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* Rosie Bellert receives national award of distinction

The hard work and dedication of Shoreline Community College Dental Hygiene Instructor and Interim Director Rosie Bellert, RDH, BS, has earned her national recognition.  Bellert is one of eight dental hygienists from across the country and Canada to receive a 2011 Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction which recognizes dental hygienists who make a positive difference in the lives of their patients and students.


Rosie[1].jpgBellert and the seven other recipients who hail from New Jersey, Connecticut, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan and Louisiana were selected for their commitment to education, clinical practice and community service. Bellert’s journey is a testament to her commitment to oral hygiene and the education of hygienists. 


A proud member of the fifth graduating SCC Dental Hygiene class, Bellert’s commitment to oral healthcare education began shortly after she graduated from Shoreline’s program in 1974.  Although her passion lies with anything and everything about dental hygiene, she feels most passionate about the opportunity for hygienists to perform restorative dentistry, the practice of preparing the mouth for drilling and filling the tooth after drilling by the dentist.  Prior to 1971 only dentists could perform the restorative work but a state law passed that year gave hygienists the green light to do it yet few dentists allowed their hygienists to do the work. 


“I have always believed allowing dental hygienists to perform restorative work would make the dental team more efficient in the treatment of patients,” Bellert said, “and I really wanted to do what I could to support moving toward that practice.”


Working with Dr. Gerald Murdock, former instructor in the SCC Dental Hygiene program; Marcia Cotlove, another SCC graduate and another dental assistant via a University of Washington Kellogg grant and an HEW grant, Bellert traveled throughout the state training hygienists and dental assistants the ins-and-outs of restorative practices. 


Shortly afterward, Bellert began her 16 year career working in private practice where she was able to continue her work in restorative dentistry.  Her experience in both traditional dental hygiene and restorative practices prepared her well for her teaching role at Shoreline which began one day a week in 1975.  Bellert then moved to part-time and then to full-time in 1999.


Bellert says she is proud of the college’s program, which includes restorative training.


“Our students are really good at this,” Bellert said, mentioning that the dentists who work on campus in the restorative clinic often say how talented our students are. Students and Bellert hear from patients all the time at how painless the injections that students give are.


Bellert was also acknowledged by Sunstar/RDH for her work with Smiles Forever, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that started the first dental hygiene school in Bolivia, South America.  Students enrolled in the study abroad program, "Oral Health Training in Bolivia: Increasing the Opportunity for Young Women Living in Poverty," train young indigenous women in Cochabamba, Bolivia to become dental hygienists.  The Smiles Forever Dental Hygiene School is the first and only dental hygiene training facility and clinic in Bolivia.


“Working with Smiles Forever has opened up a new horizon for me and provided a venue for me to teach what I know to a population where the need is great,” Bellert said, going on to say that it is unique in that it gives homeless young women a chance to build a career.  


Bellert will leave for Bolivia on August 20, taking eight students, three from Shoreline, two from Yakima, one from Pierce, one from Columbia Basin community colleges. A public health practicing hygienist is also a part of the group.  The students will volunteer at the clinic, local shelters and rural villages in addition to training students at the school.


The group will take dental equipment for the Bolivian school donated by the Hartzell Company, Sunstar Gum, Colgate, Proctor and Gamble, 3M Company, the Institute for Oral Health, Young Dental, North Bay BioScience, Patterson Dental, Dentsply International and Ultradent.  Individuals also donated $1,270 for the cause. 


“The Hartzell Company donated cassettes with instruments so that 10 Bolivian students can have their very own set of tools,” she said, “It was an incredibly generous donation. It is going to be really wonderful to see their faces when we give them to the students.”  


Bellert teaches a full range of courses including Dental Anatomy, Restorative Materials and Procedures and Advanced Pain Control as well as restorative classes. She also teaches restorative skill with the EFDA program at Seattle Central Community College.


Bellert traveled to Chicago last month to receive her award at the RDH convention where the editor of RDH magazine spoke.


“Sunstar and RDH place a very high value on acknowledging the various ways dental hygienists are very distinctive with their contributions to private practice, community outreach, and education,” Mark Hartley said. 


Bellert and the other awardees will be the cover story in the September 2011 issue. 

* Mariner's Peanut Man made his mark at SCC

RICK KAMINSKI.jpgRick Kaminski made a name for himself at Shoreline Community College long before gaining notoriety as the Seattle Mariners Peanut Man.  At Shoreline, he was on the student government ballot several times before earning enough student votes to be named a student legislator and eventually, president of the student body. 

