And the winner is…

by Matt Benoit and Lexi Foldenauer

Horizon Reporters

It was tears and tiaras last Saturday night in Whatcom’s Syre Student Center, when Whatcom student Vonda DiLorenzo was crowned “Miss Whatcom County 2010,” marking the third consecutive year a Whatcom student has won the annually-held pageant.

“Unbelievable, if there was a way to describe it,” DiLorenzo said of winning. The 20-year-old Whatcom student, who is pursuing a career in dental hygiene, said she didn’t expect to win. After the first four winners were announced, DiLorenzo—who competed at last year’s pageant but did not place—said she thought she was headed for the same disappointment.

But then her name was called, and DiLorenzo cupped her hands over her face, fighting back tears as she stepped forward to hug Chandler Batiste, Miss Whatcom County 2009, and accept the sash and crown of her new title.

Eleven contestants, two of whom were Whatcom students, took the stage to compete in this year’s competition. Each contestant had two months to prepare for things like interview skills and presence, the audience was told by Batiste. The star of the show, Batiste opened with a cooperative part in Ferndale and Bellingham High School’s drum line—making an extravagant lead to the night.

Batiste, Whatcom student and member of the student council, was also first runner-up in last year’s Miss Washington competition.

“You should be proud of each and every person you see up here tonight,” exclaimed Batiste while standing at the podium.

After an introduction for the MC of the night, Jim Swartos, each participant was brought on stage to a loud overture of hoots, hollers, and airhorns from the crowd, and performed a group dance. The competitions then began, starting with swimsuit/fitness. Each participant walked across stage in a swimsuit, which was partly judged on modesty and appropriateness. The music in the background was some sort of techno, and friends and family jokingly cat-called for the contestant they came to see.

The contestants quickly changed back stage, and it was time for the talent portion of the evening. Batiste also performed a solo on the drums, doing a rendition of the classic surf song “Wipeout.” Of the 11 acts included: a piano solo, song performances, and dance routines.

After a 15-minute intermission, the 11 eleven contestants, along with Batiste and Janet Harding, Miss Whatcom County 2006 and Miss Washington 2008, performed another dance routine, this time wearing bonnets and sun dresses. Visiting Miss America royalty were introduced afterward, and included many past Miss Whatcom County winners as well as Linda Marie Anderson, Miss Bellingham 1964.

A little later into the evening, Batiste gave her final farewells as Miss Whatcom Count before all the contestants, dressed in evening wear, paraded across the stage together to the Michael Buble tune “I Just Haven’t’ Met You Yet.”

The final portions of the competition, evening wear and on-stage interview, were then conducted before the big moment: coronation. Each contestant who did not place received $200, and 10 other awards were given before Miss Whatcom was crowned.

Gabrielle Wade took home $100 for Miss Congeniality; former Whatcom student Christal Berard won the $150 People’s Choice Award, voted on by the audience; $200, along with the Inspirational Award, went to Barbara Lewis. Western student Emily Marsh took home the Community Service Notebook Award, worth $250, as well as $800 for being first runner-up.

Emily Sulak received three awards, being named third runner-up (worth $350), receiving the highest score in the talent portion of the competition ($300), and also receiving the Interview Scholarship ($300), which was conducted earlier in the day before the competition.

Fourth runner-up ($250) went to Tristen Graybil, and second runner-up ($500) went to Whatcom student Heather Rickords.

“This is just what I wanted,” said Rickords, 23, of placing in the top three. Competing in her first pageant ever, she said a friend who was involved with the competitions introduced her to it and eventually convinced her to compete. Rickords is pursuing a career in nursing.

Batiste said the fact that a Whatcom student won the competition for the third-straight year was “awesome.”

“It’s a depiction of the fact that our organization is scholarship-based,” she said.

DiLorenzo, who received a dozen red roses and $2,000 for winning the pageant, will now set her sights on July, when she’ll head to Renton, Wash., to vie for the title of Miss Washington.

“I have a lot of work to do,” she said.


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Activities at Whatcom

War of the Worlds at Whatcom

Martians invaded Whatcom’s Heiner Auditorium from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the evening of March 12.

Sort of, anyway.

Members of Whatcom’s Communication Club, in conjunction with the Literature Club and several members of Western’s Communication Club, staged a radio-style production of “War of the Worlds,” author H.G. Wells’ classic tale of a Martian invasion that was adapted into a famous 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre.

