Pierce Pioneer

Thank Caesar for July and August

Adding 2 months to calendar finally aligned winter


Time manipulation is an illusion. It is man-made invention to help civilizations track the seasons and the best crop yields. With this in mind, the evolution of the Roman calendar to what is used today is a long one, including the addition of July and August.

There is a myth the Roman calendar originally began with only 10 months, then Julius and Augustus Caesar swooped in and extended the year to proclaim their dominance on the rest of civilization.

The bravado aspect of that myth is accurate, but that is not why July and August exist. The Roman year originally included 10 months, but it did not add winter. The smartest weathermen at the time could not properly track the end and beginning of winter, so they left it out.

Eventually, the Romans added Ianuarius and Februarius (January and February) to the calendar, but it was still flawed. They realized every four years, the sun was extended for longer periods of time. These additions created a leap year. Instead of adding one day onto February, the Romans decided to complicate things even more by adding “Intercalarius” or an in-between month. This would make up for lost days and the incoming leap year, but it was still confusing.

According to timeanddate.com, “The months were divided into day markers that fell at the start of the month, the fifth or seventh day, and in the middle of the month. These three markers were called Calends, Nones and Ides.”

These three calendar markers signaled the phases of the moon in a month. Calends is the beginning, Nones the middle, and Ides the end – or the full moon of the month. Days were not tracked to the end of the month, but counted backwards from Ides or Calends. So instead of the May 5, it would be 10 days before Nones. That can get quite confusing.

Unreliable calendars could sabotage farming seasons, festivals and most importantly, ceremonies to celebrate their emperor. This change also helped solidify the power play with Caesar and his compatriots.

During Julius Caesar’s reign, he decided that this calendar was too confusing for people to follow and decided to change it. He decided to even out the year and leave some space for February on those pesky leap years.

His solution did not just add months. The entire structure of the calendar was reinvented. It did not change time but merely gave structure to what already exists.

Upcoming Eclipse and required proper eye safety

Onlookers be warned to protect their eyes from the covered sun


There are some events that only come once in a hundred years or twice a year. Eclipses were once symbols to signal an upcoming change, destruction, or simply being eaten by a dragon. Our relative knowledge of the eclipse has been updated, but alas, humans are still mesmerized by that crescent sun.

On August 21st, the Science dome is holding an event for the upcoming solar eclipse. The event will begin at 8:30 am, previewing a short film that will explain the astronomical science behind eclipses. Later, the group will head outside wearing their protective eyewear and view the eclipse at 9:08 am.

The maxim totality of the eclipse will occur around 10:20 am, where the moon will be covering 94% of the sun and can be seen across the country. However, the best place to view the eclipse close to Washington is to head down to Salem, Or., since the eclipse is passing over the midlands of the United States, making a diagonal.

Astronomy professor Hillary Stephens describes this eclipse as a rare event. “We usually have eclipses about twice a year, but they are covering only a little of the sun. This kind of eclipse is quite rare and happens once every one-hundred years.”

The eclipse can get quite dangerous if there is no eye safety. “Just like any time you look at the sun, you could blind yourself,” said Stephens. “Shadows become darker and even if the majority of the sun is covered by the moon, you can still hurt your eyes.”

Some of the ways that patrons can protect their eyes is by wearing a special kind of solar lenses that block out almost everything except the eclipse. There are also pinhole cameras, in which people can poke a hole in a cardboard box, angle it towards the eclipse, and look at the shadows.

Several activities are lined up for the event. Kids and adults can get creative and spell out your name with little crescent eclipses by using a pinhole camera, which is another way to utilize safe eyewear.

If photographers want to safely document this event, they can also get solar filters for their cameras. “If they were to take a picture without any safety filters, their camera would be fried,” said Stephens.

At the event, Science dome employees along with Stephens will be passing out eyewear. Meanwhile, the Pierce library system will be handing out glasses during the summer.

Lakewood Computer Clubhouse

Kids can make computers out of anything


Dozens of schoolchildren rush down to the Lakewood computer clubhouse during their lunch break in hopes of playing Minecraft and taking a break from school. Two of the kids start hugging co-coordinator Allison Church, meanwhile co-coordinator Hannah Dominguez tries to usher the kids towards the table. As usual, they discuss afterschool plans for animation and design projects.

In this underground tech hub, kids ages 8-18 learn the basics of electrical currents, Arduino boards (computer boards), coding, musical composition, video production, animation, digital drawing, and a multitude of engineering and science projects.

“We’re teaching them a lot of life skills, marketable skills, things that they can put on their resume. It helps to know Microsoft products like Word, Excel and PowerPoint among many other things,” said Allison Church.

“Alex is working on a DoGA project [which is an animating software], creating this large spaceship. Sadie is creating three ‘Choose your own adventure’ through PowerPoint.” Said Church

Students have already gotten some engineering experience through the clubhouse. Church and Dominguez received a recycled Pierce college kiosk a couple years back, which has now been taken apart so that the kids could make a retro video game station.

“We added a control board which was put together with copper tape and recycled buttons. The kids were taught how to put in their own Arduino board as well.”

But their creations don’t stop at Arduinos. They have also made a large Maki Maki board and Arduino board (hardware that is made to construct a computer), one student named Nate who created fans and robots out of LEGOs, they even made a ‘Banana Piano,’ where they programmed different fruits to play different keys.

The Clubhouse began as an Intel-funded project to help motivate kids into technological fields in 2002, which was originally run by Kurt Sample. Over the years, the clubhouse has had to move from several locations, including the former Harrison Preparatory campus and now Lochburn Middle school. Now Kurt has left to work elsewhere and it is up to Allison and Hannah to run the program.

Hannah Dominguez is an English major, while Allison Church is at Evergreen hoping to get her BA in education and teach art. Together they both take away valuable experiences from these creative individuals.

“It’s a lot of noise,” said Church. “’Look at what I did!’ is what they mainly say. They’re excited and want to show us what they made.”

In addition to the clubhouse, potential engineers and programmers now have the opportunity to experiment with technology.

“Once they learn how to use that, they become very tactile, since many kids learn by doing,” said Dominguez. “Teachers are scared to give computers or any kind of technology to kids, since they are so expensive and worry that kids can break them.”

Aside from these achievements, the clubhouse is facing financial setbacks. Their original Intel sponsor dropped them a couple years ago.

“They pulled out because they weren’t making money off the clubhouse, but we recently got a Best Buy grant,” said Church.

Pierce college has been supporting Lakewood computer clubhouse for over a decade, however the dynamic is changing.

“We don’t know about Pierce college,” said Church and Dominguez. “We could be moving to YMCA. Nothing is set in stone. It is mainly under the library and learning services. There has recently been a 2% cut in the budget, but that’s still quite a bit of money.”

Even with possible cutbacks, the Clubhouse still receives volunteers, including dedicated Computer science major Ellen Choi.

“Ellen is really good with kids and coding. This is basically like her internship,” says Church. “She puts in almost 10 hours a week.”

One of the clubhouse members is Aiden Turpan, who is an avid Minecraft player and takes full advantage of what the clubhouse offers. “I like to come down here any time I can. We do some achievements and play Minecraft, RPG-maker, Pivot, line-rider, and comics. I wanna be a game designer or tester someday.”

Firing Comey makes Trump look like a dictator


As if bigoted outlooks and his lackadaisical behavior wasn’t enough, Trump needs to fire the one guy who’s investigating him. It’s almost as if President Trump wants to get impeached.

This isn’t Celebrity Apprentice anymore, you can’t go “ya fired” to the man who is investigating your ties to Russia. That’s like if a kid got caught stealing a candy bar and they respond, “no, you’re grounded.”

Before anyone says “it’s a coincidence. James Comey screwed up on the Clinton emails,” let it be noted that President Trump applauded Comey’s investigation on Clinton, even when the President Obama was already upset with Comey’s dealings.

Now all of a sudden that’s a problem? I don’t think so. There are only two scenarios that went down. Either he’s starting to get his act together and realizes that he needs to take his job seriously in order to keep this nation together, or this was the opportune moment to get rid of some pesky FBI flies.

If it was the first scenario, then Trump realized that rules and regulations need to be followed when it comes to a faulty investigation and came to his senses to fire Comey, even if his investigation helped his campaign.

If it was the second scenario, then Trump saw the perfect moment to finally penalize Comey for his investigation, meanwhile halting the case. He killed two birds with one stone.

This may seem like the typical coup-de-tete that a ruthless tyrant would pull. Chairman Mao did it, Nixon did it before the Watergate scandal, Kim Jung-Il most definitely killed his political opposers. But this is one man, a conservative man at that, who may be replaced by another FBI agent who may be even more tactful than Comey.

Don’t worry students, if this was the beginning of a House of Cards or a Game of Thrones scenario, President Trump wouldn’t know how to play it.

Combating Sexual Assault on Campus

Teaching prospective transfer students in fighting collegiate sexual assault policy.


Colleges advertise and brand all the programs that they can offer; sexual assault is not one of them. As prospective University transfer residents, Pierce students have a right to know how to fight against campus rape and how to receive advocacy.

Statistics provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center report over 1 out of 5 women get sexually assaulted and approximately 1 out of 16 men are sexually assaulted on campus; 90% of these victims do not report. Often the victim is pressured to stay silent, whether it be from administrative pressure, shame or fear stemmed from the violent experience, or because of lack of support.

In 2014, many universities were under fire for not giving full disclosure on sexual assault cases. After many students were protesting the treatment of sexual assault victims on campus, the Title IX amendment was established in every school campus, including Pierce college.

