These outdated news releases and advisories are stored here for archival purposes. 


May 19, 2003

College of the Canyons Graduates 786 on May 23

The 2003 graduating class at College of the Canyons will celebrate commencement at 6 p.m. Friday, May 23. Seven-hundred-eighty-six students have applied for graduation and will receive degrees. This is a 4 percent increase over last year. The class is composed of 520 women and 266 men. They will assemble in the central-campus Honor-Grove that has become the traditional site of the graduation ceremony.

This year’s class will receive associate of arts or science degrees reflecting their accomplishments in 47 distinct courses of study. The average age of the class is 26 years down from last year’s 26.4. The youngest graduate is 17, and the eldest graduate is 65.

Fifteen international students representing six countries will receive degrees this year. Forty-one students are graduating from the popular Progressive Adult College Education (PACE) program. The Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSP&S) program will graduate 17, and there are 40 students receiving degrees who participated in the Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) program.

The graduating class grade point average (GPA) is 3.03, nearly identical to last year’s class GPA. Five students are graduating as valedictorians, having posted perfect 4.0 GPAs during their studies at the college. The number of honors graduates (those graduating with a GPA of 3.5 or above) is 154.

Patricia Blair (business major) and Deborah Lynn Roberts (student government president) will be the featured student speakers.

The subject area with the highest number of graduates is general education with 216 graduates. There are 168 social science graduates, and the nursing program will have 65 RN/LVN graduates. Ethnic minorities represent 33.7 percent of the graduating class.

The number of students who achieve enough credits to transfer to four-year colleges and universities, as well as those who have worked toward the completion of certificate programs, will not be available until later in the summer.

Note 1 to Editors: Our youngest graduate is 17. Elizabeth Iliescu is a concurrently enrolled student from Saugus High School. Iliescu will receive her AA degree a week before she graduates from high school! According to her mother Elena, Elizabeth will take two additional courses this summer at COC that will allow her to enter the University of Maryland in the fall as a junior. She will major in theater arts at Maryland. Incidentally, Elizabeth will leave her college graduation ceremony and go directly to Saugus High School where she is playing the role of Sandy in Saugus’ rendition of the rock-musical “Grease” that same night. The family welcomes phone calls from reporters: (661) 297-2163.

Note 2 to Editors: Mayra and Ademi Teran are first-generation college students who are Latina. They are first cousins who live with their respective families in the same household in Newhall. They are often confused as sisters when walking together on campus at COC as they regularly do. They have had to encounter various adversities to achieve their educational goals, among them a recent death in the family. Both will be graduating from COC this Friday, May 23, and they will also participate in the second-annual Bilingual Family Celebration to be held at the COC Cougar Den after commencement ceremonies.

Note 3 to Editors: The graduation ceremony will start at 6 p.m., but seats are expected to fill beginning around 5 p.m. Attendees will be entertained as they wait by the COC Jazz Ensemble, a popular jazz group under the direction of longtime COC music instructor Stewart “Dirk” Fischer.

May 15, 2003

Child-Care and Preschool Programs Offered

It’s safe. It’s convenient. It’s affordable. It’s staffed with professionals, and the kids really enjoy being there. These are the attributes that attract many Santa Clarita Valley parents with young children to the Center for Early Childhood Education, located on the park-like College of the Canyons campus.

The center offers care and education for children 12 months old until they begin kindergarten and follow the College of the Canyons academic calendar.
The center’s normal hours are:

Full Day: 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Half Day: 8:45 to 11:45 a.m., or 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

“I am very proud of the services we offer at the center,” said Cam Valenzuela, site director. “We are a quality program available for your child while you are in school, working or if you feel your child is ready for a pre-school experience. We also have funding for tuition if you qualify.”

Among the mix of programs offered are morning, afternoon and full-day programs with two-, three- and five-day options. The center has immediate openings in the afternoon programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, for fall semester, which begins Aug. 18. Added advantages offered by the College of the Canyons center are small classes with a low teacher/child ratio.

For more information on the toddler program, financial assistance and all of the programs offered at the Family Studies and Early Childhood Education Center, call (661) 362-3541.

INFORMATION: Sue Bozman or John McElwain, (661) 362-3415 or 3494

May 14, 2003

Science Achievement Program Receives $100,000 Hewlett-Packard Grant

The Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program has received an equipment grant worth more than $100,000 from Hewlett-Packard Co. The equipment is a complete HP wireless mobile classroom consisting of 30 wireless notebook computers, an OfficeJet all-in-one color printer/copier/scanner/fax, a digital projector and digital camera, housed in a special motorized cart.

The award is part of HP’s 2003 Community College Pre-Engineering and Computer Science Grant, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students pursuing high-tech careers.

