Pierce Pioneer

Pierce opening for the winter

After a year plus of campuses being closed, there is hope to welcome all students back to in-person teaching. 

An email was sent out to Pierce College staff with updates on current plans for returning to campus and fully reopening no later than winter quarter of 2022. “The full reopening will incorporate lessons learned throughout the pandemic about safety and the needs of students and employees,” Pierce College Chancellor and Presidents stated.

The plan includes a gradual return to campus while the classes remain online during spring term, starting with employees wanting to return to the campus. This would be the start of a larger phased return.

The decision to reopen, made by the governing body of the school, will be in alignment with the guidance of the governor’s office and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health District. The state’s higher education reopening plan, and the COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation and recovery plan, will also help to ensure all safety protocols are met and have a revert-to-remote operation if needed.

Any further updates on plans to return to campus will be given as the evolving situation with the pandemic is monitored. Information on when it is safe for students and services to return to campus will be given to the school’s staff.

The Chancellor and Presidents stated that they are looking forward to and hope for face-to-face interactions soon.

Pierce County enters phase 1 for a new trail in Tacoma

A breath of fresh air is being given to nearby residents of Tacoma and South Hill, with a newly planned trail being headed by Trails Coordinator Brianne Blackburn. Designs have been completed for the current pipeline trail in Tacoma to be extended to reach South Hill, with projections to start construction in 2022.

The Pierce County website stated their intent for the trail is to provide residents with expanded non-motorized commuting and recreational opportunities, while supporting healthy, active living.

“The long-term connection has long been a vision of Regional Trail advocates with the “Tahoma to Tacoma” vision connecting communities from Commencement Bay to Mt. Rainier National Park,” Pierce County website stated.

Pierce County’s pipeline trail will be a paved trail running along the Tacoma water pipeline between 72nd St E and 94th Ave E. This will connect Chapman Memorial Trail in South Hill with the newly constructed trail in Tacoma.

The project schedule started with analysis in Nov. 2019, and will have 3 public meetings in between the process being held as virtual open houses on the Pierce County website due to COVID-19 restrictions. The plan for the trail is currently in Phase 1, which will construct 1.6 miles from 72nd St E and Waller Rd E through Orangegate Park.

A grant application has been submitted for Phase 1 funding and the project is seeking $2.2 million from state or federal aid. All future phases will be planned as resources are available.

In the meantime, residents have opportunities for input and to receive updates on the project by signing up for email updates.

Free virtual training on Feb. 6

A statewide summit welcomes college students to share stories and discuss equal access to education with state legislators. A free virtual training will occur on Feb. 6 to prepare students for their upcoming meeting with legislators. Students from different colleges and motivational speakers will be present during this virtual event. Lunch will be provided through Doordash and students will be mailed a gift bag if registered by Jan. 27. Vanessa Primer, the student liaison for WA-SEN at Pierce College requested that students registered for the event email her at [email protected]. Students can register at WA-SEN Olympia Days Summit until Feb. 4. The Independent Colleges of Washington organization created The Washington Student Engagement Networks alongside community and technical colleges to bring students together and talk about issues affecting colleges around Washington. WA-SEN hosted its first event in Olympia December 2017 to engage conversation with legislators with matters concerning higher education.

Why does accountability matter?



When it comes to values and morals, integrity and accountability rank the highest in society. Trust is the foundation on which everything is built, from home and family to business to government.

Those who hold positions of authority also hold the responsibility of maintaining the trust handed to them. It is what defines the good guys from the bad guys. This is especially true in public office, the higher the rank and visibility the greater the accountability.

Members of Congress live with this reality every day. They know that they have to answer to those who elected them. What they say, what they do, how they vote is all done in the public eye.

The same goes for the president. In our system of government, he has to answer to the people.

Why does the public still demand to see his tax returns? He is in charge of the nation’s budget; how he handled his money will be how he handles ours.

The people have a right to know why missiles were launched into a foreign country when that country is not one of our allies, nor did the leader of that country ask for such an attack. It is not enough that Trump had made a promise to wipe out ISIS. The people have a right to know what is the end game. They remember well what happened when a former president made a similar claim and discovered the cost and impossibility of following through on that claim.

When the White House press secretary repeatedly presents questionable facts and when called on it, calls them “alternative facts,” trustworthiness is rightfully called in to question. After all, printing alternative facts is how papers like The National Enquirer stay in business.