Pierce’s Title IX coordination team includes Holly Gorski, Tami Jacobs, Duncan Stevenson, and many others are in charge of handling gender discrimination cases and sexual assault procedures.

Athletic director Duncan Stevenson is one of these coordinators. “Like many colleges and universities around the country, sexual assault aspect of Title IX and has come towards the forefront the last three or four years,” said Stevenson. “In the prior forty years the major emphasis, or what got the most awareness has been the in athletics, but that is because of incidents that happened on campus.”

Stevenson also said that Pierce college is constantly striving to improve their knowledge base and awareness. “We are putting systems in place to help students and for employees to become more aware of what the processes are for reporting.”

One of the systems that have recently been published to the student community is the online Title IX crash course, a required training exercise to teach students in identifying sexual harassment/assault. Many of the modules include understanding your rights as a student and Pierce college’s code of conduct when it comes to gender discrimination and/or sexual assault.

Duncan Stevenson and the rest of the Title IX coordination team hope to constantly update how they confront sexual assault and how to inform their students and the processes that come with it.

“Investigative committees are assigned to look into those allegations, speak to all parties involved. Not just from the complainant and the respondent, but also witnesses,” said Stevenson.

Bystanders play a vital part in the events of an assault. A bystander has the choice of either halting the situation or decide it is not an emergency and not intervene. Pierce college counselor Megan Irby explains how awareness takes play.

“There is not enough information out there, especially with bystander intervention. I think the more information on sexual assault, the better,” said Irby.

Yet awareness is only the first step, what comes next is removing the stigma of reporting. Many are afraid that they will not be taken seriously, accused of lying, or are too hurt to recount the events. The amount of people who report a sexual assault falsely are approximately 5-7%, according to the National Sexual Violence Research center and even that is inflated because of delayed processing factors and/or insufficient evident.

One way to curb the stigma and to give more respect and dignity to the victims is to take them seriously, educate yourself on what sexual assault and gender discrimination looks like, and to take action when you see something occur.

Taking action could include seeking advocacy, which could be at Pierce college or at the Rebuilding Hope, the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County. Another way is to help yourself or someone you know report an incident that happened. Do not keep quiet because it could save someone else’s life.

Team Femme Fiana wins Roller Derby Championship

It’s the last bout, the Femme Fiana’s chief leprechaun mascot, proudly waving an Irish flag in his green trousers. The Marauding Molly’s purple-skinned, fireball whiskey drinking mascot is screaming “Molly” to the crowd. The game ends at 307-86, over a 200-point lead.

            This may seem odd for any sport to have this many ponts, but if you know the rules, you understand that’s just part of the game.

            Points are earned when the jammer, or one of the faster skaters, passes a player from the opposing team. Each team has one jammer, so the jammer who passes the other team first is the lead jammer, however, no points are earned in the first jam. Four blockers on each team, form a pack to block the other jammer, because the more jams (or passes) means more points. Bouts are rounds that last two minutes and jams are how many times the jammer passes the opposing team. There are other fine details, but those are the main rules.

            This Championship is what player Connie “Con-Tagious” Gardner calls “the super bowl of derby.” Roller derby is about as complicated as football, just more punk with skates. The announcer was wearing a studded jacket and there were more than a couple people with dyed hair and colorful beards. The first two teams—the Spokannibals and the Trampires—brandished themselves in war paint. The Spokannibals reigned victorious as the score was finalized at 211-141.

            Back to the Championship game. In the first period, the game was tight at 21-15. This game would determine who would win the large roller-skate trophy and be the victor of Season 11. However, the destiny of the game changed when jammer Lil Mean Sunshine from the Femme Fianna zipped around the track four times, almost flying into the bleachers, gaining an impressive 21 points.

 For the rest of the night, the Marauding Mollys were desperately trying to catch up with their competitor, but soon the Femmes were ahead by 50 points, then 100. Each competitor earning about ten points each.

The most effective players were Slainbow Brite and Lil Miss Sunshine from Femme Fiana and SkateOphrinic and KC Chaos from the Marauding Mollys. Some of the most infamous highlights were when SkateOphrinic blocked Krackin and sent her toppling; when Slainbow Brite parried left and right between Molly blockers, scoring 16 points; even when Femme’s jammer Paulie pocket knife slammed into Molly blockers and took a 180 degree flip to the ground. The move that sparked riotous applause was when Slainbow scored the largest jam of the night, earning 35 points.

Even when Marauding Mollys had almost no hopes of winning by the second period, fans were loyal to the end of the game. Several of the fans shouted “Molly” alongside the purple mascot. Derby fans can be the most passionate cheerleaders and even the fiercest team members, congratulating the opposing team at the end of their games. In this sports subculture, skates, make-up, and zany derby names create this close community that is unlike any other mainstream sport.

Student Spotlight: Carissa Slater

Scouted by both talent agencies and soccer teams, Running Start student Carissa Slater dreams of becoming the first female sports commentator.

Carissa Slater is a firecracker of a person. If she has a goal, she sets out to conquer. She first started doing acting when she was in second grade and was soon spotted by two acting agencies. “They offered me some commercials, but once soccer became more serious to me, I just gave up on that,” Slater said.

In soccer matches, Slater puts her heart and soul into the game. “I feel a rush of adrenaline,” Slater said. “It excites me. I like to keep things simple, but with soccer I get complete focus.”

Slater, along with her two siblings, is a part of a sports family. Her mother was a gymnast until she injured her back; father was a football and baseball enthusiast, until work took over; one sister was into cheer, while the other did equestrian training.

“They don’t pressure me to succeed,” Slater said. “We do it just for fun.”

This ambitious soccer player has been through many adversities. In middle school, she was bullied for being overweight. “One boy in my PE class called me ‘fatso’ and then ‘oinked’ at me,” Slater said. “I later punched that kid.”

One of her worst experiences was with soccer when her coach thought she wasn’t fit for the team. “Everyone was getting a callback and I was very nervous,” Slater said. “I finally got a call-back and it felt like a slap to the face. He said I was not ‘good enough and did not make the team.’ I cried, but I decided to push on.”

When Slater was younger, she dreamed of becoming a soccer player. It was when she began her junior year of high when she started thinking about the sports broadcasting field.

“I started to become more realistic about my career and researched women in sports broadcasting. I want to be a commentator rather than one of the field reporters,” she said.

For her English 101 class at Pierce, she was asked to pick any topic of her choice, so she decided to research about women in sports broadcasting. Slater decided to do an online panel with her friends on whether they would like to see a female sports commentator. About 71 percent said that they were not okay with it.

“Many people go into sports journalism and change their major because they realize they don’t have what it takes. I want to make a name for myself,” Slater said.

With her sister’s lessons and her retail experience, Carissa Slater is becoming a compassionate, patient speaker. “In retail, I had to control my temper, listen to customers and try to help them however I can. It taught me how to read people,” Slater said. “When I was working with horses, I learned self-control and time management. It let me reflect and taught me to appreciate the value of work.”

Black Panther co-creator Bobby Seale speaks at Pierce College

Former activist speaks on the importance of civic engagement in college campuses

Co-creator of the Black Panther movement Bobby Seale drew crowds earlier on April 5, recollecting the origins and creation of the Black Panther Party.

Executive Officer of Equity Diversity and Inclusion Oneida Blagg arranged for the former Black panther to give historical context to the black power movement.

“We received word from the institute of student leadership. They told us that he was having a book tour in this area, so we organized a private college event,” said Blagg. “[Bobby Seale] is a primary source of history. He influenced so much of the 50’s and 60’s and students should see how this still affects students and teach them how to be leaders. He is an example on how anyone can make a change at any age.”

Bobby Seale was born in Texas on 1936. His father was a business owner, where he helped his father in the shop. “My father built our first home. He was a builder,” Seale said. After the war, Seale’s family moved to Oakland, CA, the birthplace of the Black Panthers.

During 1958-59, Seale enlisted into the Air Force and deployed in the Lakota region. “They are not Sioux, they are Lakota. That is their true name. I learned a lot about Native culture, but I didn’t know that much about African American culture.”

After the Air force, Seale went to a community college then he started working at the Gemini missile program. It was there that Seale found his passion in the grassroots movement. “I quit my job at a missile program. It was there that I started this youth tutorial program. We paid minimum wage for young people to re-educate themselves,” Seale said.

Seale started many projects to help alleviate the struggles for oppressed people. “When I was working at human resources in Oakland, CA. I was trying to get those political seats. Those seats and those votes would help give representation for our community.”

He was helping kids learn trades, building things, and gain skills for employment. It wasn’t until a book on black power did his ideas on racial equity come into fruition.

“I had learned a lot about Lakota culture, now I’m learning about African American culture, Hispanic culture. I learned that we were not going to get power unless we got those political seats,” said Seale.

It was until the Watts riots when the Black Panther Party coalition began to form. “After the Watts riot in 1965, where thousands of people were arrested and dozens killed, people were locked up and it hurt their first amendment rights.

At the end of 1965, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Lewis created the black panther movement. “We sat down one night and drew up ten rules, we researched the constitution and the laws on carrying arms, then we started patrolling the police officers,” said Seale. “It was so well researched, articulate, and disciplined.”

The Black Panther Party was an entirely new organization of that time. “We were very neat, ironed our uniforms. We weren’t no ‘blippie,’ or black hippie.” The party began a free breakfast program, free check-ups for sickle-cell anemia, and gave away 10,000 bags of groceries. The party especially motivated people to register to vote.

