Taft College Transition to Independent Living Program representatives offered tours of their facilities on Friday, October 24. The tours started with general information given to the attendees in one of the classrooms by Susan Wells and John Dodson who explained the components of the program and details such as eligibility and procedures to apply.
The TIL Program is for adults that have developmental or intellectual disabilities. The students receive instruction in many areas including functional, social, and career skills they will need to live on their own. The program’s freshmen live in the dorms on campus and then transition to off campus housing their sophomore year.
After completing the program, students are helped to find their own living accommodations and employment to be as self-supporting as possible. Some may be fully self-supporting while others may need more help. The students have classes that cover everything from how to manage finances to how to cook to how to take public transportation with the goal being lifelong independence.
Participants in the tour included educational professionals who attended to understand if some of their students or clients might be a good fit in the TC program. Vicky Waugh took the participants on a tour of the TIL facilities that included a visit to a typical dorm room, the laundry room, day room, and cooking area all the while answering questions from the attendees.
Ricardo Cornejo, Vicky Waugh, Mark Schweer, and Michelle Mills on the tour
Two attendees, Michelle Mills, program specialist, and Mark Schweer, psychologist, both from Stockdale High, were very impressed with the facility. Schweer stated, “I could live in this dorm room,” commenting on the livability of the housing.
San Andreas Regional Center Service Coordinator Ricardo Cornejo said, “This might be the right next step for some of my clients.” Cornejo was also pleasantly surprised with winning one of the welcome raffle prizes.
Ricardo Cornejo accepting his prize from Vicky Waugh
Anyone interested in finding out more information on the program, can find it online on the TC website or simply contact TIL.
Usually runway shows are accompanied by your tall, slim, pretty, young ladies in high heels. But Taft College was not hosting the typical runway show; this was a runway show with a twist.
The models were males athletes disguised in women’s clothing and makeup. The purpose behind the six models strutting up and down the courtyard last Wednesday was to promote breast cancer awareness. The whole week was dedicated to helping spread awareness about breast cancer.
Despite losing their dignity and opening themselves up for blackmail and harassment from their peers, the six brave men did a great job spreading the message. While doing the catwalk, the boys carried signs that displayed facts about breast cancer. The purpose was not to humiliate them but to spread the word about a potentially life threatening disease that has taking so many lives across the globe.
Even though there were a lot of laughs, the models were still being judged by a panel of runway experts. The models went through three tests to become the “Miss Taft College.” First they were judged on their runway skills, then they participated in a choreographed dance, and finally were quizzed on their knowledge about breast cancer.
In the end the judges could not decide on one true winner because, of course, the competition was that great. There was a two way tie between Christina and Abigail. The tie breaker was a 15 second dance off that resulted in a landslide win for Christina.
Christina “Miss Taft College 2016”
Adriana trying to win over the judges with a smile
Abigail seductively tying her shoes?
Madeline trying to provoke the crowd
Tyra blowing kisses hoping to get the judges hearts
The crowd getting their laughs in and ready to blackmail their friends
Things were beginning to heat up on Saturday afternoon at the Bakersfield Business Conference, and it was not the warm weather. Stan Statham was appointed narrator for the highly anticipated debate between political consultant James Carville and conservative commentator Anne Coulter.
The purpose of the debate was for both opposing parties to validate their support for presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Mr. Statham began the debate by expressing his discouragement towards Carville and Coulter for “supporting two lousy presidential candidates,” as he put it.
For his opening statement, Carville began by “thanking the democrats for coming out, all ten of them” as he was aware that a majority of the audience favored consercative views. Ms. Coulter thanked everyone for “making it out to the debate” and without hesitation, the audience erupted with applause before she could continue speaking.
Mr. Carville, dubbed the ‘Ragin Cajun,’ stood his ground against the intense Bakersfield crowd hurling insults for supporting Hilary Clinton. Ms. Coulter spoke about Donald Trump’s characteristics and confidently disregarded statements that the media has made about Trump’s behavior saying that “the media jumps at every opportunity to bring down Donald Trump, and that the claims made against him mistreating women was ludicrous”. He statement was met with cheers and whistles.
The debate was short lived and concluded thankfully without either participant causing damage to each other. Overall, Anne Coulter and James Carville provided a fantastic display of entertainment with their support of the presidential candidates. The debate between Ann Coulter and James Carville also gave an insight of what to expect out of the two candidates running for the United States presidency.
