Pierce Pioneer

Pierce College virtual choir presents “The Lads Among Heather”

Pierce College virtual choir presents “The Lads Among Heather” Directed by Dr. Kenneth Owen, and put together by videographer Kyla Raygor.

The legends and history of mount rainier

Standing at 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier is one of Washington State’s natural treasures and iconic landscapes. The glacial peak is an active volcano, but thriving with wildlife, an aged forest, rivers, missing hikers, hidden dangers, history and even legends.

“Mount Rainier National Park is part of the traditional lands of indigenous people who have been here for generations,” the National Park website stated. “We learn from their example of stewardship and respect for the land.”

From Native American tribes, world explorers, tourists, industrialism, the Great Depression, WWII and picnicking families, all have visited the iconic landscape. Mount Rainier has seen people and times of all kinds. At first glance when visiting the park, the land begins to articulate the tales of its life and the enchantment ensues.

The Cowlitz, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin, Island and Yakama were some of the native tribes who presided over the mountain. Archeologists have discovered that the ancestors of these tribes would hunt seasonally and gather resources like medicinal plants and berries. For thousands of years the native people were living on and traveling to Mount Rainier.

A native American guide named Sluiskin in 1833 led a party of European settlers to the mountain and was concerned with their intention of climbing. The concern was due to the belief that a malevolent spirit lived at the lake of fire on the summit.

The tribes knew the stories of the volcano and never climbed past the snowline. Mount Rainier and other volcanoes, according to their stories, had romantic relationships with each other. The natives considered them deities who were vengeful and erratic with their love affairs and each having an evil spirit at their peaks.   

The mountain was known to the tribes as Talol, Takoma or Tahoma, meaning “mother of waters,” or “snow-covered mountain.” Yet another possible meaning is “larger than mount baker.” The current name was given by George Vancouver, who named it Rainier in honor of his friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier in 1792.

In 1899, various businesses, scientists and mountaineers came together to establish a park around Mount Rainier, thus making it the nation’s fifth national park. When agriculture, grazing and mining on the mountain met with difficulties, the interest shifted toward tourism and study of the glacial terrain. Even after the opening of the park the mountain remained important to the native people.

Many changes began to be seen at the mountain once the park opened. By 1930 roads were being built and surveyed, and The Paradise Inn was opened with plans to develop the Sunrise Day Lodge. All the changes brought about debate to how much of the area should be developed or left as wilderness.

During the Great Depression, the park started to try and add more attractions. Visitation to the park was down even after a nine-hole golf course, a new area at the Sunrise and plans for a ski lift were being added. With visitors still dwindling, the park received funding from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” for improvements to campgrounds, trails and forest fire protection.

During WWII the park saw little visitors and was instead used as a training ground for the 10th Mountain Division, who were known as skier soldiers, with a unique style of combat. After the war the focus for an increase in visitors to the park started.

In the mid-1950s the federal government started a project called Mission 66 and were seeking to upgrade national parks nationwide. Mount Rainier would be the first to get development under the new program and served as an example to various national trends.

Since the opening of the park, there have been millions of people who have visited and almost half a million people have attempted a climb to the summit. The mountain is used in many different ways recreationally and certain areas have been zoned for those purposes. 98% of the park was designated as wilderness by the Washington Wilderness Act of 1988 and there has been an effort to understand and protect the natural resources.

Historically the mountain has been significant to many people, whether native or otherwise. A lot of changes, views and meaning of the mountain have shifted since the start, but with all the increase in use can the park remain standing for more generations to enjoy?

“If the past history is any guide,” the park website stated, “The park will adapt to new challenges and continue to preserve the mountain as a place of wonder.” 

Highs and lows of quarantined mental health

Students have had their share of mental ups and downs during quarantine and though some saw the lockdown optimistically others weren’t so sure how to feel.

Having an extrovert or introvert personality had an impact on the mental stability of students as they managed schedules, family, friends, work and solitude. 

“It’s a rollercoaster, where it kind of depends on what I am thinking about,” said Zakariah Swanson ASPCP president of Puyallup student life. “If I can look at the silver lining or not.” 

