Dodgeball tournament raises funds for breast cancer awareness

By Linda Pang

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The late-morning sun beamed brightly from a blue sky over the outdoor basketball court at Marple campus as Suni Blackwell, director of Wellness, Athletics and Recreation, greeted the competitors standing before him. But instead of addressing a Phantoms athletics team, he was speaking to students from Fundamentals of Journalism I and II (J1 and J2), along with senior newspaper staff from The Communitarian, and their English professor, Bonnie McMeans.

They were getting ready to play in DCCC’s first Passionately Pink Dodgeball Tournament to raise funds for breast cancer awareness.

“Thank you for getting this rocking and rolling and all of you guys for stepping up and being a part of this,” Blackwell told the crowd before explaining the rules for five minute games in a best of five series. “And the final rule is: try not to get hit!”

The Oct. 31 tournament, which had been rescheduled from the previous week due to rain, took place in windy 50 degree temperatures as two teams of five were cheered on by a handful of student spectators and staff from the Student Center.

Bonnie’s Ballers, a team of J1 students, some wearing light pink shirts, faced off against The PrEditors (a twist on “predators”), a team of J2 students and newspaper senior staff wearing black Communitarian T-shirts and hot pink bandanas. The PrEditors had a chance to team up against their faculty advisor Bonnie McMeans, who joined Bonnie’s Ballers when a team member felt ill.

“We needed a team captain and naturally, I volunteered myself,” said Andrew Henry, 19, a journalism major and J1 student. “But I had to lie down for a minute because I was slowly dying.”

The PrEditors won the first two games, but Bonnie’s Ballers got more competitive as the tournament continued, tying it up 2-2 after game four. Players groaned as gusts of wind sent soft, blue dodgeballs flying in unanticipated directions. Moments later, a last minute catch by one of Bonnie’s Ballers brought all of his teammates back in to help win the final game before time ran out.

“I kind of had a strategy and it somehow worked out in the end to win the game,” said 19-year-old communications major Christopher Bogarbus. “It was fun. It was a lot more exercise than I expected. My legs still kind of hurt because of the running.”

The Department of Wellness, Athletics & Recreation hosted the tournament in honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Teams paid a $20 registration fee in the Student Center to support breast cancer awareness, and the winning team players each took home a $10 gift card to the college bookstore.

Journalism major and J1 student Katie Cameron, 19, said she had a good time and enjoyed the friendly competition but, more importantly, she wanted to support the cause because it hit close to home.

“My mom has had breast cancer,” Cameron explained. “She’s a survivor of 14 years, so we always do something for the cause. She donates to Susan G. Komen and she does the walk sometimes.”

Henry said that he was interested in supporting the event because his grandmother has beaten breast cancer twice. “I really think it’s awesome that the college is doing something to bring awareness, especially during October’s breast cancer awareness month,” he added.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women in the United States, after skin cancer, but treatable with early detection. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, approximately one in every eight women born today in the United States will get breast cancer during their lifetime.

“A lot of people have known a close relative, a family friend, or someone they grew up with that has been affected by breast cancer,” said Sarah DeAngelo, the new Wellness Coordinator for the Department of Wellness, Athletics, and Recreation. “Everybody knows somebody.”

DCCC isn’t the only institution trying to get this message across. Every October, pink ribbons and decorative hats and shirts are worn, while fitness events are held “for the cure,” in hopes of raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research, education, support and medical services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 11 percent of new cases are found in women 18 to 44 years old, but there is also evidence to suggest that physical activity may help reduce the risk of several cancers.

Worldwide, around 10 percent of breast and colon cancer cases are linked to a lack of activity.

“Personally, the most important thing of October Breast Cancer Awareness month is to get people aware about early prevention, early detection, seeing your doctor to get screenings and doing self-exams,” DeAngelo said.

DeAngelo, who started in August, works with Blackwell to plan a wellness program to get students, faculty, and staff of all ages involved in their own health and fitness.