“Voting rights were threatened, they are still being threatened. My goal was to put people in the electoral machine and to get candidates who advocated our needs.”

Then in 1969, the party encountered media controversy. “We were called the KKK of the black community,” said Seale. Regarding the beginning of the FBI investigation and subsequent shoot out, Seale explained how people viewed the Black Panther Party “They said ‘Shot and murdered from fascists.’ Be a peaceful protestor and they call you a terrorist.”

Now that people have a clearer understanding of the Civil Rights movement, Bobby Seale and other students hope to remove the stigma of the Black Panther Party. One Pierce college student and Social Justice leader Joey Adams asked Seale, “the media painted you as vigilantes, getting attention. Now we know about the FBI, what kept you going against combatting that?”

Seale’s response seemed reminiscent and a little remorseful, “young folks flooded my organization after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, so the party grew the Black Panther Party. Then Nixon talked with the FBI and we realized ‘he’s going to attack us. FBI started a day long shootout with us. We had to survive and we did. We lost a lot of our lives, but we stood our ground.’”

Equity Rally: A Coalition for the People

Educators join the AFT Union rally in Olympia


Drudging in freezing cold rain and muddy shoes, activists from all over the state are kept warm with hope as they fight against the possible defunding of public education.

On President’s day, educators and activists united in Olympia to form a line between the legislative building and the temple of Justice. Groups that support Planned Parenthood, fight against for-profit prisons, resist against deportation, and are firm against privatization of public schools all united to contact their local government.

Becca Ritchie, a fellow BAT, who was tired of seeing students struggle in class. “I see institutional racism in classrooms all the time. We need to see structure in this system,” Ritchie said.

Many educators rallied in response to Betsy Devos’ plan for public school education.

Feb. 7, Betsy Devos was sworn in as secretary of education. Devos is very outspoken on funding charter schools and private school, advocating for “educational choice.” However, her education plan on diverting funds for charter schools deeply concern public school educators.

National Public Radio reports her support for the AFC (American Federation for Children), which is a group that favors voucher programs—using state funds for private institutions.

One of the speakers at the rally, Julianna Dauble, an educator in Renton and does not accept Devos’ plan. “A lot of forces are converging. We are on the cusp of change. What we need now is to tax the rich and to support teachers. Washington has one of the worst tax systems, the working class has to pay a huge portion while the rich pay very little.”

AFT Washington is the educational union for state schools and public education. They organize committees for legal defense, auditing, human rights, and legislative power groups. The coordinator for AFT Washington is Jen Haggard-Mlynarek, the person who posted all of the banners on canvas. Haggard summarizes the union’s purpose to achieve equal education for all public schools and to promote social justice.

Educators such as Marc Hobbs and Beth Norman were in allegiance with AFT Washington, a union whose main goal is to have affordable education for all students. Them, along with educator group such as “Bad Ass Teachers” AKA BATs and the Owl group, displayed several banners in plastic bags.

Rally attendants were gathered around the capitol to hear personal stories from many of the speakers. From the prayers of the Yakima natives, to the chants of activists like “if you hurt our schools, you hurt us,” to local community leaders.

Yet even with all the communal support, there was some lash back. One woman held a sign saying, “divert funds for illegals and refugees to public schools.” She began yelling during some of the speeches, but was soon blocked by some of the other people.

At noon, people began to pour into the legislative building to talk with their local legislatures. Senators and House of representatives both had filled aisle seats along with crowded halls of protestors. One by one, each and every person had their voices heard.

Albertson’s ray of Sunshine delights customers with a smile

Cashier attracts flocks of customers with her singing and positivity

Sunshine lives up to her name. She sings as she rings up items, thanks soldiers for their service, and wears the usual headband and smile. Customers are instinctively drawn to this woman’s positivity, but underneath her joyous demeanor is a dedication to communal service.

Elvira M. Root, or Sunshine, has been donating to her family in the Philippines since 1988. She sends approximately $200 a month to her loved ones. Vecause of her donations, she struggles with finances. “I can’t retire. Me and my husband are poor and I send a lot of my money to the Phillipines,” said Sunshine. “Those are my people.” Tearing up a bit at the thought of her family, she began talking about her manager Amy.

“She’s an amazing manager. She’s the kind of person where if you make a mistake, Amy will tell you that ‘no one is perfect.’” In Sunshine’s 18 years at Albertson’s, that had to mean something.

Even though she is full of positivity and cheerfulness, Sunshine has a strict work ethic. “You must always be patient with customers. My mother always told me to treat customers like myself,” said Sunshine. “I never bring my problems to work and I always pray before I start my shift.”

Sunshine knows how unique her attitude is to the retail service, and she embraces it. “I give 125% to customers. I treat children and disabled people as any other customer. I treat everyone with respect and they appreciate my service.”

At home, Sunshine is greeted by her husband of 49 years and her huge family. “I have 28 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 4 children.” Her children, Terry, Kathy, Darryl, and Lonnie are part of a vast Air Force network, following their father’s footsteps.

“We are very involved with the military. I always thank soldiers for their service. I volunteer to donate to the military,” said Sunshine. On July, 4, Sunshine was ecstatic to wear her American flag dress. She received many compliments and even sang the star-spangled banner, one of her favorite songs.

“I love to sing the national anthem, ‘Because of you’ which is a Phillipino song, and ‘Unchained melody,’ it’s a love song that I share with my husband.”

Sunshine’s marriage birthed her pseudo-name. “My husband could not pronounce ‘Elvira’ that well, so he told me that I was now ‘Sunshine’ because that was who I was to him. I was his sunshine.”

“I am nobody,” Sunshine says. But that’s simply not true.

Get in theaters and see ‘Get Out’

New horror movie takes terrifying approach to extreme racial issues


"Get Out" is a fresh thriller written by Jordan Peele, whose story is about an extreme demonstration of racial prejudices.

The film begins with Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer who is dating a white woman, Rose (Allison Williams), as they pack for a trip to meet Rose’s parents. Soon after their arrival, Chris starts to notice black people acting strangely, along with a multitude of racial micro aggressions from the white community.

Peele’s movie is complete with hypnotism, themes addressing identity and appropriation and ultimately playing on the token “white girlfriend;” simultaneously illustrating the hypocrisy of white people.

This being Peele’s first ever directorial debut. Peele’s intent was to make a twist on the 1975 movie, “The Stepford Wives,” a horror film about a “picturesque” that in truth converted all their women for humanoid robots. “Get Out” features a picturesque family, but the story’s main protagonist discovers a horrific truth. For a comedic writer and director such as Peele to transition from comedies “Key and Peele” and “Keanu,” to a psychological thriller “Get Out,” is risky.

But the risk paid off. Peele’s hyperbolized themes on cultural appropriation and the idolization of black culture emitted laughs and screams from the audience.

When the white people in the town start complimenting Chris on his physique or “overcoming cultural obstacles,” they start to idolize Chris’ race. Not Chris himself, just traits that they lack or desire to steal from him.

Even when Chris was met in a life-threatening situation, one of the white people claimed he was “not like the others. I don’t care about your race.” In a racially motivated scheme to steal Chris’ identity, even the perpetrators are claiming to be race-blind.

Peele successfully blends creepy overtones with Rose’s family and comedic wit from Chris’ friend, Rod. Rod is a Transportation Security Administration agent and quickly smells trouble with Rose. His loyalty and quick instincts ultimately saved Chris from his impending doom and made audiences easily love his character.

One of the black victims in the suburb is Andre or renamed “Logan” (Lakeith Stanfield). Andre was kidnapped in Rose’s neighborhood and was later hypnotized, married to an older white lady, and completely lost himself in the process. Lakeith Stanfield’s performance was outstanding. The quick switches between Andre and Logan was the most impressive example of a soul conflicted, establishing a chilling tone.

"Get Out" recognized unknown actors and talent, delivering eerie reflections on the psychology of racism: placing black people as objects, rather than as human beings. Peele’s dip into the horror genre completely revolutionized the scream scene and has delivered a film ahead of his time.

Mary Read- Going against the grain



Mary Read spent most of her life disguised as a man. Read’s widowed mother needed money, so Read was dressed up as a boy to fool her grandmother into thinking her deceased older brother was still alive. Even after her grandmother died and there was no reason for her to dress as a boy, she dressed in boy’s clothing. She found work as a soldier and as a sailor.

While she fought for the British, she fell in love with a Flemish soldier. She confessed her secret to him and they were married. The couple operated an Inn called Three Horseshoes.

After his death, she knew she could not manage the Inn, so she resumed her life as a fighter. While sailing to the West Indies, her ship was overtaken by pirates. Read decided to join them and live life as a pirate.

In 1720, she was aboard the pirate ship of “Calico Jack” Rackham. Here she met another pirate, who she would later find out to be a disguised woman, named Anne Bonney.

As a pirate, she fell in love and married a sailor, whose ship was overtaken. In late 1720, a British Captain named Jonathan Barnet captured Rackham’s ship.

The crew was quickly tried and hanged in Port Royal, but Read announced that she was pregnant, which was true. She was placed in prison and her hanging was set to occur after she gave birth, but she died in early 1721 from a fever.

“Fake news” critics spread their own brand of lies

People upset over apparent “fake news” refuse to check their sources


Whether it is a facebook friend or Trump’s campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway, Republicans and Democrats alike are vilifying the horrible shame that is “fake news.” Yet, ironically enough, they will continue to share news sources from places like The Patriot, Breitbart, or Occupy Democrats.

