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By Russell Magee

In celebration of Black History Month, Montgomery Community College was delighted
to showcase “Ain’t I a Woman!” a one-act, chamber-music, theatrical production put on by the
touring theater group, The Core Assemble and hosted by the OneMontco Unity Series. This large
celebration of black history month was brought to the campus by Jane Henderson, after she
attended this performance at another location. The production was so exceptional that Ms.
Henderson decided to bring it to MC3 for its yearly celebration of the uniqueness and diversity
of African American culture.
The show, in its entirety, is a searing and poignant glimpse into the lives of four
significant African-American women in history: Zora Neale Hurston, an influential author and
anthropologist; Clementine Hunter, a self-taught and prolific artist often referred to as the black
Grandma Moses; Fannie Lou Hamer, a women’s right activist and leader in the civil rights
movement; and, whose speech the play is named after, Sojourner Truth, a famous abolitionist,
writer, and women’s rights activist.
Each prominent figure was portrayed by the one, leading actress Shinnerrie Jackson,
whose performance was absolutely breathtaking. Jackson took the stage by storm, delivering
incredibly moving monologues depicting everything from the mundane and seemingly banal

aspects of life to the horribly brutal violence endured by countless African Americans during the
19 th and 20 th centuries. Jackson took the audience on a roller coaster of emotion; she was utterly
captivating.
A fantastic accompaniment to Jackson was the chamber trio of musicians that played
background music for each scene. The trio, comprised of a cellist, pianist, and percussionist,
played a variety of classic jazz tunes that ranged from Coltrane to Thelonious Monk, all in
keeping with the contemporary atmosphere of the show. The music provided an intangible layer
of sentiment to the show and emphasized elements of Jackson’s performance. In between scene
changes, the band kept the music going and improvised seamless transitions. It was quite
impressive. During Jackson’s performances, the band maintained a calm, underlying presence
that would grow in intensity corresponding to Jackson’s monologues. The final scene climaxed
in a beautiful hymn sung by Jackson that nearly brought the audience to tears.
“Ain’t I a Woman!” surpassed all expectations I had going into this performance. This
small, four-person performance amounted to the level of professionals, virtuosos in their own
degrees. Each of Jackson’s portrayals was an honest window into the societal, racial oppression
that these four African American women faced during their lifetimes. Her seething, emotionally-
charged soliloquies were not just paintings of four narratives but intricate, personal expressions,
vivid articulations of injustice and discontent. Jackson’s voice captured the lives of these four
women, and through her performance, the stories of these women were heard.
The text of “Ain’t I a Woman!” was written by Kim Hine, writer, and contributor to The
Core Ensemble. The Core Ensemble was founded in 1993 and is currently touring throughout the
country. They have a long list of past performances and an even longer list of accolades. For

more information on The Core Ensemble and their upcoming performances, go to their website:

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Barry Hunsberger
The Montgazette Contributor

 

Energy and possibilities buzzed as students poured into Parkhouse Hall’s atrium for the 2018 fall ClubFair. Student o cers and club advisorsset food on their tables as lures —for a chance to pitch their club to students.Food, yers and friendliness helpedstudents match their interests with a group they wanted to join on the Central Campus in Blue Bell.

Representatives of each club participated in the Sept. 17 fair, which is like a collegiate form of speed dating. As prospective members strolled from table to table reaching for wings, cookies and bottles of water, current members handed ouyers and talked eagerly with them,wooing students to try out their club.

In the midst of the match- making, Dr. Kevin Pollock, president of Montgomery County Community College, and his administration were interacting with students, too. They served food to hundreds of students. As students waited in a line that stretched to the entrance doors facing the quad, they were introduced to the College’s many organizations, including The Montgazette.

Adopting the motto, “The Students’ Voice”, The Montgazette is a publication seeking to inform students, and is written by students. There are activities and events taking place on campus almost daily. There are dance and theater performances, writing competitions and symposiums

intended to educate and encourage students, and aid them in becoming all that they aspire to be. The Montgazette is intent on informing students, encouraging them to get involved outside of classes.

Additionally, The Montgazette presents social issues that readersmay nd relevant. We live in adynamic world. Dialogue amongstudents and faculty ebb and ow.The Montgazette aims to be a part of that dialogue, if not initiate it. Education does not come only from books and classes. It also comes from healthy and respectful conversations about our community and our world. When students expand their realm of education, they expand their realm of knowledge. The Montgazette looks to facilitate that expansion.