Guy Smith, communication studies instructor at Whatcom and advisor for the communication club, said the adaptation was directed by student and communication club member Matthew Tremaine, who decided to put the production together as part of an independent study project.

Smith said Tremaine had been taking CSMT130, “Oral Interpretation of Literature,” which analyzes a variety of orally-interpreted and performed texts, including entertaining speeches and radio productions like Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast, which caused widespread panic when it originally aired the evening of Oct. 30, 1938.

Before the beginning of the performance, Tremaine explained to the audience that an estimated 32 million Americans were listening to the radio that evening, and many listeners who stumbled upon the broadcast without hearing its introduction were duped into believing that an actual Martian invasion was taking place because of the news-bulletin format of the performance.

Whatcom instructor John Gonzales, who attended the performance and has directed the college’s radio-style production of “A Christmas Carol” for the last three years, said radio drama was still new in 1938, at a time when radio was used primarily for news communication.

“To do a drama set in the mode of a radio broadcast,” Gonzales said, “it was totally unexpected.”

Gonzales, who has also performed in radio adaptations of “Casablanca” and “Bride of Frankenstein” with the Museum of Radio and Electricity’s “Midnight Mystery Players,” enjoyed the performance and said that radio adaptations are a good, retro medium.

“When it’s done well,” he said, “I think people find it compelling.”

Smith said the idea to do a radio-style production of “War of the Worlds” was his suggestion, and Tremaine liked it, despite the amount of work he ended up having to do.

“I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was,” Tremaine told the audience afterward. He not only had to re-write the script (the location the event takes place is changed to Washington and some language and references are modernized for a more contemporary feel), but had to research and analyze the piece in a 25-page paper, as well as hold auditions and do casting.

The use of contemporary music in the production—which, early on, features brief news interruptions of a DJ doing a marathon of 90s hits—made it easier to adapt, said Smith. Even though the group rehearsed for about four weeks, he added that the best part of doing a radio-style production is that no one has to memorize lines, and can just read them from the script.

Still, in such a visual society, the performers dressed up and used several props. “We like visual candy,” said Smith.

Overall, the crowd seemed entertained throughout, laughing at some of the more corny moments while being engrossed in the compelling dialogue of others.

Unlike Welles’ 1938 performance, however, no one here was fooled. Although, after the performance, as the audience got out of their seats to leave, actor Kristopher Powell wanted to make sure.

“Remember,” he light-heartedly told the crowd, “this was fiction.”

-by Matt Benoit

Hughes is latest addition to “Discover the WCC Library” poster series

Tara Hughes’ background is as diverse as her taste for books, which made her the perfect candidate for this year’s addition to “Discover the WCC Library” poster series.

Hughes, who originally wanted to be a theater major, has a Ph.D. in English and has taught English classes varying in focus from major British authors to Native American literature.

“She’s been on the list for a while and her time had just come,” said Linda Lambert, Library Director and member of the committee choosing poster candidates.

Hughes easily fit the three criteria for being featured on a poster: a reader, a library user, and a library supporter. Lambert brought the idea of a poster series from a La Connor library she had previously worked for. Teachers and students may be featured on the poster – anyone who is cool and enthusiastic about the library, said Lambert.

It may seem basic to get yourself on a poster, but Hughes’ is anything but.

“I have a secret ambition to teach a whole class on Harry Potter,” said Hughes, an avid fantasy reader. While her students were studying Gothic literature during fall quarter, she decided to mix it up with reading and responses for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” The students’ responses were very thoughtful, she recalled, and showed a surprisingly bigger depth to Harry Potter than she had originally conceived.

Fantasy in literature can sometimes be regarded as escapist or, mere entertainment with little value but to spend time on a Saturday afternoon – but Hughes heartily disagrees.

The fantasy genre “can be a type of renewal,” says Hughes. “If done right, like J.R.R.  Tolkien, it can get us to look again at certain aspects of our society.” She admires J.K. Rowling and the Potter books for their “subtle social critiques, and spoofs on certain institutions within society.”

Hughes is just as interested in the spiritual side of literature as the social critiquing.