Bernard Shaw once said that “the currency of journalism is the objective truth, while the lifeblood is ethics.” News stations strive to be objective as possible. Channels like BBC news, NPR and C-SPAN are completely different from stations like Fox news, CNN, and MSNBC. To lump media into one huge thing is like lumping week-old cheese with milk.

The real issue at hand is not just the prevalence of fake news, it is the lack of fact-checking between the consumer and the news outlet. Part of a reporter’s job is to double-check their facts and sources. If a reporter becomes lazy, as there are quite a few guilty of this crime, it is up to the citizen to look for their sources elsewhere.

Becoming mindful of where you get your news is the first step towards finding the truth. Getting information from obviously biased news outlets only feeds their bias. If the news station or publication has a history of mangling information or libel, then avoid that source like a cancer. Articles that only serve to fit or justify an agenda are propaganda machines.

This goes for any political outlet. There is no such thing as a political party publication that is objective journalism. Whether it be Democratic like Occupy democrats, Republican like Fox news, libertarian like the Patriot, if it supports a certain belief system, it is automatically biased.

Of course, like any successful publication, the source needs to know their audience. If a biased political outlet knows that their audience will respond to a certain wedge topic (i.e. abortion, refugees, Trump), they will highlight a certain fact and expand it to outrageous proportions, setting up the ultimate click-bait headline and lure that reader in.

Check where you get your sources through Politifact or Snopes, or even better, the actual primary source of information (statistic report, law, etc.). If people realize that the lies do not bother them and share it anyway, fake news is not the problem. It’s the reader.

The woman behind Wi-fi

Classic actress Hedy Lamarr was a part-time beauty, full-time scientist


Hedy Lamarr, a relic from the star-studded glory days of Hollywood, has finally received recognition for her discovery of Wi-fi.

Hedwig Eva Kiesler, AKA Hedy Lamarr, was born in Austria with her Jewish family. She married Friedrich Mandl, an arms manufacturer who sold weapons to Nazis—including a house party with Hitler and Mussolini. After Lamarr’s scandalous film Ecstasy, her husband forbade her from acting, constricting her mathematical talents to himself.

Lamarr had a knack for mathematics and even helped her husband during business meetings. She had an inventive mind which ultimately concocted her escape. She fled to Paris, got divorced, and packed her bags for Hollywood stardom.

On the official biographical website dedicated to Hedy Lamarr, hedylamarr.com, she met up with infamous film producer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and costarred in flicks with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Jimmy Stewart. Her beauty was so infamous that her kisses raised millions of dollars for the American war effort. However, Lamarr was more than just beauty; she had substance and she had innovation in her blood.

At night after dress rehearsals and photo shoots, Hedy Lamarr would retire to a room set aside for her inventing. She came up different kinds of tissue boxes, a bouillon cube for soft drinks, and an accordion-like skin tightener according to the Guardian. But her most life-changing idea was the "secret communication system," an invention that blocks some radio signals and allows certain other pathways. This is the premise for Wi-fi.

Along with composer George Antheil, they developed a technological communications system that would help the allies win the war. They wrote the blueprint on sheet music and subsequently went to get a patent for the invention.

Unfortunately, the Navy caught wind of this technique and pressured both Lamarr and Antheil to sell the patent to them. They did, and the rest was forgotten history.

The once sultry actress, whose mind was as sharp as titanium, was forgotten in a Floridian suburb. She became more famous for her botched plastic surgery than she was with her famous discovery of Wi-fi. Her forgotten legacy is just another example of how female beauty was more valued than brains.

This article was written with the help of Wi-fi. A GPS route is a by-product of Lamarr’s invention. Her work had helped defeat the axis powers and she never lived to see her own impact on the technological world. In consequence to the world’s ignorance to female inventors, Hedy Lamarr is another woman in the unfamiliar historical figures column.

Fierce Women, Forgotten with History


Ching Shih

Beginning with humble beginnings as a prostitute, Ching Shih rapidly metamorphized into one of the most fearsome pirate lords of the seas, commanding approximately 80,000 crew members in her fleet.

Born as Shil Xiang Gu, she met her captain husband Zheng Yi through a seaside brothel. Both Shih and her husband commanded the “red fleet,” quickly becoming infamous for her tact and sharp business skills.

After her husband died, she became “Ching Shih,” translating to “his widow.” Now with an entire fleet to herself, she expanded her pirate empire from 600 ships to 1,000 large ships and 800 smaller ships/rowboats.

Ching Shih set a strict code of conduct for her crewmembers; they would be killed if they raped any female captives and if they were to marry any of them, they had to be faithful. According to atlasobscura.com, both the crewmember and prisoner would be killed if they had consensual premarital sex.

Every fleet had tried to undermine the Red Fleet’s rule—but they failed. From the Qing dynasty, to the East India company, no one could defeat Ching Shih’s ragamuffin army of convicts.

She died in a quiet solitude, living to a ripe old age of 69. She subsequently retired from her nautical legacy once she was nearing old age. She received amnesty and lived the rest of her life to recount her larger than life pirate reputation.


Julie d’Aubigny Maupin

Madame Maupin was promiscuous for the French, a master at fencing and swordsmanship, wielded a beautiful mezzo-soprano singing voice, and was a dashing cross-dressing Casanova. If Maupin was a man, she would be the male equivalent of Westly from the princess bride.

Maupin grew up in a motherless home, raised by her father and several fencing masters. She began a multitude of affairs with both men and women, starting with her fencing instructors, all the way to a beautiful soprano singer.

One escapade that etched her fame was when she broke her lover out of a nunnery. According to encyclopedia.com, the woman’s parents were ashamed of their daughter’s affair with a woman, so they sent her to a convent. Maupin soon snuck into the convent as a novice, then escaped with her girlfriend. They set the convent ablaze and lived a short-lived affair.

This hot-headed androgynous cross-dresser lived by day as an opera singer and at night as a flirtatious, swindling swordsman. She once crashed a ball as a man, flirted with a young beautiful woman and later dueled with three men, in which encyclopedia.com suggests that she killed them.

At the end of her life, she decided to give up singing after her latest girlfriend died of the flu and retired to a quiet life. She lived with her husband for the rest of his days and then died at the age of 37 under unknown circumstances.

Neil Patrick Harris is too attractive to be Count Olaf


Delving into a dictionary of vocabulary words and defining literary terms, the Series of Unfortunate events was educational crack. Kids were hooked on all thirteen of these books and went into a violent thirteen-year remission after the series ended.

Suddenly after the hiatus, the show of the same name aired on January 13th via Netflix. The show received a sigh of relief from all Unfortunate events fans. The actors who played the Baudelaire children were a mirror image of the book characters, the Lemony Snicket narrations brought book nostalgia, and the plot did not sway for a moment.

Now here’s the but, I have a problem with Neil Patrick Harris playing Count Olaf. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Neil Patrick Harris’ acting, he played superbly and gave the role all he had. Witty, melodic, with a hint of deviance, Neil Patrick Harris is the perfect villain (flashback to Dr. Horrible’s musical singalong), just not Count Olaf.

When you picture Count Olaf, you see aging, crusty actor with a face of pure sinister evil. He is boorish and very gross. There is a line from one of the books where he hasn’t showered in three days, so he drowns himself in cologne. That Gross.

That doesn’t fit Neil Patrick Harris. Just to allude back to Doogie Howser and Barney from “How I met your mother,” he’s looks like a handsome guy. No amount of fake unibrows and balding caps can hide those delicate features. There’s nothing wrong with that—if anything, people are jealous—it’s just that he doesn’t really emit the Olaf aura.

It’s not just his devilishly handsome looks, it’s also his voice. Most of us can agree that the Unfortunate events movie tanked, but the one saving grace of that disaster was Jim Carrey’s deep, ridiculously zany voice. Carrey’s performance was transcendent of Count Olaf. It was almost like the author saw Jim Carrey’s performance in The Mask and said “that’s him!”

Of course, none of these factors should hinder anyone’s opinion of NPH’s performance, because he did really well. The show did a great job on retelling the story, it’s just that the Count Olaf in the books did not seem to match Netflix’s Count Olaf.

Student Spotlight: Souriene Ben Jemaa

Tunisian international student has big plans for the marketing field

If there was one word to describe Soufiene, it would be ambitious. An easy-going beach lover, he has dreamed of coming to America since he was a boy. Now that he’s here, Soufiene Ben Jemaa is prepared to bring home vital communication skills for small Tunisian businesses.

Growing up in Tunisia, Jemaa was surrounded by tourist hubs and flourishing industries, but was met with limited innovation. “The education is really good, but creativity is low and my goal is to inspire the youth to execute their projects,” said Jemaa.

He is passionately proud of his home country Tunisia. “I lived on an island in Tunisia and is a flourishing country, large history. We have a lot of religious diversity, Islam, Judaism, Christianity. Muslims will go to Saudi Arabia, and the Jewish will come to Tunisia. We are very respectful of our differences.”

During his recent scholarship excursion in Washington D.C., Jemaa absorbed precious leadership skills, while engaging in a vital cross-cultural dialogue. “At the conference, we were working on small-term and long-term goals; discussing the future relationship between America and Tunisia, which actually goes back hundreds of years,” said Jemaa.

At the forefront of Tunisia’s economy lies a tourism empire, a market that is gradually growing interest. Behind the mechanisms of this industry is Jemaa’s future agency dream. “I want to market other people’s products like food, clothes, and grow small businesses.”