The Montgazette is just one of many clubs available in which students

may engage with others. The College encourages students to step outside theircomfortzoneandintothedoorsofany meeting. O cers and advisors aremore than welcoming to new faces and talent. Doing so may not only expandminds, also it may expand con dence. Students often nd themselves hesitantand ill-equipped to be a member of a club. But nothing is gained by sitting on the sidelines. Our clubs teach students what they do not know and broaden what they do.

Learn more about clubs and events online via the MyMC3 Portal. Click the “Campus Life” radio button to access the “Engage” platform for information about organizations, events and news. Or, stop into theStudent Life O ce located, on the rst oor of College Hall, duringschool hours until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Members of Montgomery County Community College’s dance team performed for the attendees of the 2018 Club Fair.

Photograph by Barry Hunsberger

The 2018 Club Fair attracted many students seeking a club to join and a way to get involved.

Photograph by Barry Hunsberger

Bridget Depew The Montgazette Editor–in–Chief

As much as we all tried denying its imminent arrival, fallis upon us. Some of us nishedup the 2017-2018 school year with plans to relax and take a much-needed respite during the summer. Some of us fell into the category of “no rest for the weary” and continued with classes during the summer.

Regardless, we all are finding ourselves needing to adjust to a new school year. New classes. New professors. Whether you’ve just graduated high school or are deciding to continue your education after a period of time away, you may feel overwhelmed. You may be feeling anxious about what lies before you. You may be second-guessing your decision

to continue your education while working a part- or full- time job and perhaps also maintaining a household and taking care of children.

I’m here to tell you: Take heart. You do have what it takes. That spark that initially motivated you to pursue a higher education was not a mistake. Allow it to turn intoa re that you most assuredlywill need to keep you ablaze throughout the school year. We all have doubts, fears and inhibitions. Having those feelings are not the problem. Being overtaken by them, to the point of immobility, is.

It is very easy to look too far ahead and feel like we’ve taken on too much. We, as humans,

tend to get bogged down thinking about “what will be.” We anticipate the workload, the amount of time we need to set aside for studying, and we may assume it could be too much to handle. It is that point—where fear and trepidation kick in—that causes us to back-peddle on our decisions that seemed so rightwhen we rst made them.

I’ll tell you what my mother always told me: “Don’t borrow trouble.” Tomorrow brings its own set of baggage. Today is what we live for. Today is the only day we’re experiencing. We’re not living in yesterday where we might have failed at an endeavor or fallen on a particular path. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow has not arrived. Today, you have

the strength and fortitude to handle whatever it brings you.

There are myriad reasons one decides to continue his or her education: from wanting a better job opportunity to wanting a promotion to wanting to set an example for little ones who may be watching. Whatever your reason, let it be the motivating factor propelling you forward to completion. Don’t second- guess yourself because of what yesterday has brought or what tomorrow may bring.

We can all take a lesson from Winnie the Pooh when he said, “[Today is] my favorite day.” Make today your favorite day. And when tomorrow shows up as today, it can be your favorite, too!

Bridget Depew
The Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

I didn’t go to college immediately after high school. I was fortunate enough to find a good-paying job not long after graduation, and I never really saw the need to pursue higher education. Besides that, my true passion, writing and journalism, was always squelched as I was growing up. My father strongly encouraged me to seek the career that would yield the high-paying salary. Journalism was not it as far as he was concerned. He would hear nothing of how much I loved to write. I abandoned my passion and honestly had forgotten about it.
Twenty years, a husband and two kids later, I found myself writing things on social media or my blog that contained certain points of view that resonated with the readers. Friends approached me and suggested I pursue a career as a writer. They said I had a way with words that made people take pause and engage. I hadn’t focused any thoughts towards a career, much less a writing career. Being a stay-at-home mom, I had become content and comfortable.
That said, I couldn’t ignore how writing made me feel. I decided to enroll at Montco to pursue a degree in Communications. What happened? What was the difference between now and twenty years ago? Well, besides life experience and a few gray hairs, it was someone’s belief in me. People believed in me! My husband. My family. My friends. People breathed life into my passion, and the fire that I thought had gone out was hanging on by one little ember. And, that ember was ignited.
After realizing how much I enjoyed even writing essays for classes and being bit by the journalism bug in Montco’s online professor, Dr. Rebecca McGovney–Ingram’s class, my passion took off. When I enrolled, I had planned to be more of a Montco wallflower – attend classes and go home. Before I knew it, I had become the Social Media Editor and contributing writer for The Montgazette. And now, I will be taking over as Editor-In-Chief this coming Fall. I’m doing a lot more than showing up for classes and going home. As daunting as the task may be, I’m engaging so that I can engage others.
So first, allow me to put on my mom hat for a minute and speak to the younger crowd: you have something to offer. Don’t be afraid to explore your dreams, and don’t let anyone deter you if you truly believe in your passion. As a grown adult with a mortgage and a family to help support, I won’t tell you that the money isn’t important. It’s simply that life is too short to live only for the almighty dollar.
To my fellow Gen Xers, I know why you’re here, and I know your struggle. You’re working moms and dads with bills to pay and children to raise, but you need more and want more. Moms, in particular, have a way of fading into the background. And though the family/school/work juggling act is a tough one, it’s worth it to be recognized for our accomplishments and achievements.
To those of you graduating this May, well done! As you embark on the next journey, maybe take a little time to breathe life onto someone else’s ember, igniting their passion.

Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Outgoing Editor-In-Chief

On April 4th, 1968, the world said farewell to one of the most outspoken and courageous civil rights leaders of the 20th century, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s legacy of standing up for justice and equality is still in good standing today to inspire the generations who have followed his example. His legacy could be no more evident than in the 50th anniversary commemoration event sponsored by the African American Student League at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) on April 4th.
The commemoration featured presentations of speeches, poetry and songs from young students from Various schools in the county.
Elizabeth Smith, a sixth grader from Reiffton Middle School, expressed Dr. King’s decision to speak his mind by saying, “He chose not to listen to the people who stood in his way and told him what he could and couldn’t do. That was his choice… If he hadn’t chosen to do all of the wonderful things that he had done, we wouldn’t be standing here right here, right now today. He was known for his decisions that made such an impact on our civilization.”
Following Smith’s speech, Abigail Brand, a home schooled seventh grader, spoke about how Dr. King’s actions impacted future leaders. “He didn’t sit back and say ‘Change happens. Someday people will be equal.’ Instead, he forced movement toward equality. It’s because of people like him [Dr. King] that change happens. Barack Obama didn’t just become president; many, many people, including Dr. King himself, helped him get there.”
The student speeches were not the only highlight of the commemoration. Toward the end of the event, an open mic forum was made available to the audience to express their own thoughts on the impact and legacy of Dr. King.
Ninety-three year old Evelyn Warner, MCCC Class of 2002 graduate, said that Dr. King understood that racism doesn’t define human beings, rather that everyone is equal, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
When asked of her opinion about what her favorite moments were during the commemoration, Brigette Barrow, President of the MCCC African American Student League, said that the open mic was among her favorite moments since she, “loved hearing the wisdom that everyone offered.”
Ezinne Ottih, the incoming MCCC Student Government Association President next fall, reflected on the event by stating, “I loved how they [the African American Student League] started testimonials off first with the youngest children because it made me realize that MLK and his message is still trickling down to the younger generations that he never got to meet, which makes me really happy.”
The legacy and impact Dr. King left on society is still felt even today. At the end of her speech, Elizabeth Smith said it best: “People who were alive during his time remember him now. Future generations will learn about him too. And even kids who are growing up now fifty years after he died, will learn about him.”

 

Lottmen_Elizabeth Smith MLK

Elizabeth Smith from Reiffton Middle School on stage at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration ~Photo by Bill Lottmen

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Abigail Brand giving her speech “Shaping Our Future” ~Photo by Bill Lottmen

 