When a leader in the free world makes a claim of keeping his word, he should not be surprised when people take as fact his claim that Obama engaged in unauthorized wire-tapping. He should also expect to be asked to present proof when making such a claim since doing such a thing is a chargeable offense. It is also wise to be cautious in making a public statement because if he can be charged with slander and libel.

When Trump makes pointed remarks about how often Obama took a vacation while President, yet Trump takes more vacations in the first 90 days in office than Obama did in his first year, it points to being unethical.

When he approaches the illegal immigration with a stark “you have no right to be here so you must be deported attitude,” he does so with a strong disregard to the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. They

If Trump really wants to make America great again, he can start by holding himself accountable to the American people.



4000 Miles

“4000 Miles” is an upcoming play that follows the story of a young man and his spirited grandmother


Fred Metzger/Courtesy Photo

Photos of the actor playing Leo (left,) and the actress playing his grandmother Vera (right,) during rehearsal for the play.

Stories are usually seen as being more about the journey, rather than the destination, but 4000 Miles isn’t about the journey, it is about whom those making the such a trek really are. 4000 Miles, more than anything, is about the raw humanity of the characters.

After taking a long and hard cross-country bike trip from Seattle to New York, 21-year-old Leo arrives at his 91-year-old grandmother’s house. “Sounds real simple, and in so many ways it is,” said Fred Metzger, a Communications, Theatre, and Film Instructor for the Arts and Humanities Division.

Leo arrives at 3 in the morning and almost immediately begins to complain about the room buzzer, with it still having his grandmother’s deceased husband’s name still on the room’s plaque.

“Whenever you watch a show,” Metzger said, “You wonder why were you sucked in. Was it the action? Was it the setting? Or was it the character that pulled you in?”

Metzger described the play not being completely focused on Leo’s travels to New York, and more of when he arrives. “It’s about understanding who they are, and understanding their relationships to each other.” said Metzger.

“So much of what they look like and who they appear to be comes before the lines.” Metzger gave an example of when Leo comes into his grandmother’s apartment one night with his friend Amanda.

Based on how they look and act in that scene, the audience can already tell that the two have been partying and are drunk. “It’s physically so obvious between the two of them before the scene even unfolds,” Metzger said.

“The character is the seat in the amusement ride of the story, and if we can’t identify with the seat we sit in, it doesn’t work.” Metzger said last year he went through 20 scripts before coming across 4000 Miles, saying the script popped out. “It wasn’t a nice script, it was an amazing script.”

Leo is a foul mouthed loner who constantly tries to maintain futile friendships, and Vera is a no-nonsense, feisty grandmother who is still as outgoing as a youth.

“There’s a little bit of us in all of these characters,” said Metzger, “You should be thrown into kinship to grandma, and you should love and hate Leo, when we’re done.”

4000 Miles is set to premiere February 12, 13, 19, and 20 at 7:00pm, at studio 320 in the Cascade Building.

Photo Gallery: Pierce Open Mic

Kashing in Karma, one of the many acts, sang their original song, Jigsaw Road.

40th Annual Pierce Fort Steilacoom Student Art Show

The 40th Annual Pierce Fort Steilacoom Student Art Show is right around the corner. Please make all efforts to be present for the Wednesday, May 28th gathering. Monocles and berets are optional. A few art students have been crafting a few cardboard puppets including  Toulouse Lautrec and Picasso. Their creations will l be making appearances at the show. The awards celebration is slated from 4:00-5:30. The talented Tacoma painter extraordinaire, and this year’s Juror William Turner will be present to hand out awards and speak at 4:30. This will be your last chance to enjoy the sculptures, paintings, hand pulled prints, drawings, and photographic works before students claim their works following the reception. Many are still available for purchase if one catches your fancy. Student works tend to go at a bargain prices. FYI: The award winners are listed below. Please give them a congratulatory node if you see them around campus.

250 Dick Blick gift card/purchase award winners: Hermosa Tang & Veronica Salas
150 Dick Blick gift card/purchase award winner: Kenneth Edmonson
50  Dick Blick gift card: (Best 3-D work) Katie Lynn Johnson

Honorable Mentions:

John Smith
Lydia Simpson
Nathan Savoie
Kyung Kadekawa

TRIO Director helps student future



New Director of TRIO draws from her past to help students with their future

Holly Buchanan Contributing Writer

Pierce College’s new Director of TRIO, Dawn Reed is able to follow her passion for education by helping students achieve a higher education.

For the past 15 years, she has been helping prepare students for college success. In the past, Reed has worked with the city of Seattle to help TRIO students. She was employed by the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department Upward Bound TRIO program. Reed was a counselor for this TRIO program serving low income and first generational college bound students, in six local high schools. She also worked in Tacoma Community College’s Educational Talent Search program.

Reed was born in Honolulu, and raised in Seattle, where she graduated from Chief Sealth High School in 1993.

Since elementary school Reed had been interested in education. “As a child I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Reed said.

She helped her classmates with their homework and started advising her peers. Although she had the capability of teaching her peers she didn’t have confidence in herself. “No one ever told me I was smart,” Reed said.

Her teachers asked her to join the Honors program in elementary school. “My teachers planted the seeds of encouragement and confidence that I didn’t get from home,” she said.

Reed was raised by a single parent, her mother, while her father was in jail.

She attended Northwest University for two years before she transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on a full-ride basketball scholarship she received after a coach saw her play. In 1998, Reed received her Bachelors of Arts in Social Work with a minor in education, and earned her Master of Business Administration in 2006.

“Majoring in social work helped me to deal with my own personal childhood issues,” Reed said. “In order for me to help youth I needed to first help myself and sort through all my issues.”

In her free time, Reed volunteers as a coach and a mentor at two local nonprofit organizations. Reed coaches an all-girls basketball team through PUSH basketball, along with her daughter, to continue fulfilling her passion for basketball.

She also spends time teaching workshops through Education with a Purpose for the Pacific Islanders, where she works with parents and students to help them understand what they need to do to earn a college degree.

Math pathways get a makeover


Xanet Li studies for his tests in the Rainier Building

Xanet Li studies for his tests in the Rainier Building
Xanet Li studies for his tests in the Rainier Building

Calculated changes are coming to current math curriculums

Cameron Cyprain Staff Writer

This summer quarter, rearrangements will be made to the current math course sequences. The changes would affect what are more commonly known as ‘pathways’ on the Fort Steilacoom, Puyallup, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord campuses

Statistics on Pierce from the Achieving the Dream (ATD) National Reform Network indicated that student success rates in math courses have steadily declined over the years. Planned restructurings for current math curriculums are meant to address this issue.

As part of the new outlook for math pathways, certain courses, or elements of them, will be consolidated into others for efficiency. For example, there will be no more Math 60 starting summer quarter because it will become part of Math 54 (beginning algebra).

“We offered a prototype of the [latter] course last summer,” Sharon Camner, math professor and member of the planning team making the course changes, said. “At first, we thought we were just going to rearrange a few things,” she said, “but the administration was really supportive in terms of funding and giving us the time to organize and plan the new changes.”

“What we noticed is that if you just offer a string of remedial courses, it’s not very effective,” Rajesh Lal, another math instructor on the planning team, said.

The revised pathway is to include a more comprehensive track with Math 50 (basic math), 54 (beginning algebra), and 96 (intermediate algebra in context). “The goal was to achieve efficiency while also achieving success,” Camner said.

From there, students could opt for one of two tracks. The first one includes Math 107 (math in society), 146 (statistics), and 131 (math for elementary education).

The second pathway will include Math 98 (intermediate algebra for pre-calculus), a lead in to 141 (pre-calculus), 147 (business pre-calculus).

One innovation to the new set of courses involves themes, which are based on real-life scenarios. The scenarios, which involve citizenship (proportional reasoning, assessing variables), personal finance (taxes, budgeting), and medical literacy (measuring blood alcohol averages), will be used to help students grasp difficult to learn concepts. “I wish I had this when I was in college,” Lal said.

Though most degree and certificate programs require some amount of college level arithmetic, choosing to enroll in such classes can be daunting for students who struggle with math.

A major concern shared by instructors, advisors, and other faculty members is with students who, due to a lack of academic preparation, waste time and money repeatedly failing their math courses.

Camner and Lal have discussed modifying the math pathways for several quarters now, making it clear that what they would like to see is dedication coupled with a solid plan to succeed at math. “I call it productive persistence: tenacity: having the will to try it again while also having a strategy,” Camner said.

Campus Safety Notice – Robert Christman Banned




Mr. Christman has been banned from all Pierce College District  facilities, grounds, and events.


