Archive for December, 2016

From the Editor

David Aston
Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

Hopefully, you gave thanks over the break for the many freedoms we have. Among them, the freedom to have an awesome and safe educational experience here at Montgomery County Community College.

With outbursts in many cities across the country for various reasons, it’s nice to know our Campus Safety offi cers and college staff keep working hard to keep us safe. They are the unsung heroes of our unique college community. Do them a favor, walk up to them and give them a genuine thank you.

Let me give thanks as well to all of you, the students of Montco. Whether you’re graduating or transferring or going into the workforce or, better still, coming back to continue your education here, you make this publication worthwhile.

We all face challenges in life. They are what make us think, learn and grow. We are born with the tools to overcome any obstacle and Montco helps you sharpen skills so you can overcome yet greater obstacles.

So if the aftermath of the election or any other personal crisis makes you feel like you can’t go on, our Student Affairs team has a solution I encourage you to take advantage of. The college has crisis counselors available to discuss whatever is disrupting your life. Visit the Student Success Center at either the Central or West Campuses. You can also call to make an appointment. All details are the college’s website at mc3.edu.

In the end, don’t forget to say thank you.

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Sara Wilkerson
Montgazette Staff Writer

Awe-inspiring. Talented. Hilarious. Outspoken. Powerful. These are just a few words to describe critically acclaimed and award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson, who was featured as keynote speaker in Montgomery County Community College’s Eighth Annual Presidential Symposium in November.

Jacqueline Woodson is a prolific writer with over 30 published books that have made her a winner of over 500 literary awards, including the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate and the National Book Award. The book she presented at symposium, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” has won over 30 awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award.

At the start of her speech, Woodson discussed her journey into becoming a writer. Her interest in writing stemmed largely from her interest in reading at a young age. She said that as a child she read slowly, slower than most kids in her class, and repeatedly read the same books to understand how the authors made her feel while reading. Similarly, Woodson advises readers read her books slowly. “I took a long time to write these books. Don’t read them fast!” she said.

When she started writing “Brown Girl Dreaming,” Woodson recalled the story of how she started writing her free verse memoir. She said she was inspired to recount the memories of her childhood after the passing of her mother. Everyone in her family helped with retracing memories of their family’s past. Despite the challenge of traveling between Ohio and South Carolina to speak with family members, Woodson profusely thanked her family for their encouragement.

After reading excerpts from “Brown Girl Dreaming,” including her favorite poem titled “Tobacco,” Woodson answered questions from audience members. When asked about what lasting impression that she wanted to leave on her readers after they read “Brown Girl Dreaming,” she replied, “I would love to inspire them to tell their own stories.”

To find out more information about Jacqueline Woodson, her latest works and her awards, visit her website at jacquelinewoodson.com.



Photo by Sandi Yanisko: Woodson takes questions during the symposium about her book and how she was inspired to become a writer.



Photo by Sandi Yanisko: Award-winning Author, Jacqueline Woodson, reads an excerpt from “Brown Girl Dreaming” to attendees of the Eighth Annual MCCC Presidential Symposium.



Photo by Sandi Yanisko: Woodson smiles as she autographs a copy of “Brown Girl Dreaming” after the Presidential Symposium.




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Anthony Aquino, Jr.
Montgazette Contributing Writer

At the start of the semester, many students may recall that pipe bombs were found at New Jersey Transit’s Elizabeth Station. A bomb-disarming robot was the only reported casualty thanks to an anonymous tip. Authorities have since arrested the man responsible.  The incident caused me to reflect on local safety concerns here at the college and beyond.

Nearly a month after the incident, I boarded a train passing through Elizabeth to gather opinions on public transportation security.

I started at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. My frustration began when authorities refused to give personal opinions on the matter. They did, however, refer me to a website with “answers to all my questions”.

My next stop was Trenton Transit Center, where I was unable to record an authority’s opinion, yet again, due to “protocol.”

My final stop was Penn Station in New York. There, the officers stated that they were not allowed to give personal opinions or reveal new security measures taken since the pipe bombs had been found.

