Life of an Upstanding Citizen

Vincent Pacheco is a visionary. Pure experimentation with mediums as light as tissue paper, he has developed his own niche. Moving into multimedia altered his relationship with art and with his family heritage. Pacheco, now, as an assistant professor for Applied Art and Design at Sierra College, is able to share his experiences from his art career. Previously, he worked in the corporate world as a graphic designer for Yahoo! and then transitioned to work as a freelance artist in Seattle. While in Seattle, he developed his own design studio with clientele including Disney, Elle Magazine, Yahoo! and Samsung. In an interview with Pacheco, he discussed his personal connection to his work, and his recent art exhibit at the Ridley Art Gallery on the Rocklin, Sierra College campus. 

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Johnnie Terry’s Legacy: Building LGBTQ Studies

Johnnie Terry and Aidan Puentes in conversation

In this ten minute video, longtime LGBTQ studies and philosophy professor Johnnie Terry looks back on his experiences building Sierra College’s LGBTQ studies program completely from scratch, and other experiences he had as a LGBTQ professor and community leader as he approaches his retirement at the end of the spring 2024 semester.

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Meditation for the Anxiety Generation

College students are often stressed and some even have anxiety and depression due to the pressures they face. According to Mental Health Therapist and Counselor at Sierra College, Jamie Chin, “When we have anxiety and stress we have a lot of negative thinking going on.” And in describing Gen-Z specifically, she said, “I’m just calling you guys the anxiety generation.” So what can we do?  

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Coming Back Again: An Alumni Story

The constant bustle of a student seems never-ending. Graduation somehow seems so close, yet so far away. Completing courses from one school opens up opportunities for more at another. Attending commencement isn’t the end because there’s another waiting for you elsewhere until you feel your potential has peaked. There are major aspects that make the years easier, faster, and more enjoyable. This is different for everyone, but for me, it’s friends/connections for one, experience with other students for two, and the teachings at Sierra College as number three.
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The Jew-cy Scoop on Jewish Holidays 

The months of September to December are the best times of the year. The cold weather is quite pleasant, not to mention many people are suckers for anything gingerbread or pumpkin-spice related. However, my favorite thing about these months are the holidays. By holidays, I don’t mean just the typical holidays celebrated in the U.S. like Christmas, I also mean traditional Jewish holidays like Hanukkah. 

Growing up in Mountain House, California, no one really celebrated Hanukkah and hence the stores around me like Target and the Dollar Store had no menorahs or other Hanukkah decorations. I mean literally, it was half an aisle. Even where I live now in Roseville, there are still few, even at stores like World Market. As I get older, I want to show off my Jewish heritage and educate others.

To find out what students at Sierra know about Jewish holidays I gave a survey. In the survey, eight out of nine students knew about one of the most well-known holidays, Hanukkah. One of the students even knew about Purim, a holiday that occurs in the spring, however they misspelled the word. No students mentioned Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jewish people. It occurred this year from Sept. 24-Sept 25. It is the holiest day of the year for Jewish people, and its history and why it’s celebrated should be more well-known. 

Yom Kippur and Forgiveness

Yom Kippur may not be my favorite holiday because it’s a little boring, however it is vital for me to celebrate as a Jewish person. According to Judaism 101, Yom Kippur’s English translation is “Day of Atonement,” meaning a day to be forgiven for sins. 

On Yom Kippur, it is a Sabbath so you cannot eat, drink, smoke, or work for twenty-five hours. However, you don’t have to follow it completely if it could negatively affect your health. Children under the age of nine, pregnant people, and anyone with a health condition can adjust it if needed. 

A majority of the holiday is spent in a synagogue praying. A synagogue looks just like the inside of a Christian church, typically with one large room dedicated to prayer with a special cabinet called a Torah arch in the center to hold the Torah, the holy Jewish text. There is also a podium near the Torah arch where the Rabbi and/or leaders of services stand. During most services, the congregation often switches between bowing, sitting, standing, and facing towards the Torah/Torah arch while standing. 

On the outside, most synagogues look like any ordinary building or even small businesses/doctor’s offices. Most Jewish people in the modern day don’t take off school or work to practice this religious tradition, as it is not recognized as a Federal holiday. However, it is the holiest day of the year for Jewish people. 

