Daniel DeMay left high school during his junior year. The reason? He was bored. Michael Schwartz thought his master’s degree in film and video from a prestigious school would support a 30-year career. It didn’t. What do the two have in common? They both decided that going back to school was critical, and they found a way to do it through the Shoreline Community College Foundation.
DeMay and Schwartz joined community members, faculty, staff and elected and local educational officials at the college’s 13th Annual Student Success Community Breakfast on Thursday, November 4, 2010. They were there to share their stories and thank those who had supported Shoreline students.
SCC alum, Kisara Nishimoto, who currently holds the title of Miss Seafair, was emcee. Now, a student in the Foster School of
|"I'm always going to be a Dolphin," Kisara Nishimoto said. The current Miss Seafair thanked the Foundation Board, the Board of Trustees and President Lambert for their support of Shoreline students.|
Business at the University of Washington, Nishimoto was back at SCC to support student scholarships.
“I’m always going to be a Dolphin,” she said, referring to the college mascot.
Foundation President, Scott Saunders welcomed the more than 200 guests and President Lee Lambert highlighted a number of the things that make Shoreline an outstanding college.
“We are attracting faculty such as Jeff Kashiwa, an Emmy-nominated, world-renowned musician. Our automotive program continues to be recognized nationally, most recently winning a Bellwether Award,” Lambert stated. (The Bellwether Award recognizes outstanding and innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges into the future.) Lambert also gave credit to the Veteran’s Program, which recently received a federal grant. Just 14 out of 400 applicant institutions received the grant. Lambert also cited the college’s transfer program, talking about two graduates who were recognized nationally last year as scholars by Phi Theta Kappa. “And we are right in your back yard,” Lambert said to the donors who sat at tables lined with white linen.
Schwartz, who now holds a 3.87 GPA in the Digital Interactive Media program, shared his journey to Shoreline. He had worked years ago as a horse wrangler and a tailor, later finding his way to school and earning a master’s degree in film and video. Schwartz worked as a sound engineer for several years, but eventually decided to leave the Los Angeles area in search of “the perfect place to live,” landing in the Seattle area right when the dotcom industry was collapsing –something he had counted on for work. He couldn’t work in the field he had worked in as his skills were outdated, and he ended up delivering pizza for four years. The road was rough and Schwartz found himself living off his credit cards and even filing for bankruptcy. It was at that point that Schwartz found help through WorkSource – ending up at Shoreline Community College, where he got help through the Worker Retraining program.
Schwartz is back in the game now – learning the “new” tricks of the trade, updating the skills that once earned him a good living. “I’m gonna be competitive,” he said with assurance. “I’m excited to move forward with my life. I really, really appreciate the help,” he said, referring to donors to the SCC Foundation. “Strangers helping strangers,” Schwartz said more than once, “it’s amazing to me – and I am so very grateful.”
Standing at the podium, DeMay thanked the crowd for making it possible for him to attend Shoreline and to have so many opportunities, referring to his work on the student newspaper, the Ebbtide, as a staff writer, distribution manager, copy writer, and now, editor. He left high school with a 1.8 GPA and entered an automotive program at a trade school that contracted with his high school. He worked as an auto mechanic and as a carpenter for some time, progressing to the respected journeyman position and eventually working as a contractor. He also performed with a band in his hometown of Port Townsend, later leaving his work to perform full-time, and then going back to hanging drywall.
“I knew I was smart and I knew I wanted more. I knew I didn’t want to be a carpenter for the rest of my life,” DeMay said. At 26, he visited a college campus with a friend who had enrolled and it struck a chord. He knew it was time to go to school. He selected Shoreline because it had a good reputation and because it got him away from the comforts of where he had grown up. “I wanted more of a challenge all the way around.”
DeMay said that coming to Shoreline was one of the best decisions he has made.
“Without their (SCC Foundation) help, I don’t know what I would have done,” Demay said. The scholarship took care of his tuition and books, and even helped out with other expenses. “I didn’t have to rely so much on loans.”
When he graduates in the spring, DeMay plans to transfer to a university to major in journalism and possibly go for a double major in political science. He is currently considering Boston University, the University of Washington, NYU, and University of California, Berkeley as well as a number of other schools across the country. He plans to put his skills to use as an investigative reporter someday.
It’s stories like DeMay’s and Schwartz’s that bring community members to campus to join faculty, staff and administrators in celebrating their successes each year and to support scholarships for students.
A former member of the SCC Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees, Dick Stucky was honored with the SCC Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award for his dedication to SCC students.
“This honor is special to me,” he said, “but the honor really goes to you,” he said to the audience before telling a poignant story about education. In 1965, Stucky had just completed his first year of teaching. He wasn’t convinced that he should stay in the classroom or return to farming. A young student told him at the end of the year that she hadn’t liked school before she had him for a teacher. He knew immediately that he no longer had to think about which direction to go.
Stucky, who focused his career in technology and math education, was in charge of the development and management of the Computer Education Program and the secondary mathematics program for the Shoreline School District in the 1980s, managing the programs until his retirement in 1995.
Nishimoto lived up to her responsibilities as Miss Seafair during her return visit to her alma mater. She was honored with the title based on her academic achievement, community involvement, public speaking and creative expression. It was obvious that she is comfortable speaking before a crowd. She urged students to seek scholarships.
"I would like to give a shout-out to a few instructors," she said, adding that her most influential college classes were at Shoreline.
Nishimoto gave credit to Stephen McCloskey for his passion for others and for providing unique insight into community service. "It was because of his class that I got involved with working with the Lifelong AIDS Alliance," she said, where she continues to volunteer. She was also appreciative of the opportunities for growth from instructors, Rachel David and Tim Payne. "The gender and violence class I took really helped me become more gender sensitive and the economics class from Tim Payne offered a lot of student interaction discussing class topics. Both have helped me in my work with the Miss Seafair organization."
Her only regret was that she didn't take advantage of the Study Abroad program at Shoreline. "I really want to encourage students to not miss out on these opportunities," she said.
Nishimoto left the breakfast with determination to go out and find success yet again – in a classroom at the University of Washington where she was headed to take a mid-term in an Info Systems class. She will graduate in spring of 2012 and plans to work in management in the non-profit community.
Jane McNabb, Chief Advancement Officer for the college, was impressed with not only the turnout of community and college members for the event, but with their generosity. “We just raised more than $36,000 for our students,” she said. “It speaks to the commitment to the education of our young adults.” McNabb works with existing community partners and forms new alliances to reduce the college’s reliance on public funding.
The event was sponsored by Spin Alley, Highlands West Dental, Puget Sound Energy, Blackboard, CRISTA Senior Living, the Boeing Employees Credit Union, Dick and Beth Stucky, Scott Saunders and Irene Wagner, Ruth Kagi, Stan and Kathy McNaughton, Roger and Jane McNabb, Jack and Laura Rogers, Eric A. Carlson, DDS, PS, and John Backes.
Slideshow at http://www.flickr.com/photos/28500175@N07/sets/72157625311917014/.