Although many officers told me that they wished they could help with my story, their unified silence speaks volumes for the quality of security provided for commuters.

I talked to some commuters like Dan Caster, a retired engineer, who was on his way back to Delaware after accompanying a friend to the airport. Speaking on behalf of the occasional traveler, he said, “I still feel safe because there are so few instances compared to the number of people that travel. The bomb-sniffing dogs I’ve seen at the larger train stations make me feel safer too.”

Julie Drago, a student at New York University, travels frequently via public transportation doesn’t think that a police presence is enough. “I feel relatively safe, but I feel as if there should be more encouragement to speak up if something or someone seems out of place. Not only should there be more encouragement, but it should be easier to do so.”

Essentially, events like what happened at Elizabeth Train Station appear to have heightened a public awareness of terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security’s campaign, “See Something, Say Something,” could have stopped an attack at Elizabeth along with attacks in the future.

Montco’s Director of Campus Safety, Joe McGuriman, noted students should feel safe on campus because, “The College Public Safety Department consists of well -trained security officers, some of whom have a lifetime of police experience.”

However, McGuriman encourages students to say something as well. “Students should report threats that they hear or see on social media. Students should make use of, and encourage friends to make use of, College Counseling services or the Student Support and Referral Team if they are in crisis or in need of mental health assistance. Students should report all criminal activity they see or know about to Public Safety or the police.”

If you spot an  emergency on campus, call 911 then dial 6666 from a college phone or inform college staff or a campus safety officer.



Photo by Anthony Aquino, Jr.: New York University student, Julie Drago, stands in a New York terminal as she waits to continue her journey.


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Craig Wilson
Montgazette Contributing Writer

A skatepark in memory of police officer Daniel T. Kellett opened in King of Prussia in October. The Daniel T. Kellett Memorial Skate Park is the first of its kind in the suburban Philadelphia town.

The skatepark was developed because skaters in the King of Prussia community were being chased out of their favorite skate spots. Upper Merion Township, the government of the King of Prussia area, searched for a way to have skaters have a clean, safe place to skate.

Honoring Kellett, a former Upper Merion High School student council vice president and Willistown Township Police Officer, was the solution. Kellett, who received a congressional medal of valor for saving a man from a burning car, was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way home from a charity event in 1990.

Skaters wanted the park to be useable not just for skateboards but roller blades, BMX bikes and scooters. This caused a problem for the designers when the building started. The skatepark took years to design but in the end, the terrain was made to fit any type of wheel and the ramps are rated to take plenty of beatings from heaving bikes. All of the features were engineered to withstand the harsh winters and warm summers in the area.

Matt Bickerdyke, a local skater and Upper Merion High School graduate, said that the skatepark was a dream come true for an aspiring skater. “Before, I had nowhere safe to ride. I was always getting yelled at by the police [to leave] the different skate spots my friends and I called our spots.”

The Kellett family said that having a place for teenagers to hang out is something Daniel Kellett always dreamed of. It’s even more fitting that the new skatepark is located next to the township and police buildings.

Matt and other skaters are happy now that they have a place to skate. “It is a bit ironic that the…people [who] were chasing us out of our spots are now welcoming us to ride next to them.”

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Yarith Bendezu-Mesinas
Montgazette Contributing Writer

Mary Beth Parkinson is an Information Literacy Librarian in the library at Montgomery County Community College. Her job is to help students find information using the internet and the library. She also answers questions at the reference desk and teaches some classes.

Mary Beth loves working with students. In fact, giving support to the students is the best part of her job. She works with traditional and nontraditional students to help in their requests.

She starts her morning at 9:00 A.M. Her typical day includes checking email to be updated, working at the reference desk, teaching some classes and attending meetings. To prepare herself for teaching, she reads articles about libraries and learns good teaching methods.

Mary Beth says that if you enjoy technology, you like searching for information on the computer and if you like helping people, this is a good job for you. You will need a master’s degree in Library Science, but you can have a 4-year degree in almost anything.

Mary Beth knows it is important to help students and support them in their success.


