Petkovsek noticed a small drop in the productivity amongst her students, however, but more so in the likeness and reason for taking her class. For her Math and Society class, she witnessed a drop in productivity due to the sense that this would be her student’s only math class taken while at Pierce.

On the other hand, her Precalculus II students’ productivity either stayed the same as previous grounded classes or rose. Petkovsek mentions that these students are going into the STEM field, which requires a higher level of mathematics. “They seemed really motivated and very self-driven,” Petkovsek said. “I gave them a little bit of support, and they go and take it very far.”

English professor Kayla Pohl taught English 101 for the first time online this quarter. According to Pohl, she had experience with teaching online classes in the past, but worried for the students who may not have the resources to transition to online. 

“When you just switch everyone to online, the issue is that there are already so many inequities among Pierce college students,” she said. “There are racial inequities and financial inequities, so you have some students that just don’t have the resources to be able to do online learning.”

Virtual streaming platforms such as Zoom played a vital role in the ability to speak with students in real-time. The use of the service was not required by Pierce College, as teachers had the opportunity to host asynchronous or synchronous classes. This gave more flexibility with class schedules and allowed students to complete schoolwork outside the designated class hour.

To better serve these inequities and adapt to a virtual platform, Pohl had to change her curriculum by conforming to daily lesson plans. “Every quarter, I change a little bit based on feedback from students,” she said. “But this quarter especially was about cutting down anything unnecessary or anything that just doesn’t work well in an online format.”

Changing the format of her lesson plan meant less time to teach topics that would have required longer than a small fraction of class time. “Research says that you have to keep videos as short as possible, no more than like five or ten minutes,” she said. “I mean eventually you’re going to get down to trying to deliver content in a Tik Tok format. How am I going to translate Rhetorical Theory to a quick five-minute conversation? Not easy.”

Pohl devoted time to discussions and group activities in grounded classes, but online classes have made it harder to replicate that in an online environment. According to Pohl, an asynchronous classroom is best for an online format, where people with jobs or other outside devotions have more flexibility in the classroom. 

Yet, this quarter, she and Petkovsek noticed a small decrease in student productivity. Despite some of the difficulties professors face, many remain optimistic and determined to see this quarter through.

To help ensure productivity and connections with her students, Petkovsek used Zoom to record lectures in real-time and required weekly attendance phone calls. Petkovsek saw weekly phone calls as an opportunity to connect with students and solve any difficulties with the class. 

“I check in with them once a week for what obstacles they’re having, that week or any struggles they’re having for the week,” she said. “I check in on their grades and, if I see a grade that is low or if they missed our homework assignment, I talk to them about it.”

Likewise, Pohl also contacted her students, who may have been falling behind. “I can’t get in contact with those students like I normally could,” she said. “I’ve been emailing and messaging in Canvas as much as possible to try to reach out to these students and tell them; it’s okay if you miss an assignment, turn it in late, just don’t stop; try to keep going.”

Along with communicating outside of class, allowing students to access daily Zoom recordings at any time of the day gave Petkovsek’s students more flexibility. The Zoom meetings could be watched multiple times a day, unlike a grounded classroom. According to Petkovsek, classroom interactions were still important, even though it is more difficult in a Zoom meeting. 

“I tried to make it as much of a classroom experience as possible before class starts,” she said. “I try to do small talk, like, ‘How was your weekend? What’s going on?’ I get students to kind of get to know each other, and I get to know my students.”

According to Petkovsek, using Zoom for the first time online at Pierce, brought forth difficulties with the storage and memory of the recorded videos. Many teachers experienced challenges with the limits to a non-professional Zoom account that restricted meetings to 40 minutes long. But with help from Pierce College’s E-Learning Center, the transition was smoother. “It’s been nice because we’ve gotten a lot of those bumps and bruises kind of work through so that didn’t happen the next quarter; it all kind of goes a little smoother.”

During either a grounded or online class, asynchronous or synchronous, Pohl pointed to the reason she enjoys teaching English at Pierce. “Just coaching students so they can say the things they want to say and participate in the communities that they want to participate in.”

With a quarter of online classes coming to a close, Pierce College faculty adjusted to a virtual environment on short notice. They gave students the ability to succeed at home and worked diligently to connect with students outside of class. Going forward, Pierce has an improved understanding of online courses and prepares for possibly two more quarters of social distancing. 

