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Financial Aid Office Closed During Spring Break for 'Extreme Makeover'

March 30, 2012 — 10:02 a.m.

a logo depticting an extreme makeover

The Financial Aid Office will be temporarily closed during Spring Break week to complete an "Extreme Makeover" of the lobby area.

The renovation is part of a series of efforts to enhance the service provided to students by making the office space more functional. The work is also timed to coincide with the start of spring break to minimize the service interruption.

Students in need Financial Aid services can still visit the office. The Main Entrance will be closed while work is being done; however, signs will direct you to the back door where staff will be available to assist. A limited staff will be available for urgent needs on Monday, while permanent financial aid staff will participate in an all-day training.

The work is expected to be completed by the end of Spring Break, when normal office hours will resume.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Third Annual 'Hate Crimes Awareness Forum' Set for March 29

March 28, 2012 — 9:05 a.m.

Cypress College is holding its third annual "Hate Crimes Awareness Forum" in the Campus Theater on Thursday, March 29, at 1 p.m. The College's Diversity Committee is sponsoring this event, with support from the English Department, Campus Safety, and student clubs such as: Culturas Unidas; Club Ladies Empowered and Determined (L.E.A.D.); and the Support Club. Dr. Michael Kasler will be the introductory speaker.

Randa Wahbe, English Department Coordinator, and Virgil Adams, Human Services instructor, are the coordinators of the "Hate Crimes Awareness Forum."

"There are a lot of reasons why students and the community should attend this forum," Wahbe said. "It's so they can be aware of how to recognize hate crimes, know what to do, and where support is available."

Wahbe emphasized that people need to know what constitutes a "hate crime" and the steps to take in order to prevent them. The forum will include this information, and statistics for hate crimes on school campuses across the nation.

According to Wahbe, a hate crime can be a criminal threat or act of violence against an individual or group. It can also be hateful language or actions directed toward individuals or groups"especially women.

"We need to be consistent to share the message with students and the community in providing information about hate crimes " to make people become aware of wrongful or hateful behavior," she said.

The "Hate Crimes Awareness Forum" will be facilitated by the O.C. Human Relations Commission in collaboration with other organizations, including: the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Community Service Programs (CSP); and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The O.C. Human Relations Commission was founded in 1971 by the Board of Supervisors and the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities. Its mission is to: deal with intergroup tensions; to foster mutual understanding among all residents of Orange County; to promote measures to eliminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against any individual or group.

ADL has long been in the forefront of national and state efforts to deter and counteract hate-motivated criminal activity. It proposes that all Americans have a stake in an effective response to violent bigotry. Hate crimes demand a priority response because of the emotional and psychological impact on the victim and the victim's community " damages that can"t be measured solely in physical injury or dollars and cents. The ADL has drafted model legislation to deal with hate crimes.

NCCJ, which was founded in 1927, is dedicated to bringing diverse people together to address interfaith divisions and issues of social justice including race, class, gender equity, sexual orientation and the rights of people with different abilities.

CAIR is a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group dedicated to providing an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public. It was created, in part, to be an "organization that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims."

Cypress College is committed to maintaining an environment that promotes diversity and the rights of all on campus. Wahbe added that the College also has an educational role to play. "Higher learning should be more evolved on how to interact with each other and in defending individual rights."

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Victoria Castle Named Cypress College Teacher of the Year

March 27, 2012 — 4:48 p.m.

Watch Victoria Castle learn that she has been named Cypress College's Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012. The geology professor was notified of the honor during a class session on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

Geology Professor Victoria Castle is Cypress College's Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012. She learned of the honor today when she was surprised in her classroom by representatives from the Associated Students, her dean, and colleagues.

"Professor Castle makes learning fun and hands on," wrote the Cypress College student who nominated her for the award. "She is always willing to help her students succeed."

Student Kyle Holmberg, who presented the award to Castle on behalf of the Associated Students, also observed her in class as part of the evaluation process for the honor.

"It felt like a privilege to learn in her class," he wrote, adding that she was "demonstrative, planned, paced and (delivered an) interesting lecture."

For her part, Castle was visibly moved by learning of the honor. "Wow. Wow. Wow.," she said. "I'm shaking -- and I don't shake, even during earthquakes. I've been here 12 years, and this is probably one of the biggest accomplishments of my life."

Castle was selected from a group of nominated instructors on campus for this honor. The first phase was the submission of nominations by students, staff, administration, and/or alumni. A committee comprised of students, faculty, and administration selected Castle, following the classroom-observation phase.

This year's committee members are: students Holmberg and Jung A. Choi; Academic Senate representatives John Payne and Mark Majarian; and Administration representative Richard Fee.

With her selection, Castle now becomes a nominee for the Orange County Teacher of the Year Award, which could result in a $15,000 stipend. The Orange County Teacher of the Year award is sponsored by the James Hines Foundation and the O.C. Department of Education.

Castle began her teaching career at Cypress College as an adjunct instructor in 1999, became a full-time instructor in 2001, and earned tenure in 2005.

Prior to her position at Cypress College, she worked for more than 12 years as a geotechnical/environmental geologist and as an instructor at the middle school, high school and university levels. As a geologist, she has supervised and participated in structural, fault and landslide investigations as well as oversight of trenching and drilling operations. She has served as a project manager in a consulting capacity to numerous environmentally related projects for the counties of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino and for numerous state and local regulatory agencies including the federal Environmental Protection Agency in Boston.

Castle has published several geotechnical and environmentally related papers and has served as a technical expert and speaker at numerous nationally acclaimed professional seminars.

She received her bachelor's degree in geology from California State University, Los Angeles and her master's in business administration from Pepperdine University.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Suspect Arrested for Videotaping a Victim in a Campus Bathroom Stall; Cypress Police Department Asking for Anyone with Information to Come Forward

March 22, 2012 — 11:06 a.m.

The Cypress Police Department arrested a Cypress College student, Johnny Nguyen, late Tuesday on a charge of videotaping another person with a cell phone in a men's bathroom located in the college's Business Building. According to police, the victim called 911 when he realized he was being videotaped, and then detained the suspect in a neighboring stall until police arrived moments later. No one was injured in the incident.

According to Cypress Police Detective Sergeant Robert Cote, the suspect further admitted to officers that he had committed the same crime 15 additional times over the past 12 months. All of the alleged incidents occurred at Cypress College in various men's restrooms. Nguyen was arrested on a single misdemeanor count, pending further investigation.

The Cypress Police Department is asking anyone who has information on this crime, or believes they could be a victim, to contact detectives at (714) 229-6631.

This incident is believed to be unconnected with a similar videotaping incident in a Cypress College Humanities Building women's restroom that occurred on February 13, 2012. Police are also seeking information in that case.

Cypress College believes that the suspect was caught due to quick and responsive action by the victim, Campus Safety and the Cypress Police Department. The College also encourages all individuals to program Campus Safety's number into their mobile phone: (714) 484-7387. As a reminder, any suspicious activity should be reported to Campus Safety and/or Cypress Police immediately. Additionally, students are reminded to walk in groups, utilize escorts provided by Campus Safety, and to yell for help if necessary.

Attached: Cypress Police Department Press Release

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Kiel Johnson Movie Made with Cypress College Students to Make World Premier at LA FILM + MUSIC Festival

March 20, 2012 — 9:43 a.m.

"CYPRESS VALLEY HIGH," a short film made in collaboration with Cypress College students during a master workshop with artist in residence Kiel Johnson last year, will make its world premier at the LA FILM + MUSIC WEEKEND 2012 this weekend.

The short film will be screened on Sunday, March 25, at 2:40 p.m. The showing will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Johnson and director Terrence Lee.

From the LA FILM + MUSIC page about "Cypress Valley High":

Created as a collaboration between Roger TV, Kiel Johnson and Cypress College, "Cypress Valley High" is a creative short film that explores the creative possibilities of bringing cardboard robots to life. An obvious result of a generation that grew up watching now classic films such as 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science, the film is sure to appeal to a vast audience while displaying the obvious talents and capabilities of all parties involved.

High school sweethearts, prom night and cardboard robots how much better could it get? Opening with one nervous young bot who is meeting his dates parents for the first time, you would think that this is going to be a standard robot prom. However, when someone spikes the punch and the DJ takes over, all of these young bots are in for a night they will never forget!

Johnson, an artist known for his work with cardboard, served as an "artist in residence" at Cypress College during the 2010-2011 academic year. He and faculty worked with students to design cardboard robot costumes, which students then wore to act scenes for the film.

In spring 2011, faculty member Devon Tsuno and Johnson transformed the main lobby of the Fine Arts Building into a large — and very visible — studio for an intensive three-day workshop where students created cardboard costumes for the film. "Cypress Valley High" was later filmed in the college Gym, with students wearing the costumes and acting the roles.

A special, and free, screening — along with a Q-and-A — will be held for the Cypress College community in April. Details will be announced when they are formalized.

Here are some related links:

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Spotlight: Connecting Chargers — Cypress College's Music Man, Jim Hormel

March 16, 2012 — 4:35 p.m.

a photograph of faculty member Jim Hormel holding a can of hairspray

Theater Arts faculty member Jim Hormel is directing "Hairspray," which opens tonight for a two-weekend run, in which the Tony Award-winning musical makes its Orange County premiere.

The Theater and Dance Department's production of "Hairspray" opens this evening for a two-weekend engagement that marks the Orange County premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical.

Another first for the production: tickets for the high-energy musical comedy are available for online purchase at

As the curtain goes up on "Hairspray," we at @Cypress Online thought it would be a good time to debut a recurring feature from the @Cypress newsletter: "Spotlight: Connecting Chargers." The feature is a series of "Spotlight Articles" profiling members of the Cypress College campus community.

Here is today's installment, co-authored by Sunny Magdaug, a student intern in the Cypress College Public Information Office, and Patti Kishel, Cypress College Management and Marketing Professor.

If you're looking for Jim Hormel on campus, the best place to look is center stage.

Theater Arts Instructor Jim Hormel, who has been teaching full-time at Cypress College since 2001, is likely to be found directing a musical. Some of the shows Hormel has directed are: "Annie," "A Chorus Line," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Full Monty," and "Into the Woods" by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, Hormel's favorite composer/lyricist.

Currently on Hormel's agenda is the Tony-award-winning show "Hairspray," the "blast-from-the-past" musical with a message.

In addition to directing, Hormel acts and has appeared in numerous musicals on campus and in civic light opera. Among his credits are: "The Music Man," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Oklahoma," and "The Rocky Horror Show."

Hormel has directed and acted in many different venues from the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera and the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts to touring in Europe with the cast of "West Side Story." He's even performed on Holland America Line cruise ships in Alaska.

Hormel, who received his B.A. at University of the Pacific, Stockton, and M.F.A. from the University of California, Irvine, is a strong proponent of student success and is involved in the College's University Transfer Achievement Program (UTAP). He said, "It's been a very interesting process tying my classes to English 60 and counseling." His two favorite classes to teach are: Musical Theater Techniques and Musical Theater Styles.

A self-described "music guy," Hormel says that when it comes to selecting plays to produce, "We support ourselves through the box office so we have to keep that in mind when we pick a play." He emphasized that "we need to bring in the audience."

One thing that Hormel is especially excited and most proud about is "We've brought live music back (rather than recorded). With the help of Dean (Joyce) Carrigan we got the money to do it. Now, we'll have a 13-piece orchestra for 'Hairspray.'"

In his other life off-campus, Hormel takes on another role — as The Eradicator, a superhero, who gets people to stop smoking. Dressed in superhero garb, Hormel speaks at schools and events (, putting his acting ability to good use to help others.

Story by Sunny Magdaug, a student intern in the Cypress College Public Information Office, and Patti Kishel, Cypress College Management and Marketing Professor. This is part of a series of "Spotlight Articles" profiling members of the Cypress College campus community.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Student Trustee Caspellan Speaks About Second Chances, Students' Needs at Americana Awards

March 16, 2012 — 12:46 p.m.

Watch student Jennifer Caspellan address the audience at the 37th Annual Americana Awards.

One of the numerous highlights of last month's Americana Awards was the presentation by Student Trustee Jennifer Caspellan, who spoke about second chances and students' need for assistance.

"We will net over $115,000 — a wonderful outcome," said Raul Alvarez, executive director of the Foundation and Community Relations at Cypress College. "When it's all said and done, I expect our net to be one of the two highest in our 37 years — and this in an economy that, to say the least, is challenging."

The 37th Annual Americana Awards, again sponsored by Union Bank, honored Citizens of the Year from the eight communities in Cypress College's primary service area, as well as Bruno Serato as Man of the Year. Serato, owner of the Anaheim White House restaurant, feeds more than 300 children a day — a total of more than 380,000 free meals to kids living in motels. He was honored late last year as one of 10 CNN Heroes of 2011.

Citizens of the Year are: Paul and Carol Ann Bostwick (Anaheim); Art Brown (Buena Park); Jeanne St. Clair (Cypress); Sandy Thomas (Garden Grove); George and Barbara Mast (La Palma); James and Shirley Bailey (Los Alamitos/Rossmoor); Pastor Donald Shoemaker (Seal Beach); and Andreas Psaras (Stanton).

You can view additional Americana Awards videos on our YouTube channel.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

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