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Brad Sacchetti
Montgazette Contributing Writer

Have you ever wanted to be able to play your music in front of a live audience? At Montgomery County Community College there is a vibrant and diverse music scene that has many classes, clubs and activities to make that dream a reality. One of the activities students can do to help bring their music to the masses is an on campus event that is held twice a week called Live Music Mondays and Wednesdays.

During those two days, students from Associate Music Professor, Michael Kelly’s songwriting class set up their instruments in the main lobby of the Advanced Technology Center. They perform for anyone who wants to listen from 12:20 pm to 1:20 pm.

Montco’s Senior Producer and Technical Services Director, Matt Porter, laid out the schedule.  “Music Monday tends to be all Jazz music, smooth sounds to get you into the week.”

While Monday seemed to be catered more toward relaxing the students, Wednesday appears to be more of a mixed bag of genres. “We always try to focus on the talent of our Montco students and give them that opportunity to perform, as well as give the students who want to be able to produce those events the opportunity to do so. So it really is a diverse amount of music that you can get every Wednesday,” Porter added.

Michael Kelly talked about out how his song writing class helps impact Live Music Mondays and Wednesdays. “What students learn in my song writing class is that we learn about musical form, what goes into a song itself to make it interesting to the listener. On Wednesday, the song writing class has a few song writing projects that they do in collaboration together. They’re rehearsing now and on Music Wednesdays, they perform those songs publicly.”

In the preparation for Live Music Wednesdays, five students huddled around a computer and began to record a song. The group was recording music so that they would be able to perform it live in front of Montco students on any given Wednesday.

For any student who dreams of playing music in front of a crowd, Live Music Mondays and Wednesdays is the venue for you. To find out how you can become more involved with performing live music, contact Michael Kelly at mkelly@mc3.edu for more details.



Photo by Brad Sacchetti: MCCC professor Michael Kelly performing in a jazz duo on a Live Music Day.



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Jack Wisniewski
Montgazette Contributing Writer

A student club favorite of many students and faculty at Montgomery County Community College  is Montco Radio, featuring music and talk shows produced and hosted by the students. The club offers a great opportunity to gain media and communication experience by hosting your own show, and one student is taking full advantage of the opportunity. The man behind “Let There be Rock Radio” which airs Fridays from 1-3 P.M. is Brad Sacchetti, also known as DJ B-Rad.

His show features rock music genres from the 80’s and 90’s, as well as different kinds of hard and classic rock. During his show, he addresses the recent and hot news in Rock and Roll along with great songs for a truly enjoyable 2 hours. Brad tries to make every listener’s day better any way he can and to inspire them with a healthy dose of good music.

After being diagnosed with Leukemia, a potentially dangerous form of cancer, Brad turned to music as it helped him get through all the tough times. Artists such as Roger Daughtry, Dave Grohl and the members of his favorite band Metallica continue to inspire him, and Brad as DJ B-Rad aims to inspire others as well. One of Brad’s favorite moments was when he met Roger Daughtry during the rough times of his treatments.

DJ B-Rad puts a full effort into every show he does. “[I’m] always looking forward to doing the show.”  He also feels very proud of his show and that he has achieved the goal of having fun and sharing the music with the Montco Campus and beyond. He wants to spread the positive impact music has had on his life to others.

Brad works hard at his show to learn as much as he can during his time at Montco. He plans to pursue a career in radio and sound recording which goes along with his major in communications.

Anyone can tune into Brad’s Show live each Friday through Montco Radio’s montcoradio.com or stream it through the Tune-In app for most smartphones.


Photo courtesy of Brad Sacchetti: DJ “B-Rad” Brad Sacchetti sits on the famous “throne” of Foo Fighter Lead Singer, Dave Grohl. The chair was used by Grohl when he broke his leg while on tour.

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David Aston
Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

My 20-year-old sister who has Down Syndrome asked me just after this year’s historic American presidential election, “Is everything okay at community college?” After choking back tears as I looked at her troubled face, I meekly answered, “Yes.” And because I attend Montgomery County Community College, the answer was genuine.