“It’s so important to, whenever possible, read literature for self-understanding,” she said. “The Courage to Teach” by Parker J. Palmer was a punch-in-the-arm for Hughes, who refocused her idea of teaching after reading it. She believes the grades are very important, but just as important is the relationship with the student. She allows revisions on her student’s final drafts, hoping that it will relieve some pressure and produce a higher-quality paper.

Featured on the poster, Hughes looks very relaxed, where she is placed among the woods—Lake Padden, in fact, where members of the Media Center traveled to take the forest photograph.

Besides being a lively decoration for the library, the poster is intended to make library users more enthusiastic about the array of knowledge that can be found there. Hughes is featured in the series along with other teachers such as Tim Watters and Ben Kohn. The complete poster series can be viewed at: http://library.whatcom.ctc.edu/content/ArchivesItem_11_148_v.

-by Reed Klein

The Dating Game at Whatcom

“Oooh, it’s that kind of dating game…” said a student from the audience.

Hosted by Chocolate Devotion, with questions ranging from “If you were a road sign, what would you be and why?” to “How would you cheer me up after finding out I failed a test?” the crowd was never less than entertained.

It started off with the bachelor. Three ladies were asked a series of questions, and based on their answers, the bachelorettes were either eliminated or chosen. At the end of the question round, Chocolate Devotion would say, “All right audience, who thinks we should go for contestant number one?” and do the same for the other two. The audience would cheer, clap, or woo for their favorite, and then the bachelor would choose his date. Before meeting his match, he met the two he let slip away.

He and his date will enjoy an all-expense paid dinner.

Then, the same thing happened, except this time a fair lady asked three bachelors a round of questions. They ranged from “What kind of car would you be and why?” to “What three things would you bring on a deserted island?” At the end, she chose her man, but before meeting him, met the two she let go.

All in all, it was quick and dirty, just the way Whatcom students like it.

-by Emily Huntington

2010 Winter Concert

Music was brought to the masses of the Heiner Center Auditorium the evening of March 9, as the collegiate choir and jazz band put on Whatcom Community College’s 2010 Winter Concert.

After the evening started off at 7:30 with a crowd-warming rendition of Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up,” courtesy of Whatcom Music Club president Logan Browning and another club member, the night’s performance began.

The collegiate choir, directed by Carol Reed-Jones, sang three compositions during their set: “Oh, How Full is My Bundle,” a Russian folk song; “A Little Golden Cloud,” by Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky; and “Wonfa Nyem,” a traditional Ghanaian song, which included the addition of two steady-beating drums and a shaker.

This was followed by a special treat: the performance of The Librettos. The group, this time comprised of Whatcom library staff members Linda Lambert, Sally Sheedy, Laurie Starr, Whatcom art instructor Pam Richardson, and choir director Carol Reed-Jones, sang a library-oriented parody of “Teach Me Tonight,” (“Let’s Read Tonight”) accompanied by Whatcom instructor Earl Bower (guitar) and jazz band members Connor Helms (piano) and Lyman Lipke (bass).

The group also sang the standard, “What a Wonderful World,” with Addison Stumpf on piano and Bower again on guitar.

The jazz band, running a bit behind schedule, forced the choir to improvise a short tune before the two musical groups joined together for a rendition of “Blue Moon.”

From there, the jazz band, led by director Frank Kuhl, performed Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.” Kuhl did his best crooning—with an apology to Nat King Cole beforehand—in the lyrical version of the piece, before the jazz band played the instrumental version, which featured a solo from tenor trombonist Daniel DeLisle.

The band also performed “Walk, Don’t Run,” featuring a saxophone solo from high school student Tom Harris, before the jazz combo took on a solo-filled version of Horace Silver’s “The Preacher.”

Bellingham-based group “Brassworks,” featuring Kuhl on trumpet and jazz band member Emily Doran on Tuba, played three movements from Alex Wilder’s “Brass Quintet #1,” as well as a couple more tunes.

Dr. Christopher Roberts, Whatcom’s music program director, than led Bellingham local Don Phillips on stage. Phillips, who spoke to the audience for several minutes, was recognized for donating a large portion of his substantial collection of vintage sheet music to the college.

The jazz band then played two different arrangements, both donated by Phillips, of Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” Afterward, the band brought the evening to conclusion with Joe Avery’s “Second Line.”

-by Matt Benoit


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Digital fossils on display

by Kelly Sullivan

Horizon Reporter

Every day most Whatcom students pass by the glass case full of old computer junk on their way to the library, but many still question its purpose and presence.