“This is the first time we had [a dodgeball tournament],” Blackwell said. “Sarah and I sat together and thought what could we do that could help out with breast cancer awareness, is something fun that everyone can take part in, and brings the inner kid back out. Go figure that it worked out that we did this on Halloween!”

Orita Stewart, HR Generalist at DCCC, coordinates the events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, including selling raffle tickets and partnering with departments for additional events.

“We do have [an awareness month] event at all of the campuses, so all of the other campuses do something a little different,” Stewart said. “Some do a bake sale and Exton had a cupcake truck.”

This year, Marple campus had their first dedication board. Stewart explained that each donor had the opportunity to place a pink ribbon dedication on the wall in honor of a survivor, someone that has passed, or someone fighting breast cancer.

At the end of the month, Stewart pulled all of the money together and sent aproximately $2500 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Stewart added that although the college has historically donated to Komen, it might change in the future.

“We’ve had some push-back,” Stewart explained. “I guess a couple of years ago they had some discrepancies, so people thought ‘We’re not donating to that,’ so it behooves us to go out and find something that’s worth the time.”

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s website, 80 percent of their money goes to the mission areas of education, screening, treatment, and research.

However, in 2012, the Susan G. Komen Foundation was under scrutiny by critics regarding the disproportionate amount between what programs the donations supported and the CEO’s six-figure salary, political stances that involved removing their support for breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood, and using pink ribbon merchandise containing cancer-causing materials to promote their organization.

Charity watchdog websites, like Charity Navigator, ranked the foundation a three out of four stars. Ratings are based on how much of the cash budget is spent on actual programs and services versus fundraising and administrative overhead, as well as additional factors such as financial reports.

Four-star rated charities include Breast Cancer Research Foundation and locally-based Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and Breastcancer.org. LBBC was rated 99.63/100 with 83.2 percent spent on programs and allocating 6.5 percent for fundraising expenses.

According to Charity Navigator, some of the low-ranked charities include the National Cancer Center (a 0-star rating with only 30.6 percent for programs versus 63.4 percent for fundraising costs) and the American Cancer Society (a two-star rating with only 59.9 percent for programs). Charity Navigator has “high concern advisory” notices for the Breast Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation, and Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation, which were under investigation for concerns of illegal activity, improper conduct, or organizational mismanagement.

Nevertheless, awareness is improving and breast cancer survival rates are increasing, thanks to screening and improved treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which reports that the breast cancer death rate in the United States has been declining steadily since 1990, “when it peaked at a rate of 33 deaths for every 100,000 women.”

“Regardless of the money that gets raised, people are more aware of the issue and they are being more pro-active in caring for themselves,” DeAngelo said. “The education and the awareness that comes out from all of these fun events and activities is even more valuable to the individuals that participate.”

Blackwell and DeAngelo hope to have additional dodgeball tournaments in the future with more student and staff participation. All of the players said that they wished it had been advertised more.

“There could have been more teams playing,” said John (Jack) Kearney, 19, a journalism major and a Bonnie’s Ballers team member. “It was for a good cause and it was a good time. I can’t believe we won! We lost the first two rounds, but we came back.”

Cameron said she enjoyed seeing the rivalry between J1 and J2.

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“And our teacher got out there with us,” Cameron added. “The J2 team was trying to hit her and we were trying to save her. It was really fun!”

Dean Galiffa, 19, a journalism major and J1 student, decided to let the more athletically-inclined students play while he cheered on his classmates.

“Initially, I was concerned that it would be boring,” Galiffa said with a laugh. “Then it really turned around—the fact that J1 won was actually pretty interesting! Who doesn’t like watching a bunch of adults play dodgeball?”

He also fully supports the breast cancer awareness cause.

“It doesn’t hurt to donate even a little bit of money,” Galiffa said. “Even just change that you have on you. Every little bit makes a difference.”