College life is never really stress free even for the “best” student. There are students that are faced with more than just the usual issues and have added strain due to already having underlying mental health concerns.

“Every day felt like bricks on my chest, the amount of stress I felt,” said Vanessa Garcia, student engagement coordinator. 

Garcia was candid and revealed she has Asperger’s Syndrome and told of the difficulty she was faced with during the pandemic. She also said her favorite part about the quarantine was getting to wear sweatpants for events.

Some students looked at what was lost but also looked at what could be gained. Still the longer it went on the more tiring and the less motivated students were to put up with the status quo.

“The pandemic amplified my mental health,” said Nathan Haueter, student organizations coordinator. “When I was doing really good it made it even better and when I was doing bad it made it worse.”

Finding a solution to manage the highs and lows of mental health seems to rely on relationships and being around people for the motivation to do good. Not having the usual net of people around has made the pandemic more difficult for some students while others were able to stay motivated.

“Celebrate small victories,” said Madison Rannow, vice president of student organizations, commenting on what she would likely tell her past self before the pandemic.

Looking back, many students will have learned many different lessons through diverse struggles, each as hard in its own way as the other. The world turned small for students, both foreign and domestic and all the possibilities that once were within reach were somehow taken and placed a little further out of reach.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion Senator Jessica Xu, finds having an adaptive mentality to be beneficial. Being an international student who has not been able to go home in over a year has built frustration, especially not being able to have family around as a support system.

For some students, the pandemic felt easy at first but harder as it went on. Time out of school kept expanding and became more strenuous. Along the way most students learned to not be hard on themselves and found a way to thrive in the midst of this moment in history.  

“I got used to it and got into a system where my mental health is not based on the circumstances, but on what I decide it to be,” said Karen Nunex-Michel, vice president of activities board.

 


Things to Do This Summer

Kids Need to Play

A new summer program provided for children interested in the STEM field

 

Starting this summer is a federally funded program called Kids Need to Play, where kids can learn, create and have fun using science. Kids Need to Play will provide opportunities like learning about new things within the STEM field such as animals or creating robots; there are even events for gaming, all for ages between 6-14.

 

This is an opportunity for children to get up and stretch their legs and learn to create something new. This program is also not worth a grade, it’s just for those interested in robotics and science. There are different camps for different ages, but spots are filling up fast.

 

Each day there are different events. On July 6-9 at 9:00 a.m. to noon the Snapology Jr. Scientist: All About Animals STEM camp will be held. Kids aged 4-6 can go and learn how caterpillars become butterflies. Children can also analyze how butterflies get to where they are and examine their cycle

 

For older kids, there is Game Bots robotics on July 6-9 at 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the same place. But this time the event is for kids 7-14, where kids who like to play games online get to build a game. Game Bots robotics will allow preteens to see how games are made and learn all the math needed in order to make games.

 

Another robotics camp is about building the strongest combat robot that can fight other robots built. Kids not only have to focus on building the coolest one, but also what makes a robot work. This will help kids look at the bigger picture and learn to use lab resources. 

Sign up for this opportunity by visiting their website to learn more about Kids Need To Play.

Where are all the student resources?

Students feel uninformed of the available resources Pierce College has to offer due to lack of advertising

While Pierce has gone through many lengths to make the abrupt transition to online learning as easy as possible for both its staff and students, one issue remains prevalent. As Pierce discusses returning to in-person teaching the issue of advertising available resources remains.

Pierce College students are saying they’re not fully aware of the college’s resources available to them virtually. This is largely because Pierce hasn’t advertised these resources, they say, leaving it up to students to search websites to find what they need. There are useful tabs of info and help that students are missing, most likely because they are unaware it even exists.

Student Heather Schlaht used online resources for her English classes but not for other classes. Schlaht wouldn’t use resources from the library unless it was necessary, as she would prefer to act independently as a student.
“Depending on a specific assignment, [professors] usually tell us, ‘Hey go to this thing on the Pierce website,’” Schlaht said.“[But] I think the biggest problem Pierce has is the multiple layers of websites. When you go to a resource, it’s kind of cluttered I would say.”
Unless the school or a professor specifically guides them to a needed resource, there isn’t much reason to dig further to see what other resources are available. On top of this, some of the pages on Pierce’s site require you to visit multiple links just to get to a specific section. Because of this, it is assumed that many students act independently in their classes when searching for resources.