Carville looking gangster with his snow cone belt.
Taft College celebrated its seventh annual Cougar Alumni and Friends Cookout on Thursday, Oct. 13, in the TC quad. Military veterans were honored at the event, and Dr. David Cothrun, former West Kern Community College District superintendent/president, was presented with this year’s Community Spirit Award.
The evening began with live music played by the country bluegrass band The Nightlife Band while guests, which included Taft College faculty, alumni, students, and veterans, arrived and mingled. As a way to honor those who have served in the military, veterans were given two complimentary tickets and enjoyed the catering from Flaco’s BBQ for free.
The Nightlife Band
Among the veterans was Earl Denver, the grandfather of TC student Kayla Meyer. Denver enlisted in the Navy at age 18 and served from 1965-1969 as an aviation machinist and jet engine mechanic. “I don’t regret [the experience]. I think every young man and woman should experience it,” he said.
(Left to right) Brenda Cranmer with her husband, Navy veteran Ed Cranmer and his friend Pat Decant, also a military veteran.
Bill Sullivan, a World War II Navy veteran who served in the South Pacific Islands, China, and Japan, was also in attendance. “I was looking for adventure, and I got it . . . but in a rough way. I saw a lot of fighting,” he said of his service. “There were a lot of rough times and a lot of good times.”
Bill Sullivan, World War II Navy veteran
After the emcee of the night Sheri Hornbunk, the Director of the Taft College Foundation, opened the event, the veterans were further recognized and honored. Taft College student Luz Lopez then proceeded to sing the National Anthem, followed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7216 Color Guard’s march across the amphitheater in the quad.
Members of the VFW Post 7216 Color Guard
VFW defines itself as “a non-profit veterans service organization” that aims to “ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.”
A representative of Synagro, “the country’s preeminent provider of biosolids and residuals solutions services,” then gave a brief presentation and presented the TC Foundation with a donation of $25,000 to be used for academic programs.
Synagro presenting members of the Taft College Foundation with a donation.
The latter half of the event was in honor of Cothrun and presenting him with the Community Spirit Award. Cothrun’s presidency ran from 1980-2000, making him the longest serving president in Taft College’s history.
He was honored for his success in directing several programs that are still thriving at TC, including WESTEC, the Children’s Center, the Dental Hygiene Program, the Transition to Independent Living Program, and the TC Foundation.
Cothrun is originally from Arizona but has firmly planted his roots in Taft which has been his home ever since he moved here to pursue the superintendent/president position. As a member of the TC Foundation Board of Directors, a 36-year participant in the Rotary Club, and the vice president of the Taft Historical Fort, he continues to serve Taft College and the community.
Several of Cothrun’s friends among the TC faculty at the event proudly took the mic and gave speeches in reminiscence of their experience with him and in recognition of the great impact he has had on the school.
“This community has 481 dental hygienist graduates to thank you for the program,” said Stacy Eastman, Director of the TC Dental Hygiene Program, attesting to the influence Cothrun had on the success of the dental hygiene program at TC. “It was your vision that made this all happen.”
Larry Peahl, a retired TC faculty member and administrator, said, “No one is quite like him.”
“He’s always been a people-person . . . . He was an idea guy. He was a decision maker,” Don Zumbro said in regard to Cothrun’s creativity and leadership.
TC superintendent/president Dr. Deborah Daniels agreed, stating, “He has been an innovator all his life.”
A special video message about Cothrun was also played. The message featured Bob Hampton who was unable to attend the event. In his acceptance speech, Cothrun reminded the crowd, “I have to tell you that there should be 150 other people up here with me because it is the community that made this happen.”
To conclude the ceremony, a video interview with Cothrun was shown in which he fondly reflected on his career at Taft College, the hardships he faced, and the successes he accomplished. He left the crowd with his motto, the words that he said kept him going and that he credits with still helping him persevere: “Every day is an adventure.”
Flaco’s BBQ and the TC baseball team serving food.
Attendees waiting for dinner and listening to music
Captain Richard Phillips was the special guest speaker at the Bakersfield Business Conference. He began by thanking everyone in attendance and the United States military for saving him from his captors. Captain Philips then spoke about that events that resulted in his capture by Somali pirates. In April 2009, Captain Philips and his crew embarked on a voyage to deliver cargo to Mombasa, Kenya. On April 8, the pirate alarm sounded, Captain Philips and the crew of the MV Maersk Alabama attempted to avert the pirates; despite their valiant efforts the ship was boarded and the crew now found themselves in a dire situation.