Soufiene Ben Jemaa’s dream grew from legend. From our music, to the fashion, Jemaa wanted to experience it for himself. “America was like a dream to me. It was extremely diverse with race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. It was where I could start my professional techniques”

As relaxed as Soufiene was, he seemed a little wistful. “Over here, I am always busy. But in Tunisia there is more down time to relax, hang out with friends. I also miss my parents, my siblings, going to the beach with my friends, the food, and just speaking my own language.”

When Jemaa heard of Pierce’s international program, he signed up immediately. At first, he was nervous, very homesick, but overcome with a feeling of excitement. Upon arrival to Pierce College, he was welcomed with assistance and support from the international department faculty.

“People were helpful and open to advice, I adapted quite quickly to my environment. I learned how to communicate with my professors. The professors back at home would just do their work and I’d do mine. I took classes just to get them done. Now I learned more about what classes I actually enjoyed.”

Even while being away from all these things, Soufiene is thriving at school and at home. “I really like the way professors here teach. I know my country is working on developing that and how to make that happen. I’m gonna try, when I get back home, to talk with my university administrators, talk with professors on how to be closer to their students and how to be their first resource.”

The Unknown “Lone Ranger”

History finally has its eyes on this sheriff


With the blockbusting release of the film Hidden Figures, audiences are compelled to ask: “what other historical individuals do we not know about?”

Bass Reeves, the infamous sheriff of Oklahoma, is revealed to be the possible inspiration for the western classic “Lone Ranger.”

Back in Oklahoma, Reeves was the deputy to go to, because he could arrest any man, no matter their race. According to Fort Smith’s National historical site, “Reeves had a reputation throughout the territory for his ability to catch outlaws that other deputies couldn't. He was known to work in disguise in order to get information and affect the arrest of fugitives he wanted to capture.”

He was dedicated to the law. Humanities professor Kristin Brunnemer calls the western trope a “match of opposites. Either a sheriff who obeys the law or a sheriff who took the law into his own hands.” Reeves was the epitome of the former, the kind of man who would turn his own son in. “Bass Reeves was a legend in his own time. He was the epitome of dedication to duty,” said Fort Smith site.

The erasure of a black individual’s accomplishments is a common occurrence in history. Whether from the political environment or the result of changing racial views, the reemergence of these events shine light on forgotten histories.

Shows like the “Lone Ranger” depicted a heroic white cowboy, corralling the criminals with his trusted native sidekick. Almost every western illustrates these tropes, even though they are just an illusion of the west.

“The Spanish term for cowboy is ‘vaquero,’ where many cowboys were out corralling cattle. The original cowboys were Latinos and Indian. People who were already there were patrolling the land, then white people came and said this is ‘mine,’” said professor Brunnemer. “These movies became American classics.”

Reeves was a tough cookie. Competing with both racists and rowdy felons, Bass Reeves had a lot on his plate. “He had to be the best out of everyone,” said History professor John Simpson. “Man had to be as real as it gets.”

Cowboys came in every variety, because of the social dynamics of the west. With the Chinese working on railroads, latinos and natives who were already settled there, and of course white settlers migrating to the west for the gold rush and former enslaved black people escaping slavery.

“It was everybody. White, black, latinos, and the Chinese. It was a very eclectic region for anyone who was seeking freedom,” said Simpson.

There is no definitive answer as to why some figures are more recognized while others are not. Some have achieved greater deeds like Martin Luther King or Harriet Tubman, some are to fit a narrow image.

“Media can craft certain images. Rosa Parks was not the first woman to ride in the front of the bus, but she fit the innocent type. The people who are famous are the ones are usually the ones in front of the camera,” said Brunnemer.

Rainier Gardens provide lessons in the soil

The Biology department unearth years of work on the Upper and Lower Winter gardens and its contributions to the STEM field


Megan Sokol/Staff Photographer

One of the garden plots in the Lower Winter Garden.

Underneath the second floor in the Rainier building lies a reference library teeming with ferns and gangly vines. Opposite to a biology lab is a shelf full of succulents, flowering into tiny rose buds.

Plants like moss, angiosperms, ferns, and cyclanthus are growing all over the Rainier building among a sea of botany in the Upper and Lower gardens. These humble projects draw many lessons for aspiring biologists and natural scientists; from scheduling the next planting season, to illustrating the plant’s structure.

Professor Elysia Mbuja of the Biology department helped develop the Lower winter gardens, along with Robert Thissen and Physics Professor Les Uhrich, who planted the Banana trees a few years back.

Mbuja recalls her previous classes, who were fortunate enough to help plant the vegetation. “The lower winter garden used to have a slope and had different ferns and cyclanthus on it, but had to cleared out so that the windows can be cleaned. When I saw that, I thought ‘we can use this as a teaching garden,’ and so our [Biology 213] students have actually planted all of the plants there, in the Summer and Fall.”

Not every plant was planted into the garden by a student. “Some of those plants were added by a few instructors.” Said Professor Mbuja. “The rose clippings were contributed by a professor.” Said Mr. Thissen, “of course, this is not a personal space for people, but with the appropriate faculty members’ permission, a professor can contribute to the garden.”

The garden is an interdisciplinary foundation. It involves botany, biology, and even nutrition. Many professors and staff members strive to work together. “We had to work with facilities to work on irrigation. Hopefully in the future we could install a couple misters as well” Said Mbuja.

Mr. Robert Thissen, who tends to the lower winter gardens is enthusiastic for the garden’s potential, but must anxiously wait for Spring to return.

“Since we do not have a greenhouse, the plants must rely on the existing climate which is usually very cold.” Thissen pointed to the withering vines of a gourd that a student planted and continued. “I try to spray some soap water on the plants to treat them, but the climate still deeply affects them.” Said Thissen.

If the Biology department can find a way to supplement the conditions necessary for the gardens, there could be partnerships in the future. “I think it would be a great idea to collaborate with nutrition or even ECED.” Said Mbuja.

With nutrition and the Early Childhood Education program possibly in the mix, there could be a multitude of research possibilities in their path. Already plotting space for sorghum, beans, peas, and dwarf corn, the garden is teeming with potential.

Anna Julia Cooper: The pioneer in black women’s education

One of the many African-American women who fought for racial, gender, and social equality.


In history, people have always known who Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were, but there has rarely been a conversation about Anna J. Cooper. All three were fundamental feminists of their time, but only one is an unfamiliar historical figure. Anna Julia Cooper, a college educated black women, was a fierce activist for equal education, a feminist, and ultimately a devout educator for the disenfranchised.

Born in 1858, she and her mother were enslaved to her biological father, George Washington Haywood. As a child, she debated with her parishioners as to why boys would be the only ones taught, setting a political consciousness in motion. This began her long journey to fighting gender roles.

After the Civil war, she completed her high school education through Saint Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute, which was a school for freed slaves. Subsequently after attending, Cooper married George C. Cooper and had to leave her teaching career because of social views on married teachers.

After her husband died, her grief had transformed into determination and set out to obtain her college degree in Oberlin and Columbia University. Majoring in Math, she was equipped with a full ride which later helped earn her a Master’s and a doctorate at the University of Paris. It was suggested that she wanted to follow the “gentlemen’s course,” rather than taking the traditional women’s course.

It was in college where her passion for teaching was ignited. Cooper was adamant in educating black women, believing it was the ultimate stepping to racial equality and gender equality and thought black women were the “key to equality.”

“It is not the intelligent woman v. the ignorant woman; nor the white woman v. the black, the brown, and the red, it is not even the cause of woman v. man. Nay, tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice.” Said Cooper.

Anna J. Cooper co-founded the Colored women’s league; she had started the YWCA chapter for black women, paving the path for future black innovators; she was one of the few black women who was a part of the World’s Congress of Representative women.

She made M. street high school one of the best schools for Black Americans. Cooper became a controversial figure for suggesting a college preparatory plan for her school and sending her students to some of the best schools.

Throughout her career as a social scientist and renowned author of “A Voice from the south: a black woman of the south,” Anna J. Cooper fought against white colleagues who considered her too radical, and professors who thought she was unqualified to teach. After many attempts to ruin her career, she took a break and studied for her doctorate in the University of Paris.

Yet even with all her scholarly accomplishments, she is barely a footnote in history books. In African-American history month, most names commonly seen are Martin Luther King, or Frederick Douglas, Barack Obama; partly because those names are more commonly taught and because of how much backlash Anna J. Cooper received for her views.

Anna J. Cooper died in 1964, a year before the Voting rights act was established. Cooper was a witness to a trifecta of stigma, for being black, a woman, and for being a social rights activist. In honor of Anna J. Cooper’s contributions, this spotlight is for her.

Sources for Anna J. Cooper’s biography: http://blackhistorynow.com/anna-julia-cooper/; http://ajccenter.wfu.edu/about-anna-julia-cooper/; http://www.blackpast.org/aah/cooper-anna-julia-haywood-1858-1964; https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anna-julia-cooper/.

New Year’s Traditions Around the World

International students share their traditional rituals and dishes that help amount to a good year


On December 31st, millions of Americans will kiss their sorrows away at midnight, praying for a more blissful year. Some believers will stand on their left foot so that next year they can start on the “right foot,” while others may eat black-eyed beans and watch the fireworks.

The optimism for future peace and prosperity is a universal feeling for most nations. Whether it be increased wealth or a good harvest, humans by nature hope for an improvement from last year.