Barry M. Hunsberger
The Montgazette Contributor

Eight Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) students and one faculty member travelled to Harrisburg for the 47th annual Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) state conference on April 6th and 7th. Thomas Meehan (SGA president, PBL president), Mike Antoine, Jimmy Sovocool, James Lowery, Nicoletta Pelchat, Nate Balog, Barry Hunsberger, Mike Howard, and Professor Damon Gray (faculty advisor) were in attendance as MCCC Phi Beta Lambda representatives.
PBL is an organization of future and current business professionals at the college level. PBL is an organization that stems from the high school oriented organization, Future Business Leaders of America. PBL sets up its members for success in the business world through workshops, networking, community service and more. The business organization was founded in 1942 and continues to serve its 200,000+ members worldwide.
Over the weekend, the students were competing against 25 PA state chapters and 300+ students from schools such as Drexel, Penn State, Temple, and Bloomsburg, among others. Throughout the weekend they attended a keynote address and participated in various professional development workshops from nationally recognized speakers and networked with students and faculty from collegiate institutions from across the nation. At the close of the weekend during the awards ceremony, our students represented MCCC very well, taking home six awards:
James Lowery – First place in Management Concepts
Barry Hunsberger – First place in Impromptu Speaking
Nicoletta Pelchat – First place in Emerging Business Concepts and Third place in Small Business Management Plans
Jimmy Sovocool – Second place in Organizational Behavior and Leadership
Mike Antoine – Third place in Business Decision Making
Our very own MCCC Phi Beta Lambda chapter president (Thomas Meehan) was elected to the 2018/2019 FBLA – PBL PA state Presidency.
As a team, we are thrilled to have been able to represent Montgomery County Community College on such a high level of competition against so many prestigious universities from Pennsylvania. The wins from the state competition have solidified our students’ place to compete at the MCCC national competition during June 2018 in Baltimore, MD.
Montgomery County Community College will be competing against the best in the United States because we earned the right to be on that stage.
Thank you for your continued support as we move forward, showing the world we are a serious institution that produces amazing students and future leaders.
If you are interested in learning more about Phi Beta Lambda, or attending a meeting, contact the organization at montcopbl@gmail.com.

 

Hunsberger-PBLphoto

PBL Members (left to right) Jimmy Sovocool, Mike Antoine, Mike Howard, James Lowery, Nate Balog, Thomas Meehan, Nicoletta Pelchat, Damon Gray, Barry Hunsberger ~Photo Courtesy of Barry Hunsberger

 

Bridget Depew
The Montgazette Incoming Editor-In-Chief

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Trite as it may be, it also could not be truer in Sara Wilkerson’s case.
Born on the north side of Chicago, Sara grew up raised by only her mother. Her father left Sara and her mom shortly after Sara was born. “We were inseparable,” Sara says, recalling her time with her mother. “She literally was my everything.”
Tragically, her mom was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in February of 2012. Sara was just 14 years old. It was a fast-moving cancer, and Sara’s mom lost her battle with the disease on June 21, 2012, right after Sara’s middle school graduation.
Two days after her mom passed, she moved to the Philadelphia area with her grandparents. She spent the large part of her freshman year in a fog, grappling with her mother’s death and trying to find her place in the world. It led her to a dark place of depression to the point where Sara wondered if she wanted to go on. In desperation, she reached out in prayer to God for a sign that all the pain in this life was worth it – she needed something to hold on to. In that moment, her prayer had been answered. She felt her mom’s spirit close to her. “My mom saved my life that night,” Sara says. It was from that moment on that Sara knew she could not only survive, but thrive, with her mom always right by her side.
After graduating from Upper Merion High School, Sara started at Montgomery County Community College in the fall of 2016. Majoring in Mass Media: Media Studies, Sara decided to continue the path of journalism she had started when she ran The Viking Call, her high school newspaper. It was, in a sense, a lifesaver. “Journalism is what helped me come out of the shell I was in. Journalism is how I’ve connected with other people.”
Sara became Editor-in-Chief of The Montgazette in May of 2017. During her tenure as Editor-in-Chief, she started a new edition called, “Poetic Voices,” giving students with a penchant for poetry the opportunity to make their poetic voices heard.
There’s no slowing Sara Wilkerson down. In addition to being The Montgazette’s Editor-in-Chief, Sara is the president of the Writer’s Club, a member of the Honors Club, the Literature editor of the Art and Literature Magazine, and a member and the Public Relations officer of Phi Theta Kappa. She also assists with CAPG and Montco Radio.
“You can learn from experiences of tragedy and loss,” Sara says. “We all have a motivator in life – for me, it’s my mom.”
That’s the Sara I know. Had I not had this interview with her, I would have never known she’d experienced such pain and loss. I only see a high-energy, incredibly friendly and wildly talented writer who takes time to tell me that my voice is worth hearing. She has motivated me to become a better writer.
To say she’ll be missed at Montco and The Montgazette is an understatement. But we can’t be selfish; we have to share this amazing person with the people whose lives she’ll affect in the future. If I could meet Sara’s mom, I would thank her for sharing Sara with us.

 

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Sara Wilkerson ~Photo by Justin Patrick Oakes