Unfortunately, I have never missed school or work to observe and practice this holiday because of financial and educational reasons. When Yom Kippur happens every year, I do pray to God for forgiveness. My religion is an important part of my identity as well as important to my beliefs, hence me observing or celebrating as many Jewish holidays as I can.

Hanukkah And Greasy Goodness

One holiday my family and I do participate in every year is Hanukkah. When I was younger, my mother even came into my classroom during December every year to educate the students about Hanukkah and its significance. My favorite part of the holiday however is its food and history.

Homemade latkes (potato pancakes) being fried on the first night of Hanukkah in 2018 by Eileen Suzanne Martens, Martens family household, Dec 2, 2018. Photo by Eileen Suzanne Martens.

The story of Hanukkah starts off during the second century BCE. when Antiochus, a Syrian-Greek ruler, outlawed Judaism in order to make everyone convert to Hellenistic pagan worship. However, a man named Judah the Maccabee, along with a group of seven other Jewish people called the Maccabees, fought against Antiochus because they still wanted to practice Judaism. 

Despite being such a small group of people, they won and reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They decided to light the menorah to give them warmth and light, but they only had one jar of oil which usually only lasts for one night. However it lasted for eight and thus, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days. The way I see it, the reason this miracle is celebrated in modern times is to represent no matter what challenges Jewish people face, eventually we will overcome them.  

Traditional foods eaten on or around Hanukkah include latkes (pronounced lot-kuhs), which are potato pancakes, anything (mostly dough) deep fried in oil, and gelt. Gelt are chocolate-shaped coins wrapped in golden foil, however, the color of the foil can vary. The reason why Jewish people eat food fried in oil is to represent the oil in the menorah lasting for eight days. The reason why Jewish people eat gelt is because in ancient times, coins were given to teachers from children as a gift of appreciation during Hanukkah. In modern times, it’s been reversed, with Hebrew school teachers now often giving their students bags of chocolate gelt around Hanukkah time. This tradition of giving coins also influenced modern Christian culture and currently, around Christmas, chocolate coins are also given to Christian children around Christmas time.

Why Care About These Holidays?

Sharing the culture and holidays of many religions shows just how diverse and beautiful this world truly is. I’m glad to share my culture and religion with others, and want to encourage others to share their culture and beliefs, too. I believe that if your religion is not understood well or underappreciated, you should happily share yours with others. 

We often hear so much about Christian and Catholic holidays that other holidays don’t get enough light shed on them, such as Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist holidays. By sharing holidays and culture with others, you not only enlighten yourself but help the broader community appreciate other cultures and holidays as well.

Written, Reported, and Photographed by Marissa Elizabeth Martens

Marissa Elizabeth Martens is an English Education major born in San José, California and is the current scribe for the ECOS Club at Sierra College. She plans to transfer to Chico State someday. Her hobbies include napping, reading, writing, and playing with her cats.

It’s Not a Man’s World

I began my journey as a welder in the Welding Program at Sierra College. I was first introduced to it in the five-week, “Intro to Welding” course and instantly fell in love. The whole idea of fusing metals together really grabbed my attention because it was so unique and different. 

My first day in class we had to go over safety orientation to learn all of the dangers of welding. I was full of fear and thought to myself, “this isn’t for me.” I really didn’t see myself getting into such a daring and bold career field. 

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Sierra Grads Get Support with Transfer Trouble

After hundreds of lectures, awkward Zoom interactions, and more than a few 11:59 pm submission scrambles, many community college students will find themselves ready to transfer to a four-year college. Whether it’s to a UC, CSU, or another university, transferring is a necessary step for community college graduates who seek a bachelor’s degree.
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From Cleaning to Leading: The Life of an Undocumented Student

The things we take for granted. In our daily coexistence with different people, we take many things for granted. However, there are people in difficult circumstances who belong to minorities and even if they work hard and excel in school, they may not be able to go to college. Some might not even be able to attend community college, which is known to be the most financially accessible

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If Everyone is a Nontraditional Student, then what is a Traditional Student?

A typical community college student is portrayed in society as a recent high school graduate with a full-time academic schedule and occasionally a part-time job, who is financially relying on their parents. Nevertheless, as the number of community college students from varied backgrounds and life experiences grows, there is no clear picture of what a community college student looks like. Continue Reading

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