From January 28th to February 2nd, the Chinese will revel in the three-day Spring festival. 2017 is the year of the rooster—one of the twelve zodiac animals and reappears every twelve years. People will decorate their homes in a decoupage of vibrant reds and golds, colors that symbolize luck and good fortune in the next year.

The festive locals of China rejoice the accomplishments they achieved the previous year through family relaxation and charitable acts. Both children and the elderly receive red envelopes filled with money, while other people can rejoice in the lantern festival and firecrackers. “Sometimes our family plays poker or Mah-jongg after dinner.” Said Mao

Chinese international student Katherine Mao recalls some of her earlier experiences with the big New Year’s shows. “We have a big show. All family come together for a big meal, then watch [the] show. At midnight, we go outside and watch the fireworks, but that’s limited now because of air pollution, so that is reduced.” Said Mao, with a little bit of disappointment, “but we still have some fireworks.”

Meals like fish and rice cakes are commonly used for the “reunion dinners” and other festivities. “We would usually eat duck, chicken, fish, and rice. We all go shopping together and get some snacks. Different dishes have a different meaning, usually towards what we want for the next year.”


Like America, France is similar when it comes to celebrating: drink and be merry; however, the French definitely do it better. International French student Victor Kirmann recalls his previous parties back home. “Now I’m not saying my experiences are what everyone in France does, but I would always go out with friends on New Year’s Eve.” Said Kirmann.

The drinking age in France is at least 16 years of age, and with Europe being quite liberal with alcohol consumption, drinking is not as taboo or as excessive. “The girls would drink wine, while guys may drink some Vodka or Whiskey. It all depends on the taste. Most people just want to get drunk.” Said Victor, who smiles just a little.

To waste time or to make merry, the French like most others will engage in late-night games. “My friends and I would usually play poker or drinking games like the pyramid, 21, all to that require a lot of focus.” Said Kirmann.


From a small country in North Africa, Tunisian international student, Soujiene Ben Jemaa, recalls his new year’s back home. “We think the New Year’s is for family. Maybe in other countries, it is more like a couples’ thing, but in Tunisia we will either stay at home or go visit a relative.”

Around dinner time, family members will gather around to eat traditional Tunisian dishes like couscous with kadida, with a mix of vegetables.

“We had a lot of cakes and traditional food. Our family cooks couscous with a tomato sauce, which is a very traditional dish.” Said Jemaa. “In America, you will have potatoes, and in Tunisia, we will try to mix everything together. Beans, vegetables, potatoes, everything.”

Universal Superstitions

Superstitions are one of the few things in this world that unite us together. A random person on the street would agree that a bad haircut or an unfortunate run-in with a feral cat can spell doom for the next year.

“2 years ago, at 12:40, New Year’s Day, I fell on the stairs. Everyone said I was going to have a crappy year.” Said Victor Kirmann. “I didn’t have a crappy year, but my friends still bring it up.”

There are a couple superstitions in China that are unique. The risk of whining or crying children could sum up to be a bad year, some may even forgo washing hair for a day or two, just to be safe. Katherine Mao did not have any of these worries. “If you broke a plant, you could have a pretty bad year.”

Sometimes superstitions draw from bad experiences, especially events that can’t be controlled. “My brother is a professional photographer and he had to work on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately he dropped his camera by accident and he broke it.” Said Jemaa. “There was also a time where 2 hours before New Year’s Eve, I broke up with my girlfriend.”

Veterans Suicide Awareness: Protecting the ones who protected us


November 11th marks the month for Veterans Day, where veterans and families remember the sacrifices made on our behalf. However, there are some vets who never stopped making sacrifices.

Around this Veterans Day, civilians and military alike must take measures in reducing Veteran suicide rates.

Studies conducted by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Suicide Prevention Program suggest that 22 veterans a day die from self-harm. While 18% of veterans make up the total amount of suicide rates among adults, when only 8.5% of the population is veterans. That makes veteran suicide a much larger epidemic.

However, there are programs in place that help at-risk veterans. One program specifically is the National Alliance to End Veterans Suicide, whose purpose lies simply in their name. President Tony Dayton summarizes the program’s intent to raise awareness and ultimately eliminate suicide.

“We get 18 veterans a day on average. 3-4 years ago, Veterans suicide was almost unheard of. Now we have the awareness, so we need to start eliminating the problem.”

Dayton started working on the program after he got shot in the stomach during his Iraq tour in 2005. “I hit a low during my tour and I slowly regained myself through this program.” For many soldiers, this was the same case.

The NA2EVS works on many different projects including varying workshops on job search, networking, advocacating for benefits, and recommending different psychiatric programs including the Veterans Crisis line and the VA hospital.

One sub-program that Dayton has been working on has been “Operation Veteran Freedom,” a program that he describes as “looking at life through a different set of glasses.” By providing veterans a new perspective on life (whether it be positive or negative), assisting them in assimilating into civilian life, making it easier for them to transition.

This organization has approximately 10-20 volunteers in the Pierce County area, all organizing events like the Veterans Day Parade, Blankets for Hope, and Feast of Valor—a dinner prepared by the Washington high school JROTC to serve for homeless veterans.

For many veterans, it is hard to seek the help they need. “In the military, there is a culture of toughness, so it is harder for them to get help,” says temporary Fort Steilacoom counselor Liz Scott. Many veterans feel like their voice is not heard and can’t relate with a civilian counselor, or they simply can’t find the right one.

“There’s a certain language that exists between soldiers. Sometimes it is hard to communicate what you are feeling to a civilian when they have not gone through the same thing,” said Tony Dayton.

Sometimes the veterans want help, but don’t know where to find it. For VA coordinator Vicki Bell, there is no guarantee that every veteran who comes to her has the right resources. “Sometimes I feel dread because I don’t know if they [veterans] are getting the help they need.”

However, there is hope. Through the American Lake VA hospital and through Pierce’s VA, students can get recommended to programs like Giveanhour.org, after deployment resources (under the Pierce’s counseling page), Veterans Crisis line, and many other programs like NA2EVS. “Through a veteran’s perspective, there are no resources. They simply are not advertised enough and a veteran may not know what is out there,” says NA2EVS coordinator, Rod Wittmier.

For many veterans, opposition to counseling or therapy—or merely seeking help—remains to be a strong obstacle. It creates the stigma of looking vulnerable or “weak” and can worsen the situation even more. That’s why Vicki Bell and Liz Scott both recommend “alternative” therapies like rock-climbing, hiking, yoga or even joining in communal efforts like a biker gang or community service (or both), as healthy therapy treatment.

These activities could be much less invasive compared to intensive therapy and it relieves some of the anxiety that veterans have towards traditional counseling (although that is still recommended).

“To help veterans who may be at risk for suicide, just let them know that there is a future for them. Whether that be fixing a car or computer, let them know that they are needed and they are loved,” says Rod Wittmier.

If any veteran is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts or knows someone who is, please call the Veterans Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

A Look into the Mystic Sanctuary: The Good, the Bad, and the Wicca


Approximately three blocks down from Albertson’s on Steilacoom Blvd. lies a store straight out from The Craft. Incense and lavender waft from the Mystic Sanctuary entrance doors, greeting customers with a tranquil scent. Steilacoom has never seen a store like this.

With the grand-opening just over a month ago, customers have been dropping by the store to see all the spell-books and candles, the occasional Ouija board, and healing crystals. Now with Halloween coming up, shop-owners Dawn French and Chris Dellert expect a lot of demand for their other-worldly products.

French is a practicing pagan who delves into the arts of tarot readings and tea-making. She opened a shop named “Mystic Wonders” several years ago in downtown Tacoma but subsequently closed it down for personal reasons. “Eventually, I was just not happy in my life and I knew that that shop made me happy so I reopened it here in Lakewood.”

“It was a creative place for people to go. To connect to their spiritual self and reach a higher purpose. Find tools that people could use for their spiritual journey.”

“Everyone’s reaction is always like ‘oh my god.’ People come in and find it calming and have good energy. Many people are like ‘I’m so glad you opened this shop.’”

Now the shop is a “Tim Burton-esque” store (reminiscent of “Alice in Wonderland”), complete with “white rabbit truffles” and sugar skull chocolates. Around the corner of the mini café lies spell-books that explore witchcraft and different spiritual handbooks that can inform readers on the basics of Paganism.

But what the average buyer does not know are the historical and religious meanings behind Paganism, including the holiday that inspired Halloween. The Celtic festival Samhain (pronounced sow-wen) celebrates the coming of a new year and plentiful harvest, where French says “the veil between the living and the dead becomes thinner.”

According to Dawn French and History.com, the festival has inspired many other holidays, including All Saint’s day and—of course—Halloween, which is now a highly adulterated version of the original Samhain.

“People have misconceptions of Paganism, for them to come in can possibly see the good energy of it all.” […] “Gifted witches were reveled for their healing powers and sage wisdom. It was only after the Witch trial era when witches started becoming synonymous with “demon” and “evil, and the Ouija board is not always a contact to ‘malicious’ spirits, only if it used incorrectly.”

Nowadays people rejoice in Halloween candy, cheap costumes, and scary movies. But a very seldom some come by the shop to get a taste of what French calls it “the old days before the industrial revolution,” when people were close to nature and to their spiritual self.

If any students are interested in any Wiccan materials, fairy sculptures, candles, or even just a cup of tea or occasional truffle, come to the Mystic Sanctuary at 8415 Steilacoom Blvd SW b, Lakewood, WA 98499.