Chief Engineer Mike Perry was able to elude capture by separating himself from the crew. Perry successfully made his way into the engine room; by disabling the power to the ship, he created a blackout and used the darkness to his advantage. This tactic benefitted Perry since he was able to aprehend ring leader Abduwali Muse.Unfortunately, Captain Phillips along with other crew members were taken hostage by the Somali pirates. To Perry’s advantage, he was now going to use Abduwali Muse as an exchange for Captain Philips return.
Despite negotiations with the pirates, the deal was not honored during the exchange for Phillips. Philips lead the pirates to a lifeboat in hopes that they would use the vessel to leave the ship and its crew members alone. What Philips failed to realize was that the pirates would keep him as their hostage; these actions dispatched the USS Bainbridge and Halyburton to where Captain Philips was being held.
The standoff began on April 9 and ended on April 12 when U.S. Navy SEAL marksmen opened fire from the Bainbridge’s fantail killing 3 of the pirates. Captain Philips and his crew were rescued and received medical attention from navy doctors.
A tale of terror and heroism gave Philips the strength to carry on with his life, and on October 8, 2016, he made a special appearance at the Bakersfield Business Conference. Philips began by telling his story about that fateful day off the Somali coast, and that he will be forever grateful to the U.S. Navy for their rescue.
Philips showing emotion during his speech about the hostage situation
All week, from 0Ct. 10-14 TC’s volleyball team had 3 information tables set up around campus from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Each table was set up with pink bracelets, drink cozy’s, pins that donators got to walk away with. There was also information about Cancer and how your donation can help.
Items donators got to choose from
This year all proceeds were donated to the women here at TC that have cancer. Every dollar students/faculty members donated they received raffle tickets.
TC student donating
On Friday (Oct. 14) the raffle tickets were called out during the volleyball game. Even if you weren’t able to make it to the game Friday night, if your ticket was called you still were able to receive your prize.
Update from Kanoe Bandy:
Taft College Family-
I would like to sincerely thank our Taft College family for your donations and participation in the Breast Cancer Awareness Week activities. We raised $2,250 that will be shared with those folks that need it the most.
Please continue to spread the word that “Early Detection is the Best Protection.”
Author and restaurant owner Lu Chi Fa returned for his 11th visit to Taft College. Professor Kamala Carlson and her Intermediate Reading class invited students and faculty to spend an hour with Lu Chi Fa listening to his inspiring life story of the struggles he faced while coming to America.
Lu Chi Fa welcomed everyone in the Cougar Room and extended his hospitality by and bringing pot stickers and egg rolls. As the room settled down, Lu Chi Fa began speaking about the theme of his book and how it is a reflection of the difficulties he endured. From heartbreak to triumph, Lu Chi Fa’s story is a reminder that not all stories with the pursuit of happiness are easy journeys.
At the age of 5, Lu Chi Fa was living in extreme poverty. The parents of Lu Chi Fa had no choice but to sell him off to a communist village chief for two bags of rice. While living with the communist chief, his wife would abuse Lu Chi Fa by starving and beating him. During a communist holiday, there is a tradition of cakes being laid out and not eaten out of respect. Lu Chi Fa ate a couple of cakes, but the chief’s wife noticed and began beating him. The moment the chief got home, the wife informed him of Lu Chi Fa’s actions; he lifted Lu Chi Fa by his ponytail. “The neighbors heard my cries for the chief to put me down and they intervened,” Lu Chi Fa said.
The next journey for Lu Chi Fa took him out of the communist chief’s house and put him on a train to Shanghai. The journey itself was not an easy one as he was instructed not to speak to anyone because the Shanghai district had multiple dialicts. The reason for the lack of interaction is because there have been reports of police arresting citizens attempting to flee the communist reign of terror.
Lu Chi Fa arrived to Shanghai and met up with another similar group attempting to flee the country. “There were 14 adults and 2 children,” Lu Chi Fa said. The group was led by a husband and wife; their job was to ensure that the group made to a boat. The journey was a success but almost ended tragically when a communist machine gun opened fire on the group. Thankfully, nobody was injured during the confrontation.