“I remember there was one thing like the Ctclink [and] trying to get to it; they have this thing where it’s like [you go to] the Pierce website and then it goes to some other website, then you have to click a link to get to your Ctclink,” Schlaht said.

Schlaht often looks on her own to find needed resources online, especially when the college has multiple platforms for information to search through. Students such as Cannon Combs, however, said he didn’t use the suggested resources at all.
“I heard about the Writing Center in English,” Combs said. “I heard about the Tutoring Center from a friend and all the other resources I learned about in English, but I didn’t end up using them,” Combs said.
Combs did in fact sign up for tutoring but didn’t want to wait for the scheduled time, and found the answer he was looking for himself instead. He ended up asking a friend to help out and canceled the session.
Students like Combs question whether they should use Pierce’s available resources such as the Tutoring Center, or use a more direct approach and search for their answers right away, rather than wait for a session.
Pierce provides many resources that can help with school, and counseling is also available to help students with what’s going on around them personally. Some resources students should know about include the library’s website, Writing Center and Tutoring Center. All these resources help with homework or anything students are having trouble with.
The Tutoring Center is a place where students can receive help with homework and understanding their course work. Kannika Armstrong, a Pierce tutor, used to be a college student last year, but now sees both the students’ point of view and the tutor’s point of view.

Tutors like Armstrong are helping students get access to resources like the Tutoring Center by encouraging them to come to a session. Even if students are scared to ask questions she guides them through it.

”Tutor is not a teacher,” Armstrong said. “We don’t teach you, we just come to work together. I can’t grade you, so it’s ok to make a mistake and to say “I don’t know”. [Tutors] support you.”

Armstrong encourages students to seek help in any way and continues to help make that resource as accessible as possible. “I asked the professor to set up the Homework Help form in the module so if they have a question or ask [one] the tutor would go to them and help. But I will guide them, not give them the answer,” Armstrong said.

”You can ask in the Homework Help form, but you have to wait for the answer. But, if you come to the session you get help right away.”

Students who would prefer to receive help through messaging, rather than verbally have that option as well. “I have a student that just messages me all quarter,” Armstrong said. “It’s ok [for them] not to come to the session because [they] still message and contact me and get help through messages.”

Keith Kirkwood, the program manager for the Writing Center, further explains how the Writing Center is a resource available to assist students as well as the Tutoring Center. The Writing Center has an online course on Canvas where students can enroll to get help.
“It gives more information about who we are and of videos explaining how we do things, and resources we create in the house for students about particular assignments,” Kirkwood said.
The resources you need are all on Canvas under the Student Support tab. There students can find the Tutoring Center, the Writing Center and even the library. These can be accessed by clicking on the required tab needed to take you to the resources information.

With the resources in the student support center, students can find amazing people to contact and get help from. Tutors like Armstrong, for example, are there to encourage you and guide you through the answer, rather than having to rely on friends. Many more are ready to help students as well.

Don’t be scared to ask for help; these resources are here to aid students, not to judge or grade them. The resources may not be advertised in the most resourceful way to find them, but they are there and with many resources currently that could greatly aid students in need.


Links to resources from Pierce:

 

Online Library “Ask” Desk: Link

Writing Center’s general page: Link

Tutoring Center page: Link

CtcLink sign-in page: Link

Bookstore homepage: Link

Veteran Services homepage: Link

International Education homepage: Link

Financial Aid homepage: Link

Tuition Installment Plan: Link *(If you need to break up your quarterly charges for classes into increments)

Other Financial Aid Resources: Link

Scholarships homepage: Link

Work Study homepage: Link

School Calendar: Link

 

 

This one goes out to all the fathers out there. I know it’s not easy, I’ve seen my dad struggle with the best of them. I wasn’t always appreciative as I should be to my dad, but as time goes on I realize how much he sacrificed. It took time, but I realized sometimes showing appreciation comes in the form of just growing up and trying to shoulder the same burden our dads did. That journey of self-growth, becomes the catalyst to the only on-going relationship some of us will have with our dads.