Her child-like question came from watching the angry and sometimes violent protests that resulted from New York businessman Donald Trump’s presidential win. Many of those protests occurred on or near college campuses.

Demonstrations in Oakland, CA and Portland, OR, places where Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton won by large percentages, turned violent. These actions as Tony Maalouf, a Political Science instructor at Montco, said, “[Were] expected out of Donald Trump supporters if he lost. Instead, we’re seeing it from Trump opponents.”

None of this outrageous activity has yet to happen on Montco’s campuses. It’s not likely to happen, either. The college’s Student Code of Conduct is perfectly clear. “[Students] shall not interfere with or disrupt the orderly educational processes of Montgomery County Community College.”

Montco, however, adds one extra crucial step. “Students are expected to treat all members of the College community with dignity, respect, fairness and civility and to behave in a responsible manner at all times both in and outside of the classroom.”

This is a critical addition to any student code of conduct. Rather than just caring about what happens on campus, students are encouraged and empowered to emulate this behavior everywhere. Unlike Montco, many of the major universities in the areas of the more disruptive protests have Student Codes of Conduct that don’t encourage civil or respectful behavior in the surrounding community. One particularly famous California university’s Code governs a student’s conduct only at events and locations funded by the university.

Respect for all opinions both on campus and off is essential not just for being good people but for becoming the world’s next generation of nurses, doctors, engineers, musicians, police or any other profession, including, say, President of the United States. Aside from a lack of respect and civility, many seem to ignore how historic this election was.

Not since Wendell Wilkie opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 has a major party candidate without previous political or military experience run for, much less won, the highest office in our country. Although there have been many hotly contested presidential elections and anger-filled demonstrations in their wake, something’s different this time around. It isn’t just some people’s need to polarize or that others are feeling like their votes were “stolen” by a “rigged system” that makes it feel different.

Professor Maalouf found a difference for me. “His win is remarkable in part because this was Donald Trump’s first and only campaign. We all underestimated him.”

We also seem to have underestimated the lack of respect some are willing to show just because events didn’t go their way. College students should never underestimate their power for influence. After all, their behavior is influencing my sister’s very impressionable mind. I think it’s high time we take Professor Maalouf’s advice that President-Elect Trump took and tell the disruptive protestors, “Guys, knock it off.”

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The campus-wide poetry contest in conjunction with the Symposium and on the topic, “The Stories I Tell,” was a great success with some 60 poems submitted for consideration. Ms. Woodson offered her critique and encouragement of the poets.

Thank you to all of you who participated, thank you to our great faculty review panel for their hard work, and good luck and be encouraged to all contestants!


Photo by Sandi Yanisko: The winners of the “The Stories I Tell” poetry contest take a moment to be photographed with Jacqueline Woodson, whose memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming” inspired the theme of the competition. Left to right: Mikayla Stone, Brittany L. Delaware, Savan DePaul, Jacqueline Woodson, Justin Patrick Oakes, and Jana Nogowski.

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Mikayla Stone
Poetry Contest Winner

You talk White…Why do you say it like that?
You’re such an Oreo they say to me…
Penguin, Cookies and Cream, Not Black enough That’s what they call me.

But the truth is, I am adopted, adopted by parents who care
By White parents who will always be there.
And no I wasn’t taken away cuz my birth parents didn’t love me… It’s just that
They were struggling to the highest degree.

Being adopted is hard
Every time you blow out
The candles on your birthday cake, you sit there thinking, wondering, wow,
was I a mistake?
There must be a reason for my birth, a reason for my placement on this Earth.
But it’s hard to find when you’re wandering blind
Never knowing, never showing, always pushing away and wondering why you couldn’t stay

I know I should be happy for what I have been given
A great family, opportunities, a gorgeous house to live in…
But I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in my room
Searching my mind for something to remember her by, a certain smile,
phrase, scent, glint in her eye.
And almost always I want to cry because I feel alone.

Not knowing who to be
What music to play
What words to say
What movies to see
What culture for me?
What am I?
Whatmakesme, me?
But again, my birth parents were struggling to the highest degree.
Do I want to meet them?
Do they want to meet me?

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