Unfortunately, Lu Chi Fa was forced to beg at the refugee camp because his brother and his family demanded that Lu Chi Fa contribute. Although he was told not to be outspoken, Lu Chi Fa managed to learn additional dialects; he said,”I switched dialects for 4 years and it helped me get more money from people.” At the age of 12, Lu Chi Fa finally left China and made his way to the Philippines where he would come into contact with Americans. He found a fascination towards Americans while he worked in the Philippines and appreciated their hospitality.
At the age of 26, Lu Chi Fa took the next step in his life and went to Honolulu under a 38 day travel visa. Lu Chi Fa wasted no time on embarking on his new journey towards an American citizenship. One year after his arrival, he acquired his green card and then 10 years later Lu Chi Fa became a U.S. citizen. Lu Chi Fa’s story was published and recounts the events that occurred during the plight of his younger years. Double Luck is the name of his book, and Lu Chi Fa has sold about 30,000 copies, he says the satisfaction he gets from his book is “donating his earnings to scholarships and libraries’.”
“Life is good, life is very good in America” Lu Chi Fa said in his closing statement. He thanked everyone for coming to his visit and began signing books. He posed for pictures and expressed his gratitude. Overall, Lu Chi Fa’s visit is a reminder to everyone that no matter what difficulties one is faced with, giving up should never be an option. From the tales of an orphan, to a successful business owner Lu Chi Fa is the epitome of what the American dream is.
Taft College Board of Trustees Kal Vaughn, Secretary, Emmanuel Campos, Micheal Long, Billy White, President, Dr. Debra S. Daniels, Superintendent/President of Taft College, and Dawn Cole.
Artist rendering of new Student Center
By Mark O’Connor
As the new school year comes around so do new students, new teachers, new administration, and even new buildings. Although this project is not supposed to be finished until 2018 the construction of the new student center is underway.
In about two years time there will be a new building for Taft College students to take advantage of. The new building will be The Student Center. According to Brock McMurray, the executive vice president of administrative services, the student center will be The Student Union, a cafeteria, a bookstore, and a lounging area where students will be able to relax after long hours of study or even be able to get in long hours of study.
The demolition process of the recently abandoned P Dorms began last Monday in order to make way for the new structure at Taft College. Actual destruction began approximately six weeks ago, where workers stripped the buildings inside out piece by piece.
Housley Demolition Company brought out the big guns and sliced through the old dorms like a stick of butter.
The new Student Center will be the most recent building added to Taft College since the ETech building that opened up last year.
Library technicians Mary Decker (left) and Miranda Tofte (right) in front of the display
The Taft College library is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their newest display which features information and books relating to cancer as well as a special wall of honor to recognize those who have survived cancer and those who have lost their lives to the disease. The library’s focus for the display is to raise awareness about all types of cancer with a main emphasis on breast cancer.
Books on display
Handouts and pamphlets on breast cancer
Though the books surrounding the bottom of the display all pertain to cancer, they are diverse in genre and offer many different approaches and insights for acquiring knowledge about the topic or for facing the disease. The various types of books on exhibit include cookbooks for cancer patients, memoirs and informational/inspirational books based on personal perspectives, and educational guides about cancer and health. Any of the books can be checked out from the library and taken home for further learning. Free handouts and pamphlets about early detection and other facts on breast cancer are also available to patrons. Additional information about breast cancer from the American Cancer Society website is also posted on the display board alongside the honor wall.
Wall of Honor
This is the first time that the library has put together this particular display, and the first time they have incorporated an honor wall, an idea that was suggested by the head librarian Terri Smith. The wall is meant “to incorporate participation from students and staff,” said library technician Mary Decker. It is being covered with pink and purple paper butterflies with each butterfly containing the name of a person who was affected with cancer, the words “In Memory” or “Survivor,” and the date of the person’s passing if the butterfly is in memory of him or her.
Butterflies on the honor wall.
The pink butterflies are for those who were affected by breast cancer and the purple are for those who faced another type of cancer. So far there are over 30 butterflies on the honor wall including ones that remember the battles of the loved ones of Decker and library assistant Miranda Tofte. Anyone who would like a butterfly posted in memory or in honor of someone may visit the display to handwrite the information on a butterfly and attach it to the wall or may come to the circulation desk in the library to have the information printed on one. You can also email the following information to email@example.com, and the library staff will gladly print and post a butterfly for you:
Is the person a Survivor or is this in Memory of them?
Do they have or did they pass away from breast cancer or a different form of cancer?
First and last name of the person being honored.
If this is in Memory of them please include the date of their passing.