I never had a great relationship with my dad. He provided for me, I never went hungry or cold, and he told me stories. But talking with him wasn’t a normal thing by any means. The relationship I have with my dad is non-verbal, and the ways in which I grow to be like him are from the non-verbal parts of myself that not only learned from him but came from him.

Whether gift or a curse, fathers hold a major part in our lives, something I intend to continue to set further out on my life to understand.

Tacoma Mural Project

Tacoma is a city with a vibrant art scene, from its Art Museum and Glass Museum, to its Musical Playhouse, and the dozens of family owned boutiques and jewelry stores in between. Still, some of the most prominent pieces of Tacoma’s local art (as well as history) comes from its colorful murals decorating downtown Tacoma. 

The murals in Tacoma mix culture, advocacy, and tradition into art and with the help of Downtown on the Go and Spaceworks Tacoma, the legacies and meanings of these murals can be explored and discussed via a virtual 1.1 mail tour.

The first mural the tour shows you is titled Working Forward Weaving Anew, and according to the guides this mural “is designed to honor cultural traditions, the natural environment, and our need for new harmonious and sustainable paths into the future.” Painted by Esteban Camacho and Jessilyn Brinkerhoff with the help of a team of nine Native American artists, this mural was handpainted in only 6 weeks and is part of the Prairie Line Trail Project and reminds us to respect the land we share with others and nurture those relationships. 

A recent mural that was shown during this tour was a solo painting done by Tiffany Hammonds in honor of the 2020 protests, this mural isn’t painted directly on the storefronts and instead was painted on the boards during the protests in response to the death of George Floyd and the ongoing police brutality. In an interview with Chase Hutchinson of the News Tribune, Hammonds talks about the message behind this piece. 

“The message is hope,” says Hammonds. “If it’s our vision, that means we are capable of doing it.”

A more diverse twist on the usual painted murals on the tour was one done by David Long and Al Pikart who took screenshot images from webcam chats and turned them into an art piece drawing attention to the mistreatment of people detained at the NW ICE Processing Center. The words “Queremos Libertad” translates to “We want Freedom” and pushes Long and Pikart’s message that no human should be treated illegally. 

The final mural shown on the tour was a beautiful tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The artist, Nori Kimura painted this mural with four of his middle school students as he said it would be more meaningful to him. It was RBG’s work for equal rights, activism for women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community that inspired Kimura to paint this mural as a tribute to her work and legacy as an advocate and activist.

My takeaway from this tour was that our state is steeped in history and culture and although it may not always be pleasant we must remember it and keep it with us, for me, the art displayed on this tour is a reminder to embrace who we are, who we live with, and where we come from so that we might pave the way towards a better future.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kris Brannon’s SuperSonics Dream

After his death on Feb. 11, Seattle SuperSonics’ superfan Kris Brannon’s impact ripples through the community

 

Seattle SuperSonics’ superfan Kris Brannon, 47, mostly recognized as “Sonics Guy”, died of heart failure on Feb. 11. The news of the Tacoma resident was confirmed by his sister on Twitter, as he will be missed by family, friends and fans alike.

“A sad day for all of us,” said the owners of an investment group working to bring back the Sonics. “[He was] one of the kindest, most dedicated [and] big-hearted Sonics fans ever.”

Known in the Puget Sound for advocating the return of the Seattle SuperSonics, Brannon became the subject of artwork, memes and has written over 20 articles on a Sonics fan website. Fans attending Mariners, Storm and Rainer games were always on the lookout for the 6’5” guy with an afro wearing green and gold.

Brannon had attended over 1500+ events, reminding fans of what they had lost by the NBA team moving to Oklahoma back in 2008. He could be seen holding a sign at every event that said “Bring ‘Em Back!”

With a smile ready and his battlecry being heard over any crowd at games, city council meetings and rallies, he was a presence that could not be ignored. Brannon’s enthusiasm for his team was immeasurable and was a huge part of why people are pushing for the team to come back to Seattle.