Kaminski studied at Shoreline from 1972-1975, taking mostly evening courses so he could work during the day. Although he graduated in 1973, he returned the summer of 1974 and completed another 12 classes. 

SCC retiree and former student, Mark Durfee remembers Kaminski well, saying he was a very likeable guy.

“Over the top friendly, always upbeat and outgoing,” Durfee said, recalling also how opinionated and passionate he was about just about anything. According to Durfee, Kaminski cared a great deal about

Jeff Keith took an evening math class with Kaminski.  “He was a very lively, outgoing fellow and yet had a serious side to him,” he recalls. “He was a very deep thinker.” Keith also remembers Kaminski as the class clown…”a little bit,” he said. 

student involvement and voice in college governance and oftentimes talked about student government not really listening to students.  

A man of action, Kaminski ran for Student Body Legislator in 1972.

In an edition of The Ebbtide, he provided a self-drawn, silly image of himself with the caption, “Crasy Rick.”  While other candidates provided a more conventional side, their platforms were weak compared to Kaminski’s, who said he would strive for better communication between students, their government and their school and cultivate student interest in college issues. Although he didn’t earn enough votes that year, he landed the position the following year.

Durfee said it was his passion to help others that motivated Kaminski to then run for student body president. 

“Several of us encouraged him to run,” Durfee said. Kaminski was a little leery at first because most the students who voted in student government elections were day students and didn’t know him.  Durfee encouraged him to talk to everybody in his night classes and ask them to vote for him. Kaminski did and ran a solid campaign. 

He nearly scolded students in an Ebbtide article.

“You may hear complaints or complain yourself about such things as cafeteria food quality and prices, bookstore prices, parking lot priorities and the price of stickers.  If you aren’t interested enough in your own total experience here to get involved yourself, then at least see that your problems are answered by someone who is interested enough to do something about them!” Kaminski reminded students that he had more experience in student government than any other candidate and that he would fight for fairer treatment of student priorities. Once again, he didn’t score but he was determined to make sure that the voice of students was heard by administration, winning the presidency the second time around in May of 1974.

Not afraid to speak the truth, Kaminski won the election after pointing out the ineffectiveness of the current president and vice president, saying they had won only by popularity votes.  In an article published in the April 25, 1974 edition of The Ebbtide he pointed out their failure to accomplish anything of significance.  Kaminski said that although more than 800 students had signed a petition for student activity money to support the building of a day care center and tennis courts on campus that neither had happened nor was there any communication as to why. “This is not representation!  That is not communication!,” he said before telling students that as a legislator he had made it his “chief concern” to invest student money to be used to benefit students.  Kaminski was smart.  He did his research and told students what he found. 

“Student government can be effective, but not when it stands still, refuses to communicate, and won’t answer to the needs of the people it is here to serve.”

Kaminski held high expectations for not only himself as president, but for his Executive Board.  Although they were paid only fall, winter and spring quarters, he asked that they meet in the summer to prepare objectives for Fall Quarter.  He also took the State Board to task refusing to comply with a directive to provide personal information about students as they had a right for privacy. He led Student Government in voting for a Resolution to prevent the college from sending the information. 

After his year as president of the student body, Kaminski left the college, eventually going on to work at the King Dome where he gained local fame as the Mariner’s Peanut Man.  Durfee, who had a part-time position for many years at the dome, had many more opportunities to interact with Kaminski. 

“He was more fun that the events,” Durfee said, referring not only to the peanut throwing antics but the energy that Kaminski drew around him.  One of his favorite memories was the night that the two of them were asked to lead a Sonics audience in singing the National Anthem.  “It was so embarrassing…neither of us could sing!”

Durfee said that the Mariner’s Scott, the Beerman was also a Shoreline student.  “He and Rick were friends.” 

In Kaminski's memory, the Shoreline Community College Foundation has established an athletic scholarship.

"It is a wonderful way to pay tribute to his life and to his service as Student Body President while he was attending the college," said Jane McNabb, Executive Director of the Foundation. Contributions to the Rick Kaminski Memorial Scholarship Fund should be mailed to the Shoreline Community College Foundation, 16101 Greenwood Ave. North, Shoreline, WA 98133 or online at

Kaminski died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 67 on July 27, 2011 as reported in the Seattle PI.