Pierce Pioneer

Pierce Pioneer Hallway Hassle – has Pierce helped you be successful?


Pierce College recently won the Leah Meyer Austin Award from the "Achieving the Dream" non-profit for $25,000. Some changes Pierce went through to achieve this included requiring the college success class and re-designing English and Math classes.

Influential Women In Music

50th anniversary of Surrealistic Pillow

Fifty years and a month ago, a group of wild hippies from the San Francisco Bay Area broke more ground than the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Surrealistic Pillow, with a swirling mesh of distortion and fractured concepts of lost love and white rabbits, still probes the questions facing any human: For what do I deserve to be loved?

This was the first album to feature female vocalist Grace Slick. Considered the lost sister of another female great, Janis Joplin, Grace played with a variety of instruments including her voice. With her piercing vibrato and eclectic songwriting, she was the earth mother of the hippie movement.

Many people seem to forget, however, the other important women in musical history. These women helped to improve the social and professional lives of female performers everywhere. They are deserving of appreciation and validation and are heroes of their generation.

  • Joan Baez – The original queen of folk. Played Bob Dylan's songs with Bob Dylan. Made a song called "Altar boy and the Thief" and performed at benefit concerts for LGBTQ rights.
  • Barbara Hudson – Guitarist and vocalist of cult acid rock band Ultimate Spinach. The Hip Death Goddess of the "Bosstown Sound" in Boston. Often considered the east coast's Grace Slick.
  • Carol Kaye – Legendary bass player in and out of the studio. She has played on well known albums as a session player, including on Pet Sounds (Beach Boys), Forever Changes (Love), and Boots (Nancy Sinatra). You may hear her licks everyday, but never her name.
  • Rose Stone – Lead singer with her brother Sly Stone in the band Sly and the Family Stone. She was a crucial black icon in the flower power movement. Her family's band helped to merge black and white groups together with their blend of psychedelia and soul. They helped to diversify the free love movement with fans of any origin.

Resist Hate.

One voice, turning into millions participate in march.


On Jan. 21, 2017, an estimated 2.6 million people marched, some in outrage, some in protest. Some marched to express what they saw as an unfair result to the presidential election. Others joined out of concern for how Donald Trump’s policies were going to affect women’s rights, immigration, and Muslim communities.

In the days that followed, Trump picked his advisers and began to lay out policies that came from his campaign promises. People began to see a growing animosity towards certain groups. The Muslim ban and emphasis on illegal immigration only seemed to add fuel to the hostility.

Here on campus, students have expressed uncertainty and fear. Ishmael Rodriguez, a student pursuing general studies, echoed their concerns. “What I see, I don’t agree with the policies. They create distrust and fear. I can see where their fear about being deported is coming from; I’m Puerto Rican and share the same fear.”

When looking at the news feed on any social media outlets, it doesn’t take long to see the growing divide among people. Accusations on Facebook display a definite polarization. If someone voted for Trump, then automatically that person is labeled racist and supports bigotry. On the other hand, in sharing news reports one can be accused of promoting “alternative facts.”

Dennis Escobar, a student pursuing an AA/DTA, sees mainstream media as a contributing factor towards the antagonistic attitudes. “Media seems to be focusing on what’s wrong, what’s dividing us. I see them manipulating the truth to serve their own interests,” he said.

In his opinion, self-interest groups can also add to the division. By focusing only on their agenda they limit the conversation that could be had to find common ground for a solution. “I see a lot of hate and it is not just one way, but they tend to reciprocate,” Escobar said. “A simple conversation won’t be possible until their leaders stop focusing on themselves and start focusing also on others. People need be willing to sit at the table to ask, “Are you okay? What can I do to help?”

Getting involved in the community is a great way to combat the sense of helplessness many feel. Still, it can be difficult to know how to take a stand and resist hate.

One of the newest members to the college, Oneida Blagg, has some ideas to consider. She is the Executive Officer of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Basically what she does is bridge the resources between students and their achievement goals.

She had this advice: “Being informed and being respectful of opposing points of view are the best things. College is learning about academic ideas and how to present them civilly. Talking about controversial things is important. Do you want a good idea to be rejected because of how it was delivered? Talking in angry tones can prevent a conversation towards a solution. Learn how to respond rather than react.”

The global march in January grew from a statement one person made on Facebook, “I think we should march.” News reports and pictures show what could happen if one became thousands, then millions. What can one person do? Apparently quite a lot.
















‘Sweeney Todd’ takes bloody revenge in upcoming play

This infamous story follows psychotic barber’s killing spree in 19th-century London


Kara Wolff/Courtesy Photo

Kara Wolff/Courtesy Photo

From its initial publication in 1846, “Sweeney Todd” has gone through many stages, including an upcoming appearance on the Pierce College stage.

“Sweeney Todd” is a dark legend, filled with emotion, suspense, and frightfully powerful musical numbers. 

Set in 1846 London, Todd returns from a 15-year prison sentence with a vendetta for the judge who wrongly prosecuted him and tore him away from his wife and baby.

The hunt begins with Todd setting himself up in his old barber shop and getting to work plotting his bloody revenge.

The story of the murderous barber has controversial origins, including theories the play draws inspiration from a real serial killer in the early 1800s. None of the theories have been proven, but author Peter Haining’s search for proof of the original Todd’s existence resulted in multiple books on the subject.

The tale of Todd started in a penny dreadful, illustrated stories in cheap booklets for the Victorian public, and was written in 12 parts by Edward Lloyd.

“The psychopathic barber’s story proved instantly popular: it was turned into a play before the ending had even been revealed in print,” said Victorian historian LM Jackson. 

The play had become well-known throughout England by the 1860s, lasting more than 100 years until hitting mainstream masses of American Broadway in 1979.

Charles Wolff plays the bloody barber Todd and Jazmine Herrington plays Mrs. Lovett, the broke baker. 

Richard Buckley, who has worked in theaters on Orcas Island, Western Washington University and other schools, directs the musical. He has 24 years of directorial experience, with productions such as “The Sound of Music” and “Godspell.” When he was offered the chance to direct “Sweeney Todd” he said he “jumped at the chance,” because “the story is well-crafted and amazing.”

The Pierce College rendition of “Sweeney Todd” is Friday and Saturday, and March 3-4 at 7 p.m. in the Black Box Theater on the third floor of the Cascade Building. Tickets are free for Pierce students and $5 general admission.

Pierce is in a Crappy Situation

The source of sewage leak into Waughop Lake is found and linked right here.

Pierce College has been recently fined for a number of safety discrepancies, and as of January 2017 has been found to be the source of a sewage leak to Waughop Lake behind campus. The sewage that was originally spotted by a pedestrian back in November has drawn the attention of the Health Department, the City of Lakewood, and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Xandir Kleppen, a student at Pierce College made sightings in the lake, “I’ve seen tampons floating in the water out there.”

                  The testing for the validity of the claims of sewage originating on campus began in November 2016; they were conducted as dye tests. These are performed by dyeing water in manholes on campus with green dye and watching for spillage out of the drain, in the lake. At first, the tests came back negative, showing none of the green-dyed water flowing from the pipe that leads into Pierce College. Later, however, more thorough tests were conducted during times of sewage over-flow that proved, under certain conditions, the sewage from Pierce College could and had entered Lake Waughop.

These leaks occur for two reasons: heavy flooding of the campus storm drains, and the two sewage pumps installed to protect these storm drains failure. The failure of these pumps is likely caused by the flushing of certain wipes and other toiletries; even ones labeled flushable. When these pumps back-up, producing overflow, the extra sewage material travels to the next possible place; the storm drains. Brian Benedetti, the Director of Marketing for Pierce College, has said, “There’s a cross between the storm and sewage system.” This cross creates the passage for the overflow to head right for the lake. This flaw was a part of the sewage system designs in 1971, before a lot of major environmental protection laws had been passed.

These recent tests were not the first to be conducted about this same issue here at Pierce. In 2008 similar sightings were brought to the colleges attention, but as the tests this year had initially concluded, they assumed the leak had not been from those pipes.

The leak not only causes harm to the lakes wildlife, it also presents a major issue for the college; Pierce College is in violation of Washington State law. According to RCW (Revised Codes of Washington) 90.48 it is illegal, “…to throw, drain, run, or otherwise discharge into any of the waters of this state… any organic or inorganic matter that shall cause or tend to cause pollution of such waters.” The RCW continues on to say that if, “…found guilty of willfully violating any of the provisions of this chapter or chapter… upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars…” This entails that if the school does not actively attend promptly to this problem they could face up to a $10,000 fine per day of persisting negligence.

Plans to fix the leak are already in the works. Jim Taylor, Director of Facilities and Construction Manager, has said the school is, “…taking this very seriously and taking aggressive action.” Contractors are soon to be hired to dig up and cap off the cross point of the two pipe systems, and designs for a new, more capable pump system are being drawn up. Along with these long-term solutions, work with the City of Lakewood has already begun to remove the debris from the lake, as of mid-January 2017.

The costs for this project are exorbitant. According to Choi Halladay, Pierce Colleges Vice President of Administrative Services, the costs with testing and the temporary cap off have racked up a $40,000 bill and the rest of the new build is expected to amount anywhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000 on top of that. When all is said and done, the costs and temporary construction blockades are all going to be worth it, to keep the poop in the pipes.

‘Hidden Figures’ explores fascinating lives of black women scientists

A recent movie that is bringing light to the real stars of the space race


Hidden Figures is a romanticized look into the true story of the brilliant minds who sent the United States into space, as well as some of Civil Rights movement’s greatest steps forward.

The movie showcases the careers of three immensely talented African American women working for NASA during the space race of the 1960s. Katherine Johnson was a brilliant mathematician who calculated the safe landing trajectory of the Friendship 7, the first space craft to safely house an American astronaut into and back down from Earth’s orbit. Dorothy Vaughan was the head of the female, “colored calculators,” and lead the programming team with the induction of the computer into NASA. Mary Jackson assisted in the design of multiple shuttles, as well as being one of the first African American’s to study in a segregated, all-white Virginian High School for expanding her engineering degrees.

They each had extensive skill that made them crucial parts of their teams. Through engineering, computer science, and mathematical genius these women proved their worthiness past the shrouds of institutionalized racism inherent in high-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields of the time, blazing a trail for non-white women into powerful, professional positions.

During its 127-minute run time, the movie tackles the discrimination experienced by women and people of color brilliantly, examining various levels of prejudice without dehumanizing the people implementing the racist acts. From the dispersed “colored” and “whites” signs that fit eerily in the scenes.

Throughout the film the film-makers tip their Hollywood hats to the effects of Martin Luther King Jr., the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in, and the Freedom Rides. The filmmakers did not use blatant racist attacks like beatings or thrown around slurs that we often see recreated from history, however they highlighted the more roundabout, and subtle ways in which discrimination takes place. This allowed the film a deeper expression of the skewed cultural norms for prejudice of the time.

The biggest downfall of the movie was the short run-time. Though the plot was not distractingly rushed, it barely touches base before moving from one development to the next. For a home-run film like this, the creators could have taken a more leisurely stroll in the lives of these amazing women, and the other important people involved in the first American flights into space.

Vibrantly witty, exceptionally well-acted, and gorgeously filmed, this movie will educate on prior Civil Rights battles while allowing one to recognize the intricacies of the fight for equality.

Find out how you can get pregnant easier!


Hello, I am married and we are planning to have baby. Can you please suggest some tips on how we can become pregnant?


As a sex educator and a college professor, I more often get questions about avoiding pregnancy. But most people want to become pregnant at some point and so this is important information for us all, especially since there are so many myths and misconceptions about pregnancy and fertility.


First, I’d encourage you and your wife to have an annual wellness exam from your doctors if you haven’t already. It’s good to get screened for sexually transmitted infections (STI) if it’s been a while and to let your doctor or nurse know that you’re trying to conceive (called “TTC” on many of the web forums). That gives your healthcare providers a chance to review your health and check for any possible medical conditions. It also gives you a chance to talk about any lifestyle changes you might make to increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy.


For example, men who smoke tend to have lower quality sperm, so if you smoke cigarettes, consider quitting. Ask your doctor or nurse for information or classes for smoking cessation (quitting smoking). Also, men with leaner body mass tend to have higher sperm quality so this might be an opportunity to take a look at your eating and exercise behaviors.


Second, you don’t have to have sex every day in order to become pregnant – although daily sex during the fertile period is fine. Many healthcare providers recommend having sex about every other day during the week before a woman ovulates (when her ovaries release an egg, which is needed in order to become pregnant). Indeed, you and your wife might want to start tracking her ovulation. You can buy ovulation tests that help women figure out when they are most likely ovulating so that you can plan to have sex the week before ovulation, and day of ovulation, as you try to conceive.


Although trying to become pregnant can be fun, it can also be frustrating for many couples – especially if they are expecting it to happen quickly. Some couples get pregnant the very first time they to try conceive whereas, for others, it can takes months or even years. Try to find time to relax together and to have sex that’s just for fun and pleasure (especially during the less fertile times of the month) to balance out the times you have sex specifically in order to try and become pregnant. I wish you both the best as you look toward planning a family together.


 Kinsey Confidential is a collaboration of the IU School of Public Health and The Kinsey Institute. Dr. Debby Herbenick is an associate professor at Indiana University and author of six books about sex including “The Coregasm Workout” and “Sex Made Easy”. Visit us at KinseyConfidential.org & follow us on Twitter at @DebbyHerbenick and @KinseyCon.

Are Food Comas a Holiday Myth?


People tend to blame the thanksgiving nap on the turkey, but studies have found that carbohydrates in all of the sweets and sides are the real knock out.

Tryptophan is found in turkey, but it’s not enough to put you back under the covers. Sweet treats like pumpkin pie and candied yams are the secret killer. The body has to break down almost 800 grams of carbohydrates in the average thanksgiving meal.

Diabetics have to be especially careful when filling their plate. Too many sweets and a holiday nap will be the least of their problems.

“I only eat tiny portions. No pie, a scoop of mashed potatoes, anything with sugars I avoid.” said a cautious senior citizen with type 2 diabetes. “I can eat turkey just fine. If I skip the potatoes, I can stay awake long enough to clean some dishes.”

Others are not so careful. “I don’t even take insulin before I eat,” said a local youth with diabetes. “I just kind of eat anything and feel sick afterwards.”

A healthy serving size for holiday diners includes a quarter of a plate of healthy starches like sweet potatoes and a quarter plate of white turkey with the skin removed. Diabetic people should also avoid foods like casseroles and any deep fried meat during the holidays as they have lots of excess fats.

“Little changes can be made to thanksgiving foods.” said nutritionist Kaycie Graves. “Cook with healthier ingredients so that you can have a good meal but stay with spices and herbs.”

Thanksgiving does not need to be canceled. These dishes cut down the carbohydrates. Add the following holiday health foods to your feast.

Spicy Stuffing:


Two cups jasmine rice

One cup quinoa

Four cups broth of choice

One tablespoon oregano

One tablespoon cumin

One cup chili powder

One bay leaf

One tablespoon heavy cream

Two slices of bread

Two stalks of celery

One red onion


Boil jasmine rice, quinoa, two cups of water and broth in a pot on medium high. Once the mixture boils and the rice and quinoa is soft, add oregano, cumin, chili powder and bay leaf. Add the heavy cream and cut the two slices of bread and mix together. Chop the celery stalks and the red onion finely. Finally, stir it together and back in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Eat this as a side dish or stuff your turkey for a spicy feast.


Sweet Potato Mash:


Six yams

1/3 cup almond milk

One cinnamon stalk

Two tables brown sugar


Boil yams in a pot over medium heat until tender. Drain the sweet potatoes and in a large pot, add the almond milk and the cinnamon stalk. Mash contents of the pot until it is thick and creamy. Remove the stalk of cinnamon and add the brown sugar.

Use this as a pie filling or as a gluten free dessert!

New Director and New Music

Oscar Thorp is the new music director for the Pierce College Concert Band


Oscar Thorp/Courtesy Photo

Oscar Thorp introduced himself and the band at last year’s final concert, while serving as a part-time director. Now he takes on the challenge of full-time director.

This school year for Pierce’s band has started near flawlessly. The music has been top-notch quality and the transition in directors has been very smooth.

Oscar Thorp is the new music director for the Pierce College Concert Band. Thorp worked with Pierce last year as a half player half director for the final concert. Having some experience with this band has proven to be immensely helpful for both him as well as returning musicians.

For the first concert of the year on December 2nd, the band has constructed a nautical themed set with features like ‘Shenandoah’ and ‘Of Sailors and Whales’. Every song brings an individual style and musical swagger. The songs and styles flow well together, similarly to how the musicians in the band blend their talents together.

Last year, the percussion section of the band was lacking in mere numbers. During the last rehearsal, the percussion section number jumped from 2 players to 5. The brass section returned almost everyone from the previous quarter, while adding a few great players to bolster the powerful foundation that had already been developed. New woodwinds have given the “lighter” sections of the band a wonderful harmony and richness.

The concerts this year will feature not only the band as a whole, but also some small ensembles playing pieces before the concerts start.  

            The lead trumpet player was quoted as saying “All together, this is a band that can deliver power and blow the roof off the house, but can also feel the moments in the pieces to bring the music to life with grace and elegance.”

 The band is hoping to create a jazz band for the college soon. The band will also be working with the choir at different time throughout the year. This is an exciting time for the music program at Pierce.

            For more information about the concert dates and times, please visit http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/dept/music/.

International Author Discussion: A Closer look with Fabienne Josephat of Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow

Fabienne Josaphat brought Haiti’s Prison Break story to the college


On Nov. 2, the International Education Department Pierce College held an author discussion with Fabienne Josephat of Dancing in the Baron's Shadow. It was held in the performance lounge of the Cascade Building.


From Florida International University, Josephat completed her creative writing degree with a Masters in Fine Arts. She has brought many of her characters to life through her writing, such as MiamiZine and The Caribbean Writer. On Feb. 9 of this year, Josephat’s first work, Dancing in the Baron's Shadow, was published.


Placing the reader in Haiti around 1965, the book tells its readers about L'Eveillé’s brother’s Fort Dimanche Prison Break, which is corrupted by an awful militia. Josephat covers her writing as well as background information concerning Haiti’s suffering under Francois Duvalier, the dictator, who is also known as Papa Doc.


The discussion is free event, and students are welcome to join without a registration. Josephat currently resides in Miami as devoting herself to writing.

A fight to see her mother

Gallery fights to see her dying mother while stationed in Korea


When LeTeja Gallery left home for the Army she had no idea it would mean seeing her mother for the last time.

            After enlisting in 2009, Gallery spent four years of her life as a soldier in the U.S. Army. Even though there were several positive experiences during this time, these were some of the most difficult years of her life.

            It all started in high school when Gallery followed in her aunt’s footsteps and joined AFJROTC (Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps). She excelled in the program and became the Flight Commander and the Drill Team Captain of her unit.

            “I knew that AFJROTC would look great on college applications,” said Gallery. “Half way through it became more than that. It became my everything.”

            Academics also was important to Gallery. With a dream of being the first of her family to graduate college with a degree, she devoted her high school years to her studies and building her college resume. Her hard work paid off and shortly after graduation, she was accepted into the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

            After just one quarter in school, the pressure became too much. Gallery needed a change from the constant obsession of academics. She decided to take a break from

school and joined the United States Army. She is the first of her family to serve her country.

Gallery was immediately put into a leadership role because she already had experience from doing AFJROTC in high school.

            “Basic training was hell,” Gallery said. “Not being able to talk to family was the hardest part.”

            After two weeks of grueling physical training, lack of sleep, and missing her family, she reached her breaking point.

            “I just couldn’t do it anymore,” Gallery said. “I had a nervous breakdown.

Her drill sergeant found her upstairs sobbing. “My drill sergeant gave me the talk of my life, and I knew from that point on that I could do it,” she said.

            After basic training, Gallery moved on to AIT (Advanced Individual Training) where she learned the skills needed to become a Signal Support Systems Specialist.

            Gallery finished her training and was then deployed to South Korea. Shortly after she arrived she was promoted to the E7 position where she was put in charge of millions of dollars worth of equipment and supervised two to six soldiers at a time.

            “It was one of the best times I had in my life,” said Gallery. “Experiencing the culture was so exciting to me. The people in South Korea were so nice, hospitable, and full of love. The buildings and architecture were beautiful.”

            Staying in touch with family and friends was difficult. They could write letters to each other, but talking on the phone was expensive, and Skype was not always reliable.

She missed her family like the desert misses the rain.

“Family is everything to me,” Gallery said. “Tango sometimes wasn’t enough when all I wanted to do was hug my mom.”

Even though Gallery was able to take leave, the high cost of a plane ticket home made it impossible to visit her family. She knew it was more important to send the money home to help her mother.

            After her time in South Korea, Gallery returned to the states and was stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Just two weeks later, she received word that her mother was sick in the hospital. Gallery was still in processing and her request to leave so she could visit her mother was denied.

            With tears in her eyes, Gallery still remembers her mother’s last words to her over the phone. “Baby, Mama dying.”

            Still, Gallery thought she had more time. She was sure the paperwork would go through and she would be with her mother soon after. Three days later, she received a Red Cross message. Her mother had died.

            “I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye,” Gallery said, “My mom didn’t even get a chance to see me in my uniform, but she was there for me through it all.”

            With an honorable discharge from the Army, Gallery now lives in Washington State where she attends Pierce College working toward her degree in communications. She will soon become a mother herself as her first child is due in October.

Ask the Raider Bird

Submit your questions to the Raider Bird and he will answer them!


Dear Raider Bird,

Do you like to dance, and if so what kind of dance move you like to do?

How do you not trip?


Hi there.  These two questions go well together.  You would think with these big talons I might have trouble walking and dancing.  I will say that going up stairs can be tough.  But I get around best by dancing!

It’s easier to not step on my own toes when I’m shaking my tail feathers.  If you see me, I’m usually shuffling my way around the halls.  There are few things I enjoy as much as dancing.

My favorite dance move is the “cabbage patch.”  This one came from a music video “The Cabbage Patch,” in which the dance was performed by the Gucci Crew II.  It’s an easy dance move.  You just put your hands together, and move them together in a circular motion.  Imagine you are stirring a really big bowl of cake batter with a huge spoon.  Then just groove with it while your work that cake batter!

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