 Please call 911 immediately and then Campus Safety if you see him on campus.


Fort Steilacoom Campus Safety


(253) 964-6751


Bachelor degrees come to Pierce


Applied Bachelor's Photo

Pierce Administration weighs the possibility of offering certain four-year degrees

Cameron Cyprain Staff Writer

Pierce College faculty has discussed offering an applied bachelor’s program for students who have already earned their associate’s degree. While still in its theoretical phases of development, the new program would give students the opportunity to remain at Pierce in order to earn a bachelor’s of the arts or sciences degree, depending on their previous academic track. “We are in the early discussion stages of offering a bachelor’s program here at Pierce College,”Tami Walsh, one the credentials evaluators, said. For years, there have been a number of transfer and progressive academic options available to students that allow them to get a head start on their education and job training. “Currently, the only two colleges doing so are Peninsula College and Bellevue College,” Walsh said. What is yet to be determined however is whether or not Pierce would be considered a four-year college once the program is implemented. Similar programs tend to focus more heavily on quantitative, technical, and/or ethical skills, so prospective applicants of the program may want to consider some form of administration or science as a pursuit. Should the applied bachelor’s program come to fruition, enrollees could remain at Pierce, wholly bypassing the process of applying, testing for, and transferring to four-year colleges. Students could also slash their expenses by not having to make new living arrangements while moving to their institution of choice. As of now, students may either take advantage of Central Washington University’s dual credit program, which allows students to earn credits from both Pierce and Central, or the direct transfer program offered by Central in partnership with Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. “We do work in conjunction with Brandman University and Central Washington University, so students can come here and get degrees through them,” Brian Benedetti, director of marketing and communications, said. The proposed applied bachelor’s program would be the first of its kind offered by Pierce; one that fully allows students to continue their education while attending the same institution.

With all change comes challenge

Sydney Conrad/Staff Photo
Sydney Conrad/Staff Photo

Dining Bay is consumed by construction, forcing Student Programs to relocate activities
Sydney Conrad
Staff Writer

Construction has consumed yet another part of the Pierce College campus, and this time it has a direct impact on the student body.
Taking away the second space given to Student Programs and Student Government for events, the Dining Bay is going under major construction
through the spring quarter.
The Dining Bay has been the primary location for activities since the Performance Lounge went under construction four-and-a half years ago.
But according to Allie Hatch, the student programs coordinator, the changes have not hindered them, but only pushed them to be more creative
with setting up activities.
“Because we have been going through this for so many years with the major remodel of the Performance Lounge, and every time something happens like that, you have to look at it like a challenge,” Hatch said.
“Now we just have to look at it and plan, see what’s possible and just work with it. The team is really good about being flexible and creative,”
Hatch added.
Although the Performance Lounge is the optimal space for events, Hatch and the team at Student Programs have expanded their use of the library lobby, the theater and the lecture hall for student activities.
However, with the constant changes of location, events may not be reaching their full potential of student attendance.“In some ways, it has affected it really adversely. Say we have an event in the HEC, which is a little bit out of the way, so some students don’t show up,” Hatch explained.
“Or it may be so secluded in a classroom or the Lecture Hall, or maybe they don’t even know where it’s at, so they don’t show up,” Hatch added.
Although the Dining Bay is under severe construction, this is not stopping Student Programs from using the area.
It will be a decrease in space, but events will still be held in the cafeteria, due to its optimal location: in the midst of the students.
“Because it’s right in the thick of things, with the hustle and bustle in the cafeteria, the attendance has been increased,” Hatch explained.
“Some people who wouldn’t normally participate, especially in something that is hands-on, would jump right in,” Hatch added.
The construction on the Performance Lounge has not only ousted student events, but it has displaced the entire office of Student Programs,
distinguishing the simple relationship this department had with students.
However, every challenge comes to an end, and this one is in sight.
The Performance Lounge as well as the Dining Bay and other key locations on the fourth floor Cascade Building will be reopened
this summer, 2012.
By fall quarter everything should be back to normal, with Student Programs and the Veterans Affairs Offices back in their rightful place.
“I think we will going about 95 percent back to the Performance Lounge, because that has been the whole idea for the remodel.
But there are still going to be things that will work better in the Dining Bay,” Hatch said.

Daniel Conrad/Staff Photo
Daniel Conrad/Staff Photo
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