Interview with Alan Kemp: Overview of Death, Dying, and Bereavement


Finished. Pushing Daisies. Kicked the Bucket. These are all common terms for death in which we gloss over the severity of our inevitable end. We’ve all heard these terms and know what death is, but the real question is, how do we cope with it?

For many people, death is not the end but rather the beginning of the new chapter. Whether that be the afterlife or reincarnation, there is always an answer for death with religion. Sociology Professor Alan Kemp has a couple answers for this. “We cope with death by wrapping ourselves in our culture and religious beliefs. It is a tactic we use in order to make death less threatening and scary.”

As mentioned in my Mystic Sanctuary Review, there are many holidays that celebrate death rather than vilify it. Holidays like Dia de los Muertes and Samhain both rejoice the opportunity to reconnect with past loved ones. Kemp notes how Mexican natives would decorate ofrendas or altars with things their family members used to love in life. In this way, their families reanimate for one day.

Earnest Becker’s work called “Denial of Death” mentions the symbolism in death embedded in Eastern Mediterranean cults. “The hero was the man who could go into the spirit world, the world of the dead, and return alive. He had his descendants in the mystery cults of the Eastern Mediterranean, which were cults of death and resurrection. The divine hero of each of these cults was one who had come back from the dead.”

Christianity even references resurrection motifs often seen in other religious contexts, with Jesus Christ being rebirthed three days after his death. Another example would be being “born-again,” having redeemed one’s character from a life of sin. Even religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism all believe in reincarnation—or the belief that people will live multiple lifetimes.

For American Halloween, the culture is to mock death rather than embrace it. In movies like “Scream,” “Halloween,” “Texas Chainsaw,” death always comes as a punishment but usually acted out by cheesy effects and lots of fake blood. Kemp describes this tactic as “making something scary into something not so scary. We make fun of death; therefore, we are no longer afraid of death.”

But for some people, it is something to fear, who don’t know what happens in the afterlife—or whether there even is one—the fear comes from the unknown. “We’re the same as all animals, that is, we want to survive. The one difference is that we have consciousness, so we have awareness that we are going to die. And that awareness, whether you acknowledge it or not, scares the bejeezus out of us.”

For many of these belief systems become a need to stay connected to the ones we love. Whether a student has a belief system or not, people’s need to cope with friends or family dying is usually to push through their own fear of death.

 “With that knowledge comes appreciation from that potential for death, makes it possible for people to deal with, otherwise missing out on some of the deep experiences. Even if it feels uncomfortable, I say you just gotta go for it anyway. See if you can push your own fear of death and interact with that person. Because you have a good chance to have a good relationship with that person, at a time where they are the most vulnerable.”

First presidential debate a failure for both candidates

Debate performances didn’t inspire trust necessary for undecided voters


Trump and Clinton both talked over each other, showing that neither is mature enough to take on the role of becoming our new President.
It is difficult to put trust in Trump because of his position on the unemployment rate. Trump said, “Don’t believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5% unemployment. The numbers probably are 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, [I] recently heard 42%.”
The fact is that the unemployment rate is currently at 4.9%, or 9.9%, if you include the underemployment rate, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, June of 2016.
Clinton is difficult to trust due to her involvement with and how the Benghazi attack was handled.
“I and nobody did anything wrong, but there were changes that could be made,” said Clinton.
In fact, The State Department released in a report that there were “ systematic failures in leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two Bureaus of the State Departments and resulted in a special mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi.”
Trump and Clinton are not very serious about the issues that the United States faces. They do both seem to agree about unemployment and how “we are losing jobs to China.”
If both candidates work together, it might make for a brighter United States of America. The United States is lacking a huge amount of ownership.
As a President of the United States, one should be firm with the issues that we are facing.
The topics that were addressed in the debate were about crimes against African Americans, the unemployment rate, and technology and social science. This presidential debate lacks conversation on a plethora of other topics and it seems to be unrealistic.
If they were both willing to communicate with each other rather than “attacking” each other, more people will actually be willing to vote.

Tacoma Real Art gives stage to new bands for all ages

A concert review of local bands that joined together to celebrate freedom of expression through music


A concert review of local bands that joined together to celebrate freedom of expression through music

Staff Writer: Megan Sokol

In the belly of downtown Tacoma, at an all ages club called Real Art Tacoma, where up and coming musicians live, four small bands come together to make art. On Sept. 18, Fairlady, Oblio, The Melting Point, and Dyodd all played a matinee show at Real Art.

Real Art has been the staple of the Tacoma music scene for over eight years indulging crowds with many different bands from all over the country, including Oblio, who came all the way from Los Angeles. Students and locals alike come to see bands they’ve never heard of and learn something new. Ashton Dart, a former Running Start student of Pierce College took a break from her current studies in social work to come see Dyodd.

Dyodd opened the show by ripping the stage with assertive vocals and an even more powerful message. One song was named “20 Thousand Deaths,” based on the Native American small pox genocide. They also sang about how they must “take down the wall” in protest of the Trump campaign. Amidst other songs, bands like Dyodd are able to express themselves however they want.

Next up was The Melting Point, a young Linkin Park-esque band whose guitarist had some electric guitar riffs and killer rhythms. Oblio’s soothing and serene melodic tunes were next. Oblio’s band members changed instruments during their set, which is rarely seen on stage. At Real Art, all bands have the freedom to paint whatever unique picture they desire. Bands like Fairlady, who make all of their merchandizing and album art, are what make Real Art authentic and spontaneous.

If any students have the chance, splurge on a $5 concert and discover something unheard of. Their location is at 5412 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma. For future shows go to www.realarttacoma.com.





Halloween: The Holiday of Cultural Appropriation


It’s that time of year again. Children roam the streets in search of candy-holding patrons and adults go out decking raunchy costumes in the spirit of Halloween. For a holiday celebrating spunk and spookiness, the scariest things are the “ethnic dresses.”

If someone enters any Spirit Halloween store or simply shops online, one will encounter many costumes with knock-off names like “feather girl” or “Disco afro” that convey obvious stereotypes. The worst costume yet has been the “Skull-face” costumes, obviously mimicking the traditional sugar skulls of Dia de los Muertos.

Now what makes this worse is that many costume retailers will portray this cultural celebration as “Mexican Halloween,” when it is far from being any vapid holiday. For two days, citizens will decorate altars in honor of what their departed relatives loved the most. Of course later some revelers will join the parade (in which they represent the dead coming home) and go door to door for some party bonanza.

This is not the same as Halloween. Repeat, Dia de los Muertos is far from the debauchery of Halloween. This holiday has a much deeper meaning than trick or treating. It has cultural depth and ritual wrapped around it and to demote it to a simple costume is insulting.

  Usually, customers don’t know Although a certain article of clothing may hold religious or cultural meaning, it is lost in the crinkly plastic packaging that reads, “cool dress.”

Of course, if someone wants to be original, or just wants to play it safe, they may ignore Spirit store altogether and create their own costume, but even that has some issues. No matter how well researched or accurate the dress is, if you’re not part of that culture, it’s not yours to wear.

On the other side of the spectrum, there is outright disrespect. Most extreme cases are of course “black-face” and “yellow-face,” but there are other examples of racial exploitation. Last year, there were tweets with a couple of non-native people decorating themselves as “dead Indians.” After a couple of weeks, this trend of tweets hit the Native-American community and struck a raw nerve with them, many were rightly offended and were outraged by the pictures.

Halloween is meant to be joyous and to provide a creative outlet for costumed patrons, but if it becomes an event to mock other racial groups, it is not fun.

Cocks not Glocks: What does it mean to us?

University of Texas used dildos to make a statement about gun control


Last summer, University of Texas students were armed with the most menacing weapon of all…dildos. In recent controversy over the open-carry gun policy, one activist named Jessica Jin decided to take a stand for gun control by bringing a dildo to school. According to Pierce College Student code, concealed-weapons are completely prohibited, but how do students feel about our own gun policy?

Military veteran, Nicole, would not feel completely safe with open-carry. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with just anybody carrying a weapon to school. […] Maybe if there were weapon safety classes for people, it could work.”

 Hypothetically speaking, if a student decided to protest against prohibited concealed-weapons, how would they go about that? Better yet, what if we had our own “Cocks not Glocks” scenario, but just reversed?

In the Pierce Student Code of Conduct under 132K-126-090 and 132K-126-100, students have the freedom of expression and assembly, and have every right to express their opinions. Director of Safety and Security Chris Mackersie says, “It’s the republic’s right to freedom of speech and we’ll protect that to the best of our ability.”

On how far limitations would extend towards a protest depends on the size and severity of the situation. According to Mackersie, “If it interferes with the educational process in the classroom, financial aid out in the common area where they do their business, then that’s where the rub would be for us.”

This “rub,” or problem could prove to be detrimental if it leads to judicial action, especially if activists become violent or disruptive towards other students. On whether or not a provocative protest piece could fall under “disruptive” terms depend on where and when the piece would be.

No arrests have been made for the University of Texas protestors, since it fell under freedom of speech and did not violate anyone’s safety, it was allowed. Now if this took place at Pierce, it would heavily depend on how much distraction is in the classroom.

Under the guidelines of a silent protest, whipping out a sex toy in class would heavily depend on the professor. Mackersie noted “it depends on the class, is there any relation to the instruction or what they’re teaching, that would relate to; or is it completely intended to be disruptive. How tolerant is the faculty member? If they don’t think it’s appropriate, then it’s likely that a report will be written.”