Contact Linda Pang at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

DCCC celebrates a champion of community college education

By David Schwartz

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Loretta Bevilacqua, executive assistant to former DCCC President Jerry Parker, vividly recalled the time Parker and his wife Sue went to a student’s house to deliver a computer.

According to Bevilacqua, there was a surplus sale for computers in the cafeteria one day. After the sale was over, the student expressed disappointment to Parker that she missed the chance to obtain a new computer.

Parker and his wife decided to offer one of their own computers to the student, and went to the student’s house to set it up the next day.

“He was a champion of the college,” Bevilacqua said. “He was so passionate about the college and would do anything for the students. Every decision he made had the school, students, and faculty at the forefront. He’s the kind of person you want to work for.”

Parker, who served as president for 14 years before retiring in July, started working at DCCC in 1977 as an assistant to the vice president for administration.

Prior to becoming the president, he also served as executive assistant to the president, dean of Management Systems, Planning and Enrollment Management, and vice president for Community and Corporate Education.

“When he became president, he offered a lot of freedom to do what you wanted,” said Jeanne Anastasi, former director of Community and Professional Programs.

Among Parker’s achievements as president of the college was the opening of the Advanced Technology Center in 2009, which houses technical programs to prepare students for jobs in the trades.

“Career training is a part of our core mission at DCCC,” Parker said. “That means adapting the curriculum and services around local job demands and business needs. Throughout the years, we met with regional employers and began to build partnerships. We listened. It was through these conversations and partnerships that we were establishing DCCC as the go-to resource for the workforce, and fulfilling careers for the underserved population.”

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To recognize and honor Parker’s commitment to technical education, the college held a dedication ceremony on Oct. 6 to rename the Advanced Technology Center after Parker.

Numerous people spoke about Parker at the ceremony, including current DCCC President Joy Gates Black and Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) President Gary Smith, emphasizing what Parker has meant to education and training in Delaware and Chester Counties.

Smith told the crowd how Parker wanted to build the bridge between Delaware and Chester Counties and how education and work force development were important throughout his tenure. He was “the pioneer out in [Chester County],” according to Smith.

Under Parker’s leadership, DCCC’s expansion into Chester County began in 1994 with the Chester County Center in West Chester, Pa.

Today, five out of eight campuses are located in Chester County.

“Jerry basically helped me understand the history of the college and how to connect with people in the community,” Gates Black said, remembering her transition into her new role as president. “He helped me become familiar with the area and everybody was so welcoming. I was able to take advantage of it.”

Gates Black wishes to have a photograph of Parker with one of his quotations installed at the entrance of the building at some point in the future.

Parker’s family also attended the ceremony as many faculty and friends complimented him on his successes. At the ceremony, members from the crowd took photos of Parker unveiling the new name, the Jerome S. Parker Advanced Technology Center.

“Not all community colleges had the same vision that [Dr. Parker] had,” former DCCC Provost Dr. Ginny Carter said. “One of his legacies was his commitment to technical education and his commitment to access and opportunity. He had an open door for everyone and would always be available to talk to and follow up.”

Parker was also responsible for the opening of the STEM Center in 2010, which features classrooms and laboratories for science, engineering, and mathematics.

“He was always visionary in the expansion of the college,” Vice Provost Mary Jo Boyer said. “He always had that collaborative nature and was willing to take chances.”

In March, Parker was inducted into the Chester County Business Hall of Fame by the CCEDC for his leadership and lasting relationships with business owners and manufacturers in Delaware and Chester Counties.

“From the beginning, neighboring Chester County was always regarded as a natural extension of the college’s service area, our manifest destiny,” Parker said during the CCEDC Business Achievement Awards dinner in March. “It does mean paying more in tuition to make up for the absence of sponsor taxation, but that hasn’t deterred the 6,000 plus students now attending from all parts of Chester County and for all kinds of reasons, most often to transfer to a four-year college or university.”