Pierce College Facing Budget Cuts Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Ciara Williams , Staff  Illustration

As the 2020-2021 school year approaches, Pierce College prepares for potential budget cuts due to a wide state fund decline.

On May 11, Pierce College Chancellor Michele Johnson sent out a mass email stating that Pierce College will be experiencing budget cuts in the 2020-2021 school year. As a response, the college is preparing a budget development process that is taking place over the next few months.

Pierce College braces for budget cuts as high as 20 percent. While that percent only accounts for less than half of Pierce’s revenue, according to Johnson, that still is a 10 percent reduction, adding up to around $6 million.

“This work will be difficult and unfortunately, painful,” Johnson stated. “There is no way to handle revenue declines of this magnitude without pain. Departments throughout the college will need to rethink and retool their entire operation.”

Along with Pierce College, multiple other state agencies could face general fund reductions of 15 to 20 percent or higher. This is due to a large decline in Washington State’s general fund revenue. 

“Currently, state officials and legislators are still trying to understand the full extent of the issue,” Johnson stated. “But preliminary forecasting by the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council points to a very large decline in revenue that started in March and could continue for several years.”

Pierce College has made a temporary plan, in hopes of getting the college’s budget through the summer and parts of fall. “Over the next few weeks, the Budget Team and the Budget Planning Groups will be working on ideas and concepts to build a temporary spending plan to present to the Board of Trustees in June,” Johnson stated. “The proposed budget will be reviewed by the District Cabinet and presented to the Board of Trustees in October for approval.”

The Budget Team is currently formed around large groups of departments and divisions throughout the district, including Instruction, Student Services, Self-Support Programs, Facilities/Safety, and Institutional Support Services, as stated by Johnson.

Many questions still remain, such as what departments will be affected by these budget cuts the most, as well as programs or student resources. However, as the months go by, Johnson assures staff that Pierce will continue to answer questions and address the situation.

“The Budget Team and college leadership will continue to share information, involve constituents, and be open and transparent in this process.”

Struggles of Taking Virtual Classroom

Because Coronavirus has spread out in the United States, many school decided moving to online classes. It has been 5 weeks since Pierce College started virtual class for entire spring quarter. Today, pioneer staff interviews students about how they feel about taking virtual classes for the first time. We interviews students from Pierce College, University of Washington, Hunter College in NYC. We will have three videos about thoughts of virtual classroom.

Videographer: Joy Kim

Editor: Kotone Ochiai

Future Image: Ciara William

 

Video by Coverr-Free-Footage from Pixabay 

Video by Vimeo-Free-Videos from Pixabay 

 

Autism Awareness

A Pioneer writer shares his personal experiences with Asperger’s Syndrome.

April is Autism Awareness Month, with World Autism Day falling on the 2nd. Autism is a group of developmental and neurological disorders characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication skills in general, as well as high probabilities of repetitive behavior and thoughts. 

Autism is a spectrum: some people may have severe symptoms which may present as non-verbal and limited function and may require constant care. Others, like myself, can function independently, but still have difficulties with social skills and sensory issues.

According to the CDC, 1 in 59 American children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The mission of Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Day is to help more and more people learn about and understand autism as well as help with the acceptance of those with an ASD.

I have a type of high-functioning Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. I am able to function independently and fairly successfully in the “real world”, but all my life I have experienced difficulties with social skills and sensory issues.

I have a sincere desire to make friends and have personal relationships. However, I have trouble navigating social situations. Sometimes, I will say the wrong thing, or something I don’t necessarily mean. I have trouble making eye contact or speaking up when I’m uncomfortable and have difficulties gauging and connecting with the emotional needs and responses of others.

However, while there are courses of treatment and practices that can help me control and increasingly limit the symptoms and the negative effects of Autism, there is currently no cure. Autism has affected me for most of my life and will most likely continue to do so.

My journey started around the age of three. I had started performing repetitive motions (aka ‘Stimming’), like hand-flapping, jumping around, and even talking to myself. I still Stim to an extent nowadays, but I’m able to control it at school and in public. But when I come home, I have to find ways to release built-up energy and sensory overload.

In early elementary school, along with social skills, I had difficulty writing my thoughts down on paper, which created difficulties for me in school. I had a 504 plan that allowed me accommodations and services at school. I would sometimes be taken out of class to go to workshops that helped me learn how to write and type. I also went to speech therapy, and had six years of occupational and physical therapy after school. These were resources that helped me overcome the challenges my Asperger’s was presenting me in school.

I was taken off my 504 plan during middle school, and became more independent in my studies through high school, especially after enrolling in Running Start here at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom back in 2018. I also received my driver’s license when I was sixteen.

I’m excited for the next stage of my life – going off to a four-year university. However, one of my main concerns is being around people who may not have had any understanding of autism, and how I may be perceived by others.

I have struggled to make friends and maintain friendships because I have a hard time connecting. I want to do better when I attend a four-year, and beyond that, along with my family wishing the same thing.

I’m thankful that I’ve never really been bullied or harassed, but I realize there are many people who don’t understand me, and I get that. I struggle with understanding other people, too.

So, while Autism Awareness Month helps people understand those like me with Autism, I am working on my own skills and struggles with socializing and connecting to the world. I joined the Pioneer last fall, and the challenge of the job is helping me with interactions, and even with eye contact when I am interviewing people.

As I learn to navigate in the “real world,” I’m thankful for the people who have helped me. I hope I can meet more great people as I go along in my life.

My autism doesn’t define me, but it’s part of who I am. I hope this article helps people understand Autism better. As well as reading this article, may you consider taking the time to try and connect with an autistic person such as myself, setting aside your differences and finding connections.

For more information, go to autismawarenessmonth.org, autism-society.org, or follow #celebratedifferences on social media.

Bienvenido, Latin Student Union!

Myra Fehling / Staff Illustration
A map of Latin America.

A look into Fort Stelacoom’s recently ratified Latin Student Union

The ratification of Pierce College’s Latin American club became official during a Fort Steilacoom government meeting on Feb. 26. Four students represented the new Latin Student Union, filling the audience with laughter and enlightened energy. The enlightened energy carried over two weeks later to the inaugural Latin Student Union meeting. Attendance was low, but the meeting attendees brainstormed future ideas for the club, introduced themselves and brought a Latin flair into the room. 

At the student government meeting on Feb. 26, President Jessica Edmonds said that students of color at Pierce are underrepresented academically, and with the addition of the Latin Student Union, now have more opportunities to have their voices heard.

 “I’m Latin American, and I’m very proud of that heritage,” she said. “I feel that Latin American students in an academic setting are really underrepresented, as well as African Americans, or black students. I also feel that they’re underrepresented or any minority groups for that matter.”

Given that Pierce College is a two-year school, club leadership and members change regularly compared to four-year universities. According to Edmonds, there was a Latin Student Union two years ago, but due to a lack of returning members, the club ended at the Fort Steilacoom campus. 

Latin Student Union President Bryan Santiago-Reyes, who represented the club at the Student Government meeting, said that he plans to keep the club afloat for years to come. “I will honestly try my best; I can’t promise for sure that everything will carry on,” he said. “I am trying to recruit as many people as I can every quarter, keep it going, and [do] some activities so that people are involved in it.” Santiago-Reyes is a freshman at Pierce and will ensure that the club has returning leadership for the fall 2020 academic school year. 

During the Student Government meeting, Edmonds said that the returning club is an opportunity for students who may struggle with language barriers, and receive the resources needed to succeed at Pierce College. She pointed to an example of a Latino family’s struggle with Hurricane Maria, and how the Latin Student Union could help the family transition to Pierce College. “For instance, a family from Puerto Rico disclosed with us that they were displaced from the hurricane,” she said. “It was very difficult to tap into resources, scholarships, and things like that for their family.” 

Charlie Reyes-Garcia, Latin Student Union member also was displaced from Hurricane Maria and moved here due to a lack of economic opportunities. Reyes-Garcia said that the transition didn’t necessarily come from a struggle of living arrangements, but instead a lack of opportunity. “Mostly Leaving my family and relatives behind, it wasn’t much of a struggle because it was more like a decision,” he said. “My parents actually encouraged me to come here and search for a new opportunity. Other than that, it wasn’t a huge struggle, but more of an emotional one.”

The Pierce Student Government president endured her first few weeks with a busy schedule and abrupt change through the transition from vice president to president. With former president Charles Serna resigning at the end of January, Edmonds filled the role and continued her work with the multicultural fair on Feb. 25.