The display is supposed to present a bit of history for Whatcom students. It shows the revolution of technology. Before the iPod, Blackberry, or even the Microsoft Windows program hit the market.

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The main focus of the display is the Heathkit Hero 1 Educational Robot, contributed by Bill Zilinek from the IT department. Sande compares its likeness to that of R2D2. The “skin” of the creature has been removed so students can see the programming boards on the inside. The robot is an educational tool and was used for this purpose at Whatcom. It can be programmed to talk in over 55 different voices. It became available in 1983 and sold through out the rest of the 80’s.

Besides the Robot, in the lower right hand side of the case there sits an old Compaq Portable II 286.

“I wouldn’t really call it a laptop,” said Corrine Sande, Computer Information Systems program coordinator, or CIS. The piece is transportable being the size of a small suitcase full of metal and plastic. Priced originally at about $4,000, some of the staff in Whatcoms business department owned these when they first came out in 1983. It doesn’t have any batteries, however, so it requires being plugged in every time it is used. It’s not the most convenient piece of technology, but at the time it was cutting edge.

“You could have been lugging that through the airport,” said Sande. Most of the pieces in the display, including the Compaq Portable, were not necessarily as “luggable” as was originally advertised by today’s standards.

IT Director Ward Naf explains a memory board from the 1970’s that didn’t make it into this year’s display. It is about the size of a large dinner plate and holds only kilobytes of information. Our phones hold gigabytes of memory, which is about 1000 times that of the old memory board, “the technology didn’t exist to get things that small and there was no need,” Naf said.

At the very top left hand side of the display is an old 8- inch floppy disc that Sande contributed. Beside it is a 5 1/2- inch refined version of the first floppy.

Sande says she has been researching these pieces on the Internet and some are still selling for a fair amount of money because people are still using the old systems and need the “ancient” parts.

The different systems in the display are not from too long ago, the oldest being from the 1970s. Sande had most of the old parts stored haphazardly in her office in Baker, and had the idea for the display to be set up outside the library. Laura Mackenzie agreed to take all the parts and organize the haphazard collection.

“I came over and looked and it was fabulous,” said Sande of the arrangement. Sande was curious if students would be interested.

“We’ve been talking about making a presentation for about 10 years,” said Naf. CIS and IT are hoping for a more permanent display to be set up in Cascade with more history and background for Whatcom students.

“For CIS and IT, we’re kind of in the background, so it’s good we’ve got something for people to look at.”

A final thought Sande added in terms of how technology has evolved over the centuries, “Bob Cratchett’s job title in “A Christmas Carol” was dealing with computers, because he dealt with adding up numbers.”


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The sounds of silence

by Lexi Foldenauer

Horizon Reporter

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In the halls of Whatcom Community College’s Kelly Hall, there is a particular classroom that remains predominantly silent, but if you happen to walk by at a certain time, you can hear random fits of laughter. It may seem strange to be in a class that remains totally silent for the most part, but that doesn’t mean the class is short on learning.

In ASL 121, a sign language course at Whatcom, the class is led by a deaf instructor – which to some may appear as a learning roadblock. Students Indigo Griffith, Hannah Jones, and Jenny Rodgers beg to differ, and say that this factor actually makes the course better.

“I think if it was another sign language teacher, it wouldn’t be as much fun,” said Rodgers.

The desks in the class are arranged in a circular order, leaving a wide open space in the middle of the room. A woman in a wheelchair seated by the door, who appears to be deaf and mute, communicates comfortably with the instructor and quickly catches on to his humor, filling the room with contagious laughter. There are 14 students in class, which is a noticeable difference from the thirty-some people who initially signed up for the class.

“It’s not an easy A,” said Griffith, of the large number of students to drop the class. “You actually have to do the work.”

Instructor, Glen Bocock, is hailed by his students as being animated and passionate about the material he is teaching, making the class fun and interesting.

“I like when he throws out new signs we’ve never seen before,” said Jones.

Bocock is known for the games he integrates into the daily class routine.

One such game, which has the students sign their favorite things, encourages them to interact with each other using the signs they already know.