Of course, depending on the instructor (please do not bring inappropriate items to class unless you have expressed permission from your professor), the freedom to express an idea could be accepted. As Vice President of District Administrative Services said:

“The key thing is that as an educational institution, we’re here to be part of social conversation, we’re here to be part of the educational process in more ways than just the textbook part of a classroom. I see [Cocks not Glocks] as almost the same thing as wearing a T-shirt with some sort of dramatic phrase on it, or something like that where people are just wanting to show the absurdity of something or make a dramatic statement about whatever the cause is.”

Regardless of people’s opinions with “Cocks not Glocks”, it has certainly caught people’s attention. Whether it be a knee, flag, or dildo, silent protest is seeming to make a comeback and if it makes people talk, it is most likely serving its purpose.

Blackout: A Celebration of Achievement

Black Student Council recognizes Black History Month with a Skybridge-length timeline


Black Student Council recognizes Black History Month with a Skybridge-length timeline

Thought-provoking and inspiring, the Black Student Council introduces “Blackout,” a 40-feet-wide physical timeline of African-American history that covered the entire Skybridge walkway.

Emphasizing both the milestones and triumphs of African-American people, it begs the question on how important black representation is to contemporary America.  Named after the social media trend, Blackout acknowledges the accomplishments of African-American people and describes a history that encompasses a non-white perspective.

American history has been known to whitewash and ignore the achievements of black Americans and is why African-American history is not only important for black individuals, but for everyone. One student said,

“Most of the stuff that’s being taught [is] not really our history. It’s not really the truth, so creating more diversity of black people and society, we can learn more about ourselves.”

Blackout offers an education that is sometimes missed in history classes and gives a more in-depth perspective and positive representation of black culture.  

With Blackout, people walk across the hallway and students can marvel at the span of milestones and influential figures in the black community, taking a piece of Black history month on their way to class.

President of Black Student Union Ryan Jackson explains: “It’s all about identity, that core history and everything that we are. It can be talked about. Not just students of color but for everyone. It’s not just for us, it’s about a whole of what our culture is. The hardships and the triumphs that we’ve gone through.”  

The BSU are currently working on building a tenure committee in order to bring more diversity to the Pierce teaching staff. According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher education, “Nationwide, over 5 percent of all full-time faculty members at colleges and universities in the United States are black.”

The lack of diversity in Pierce is even more troubling; according to an interview with Ryan Jackson.

“Between the Puyallup campus and Steilocoom (I contacted [HR] so I’m not going off of like a random number) faculty, full-time, tenure or part-time, there are four (African-American professors). Between both campuses. Four out of hundreds on both campuses.”

One student from BSU explains, “I feel like as a student, I should have someone that represents me as well teaching me.”

With a tenure committee, BSU hopes to find potential black professionals full-tenure and to bring students an example of societal progress. A student explains that with a black professor they can feel even more motivated to accomplish their degree,

“[It’s like] look at what where I’m at, you can do the same. Look at how far we’ve come.”  The student said.

BSU is not a committee solely exclusive to African-American students. Their mission for black representation is through open discussion on all aspects of black culture including African-American studies, representation in the media, and racism. People of all races are open to learn more about these topics and engage with fellow Pierce students in the topics above.

“I feel like this group inviting other people in what we are doing here will make a positive change.  We need to be educated and reminded about these things and who we are. For us to have a voice again, we’ll be strong and we can change. Not that we are we are going to take over in a negative way and spread hate, but turn it around and use it positively.”

Walking in a whiskers wonderland


OreoThe holidays are upon us, and it is a time for giving—and one of the busiest adoption seasons for shelters. Yet for the Tacoma Humane society, it’s a Whisker Wonderland.

When passing by Fuego, many people can stop by the gated lot and marvel at little Josie—the little black and white kitten—along with several of her friends Scamper, Oreo, Daisey, and Frankie. Many people came looking for a potential friend of the family and were not disappointed. Kim Archer, a volunteer for over two years says,

“We get on average 15-25 cats for adoption on any given time. In the summer our cateries are getting full. May through November is high kitten season,  weather warms up, animals are feeling healthy, that’s just the natural breeding time for cats. We have gotten to where we move cats out within 5-10 days.” A tremendous accomplishment, considering how that is about as much time as a cat would usually have to wait for adoption.

From about 2-3 pm, over five cats were already adopted and were given new homes. However, none of this would have even been possible if it weren’t from donations. “We could not function without the volunteers. So whatever little bit of help we get is very important. Every penny that people give is important.” says Archer.

Whiskers in Wonderland was proof of that. Supported by sponsors such as Bruce Titus Subaru and the Law office of Matthew Rusnak, the shelter was able to rent out a space at South Hill mall for the entire first weekend of December.

Events like these are not only beneficial towards mass adoptions, but also as a way to advertise future donation contributors. Dave Albertson, a volunteer for over 3 years, explains just how much of an impact donations have on the shelter. “This year the dog-a-thon raised $100K in one day.” Although the Tacoma Humane society is a non-profit organization, they still need fundingSammy for things like food, toys, kennels, medicine, etc. That makes up for a lot of dog treats.

Yet even with these events, the Tacoma Humane society can’t do anything without their volunteers. “We need more volunteers, all the time.” Says Albertson, “I walkdogs once a week, but there’s not enough people to walk them.” Kim Archer also says, “It’s thousands of hours worth of time given, with hundreds of volunteers.”

Lack of volunteers are a chronic problem for shelters, given that many shelters still carry the dark “pound” stereotype. There are rumors that shelters have a very high kill-rate, and just want to “make room.” However this is not the case, “The only animals that get euthanized are the ones brought in sick, or are unadoptable because they’re too vicious. We keep dogs for 6-8 months, then send them to the rescue team or people who foster.”

Volunteering at the Humane society has many rewarding benefits, such as resume building, volunteer hours—and as Volunteer coordinator Alex Ropes put it, “a way to show your employer you’re more than just a paycheck.”  Newest volunteer Sally Burke joined the shelter only 3 weeks ago and exemplifies what effect volunteering has on people. Recently recovering from the loss of her cat she says, “I’m glad to pitch in. It’s meaningful to me, what would matter to me. This has been kind of a way to remember her, you know. With retirement it’s nice to do something you enjoy.”

In fact, there are many ways a person can contribute to the Humane society. According to www.humanesociety.org, many people can coordinate special events, preparing for the “Dog-A-thon” or Whiskers in Wonderland, “Bath brigade”, where people bathe and groom the shelter animals, fostering animals so that they’re ready to adopt, the Spay/Neuter project, where people assist low-income Pierce county residents with spaying or neutering their pet, and website photography, where people can upload photos of the shelter animals on the Humane society’s facebook and/or website.

People can also get involved with “Trap-Neuter-Return,” which supports the cat community and helps lower the pet population. In order to become a volunteer, people need only to check out the website listed above, look at what orientation works best, then fill out an online form. After the orientation, people only need to look into future classes, and then build off from there. It should be noted that Volunteer hours do not count until new volunteers meet the 6 hour/monthly commitment to the program for 6 months.

For further information on classes and hour requirements, visit www.humanesociety.org.

Pierce opens it’s doors to new students


Many new students feel that attending college is too intimidating or stressful, and transitioning into a college environment is not easy. Yet with the support from fellow Pierce students and staff, new students can feel a sense of belonging and take on the academic rigors of Pierce College.

Pierce College welcomed potential new students on November 17th at 6pm, offering a wide variety of programs that helps students succeed in their desired career fields such as: American Honors, Running Start, eLearning, Dental Hygiene, and Veteran services.

When people first walk in, they get a program and are provided a tour of our school by fellow students. Many can go to the “Resource Fair” and learn about several programs. The first half hour features Financial Aid.  

Next, there is Running start a session provided by Running Start advisor Adriana Tsaparalis which lasts a whole hour; students in this session learn of the program, and what academic challenges they will face.

Later, in the Rainier building, they learn about transferring from American Honors- a segment led by Julia Woodworth.  

For students who want to pursue a career in Dental Hygiene, future students are lead to the last floor in Cascade. Students learn what are expected of them in the program, and what benefits come from the program in Pierce County including free dental cleanings for the homeless, or people who can’t afford dental care.

At that night there were many directors at the Open House, who have had their own personal experiences of being the “new kid.” Access and disability services director Susan Mcphee stated, “I’ve been working here for 8 years when I first took this job, I thought I would be here for 2 years and leave…and when I came here, I began to fall in love with Pierce. So I thought, ‘oh, I’ll just stay.’”

Director Mcphee wasn’t the only who became enamored with Pierce College. Military eLearning director James Johnson had the same reaction with the Pierce community.

He said, “I’ve been working at Pierce for 18 years I started out in the Military program at JBLM. I was able to see our students succeed, and move ahead in achieving their educational goals. To me, that’s worthwhile.”

Many high school students from neighboring schools like Steilacoom High School and Lakes High School came that night. Potential Running Start students Daphne and Maya both agreed that Pierce College was a good choice of schools.

Daphne stated, “I came here for Running start to get my 2 years out of the way.” Maya agreed, and said that “It’s more convenient. I’ve heard a lot of good things from Pierce; the distance is good; [and] it would save a lot of money for my parents.” Both location and price is what drives most people to enroll at Pierce some who also take advantage of the nearby parks and trails to get their morning exercise, talk with friends, or stay close to family.

Some students also prefer the smaller classroom settings compared to 4-year universities. Former Ohio state student James Kirker says that the slow transition into a 2-year university is what he needed after a family tragedy; forcing him to leave school early. He said, “It’s been easier getting back into the ‘school thing,’ I know some people here too”.

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