The topic of minority representation led the conversation for the Student Government meeting, with the ratification of the Latin Student Union and the recap of February’s multicultural fair. Edmonds said the event was an opportunity for students of color to come together and express their differences.“I’ve heard students on campus talk for years about that representative piece,” she said. “That was my opportunity to come in [and] collaborate with students, get students involved, and show the voice[s] that’s here at Pierce.”

Pierce student Raul Maza-Sanchez, who attended the first Latin Student Union meeting, said that the club will provide resources to Latino students who lack representation at Pierce. “There’s barely any clubs or resources that we can access, so I think this is a great way for [resources] to grow.” The expanded opportunities for Latino students started with last month’s multicultural fair.

Edmonds announced her appreciation for those who attended the fair and pointed to the empowerment that the event gave to minorities. “Yesterday was a really powerful statement that we as students gave here at Pierce,” she said. “Our turnout was in the hundreds, tons of people felt empowered. They were represented in a light that they haven’t been given here yet. Us as an office really came together, helped everyone, supported each other, were open to feedback; everything was just powerful.”

The previous fair set the tone for the ratification of the Latin Student Union. Santiago-Reyes, who attended the multicultural fair, said help from Edmonds to establish the club was a direct result of the fair.

“It was related to the multicultural fair,” he said. “We wanted to get a group of Latin students, and I have a lot of Puerto Rican friends here. We kind of bound[ed] together and Jessica helped us establish what to do, ‘cause I’m a little bit new here. It’s my first time doing a club; I didn’t really know that much of what I was doing, and she helped out.”

Now that the club is up and running, Santiago-Reyes wants to offer a place for Pierce students to share their Latin culture and learn about each other. Edmonds said that clubs at Pierce should also include those outside of the featured culture. “I think any cultural clubs on this campus should promote that that’s open to not only people of that culture but for people outside of that culture,” she said. “So, if someone wants to come and learn, they are more than welcome to.”

On March 11, the Latin Student Union hosted its first meeting in room 205 of the Olympic building. Club president Santiago-Reyes introduced himself and announced planned events for the club. Those who attended also introduced themselves and helped brainstorm future events and gatherings of the club.

Some future events or activities included member dinners, movie nights, dance parties, and regular meetings in the Olympic building. The most predominant event mentioned, La Conferencia at Highline College, was originally planned to take place on April 18. According to Santiago-Reyes, the event would have hosted Latino students from around the Puget sound, as it presented transfer opportunities for students attending a community college.

 According to Santiago-Reyes, the Covid-19 pandemic forced Highline College to cancel the event. La Conferencia would have been the first event attended by the club since its ratification. Since all Pierce College locations are closed, the club suspended all meetings until the campus has opened and the nationwide ban on large gatherings has been lifted. 

Latin Student Union member, Abel Valadez-Carvajal said that going forward, the club plans to create an organized structure that features more members. “We’re just trying to figure out the certain structure and invite more members, and get it going in the right direction.” According to Santiago-Reyes, more structure will ensure that the club continues throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. However, until the pandemic scales down, the club remains on hold.

A Competitor by Nature

Desirae Garcia / Staff Photo

The inspiring journey of Jordan Dowd, scholarship recipient and family-made soccer player

Jordan Dowd, 18, scored goals on the soccer field ever since he was three. He’s been through many exhausting practices and adrenaline-pumping games. However, soccer wasn’t just a game; it was a way of life that his mother instilled in him. 

Dowd’s mother began teaching him the fundamentals of soccer, helping him surpass his limits and inspiring him to reach his full potential. Then last summer, he reaped the benefits of his hard work when he received a partial scholarship to play soccer at Pierce College.

After receiving the scholarship, Dowd realized how dedicated he was and the effort it took to get there. Playing for Pierce only confirmed that his passion for soccer can go so much further. “It’s really cool to see it pay off during the season in our games and practices. It’s something that I want to keep doing even in life after Pierce or after college.”

Though Dowd was born in a small fishing community in Gig Harbor, he was more adept at defending the goal than he was at trailing bait. As an infant, Dowd was strapped to his mother and lulled to sleep by the sound of cheering fans and blaring horns. 