Each student lines up to assemble 3 lines, and are instructed to communicate some of their favorite things, ranging from colors to foods. It was apparent the difference between students who were more comfortable with their ability to sign and others who struggled. Bocock approached certain students, and emphasized the difference between sloppy signs, and how to be clearer with each individual sign. As each student got to the front of the line, some appeared more assured than others, but nonetheless contributed their full effort to the activity.

Bocock seemed to move at an almost effortless pace with his students. Animated and swift in his movements, Bocock used dramatic story-telling techniques to teach and also refresh upon different signs. Since the beginning of the quarter, the students say that this was the type of technique he used to teach a class where a majority of the students came in with no prior sign-language knowledge. Some of the first lessons involved simply learning the students’ names, and looking to more experienced students to help the newcomers out.

Student, Julia Morac, said that part of the reason she took the class is because you can talk without using your voice. The class involves a lot of concentration in order to learn the signs effectively, and regular attendance is a key part to getting the signs down.

“You have to keep focused on him the entire time,” said Morac.

Dimitri Onishchenko, a student in the class, said that the class allows you to get to know people pretty well. With the exception of a few, most people are on the same level and help each other out, he said.

Everyone in the class has improved since the beginning of the quarter; some more than others, agree the students, but there is still a lot of material left to cover.

“There’s a whole dictionary of words that we don’t know yet,” said Jones.


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Gearing up for spring quarter

by Emily Huntington

Horizon Reporter

A brand new class taught by Cathy Hagman is being introduced to Whatcom. Titled “Religions of the Far East,” it looks at religions from South Asia, India, China, Japan – religions such as Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Shinto, to name a few. It examines how they began, and what impacts they have on today’s society. Hagman will also be teaching “Intro to Philosophy.”

Need an English class, but can’t come to class every day? English 100, 101 and 102 are now being offered as hybrid courses, said Jeffrey Klausman, English department chair. Klausman said that students in hybrid courses outperformed those in a day-to-day English lecture class, according to a recent study performed by a department of education.

Klausman also recommends “Gender and Literature,” taught by Sue Lonac. This class looks into different literary works and examines the role of gender in literature.

Sherri Winans will be teaching an online version of Children’s Literature. This class focuses on reading and analysis of literature for pre-adolescent to young adults. It will touch on both classic and contemporary works, and may focus on a theme, genre, or time period.

Both “Gender and Literature” and “Children’s Literature” satisfy the humanities requirement for the general AA/transfer degree.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all the coursework, and all the hours you spend behind a desk indoors, there’s always “Intro to Hiking,” taught by Bernie Dougan, a geology instructor. The class is offered for 1 credit, and includes three day-hikes throughout the quarter, which will teach the basics of hiking.

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“It is important for students to have appropriate footwear that has good traction and support,” Dougan said. Light hiking boots, running shoes, or hiking shoes should be sufficient. Dougan stresses that it is also crucial to have some degree of physical fitness before starting the class, as most hikes range between five to eight miles long. Hiking, Dougan said, means up and down steep mountain trails, not “a walk in the park.”

“Hikes will be on Chuckanut and Blanchard Mountains and maybe in the Cascades depending on weather and lack of snow,” said Dougan.

Doug McKeever, professor of geology, takes his students on several field trips throughout the quarter. His oceanography class takes a trip to Whidbey Island and Deception Pass to study “beaches, eroding sea cliffs, a failed seawall, among other things,” he said. They also go to Point Whitehorn Marine Park, near Birch Bay, to observe an undisturbed natural cliffed coastline in relation to erosion in the area that threatens some homes.

In his class on natural disasters, McKeever takes his students on two field trips. One is to observe flood issues and flood control strategies in the area. The other is to visit a landslide that occurred about a year ago in the foothills west of Mt. Baker, “as well as a huge 2,400 year old landslide that came from Church Mountain and covered the land where the town of Glacier is located today,” he said.

Although the geology and other science classes are typically reserved for science majors, anyone who wants to learn is welcome to join the class and participate in the field trips.

Tresha Dutton, social sciences department chair, recommends “History of the American West,” taught by Ed Chatterton, a geography instructor. This class will investigate the American West, and try to solve how the untamed wilderness became tame and industrialized. Students will do so through the eyes of the industrialists, women, Native Americans, minorities, etc, not just through the eyes of the cowboy.

Those are just a few of the recommended courses. For more classes being offered, visit Whatcom’s Web site and browse the classes by quarter, through my O.A.S.I.S.


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The official student newspaper of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington