DCCC students join thousands for CollegeFest

By Victoria Lavelle



Thousands of college students gathered at Philadelphia’s Dilworth Park for the 10th annual CollegeFest, a city-wide festival full of giveaways, entertainment, free admission to museums and more on Sept. 9th.

Produced by Campus Philly, the event welcomed college students with a valid college ID to explore 14 city exhibits, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and Eastern State Penitentiary.

More than 30 students from Delaware County Community College registered for the event which cost $5 to cover transportation. Organized by Breanne Rogers, assistant director of the Campus Life office, the group gathered outside the Marple campus main entrance early Saturday and filled a local school district bus to near capacity.

“We have a large group of DCCC International students who I am pleased to have join us for CollegeFest this year,” Rogers said. “Today’s event will be a beneficial occasion because it will introduce them to the city of Philadelphia, while comfortably being surrounded by their peers and friends.”

Event organizer Campus Philly is a nonprofit organization that fuels economic growth by encouraging college students to study, explore, live and work in the Greater Philadelphia tri-state region. According to their mission statement, the organization “helps college students find that moment when they fall in love with Philadelphia.



For once that moment occurs, students will begin to think of building their futures in Philadelphia.”

A 2010 Campus Philly survey of 4,600 undergraduates, graduate students and alumni reported 48 percent of all non-native area college alumni stayed in the greater-Philadelphia area after graduation, a sharp increase compared to the 29 percent findings from a 2004 survey conducted by Knowledge Industry Partnership (KIP).

“CollegeFest has evolved over the years, even before Campus Philly was a full-fledged organization,” said Brynn Monaghan, the Campus Philly communications manager. “Introducing students to the area has become our focus, while making it the best five hours in Philly with the help of local museums, exhibits, vendors, and entertainment.”

With an autumn breeze in the air, the venue kicked off with a wide range of activities. Students downloaded new mobile applications, competed in relay races, spun game wheels for prizes, and explored the city by riding the Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop tourist trolley for free.

An array of businesses partnered with CollegeFest for exclusive setups in the tent village, which included the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) student lounge, the AT&T cellular charging station, the Capital One photo booths, and the Vanguard dunking station.

“I am excited to be attending CollegeFest because it offers a chance to meet students from other universities and colleges throughout the Delaware Valley, and Eastern State Penitentiary tops the list of places to visit today,” said DCCC nursing student Rebecca Bennett.

Philadelphia’s native hip-hop artist Chill Moody headlined the entertainment with a live performance on the mainstage at noon. The crowd cheered as he sang chart topping songs including “Home Again,” “Never Fall,” and “Inhale, Exhale.” Afterwards, Moody stepped out into the audience to meet with fans and pose for photos. The official disc jockey was DJ Reezey, and this year’s emcee was Akeen Dixon.

Before students left, they took advantage of free swag from a variety of organizations and companies including Go- Puff, Monster Energy, IKEA, and L.L. Bean. Sunglasses, key chains, pens, backpacks, notebooks, and gift certificates were all part of student takeaways as students walked away from the festival with bags and hands full.

To close out the event, Philadelphia’s collegiate were offered 10 dollar discount tickets to attend the Temple Owls vs. Villanova Tigers football game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Vivian Nguyen, a DCCC business administration major and first-timer to the event, described her expectations as enthusiastic.

“I don’t know my way around Philadelphia because it’s such a big and busy city, so the main attraction for me was the transportation in combination with the longlist of free venues offered,” Neguyen said. “Though I thoroughly enjoyed the brain exhibit at the Franklin Institute, I wish we would have had more time to explore some of the other venues. I will likely return next year for the opportunity.”

Contact Victoria Lavelle at communitarian@m ail.dccc.edu

Devil’s Den breaks one’s tradition with a plate of nachos

By Theresa Rothmiller


If you’re free Tuesday evenings, love great service, nachos, and imperial beers, then Devil’s Den is the place to visit.

On Sept. 5, approximately 5 p.m., I approach the 1100 block of South Federal St. in Philadelphia, Pa. As I reach my destination, I notice their outside seating area. Above the tables is a reddish-orange sign.

The sign features Satan sitting on a barrel, drinking a beer, with the words “Devil’s Den,” beneath him.

Upon entering, the hostess immediately greeted me with a warm welcome.

“Hi, table for two today?,” asked Toni. “Do you prefer to sit at a high-top, the dining room area, or the bar?”

After choosing a high-top for two (for myself and a friend), we follow Toni to the table and begin looking at the menus.

The imperial draft list instantly grabbed my attention. Meanwhile, our server arrives with two glasses of water.

Smiling ear-to-ear, waitress Brianna Cheli informs us it was currently happy hour. She explains that all beers are half-off between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. No more than a minute after, Cheli suggested we order appetizers.

“My favorites are our nachos and empanadas,” said Cheli. “Are you still undecided with drinks?”

We responded yes, but decided on chicken nachos, with a side of ranch, as an appetizer.

As a person with a great dislike for pico de gallo, I have no clue as to why I didn’t ask to remove the pico. It’s the tomatoes themselves, because of its texture and taste, but the tomatoes in this pico were sweet and firm, instead of soft and bland.

Along with pico, the nachos were smothered in black beans, jack cheese, sour cream, and grilled chicken.

The first bite was like Christmas morning.

Instantly, I began to dance in my seat. The blend of tomato juice, sour cream, beans and chicken, felt like an explosion of happiness in my mouth.

As the juices from each ingredient ran down my fingers, I slurped every drop as if it was my last taste on earth.They were absolutely amazing.

Every chip satisfied my tastebuds like the very first bite. We devour the appetizer while enjoying a 2SP Pollen Nation draft, an imperial with an ABV of 10.5 percent, which had the bitterness of an IPA that I love!

Later, in the midst of great conversation, we received bad news. A weather alert notifies us of an upcoming thunderstorm. I became disappointed because it forced us to leave early. I would’ve loved to try their salmon BLT.

At approximately 6 p.m., I alerted the waitress giving the signal for “check please.” She returns within five minutes and I explained our need to hurry. Before leaving, we thanked the staff for their wonderful hospitality. Cheli thanked us, then suggested we come back for quizzomania next week.

Quizzomania takes place every tuesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to Cheli. It sounded exciting so I am definitely looking forward to attending.

The nachos alone would ensure my return. Yet, having great service could persuade me to become a regular customer. I rate the food and service 4 out of 5 stars.

Contact Theresa Rothmiller at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Concert series features new cello composition by DCCC professor

By Linda Pang

The New Music Concert Series at Delaware County Community College (DCCC) will kick off its ninth season on Oct. 1 with “America Now: Living Composers,” featuring a solo performance by cellist Jason Calloway.

The program will also include his performance of “One Toe Under…,” a new composition by composer and sitar musician, Richard Belcastro.

The 41 year-old artistic director of the New Music Concert Series and DCCC assistant professor of music described “One Toe Under…” as a composition about his childhood and general fear of the monsters under the bed.

“I had convinced myself that as long as I had one toe under the blanket, I was still safe,” said Belcastro with a chuckle. “No matter how hot it got.”

Calloway, 38, is currently a professional cellist in the Amernet String Quartet, the ensemble-in-residence at Florida International University in Miami.


A graduate of The Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, he has performed worldwide, including Carnegie Hall in New York City and at the Academy of Music and the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Calloway performed in the series’ 2011-2012 season, as part of a duo with his sister, Rachel Calloway, a mezzo soprano. He added that he enjoyed the intimacy of the performance venue at Marple Campus and looks forward to returning.

“It has always been one of the great thrills of my career to be able to both collaborate with living composers as well as to create a performance practice for them, and the present engagement is no exception,” Calloway said.

According to the DCCC website, the concert series “highlights the expansive musical experience available in the 21st century, presenting virtuosic musicians from around the globe” for students of the college and residents of Delaware and Chester counties.

“It’s an opportunity to listen to a world of music that they’re not accustomed to or familiar with,” Belcastro said.

This ideal is apparent in Belcastro’s own preference for the sitar, which Merriam- Webster defines as “an Indian lute with a long neck and a varying number of strings.” Belcastro added that the instrument was made famous in the United States by Ravi Shankar’s work with The Beatles.

“In order to listen to something else [besides pop music], you have to seek it out or somebody has to expose you to the fact that it exists at all,” Belcastro said. “So this series helps everyone involved—the community and the students, to find that exposure.”

From 2001-2009, Belcastro was the executive director of the “Chamber Music Now!” series in Philadelphia.

As the grant funding for that series ended, he looked into starting something similar at DCCC.

The concert series was then founded in 2009 as a faculty project in partnership with the Division of Communications, Arts, and Humanities.

“I think it’s wonderful that we offer it to the local community and the students on campus because it’s something that is not readily available in this immediate area,” said Caitlin Flaherty, 33, arts supervisor and gallery director.

Flaherty works with the artistic directors of each program to help schedule events and assist with day-of logistics, manage ticket sales, and create contracts for the artists, performers, jurors, and others involved.

Belcastro and Flaherty both separately added that a pipedream would be to have a dedicated performing arts building and performance space to expand into a larger production and presentation company.

“But small steps are figuring out how to get grant funding and grow the number of high quality artists we can bring in for collaborative events,” Belcastro said. “Guest artists can cost quite a lot of money and we need to find that money elsewhere since we are not going to take it out of tuition or charge huge fees or ticket prices.”

The series is free for DCCC students, faculty, and staff.

According to Belcastro, when the series first started, artists were friends or professional contacts.

But as the series has grown, interested performers will now contact him with samples of their work.

Past performances have included: Ovidiu Marinescu, cello & Richard Belcastro, sitar; Inscape; International Contemporary Ensemble; Ju-Ping Song, pianist; The Fourth Wall; William Lang, trombonist; Amernet String Quartet; and SO Percussion.

“Repetition is something the series will continue to do,” Belcastro said. “Part of that is building an audience, people who remember them from last time will come back and tell their friends.”

Additional performances in 2017 will include ZOFO, a piano duet featuring Eva- Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi, on Oct. 22 and NakedEye Ensemble on Nov. 12.

“Anything we do beyond the classroom—not just simply taking classes and teaching… there’s a quality of life that comes from expanding your horizons and being exposed to different approaches and different ideas,” Belcastro said. “Art is a great way to do that and this series allows our students, in many ways, the first chance to do just that.”

Contact Linda Pang at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

DCCC alumna overcomes addiction to earn top spot at Penn State

By Shondalea Wollaston

alumni vet on GMA

By all calculations, Danielle Joliet, age 34, should not be a success story.

At age 13 she began using drugs, and by age 17 she had been emancipated from her parents and found herself alone, waking up on the steps of a house in Kensington, Philadelphia unable to move her body, but fully awake.

“This was my first experience with a [rock] bottom and as fear sunk in I realized I had to do something different,” said Joliet.

Joliet said drugs and alcohol were easy to come by and they quickly took a hold of her.

“I justified my behavior with blaming just about anybody or anything around me, and had no clue back then what taking responsibility for my actions even looked like,” said Joliet.

Without a criminal record, and desperate enough to try, she walked into a U.S. Army Recruiting Center hoping for a way out. Joliet said she remembers she felt desperate and hopeless, but willing to make a change.


“The recruiter didn’t judge me on my appearance,” she said. “He merely asked if I could pass a drug test and if I graduated from high school, to which I replied, no. He could have easily turned me away.”

The recruiter told her to come back the next day with sneakers in hand, ready to work. With his help, Joliet said she got sober and earned her GED.

Now 18, and a soldier in the U.S. Army, Joliet reported for boot camp in Fort Jackson, S.C., and was deployed to Germany. Following a relationship with a fellow soldier, she became pregnant and knowing the possibility of a transfer, the couple decided to marry.

Joliet said the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 again forced her into another difficult situation. Faced with choosing between her infant son and her duties in the military, she took a hardship discharge and went into the inactive reserve. Her husband was deployed to Iraq and Joliet says she lost all communication down range.

“I began to experience feelings of abandonment as well as resentment, as I was forced to raise our son alone,” said Joliet. “I felt I had chickened out of going, that I had abandoned the men and women who would die for me.”

Joliet believed her husband returned from deployment feeling mentally broken and resenting the fact that she was able to stay home with their son.

“We both worked hard to piece together a new life outside the military, but soon we turned to alcohol to cope with reintegration,” she said. “Our marriage did not survive the transition.”

Desperately searching for what she described as “a sense of purpose,” Joliet returned to Philadelphia, finding it very easy to sink back into the old ways and once again turned to drugs and alcohol for an escape.

After some time had passed, Joliet said she began to realize she needed more from life than the high that so quickly faded.

“I had collected enough evidence that I could not run my life on my own so I went back to where I had last felt good about myself, THE ARMY,” said Joliet.

In 2005, Joliet returned to the Army reserve as a Military Police Officer and enrolled in the Municipal Police Academy at DCCC.

Working the 11:00pm- 3:00a.m. shift at UPS, Joliet was able to maintain health care for herself and her son. She returned home at 3:30a.m., slept for two hours, and would head into the police academy after dropping her son off at school.

“I survived on coffee and Red Bull,” Joliet said. “It’s a combination I still unfortunately use today from time to time.

Joliet did well at the academy and after graduation in 2006, she went on to work as a police officer at Southeast Delco school district, South Coatesville Police Department, and Yeadon Borough. A single mom, working three -part time jobs, and a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, Joliet said she was proud of her accomplishments.

“I began to feel as if I was finally piecing my life together,” she added.

In 2008, Joliet’s reserve unit was deployed to Iraq and she said she found herself faced with the “gut wrenching decision of choosing between family or country.”

“This time I just could not walk away from service to my country,” she explained. “I may never be able to explain why service to my country means so much to me, but what I do know is that when I felt as if I were nothing, the Army built me, gave me a sense of loyalty, duty, honor and respect that I could never give myself, and I continue to feel drawn to repay that,” said Joliet.

For Joliet, the most difficult part was finding the words to help her six-year-old understand that she had to leave him to go to work.

“I had to cut off a piece of myself,” she said. “No one prepares you for that, no one tells you how to turn it off-we all do it in our own way,” said Joliet.

After her deployment to Iraq, Joliet began to immerse herself in the mission but found a new high in physical fitness, specifically running daily. The escape allowed her to forget her life back home and soon she began to disengage and mentally prepare for the very real possibility of never returning home.

Surrounded by Marines and soldiers who had lost limbs and had been blown up, Joliet awoke to find herself at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, after being medivacked following a severe stress fracture to her hip.

“It all happened so quickly,” she said. “It felt like I went to sleep in Iraq and woke up in the States.”

Her entire military career she heard, “drink water and drive on” but Joliet believes her untreated mental and physical anguish led to water just not being enough.

Forced to lay in a hospital bed for months, Joliet wrestled with her thoughts while continuing to take more pills. She watched helplessly as her fellow soldiers died or moved on. Stories of military member suicide or accidental overdose became common.

Joliet was notified by the Army that she would not be able to return to service or her duties as a police officer due to the severe injury to her hip.

“I was devastated, but re-enrolled in classes at DCCC,” she said. Joliet admits she began to drink more and more, while struggling with depression.

Joliet soon reconnected with a fellow soldier she met during her deployment to Iraq.

“Although just friends at the time, his care and concern was something special and I found myself falling in love,” she said. “I moved to Virginia with him all the while avoiding my feelings of identity loss.”

A few months after her discharge, the couple married and Joliet said she was able to maintain her connection to the military as a “military wife,” but said soon her feelings could no longer be avoided and worthlessness and shame began to creep in.

“Drugs had slipped away as a coping mechanism, but I ushered in alcohol and found myself drinking to celebrate, drinking to unwind, and drinking because it was a good day or bad day, drinking because I deserved it,” she said. “I became entitled to drink and the drink became entitled to my life.”

When in 2011, Joliet gave birth to a second son, born with congenital heart disease requiring two surgeries, she blamed herself.

“Was this the result of my anthrax shots or tuberculosis exposure? Am I the reason my son is in so much pain?” she asked.

But Joliet said she knew as a military wife, I had to embrace the suck and move on.

“I learned to stay strong for my boys but the pills and alcohol began to chip away and I found myself contemplating suicide and I could think of no one I knew who lived a life without drugs and alcohol, certainly not a soldier or a veteran,” she said. “I struggled to put down the things that made me feel connected to the world I had lost.”

Three years after returning to the States, Joliet found the courage to reach out to the Veterans Administration. She said she remembers calling and hanging up several times, but soon learned that she was not alone in her struggle and with the help of fellow veterans she met with a vocational rehab counselor who urged her to return to school. Joliet said it was a defining moment in her life.

In 2015 Joliet enrolled in Penn State University’s College of Education. After hearing her professor speak about the Collegiate Recovery Program on campus, she began to attend meetings and upon completing her first academic year, and volunteering at the CRC, she was asked to mentor to other veterans.

Days before graduating from Penn State University last fall with a 4.0, Joliet was honored by Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, as Penn State University’s 2017 Outstanding Adult Student.

Joliet is now working as a Collegiate Recovery Community Assistant Program Coordinator at Penn State University. Hoping to flip the treatment industry on its head, Joliet said she is tired of watching young people lose their lives to substance abuse disorder.

“We are standing in a time where everyone can agree something needs to change,” she said. “We should stop filling our jail cells with people who desperately need, and could be helped, with proper treatment.”

Joliet lives in University Park, Pa, with her husband, two sons, and their dog Vader.

“I am determined to wake up every day and dig in with true gratitude and grit!” she said.

Contact Shondalea Wollaston at communitarian@ mail.dccc.edu