His mother, a high school girls soccer coach, played the sport for a couple of years in high school, but she still had the determination of a professional. She coached Dowd’s recreational team when he was in elementary school, during which he remembers his mother telling him to put his best foot forward; otherwise he’s only cheating himself. “I feel like my mom was pretty hard on [our recreational team], in a good way, because she knew our potential and wanted to get the best out of us,” he said.

Dowd shared the same passion as his mother, chasing his own dreams in soccer. As his love for the sport grew, so did his competitiveness. He signed up for a local team, Harbor Premier, making friends, perfecting his craft and creating memories that will forever remind him of why he plays. 

During Dowd’s freshman year of high school, he switched teams, which allowed him to get out of his comfort zone and get mentored by professionals. He chose Washington Premier Football Club, which had coaches with years of experience either playing professionally or for a club post-college. That was exactly what he was looking for someone who can help him grow his zeal for the sport.

Traveling all over the nation and playing teams of various levels, sometimes playing one to three times a week can seem like an arduous journey, but Dowd said his love for the game kept him going. Dowd said that he loves to showcase how much he’s invested and how passionate he is for the game. “I feel like it’s an opportunity to express who I am, who I want to be, and just show my love for the sport and show off all the hard work that I put into it.”

As much as Dowd loves the game of soccer, he said the connections he makes with his teammates on the field are more valuable. “You work with the same guys day in and day out, and you really have each other’s back on the field; you have a great love for the sport, and you share the passion with each other. That’s something that’s carried on with me from elementary school now to college.” 

Not only is Dowd passionate about his love of the game, but he also wants to write about it professionally. He’s now pursuing a sports journalism degree at Pierce College and playing on their team. He said he’s happy how it all worked out for now, and he plans to continue his soccer career at a four-year university such as Whitworth University, Gonzaga University or an institute in California.

As much as he loves to play the game, he wanted to follow a path that allows him to capture his love for sports and creative storytelling. “My career goals after Pierce is something related to journalism on the sports side of things or politics,” Dowd said. “I loved sports ever since I could remember, and I guess I’m decent at writing, so I thought I’d put those two together.”  

Dowd said becoming a professional soccer player feels like a pipe dream, but if he got the chance, he would take advantage of it. “I’ve definitely thought about [playing soccer professionally] all my life. Sure after college, if the opportunity is there, I’d take it.” 

He hopes to inspire the next generation to pursue soccer professionally. “I dream to continue soccer, continue the game and to pass it on to friends and family and my future kids.”

Covid-19 for International students from Asia at Pierce College

Description: These days, Coronavirus is spreading out all over the world. Pierce College has a lot of international students from Asia. Today, I am going to interview them about Covid-19 of their home countries.

 

Videographer: Jesus Contreras

Editor: Haein (Joy) Kim

 

Music provided by YouTube Audio Library

Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1

 Music used: Marigold by Quincas Moreira: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music?nv=1

 

Pierce College Appoints New Student Government President

Jessica Edmonds presents first President’s report at the Student Government assembly.

Jessica Edmonds to be the Student Government president after the former president steps down.

Jessica Edmonds has been appointed Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s new Student Government president as of Feb. 11. This decision follows January 2020, after the former president, Charles “Chaz” Serna, unexpectedly stepped down.

While details of Serna’s unexpected resignation are not yet available outside of Student Government, the changes which this decision created has sparked a new path for Student Life. “With the team right now, they feel a little bit discouraged, and they definitely need that recharge,” Edmonds said.

Serna’s decision to step down came immediately, although Edmonds said there were office frustrations present leading up to it. “I don’t think it was just him,” Edmonds said. “But he’s in a role that carries a lot of the weight of the team’s feelings.”

Edmonds said Serna has since reached out to her and given his blessings for her new leadership role. “He felt strong that I would be president, which really helps me gain that confidence,” Edmonds said.

Jaein Cho, the former administrative senator, was ratified as the new Student Government vice president soon after Edmonds’ appointment. Edmonds said she is confident that Cho can lead the team alongside her.

Edmonds said her next steps are to redirect and recharge the team. “Making sure our team and our office has the best interests of students, and that’s expressed with our events and relationships with other departments on campus.”

Edmonds studies Psychology and Latin American Studies at Pierce, and plans to transfer to the University of Washington Tacoma and get involved in their student government or activities board. 

Edmonds was working on her biggest project, the MultiCultural Fair, when she got word of Serna’s resignation. Edmonds said the whole team has assisted her in the event. “Everyone has stepped up because we know we have a vacancy,” she said. “If we wanna keep going with our ideas, we have to kind of do things a little bit out of the job title.”

Coming into a role halfway through the year can be challenging, but Edmonds feels prepared to take this on, with previous leadership training and strong connections already made with faculty, staff and students.

Kicking it with Q – Episode 5 – The Struggle in Hong Kong

Quintin Mattson-Hayward talks about the struggles in her home, her transition to the United States and Coronavirus.

 

Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

Guests: Kay Li, Emma Li, Kitty Hui

Logo: Jesus Contreras

Is Everyone Accounted For?

Brianna Wu / Staff Illustrator

A deep dive of the 2020 Census and its potential impact on state funding

Many students of diverse backgrounds face challenges in various aspects of their life. For some, the quality of education can be a critical factor to securing success in their future careers. It can be difficult to find transportation to school resulting in being late or missing a class altogether. Textbooks could be outdated and in need of being replaced with new information. As rent increases, some students even face homelessness on top of balancing work and school.

It’s important to know what society struggles with. Every voice matters. That’s why the actions we take are significant, like participating in the 2020 Census. 

The census is an official count of the population for those who live in the United States, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. It counts how many people live in the same household as well as including those who are homeless. Workers of the census who gather this information are called census takers. They visit shelters, soup kitchens, and tented communities to gather answers from those who do not have a place to live.

The answers received from taking the census help legislation decide on where the federal funds will go. Certain areas contain a specific demographic. For example, a lot of college students may populate a large portion of one area or there are a lot of elderly who live in one particular place. These areas could be targeted to add more resources that are specifically tailored to that demographic. 

The structure of states and communities will be affected for the next decade. Billions of dollars will be distributed among our cities infrastructures, education, health care, housing programs, child care, and other services that affect our lifestyle.

For families who struggle to find affordable access to health care or who have the responsibility for children, these all can negatively impact one’s education. When all of these issues become too big to handle, it’s easy for students to give in to the outside pressure. The responses to the census can improve educational resources, public transportation, and on-campus housing. We can alleviate these problems by being accounted for as students in our population through the census.

People of color tend to suffer most from the harmful effects of being undercounted. This tends to happen due to language barriers, a person’s citizenship being questioned, and not having the funds to reach rural areas. Another reason is by moving the census online. Not everyone has access to the internet in their household. The only way to participate is through online, by phone, or by mail. However, Libraries can provide easy access to taking the census online, if anyone is unable to do otherwise.

Brianna Wu / Staff Illustrator

The struggles that ethnic groups face in their communities would only grow worse if undercounting continues to be a problem. Funds would be pulled from support programs like food stamps, education, and housing. Some students rely on similar programs to assist their families and to get by in an expensive economy that continuously raises the cost of living.

Pierce College student Marko O’Kelley relies on educational programs such as tutoring services, Financial Aid, and the College Bound program to achieve his educational goal. He plans to transfer to a four-year university once he’s done at Pierce.

“Financial aid is a good resource because I am currently living with my mom who is a single mother and she is struggling financially, so that means I also need to help her out financially with like, the rent or other things in the house that need to be helped with,” O’Kelley said.

O’Kelley is an advocate for the Hilltop Scholars Program, he hopes the funds will go towards similar programs within a huge community of youth for the next 10 years. “I feel like our youth are, and probably is, the gateway to a better future,” he said. “A lot of youth within a community or city would be inspired to do more because of gifts and talents that they have but hide because of the community that they live in.”

The long term effects of not participating in the census could result in a shortage of funds toward important sources for an increasing population. There may not be enough hospitals to take care of sickly patients, not enough schools for young children, and not enough houses for new families. Funds going toward care for the elderly, people who are disabled, and those living in poverty would not be accommodating to the number of people in these categories for the next 10 years. These resources may not be there in the future.

The importance of raising awareness about the census stems from the fact that not every voice is being heard. A rise in public awareness is needed for everyone to get well-informed and participate in the census. There is a potential risk that distributed funds will not have a strong focus as it should be in areas that need help. The demographics of students, especially for students of color, in regard to services provided by the community, would be negatively impacted for an entire decade. That is why every person counts.

The U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for sending out surveys by April 1. As it is part of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 2), everyone is required to participate by law every 10 years. The survey inquires about who you identify as and the relationship to others in the house, along with asking what place of residency you are for your home. According to Title 13 U.S. Code § 221, people can be fined up to $500 for not responding to the census completely. Census workers could show up at your door or call by phone to follow up. 

The amount of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is determined by the population of people who currently occupy the state. The representatives create laws that affect the population. The amount of power in representation for specific groups will go down if not everyone is accounted for.

The census is an essential part of how well our government can take care of the community for the duration of 10 years. The actions we take now not only affect us, but future generations. It’s our civic duty to make sure we participate in the census.

A Final Farewell

Former Vice President of Learning and Student Success,
Dr. Carol Green said Denise is with us right now.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom gives their final send-off to former president Denise Yochum

For what felt like a storm for the first time since 2020 began, it wasn’t raining. 

Dim lights and classical music greets guests as they approach the Performance Lounge at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s campus. As the music swelled, a mixture of voices chatted and laughed amongst each other. Flowers and white tablecloths decorated the scenery, and the environment held a peaceful and inviting atmosphere.

It captured the essence of Pierce College’s former president, Denise Yochum, as faculty members from all around shared a final farewell together. 

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom held a memorial ceremony for Yochum on Feb. 9, following her passing on Jan. 13. It’s a rare and cherished thing to be able to rejoice in times of sorrow. Many guests were given the opportunity to comfort one another and share memories of Yochum, during and after the ceremony.

Duncan Stevenson, director of District Athletics at Pierce, shared with the crowd Yochum wanted to be remembered through laughter and smiles, rather than through tears. “As always was the case with Denise, she was very clear with me,” Stevenson said. “‘Duncan, I know people will be sad, but I don’t want the day to be a somber one’.”

“‘I want people to hold onto the good memories, to celebrate the incredible life I was fortunate to live and the amazing people who became my dear friends.’”

Yochum started out her career at Big Bend Community College, where she served as the Dean of Arts and Science for six years. From there she became the vice president of instruction at Grays Harbor College for four more years before her path eventually brought her to Pierce College.

Yochum served as Pierce College’s president for 13 years before retiring January of 2019. She pioneered a number of projects on Fort Steilacoom’s campus and was a major contributor to the college’s growing success.

For those who’ve worked with Yochum personally however, the former president was more than just her work. To many faculty, Yochum remains a beloved part of Pierce College’s family.

“I was incredibly blessed to have the privilege of working with Denise,” Stevenson said. “During that time, she became my mentor, my sounding board, and most importantly, one of my best friends.”

As the memorial continued, those who spoke recalled traits Yochum possessed, which solidified her into the leadership role most faculty members knew her for. Mike Kelly, vice president of Grays Harbor College, recalled a few conversations that he’s had with Yochum in the past. “She had a way with words, and [could] talk to people very sophisticatedly,” Kelly said. 

Bill Bounaudi, a retired president at Big Bend Community College, shared his personal feelings of Yochum’s magnetic and strong leadership skills, as well as her willingness to lead. “She came to the rescue, or as we called it – she drew the short straw,” Bounaudi said. “She wasn’t one to be deterred by minor obstacles.”

Bonaudi spoke how Yochum’s personality made it hard for her to go unnoticed. This included a time they were out, which he could hear her laughter from another area. “She was everything,” Bounaudi said. “Typical Denise. You always knew when she was around.”

As the event came to a close, a photo montage played moments of Yochum’s life. Music filled the room once again, and laughter was brought on with one another, some sitting in comfortable silence with their neighbor.

Many speakers at Yochum’s memorial were able to capture a piece of her in their own words. Whether it be from a reflection of themselves or through old memories they shared with Yochum. One voice stuck out the most amongst the crowd came from Phil Yates, the Pierce College Foundation director, officer, and governor.

Yates shared a story to the crowd which resonated with most attendees there. He recalled a time Yochum last visited the campus after retiring in 2019. Yates recalls Yochum being given a handcrafted crown as a gift, which she wore that day.

“I envision Denise now as wearing the golden crown on her head,” Yates said. “I think of her as a gem. One of a kind, irreplaceable; a precious, beautiful gem. The finest jeweler would be hard-pressed to find any flaws in that gem.”

 What was shared that day still carries on in those who knew and loved her. Yochum may have passed on, but the treasured memories and evermore spirit lives on.

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