Today a mural of Brannon can be seen on first avenue south’s Wall of Fame. The mural was done by Jeff Jacobson and stands next to Walter Jones, Jack Sikma and Edgar Martinez in remembrance of his contribution to Seattle sports fans.

“Thanks for everything you’ve done for Sonics fans everywhere,” said owners of the investment group. “We’ll never forget and we won’t stop trying until we make your dream, and ours, come true.”  

Tacoma Public Library eliminates overdue fines

The Tacoma Public Library is eliminating overdue fines as of June 1, according to South Sound Business News. Director Kate Larson during a press meeting said that overdue fees from missing or damaged items that incurred a charge as far as Jan. 1, 2016, will no longer be owed. 

“This gives patrons who have been avoiding visiting their library due to outstanding charges the opportunity to start fresh,” Larson said. “We hope that this change will let our community know that their library values them and they are welcome here.”

The library had already stopped charging overdue fines in March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. TPL will continue to follow their new policy, nonetheless. 

There is a difference between fines and fees however. Fees are when the book is damaged or lost, which the library will still oversee. On the other hand, fines are when the item is overdue which is what the library is getting rid of starting June 1. So go visit Tacoma Public Library again!

Surprises of Cinco De Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a day that is known for celebrating Mexican pride with parades, friends, parties, family gatherings and most of all tequila.

Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, has become a well-known holiday in the United States and has been celebrated in Mexico since 1863. In an effort to raise awareness and educate about this festive holiday, here are 5 Things you may not have known about Cinco de Mayo.

It’s not Mexican Independence Day

Mexico had declared their independence on Sep. 16, 1810 and this marked the beginning of hostilities against the rule of the Spanish government.

Celebrates the Battle of Puebla

The Battle of Puebla is known as a great victory over 6,000 French soldiers on May 5, 1862. Benito Juárez, president of Mexico rounded up about 2,000 troops made up of indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry to face the assault by the French. Mexico was led in the battle by General Ignacio Zaragoza from Texas and lasted from daybreak to that evening and the effort by the Mexicans was able to drive off the French. Immediately after, the victory was declared a celebration.

Mexico Celebrates Cinco de Mayo

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is observed by the state of Puebla where the Battle of Puebla took place. Although they are not the only state to put on a celebration, for most of Mexico May 5 is a day like any other and is not considered a federal holiday so banks and stores stay open. For those that celebrate, some traditions include military parades, reenactment of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events.

Why does the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo?   

The United States celebrates Mexican culture and heritage on May 5, mostly in parts where the Mexican American population is great. In the 1960’s some Chicano activists brought awareness of the holiday due to their observance of the Battle of Puebla. Today, most who celebrate do so with mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional Mexican foods like the beloved tacos. Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston are cities which hold some of the largest festivals that mark the occasion and there are still others that will celebrate with chihuahua races like in Chandler, Arizona.

Why Tequila on Cinco de Mayo?

On May 5, 47% of drink orders are margaritas compared to the rest of the year with 23% and tequila sales double leading up to the celebration of the holiday. However, tequila was not always so easily accessible. From 1000 B.C.-200A.D. the Aztecs fermented a drink called pulque which was made from the sap of the agave plant. The drink was important to the Aztecs and they worshiped Mayahuel the goddess of maguey and her husband the Patecatl the god of pulque. When the Spanish arrived and met the Aztecs they discovered pulque and the drink started to catch on. Since then, tequila has taken its time in becoming what we know today and had been handled by the Spanish who were distilling agave in the 1400’s-1600’s. In 1758 the Cuervo family started to commercially distill their own tequila followed by the Sauza family in 1873. Don Cenobio Sauza identified blue agave as the best for making tequila and this is where the tequila known today started to be produced. The Margarita was later invented in 1936 by an Irishman called Madden who ran a bar in Tijuana and called the drink Tequila Daisy (daisy in Spanish is margarita). It was not until 1974 that tequila became the intellectual property of Mexico.

Being Mexican or not, Cinco de Mayo is a day which celebrates Mexican culture altogether and is known for friends, family and good fun. This year the holiday may look a little different, but a celebration of the Mexican culture will never die.

Littering in Local Wetland

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