The MESA Program at COC is part of a statewide network of programs that help educationally disadvantaged students majoring in math, engineering and the sciences.

The HP technology will be used to enrich the experience of MESA students in engineering, mathematics and other technical courses at COC. It is hoped that students in the program will go on to become computer engineers and scientists.

“Everyone at MESA is excited about the award,” said Susan Crowther, COC’s MESA program director. “Our students and our faculty advisors are thrilled about how this equipment will enhance the quality of learning experiences for our students.” MESA’s primary goal is to prepare students for university transfer in the science, math and technical fields. Students in the program participate in a variety of rigorous academic activities and support services that include: academic excellence workshops, calculator and book-loan programs, counseling and academic advisement, scholarship assistance, professional development workshops, guest speakers and field trips to universities and industry sites.

HP has a long history of investing in successful programs like MESA that help low-income, minority and first-generation college students achieve academic success and become prepared for transfer to universities as computer science or computer engineering majors.

“We are so pleased that HP offers this program and that the company allows community college programs across the nation to compete for this type of equipment grant,” said Crowther. “It will make a huge difference in the lives and the futures of very deserving students across the state.”

The equipment is scheduled to arrive in late May or early June. The MESA staff will have a chance to experiment with the technology before using it in classes in the fall.

May 14, 2003

Bilingual Celebration to Follow Graduation Ceremony

Immediately following the graduation ceremony at College of the Canyons on May 23, nearly two dozen Hispanic graduates and their families will gather in the college’s Cougar Den for a unique celebration of the graduates’ successes. However, unlike other graduation celebrations that take place in private homes or restaurants, these students will publicly thank their families for the support, understanding and assistance they provided during their time at the college.

“The whole point of this celebration is to underline the importance of family support in education and to put forth the message that you can be successful,” said Christopher Villa, associate dean of student services. “Many of the attendees are the first in their families to complete a college degree, and they are important role models for the Hispanic community.”

The ceremony, conducted in both Spanish and English, “is a very emotional time for the graduates and their families. It is very touching to see heartfelt emotion and real appreciation by students who know their families have sacrificed a great deal in order to provide them a good education,” Villa said.

Now in its second year, the event is funded in part by Wells Fargo Bank. A carne asada dinner preceding the event is made possible by food donations from Vallarta supermarket in Sylmar. A band will provide Spanish/Latin music during the celebration, which runs from 8 to 11 p.m.

May 12, 2003

New, Original Works to Debut During Animation/Film Showcases

New and original works by College of the Canyons students will debut during the annual animation and film showcases. Both events will be held at the college on Saturday, May 24. Admission is free.

The animation showcase, entitled “Animayhem,” is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Room M-318 of the Media & Fine Arts Building.

The film showcase, presented by students in the Radio Television Film Program, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Dining Room of the Student Center.

The popular showcases are held at the end of each academic year to celebrate the work of animation and RTVF students.

May 5, 2003

Student Elected Regional VP of Statewide Education Association

Jaymie Bell-Dean, president of College of the Canyons Future Educator Club, has vaulted to higher elected office by being elected regional vice president of the Student California Teacher Association board.

Bell-Dean is a liberal studies major who plans to be an elementary school teacher after college. “I had awesome teachers in elementary school and at Valencia High School, and that made me want to be a teacher,” Bell-Dean said. “I love the idea of teaching fifth or sixth grade.” She currently works at a local day-care facility as an after-school counselor and will be transferring to Cal State Northridge in the fall.

Bell-Dean has been an active member of SCTA since COC became a charter school affiliate with the statewide organization last year.

She was selected as a voting delegate at the Representative Assembly in San Diego on April 26 and 27, and she also ran for the position of regional vice-president of SCTA. The SCTA board consists of 10 elected members, including two Southern California regional vice-presidents and two Northern California regional vice-presidents.

After declaring her candidacy, the election process consisted of delivering a 2-minute speech before the state delegates and their representatives, followed by two questions selected by the election chair, and a 1-minute response to each question. In her presentations, Bell-Dean shared her goals to increase membership and underlined the importance of time management as both a student and board member.

The SCTA hosts two statewide conferences and two regional conferences for the 2,000 students who are studying to be teachers. One of Bell-Dean’s responsibilities will include co-hosting the regional conference in Southern California. The conferences include leaders from the California Teachers Association, leaders in education and speakers connected to educational issues.

SCTA is the student affiliation of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association Student Program (NEA-SP).
Local chapters provide support with job interviewing skills, resume writing, classroom management, multicultural education and other concerns. Chapters also serve as forums for advising students about the education programs provided at their schools while providing opportunities to network with professional educators.

Student California Teachers Association is the largest student organization in California, with members at more than 70 campuses.