Parker received his bachelor’s degree in American studies from Wesleyan University, his masters’ degree in adult education from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In addition to his responsibilities as president of the college, Parker was a member of the Board of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, the Crozer Keystone Health System Advisory Board, the Chester and Delaware Counties Workforce Investment Boards, the Delaware County Industrial Development Corporation Board, the Delaware County Chief School Administrators, the Delaware County Suburban Study Council, and the Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc.

He also served as chair of the Chester Higher Education Council, the Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, the Chester County Economic Development Council, and the Riverfront Alliance Board.

In the book, “A Fifty-Year History of Delaware County Community College: 1967- 2017,” Parker wrote that with student success at the core, the school has responded by expanding their services, enhancing the curriculum and facilities, and altering the processes.

According to Parker, without a vigilant, guiding hand, many of the students in the college’s care likely would not endure the demands of an increasingly competitive society.

“[I see the college] continuing the successful collaboration with local employers that will continue to benefit the students, making it easier to achieve their career goals,” Parker said, regarding the direction of DCCC within the next five to 10 years. “The goal is to see students complete their programs, getting them past everyday hurdles and personal constraints that sometimes get in the way of success.”

Contact David Schwartz at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

College-Wide Reading selection promotes discussion about injustice of mass incarceration

By Linda Pang

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Mass incarceration, the lives of prisoners, and criminal justice reform. These are some of the topics that will be covered during this year’s College-Wide Reading Program, featuring Bryan Stevenson’s memoir “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.”

The book shares Stevenson’s experiences during the case of Walter McMillian, weaving personal narratives of other people he met during his 30 years of legal work to help prisoners in a system he says is broken. McMillian was on death row for six years for a murder he didn’t commit. His story is set in Monroeville, Ala., the community which inspired Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“Just Mercy,” a New York Times Best Seller, was the winner of the Carnegie Medal for best nonfiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Cohen Prize for Best Nonfiction; it has appeared on numerous college lists as the required “common reading” selection for incoming freshmen.

During the 2017-18 academic year, College-Wide Reading participants will have the opportunity to attend special events, such as panel discussions, field trips, and film screenings.

The program, open to all students, faculty, and staff, was founded in 2006 as the “One-Book One-College” program. According to its webpage, the program evolved into an initiative supported by the Institutional Diversity Committee (IDC), with the intention to “provide a common reading that encourages thought, discussion, and collaboration at DCCC.” Annually, the IDC selects a book from nominations submitted by the college community that fit the upcoming year’s theme.

JoseFrancisco Mazenett, associate professor of French, Spanish, and humanities, said the book aligns with the college’s learning goals, but the program needs additional support to get students more involved.

“Reading is extremely important to the development of all of our students, regardless of what profession they are going into,” he explained.

Reading professor Valerie Schantz has been using titles from the past eight years with her classes. “They’re not necessarily something they would choose to read, but through our activities and discussions and the college’s support of the text, they found [reading] them to be a positive experience,” she said.

Premisa Kerthi, 24, a liberal arts major from Albania and this year’s Multicultural Club president, learned about the program when she first read Rigoberto González’ memoir “Butterfly Boy,” and subsequently won first place in the program’s student writing contest with her poem “A Mysterious Life.” Kerthi said González spoke with her as if they were old friends at the author luncheon, even getting misty-eyed as he described moments that led to his memoir.

“The sentence I will never forget from him is, ‘Never be afraid to try new things. Just do it,’” said a smiling Kerthi, adding that she is enjoying the characters in “Just Mercy” because Stevenson’s themes of discrimination, immigration, and social work speak to her on a personal level.

Stevenson, a professor of clinical law at NYU School of Law, has won numerous awards, such as the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize, and holds 26 honorary degrees from academic institutions across the United States, including the University of Pennsylvania. He also founded the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which focuses on ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States.

Paul Pat, associate professor of English, said that Stevenson is one of the most important voices in promoting justice. “His book is incredibly timely and my students have been engaged with the many social issues presented in the text,” he explained.

Reference and instruction librarian Eleanor Goldberg added that Stevenson’s stories “put a persona behind the problems,” instead of statistics and demographics. Goldberg served as co-chair of the program with librarian Erica Swenson Danowitz in late 2014, and sole chair from 2015-2017.

Elizabeth Gray, associate professor of English, and new program chair, said that she has read the book a few times already and wishes that the program could get copies into every student’s hands, along with guaranteed author talks.

“One of its strengths is that Stevenson takes on these really big concepts like justice, racial relations, poverty, and economic disadvantages, etcetera, but he does it in a really artful way,” Gray said. “Far-reaching societal issues are viewed through a very personal lens.”

To provide background on complex topics, the DCCC library has provided thematic resources, including interviews with Stevenson and supplemental materials on racism, mass incarceration, and Walter McMillan’s exoneration. Stevenson’s website also includes a Common Core approved teacher’s discussion guide.

English professor Fernando Benavidez is using “Just Mercy” in his composition courses. As an introduction, Benavidez had students respond to two key quotes from Stevenson: “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done…” and “The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”

Benavidez said people tend to regard death row prisoners as only criminals and not as human beings. “I think this book really challenges us and my class, in a good way, to rethink our views of the criminal justice system and the criminals themselves,” he added.

This year’s events have included a Legal Aid panel discussion, “Mercy, Justice, and Redemption: the Local Reality of Stevenson’s work,” on Sept. 28 in the STEM auditorium, moderated by Keeley Mitchell, director of paralegal studies at DCCC.

The event included local experts on criminal defense, parole, re-entry, post-conviction employment, and education behind the walls of correction facilities. Panelists shared their viewpoints on mental health issues, barriers to jobs, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

“Justice and equality are our goal, but they’re nowhere close to reality,” said panelist Guy Smith, Esq., a criminal defense attorney for the past 50 years.

Alyssa Tino, 22, a liberal arts student and secretary of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, attended the panel with her copy of the book in hand. She said she heard about the program through Campus Life and was able to get one of the free books handed out at the beginning of the semester. Tino said she enjoyed hearing the diverse panel discuss the same issues.

“I feel like the system shouldn’t be so black and white—that if you are this age and have that past record, that it constitutes what you’re going to do with the rest of your life,” Tino added.

On Sept. 29, Benavidez, Gray, and history professor Jeff LaMonica, led 15 students on a school field trip to Eastern State Penitentiary to view the award-winning exhibit “Prisons Today: Mass Incarceration in America.” The trip was sponsored by the College-Wide Reading Program, in partnership with Campus Life.

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“I think they got a lot out of it. Just seeing the actual conditions…they didn’t fix it up…rusted bars, broken chairs, cots with no cushions on them, trees growing into the cells,” Benavidez said, adding that students asked their guide complex questions about the architecture and treatment of the prisoners.

Upcoming College-Wide Reading events for “Just Mercy” include a viewing of “Vocabulary of Change: Angela Davis and Tim Wise in Conversation” on Nov. 9 at Marple’s Large Auditorium, followed by a discussion on today’s societal problems, such as institutional racism. Adriana Leela Bohm, associate professor of sociology and co-chair of the IDC, will moderate the event.

English professor David Robson will moderate the Nov. 30 screening of excerpts from the 1915 version of “Birth of a Nation,” guiding discussion about where misconceptions about African Americans and justice started.

“By taking a book and reading it in different classes, students can make connections to themselves, to the text, and to the world,” said Bohm, expressing her excitement for this year’s selection. She echoes Gray’s wishes for the program to have enough funds to give each student a free copy. “It’s important for them to see how inter-connected the world is.”

Contact Linda Pang at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

50 Year Anniversary celebration

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.

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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