Hartnell issues first series of Measure T general obligation bonds

Publish Date: 
Aug 31, 2017

Hartnell Community College District issues first series of

Measure T general obligation bonds

SALINAS, Calif.  – Hartnell Community College District has sold $70 million in general obligation bonds from Measure T, the November 2016 ballot measure that authorized the sale of up to $167 million in general obligation bonds. 

District voters overwhelmingly approved Measure T with support from 69% of voters.  Proceeds from the bonds will be used to upgrade classrooms, technology, and science labs, expand local access to higher education and job training, including nursing, agriculture, science, technology, and engineering, repair mechanical/electrical systems, improve veterans’ services, safety, security, and disabled access, and acquire and build sites, facilities, and equipment.  In conjunction with the passage of Measure T, a Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee was established. 

The District sold its 2017 Bonds during a period in which interest rates were near all-time lows.  Rates on the 2017 Bonds ranged between 0.70% and 3.45%. The debt repayment ratio is 1.68 which means for every dollar borrowed it will cost $1.68 to repay. In 2014, Assembly Bill 182 added a requirement for school districts and community college districts that debt service on bond financing cannot exceed a 4 to 1 ratio. Hartnell’s Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen stated, “We are pleased to demonstrate good stewardship of the funds entrusted to us by the voters by securing a debt repayment ratio far below what is allowed by law.”

Instrumental to the successful sale and low interest rates was the assignment of strong credit ratings by the two rating agencies Moody’s Investor Services and Standard and Poor’s.   The District was assigned an “Aa2” rating by Moody’s and an “AA” from Standard & Poor’s.  The Standard & Poor’s rating was an upgrade from the previous rating of AA-, as a result of the strong financial position of the District. “The strong credit rating helps us lower our borrowing costs for this and future financings from our new bond,” said Dr. Lewallen.

Both Dr. Lewallen and Vice President of Administrative Services, Benjamin Figueroa presented information to the rating agencies at a meeting in San Francisco highlighting the positive operations and finances of Hartnell CCD as well as the strong and growing local economy and tax base.  Standard & Poor’s cited as reasons for their upgrade the effective management of the District’s finances, the District’s healthy financial position, and the large and diverse tax base.  Moody’s strong rating highlighted the District’s growing enrollment, strong financial profile, and disciplined financial management. 

“District employees and the Board of Trustees all work together to make sure our District is financially strong so that resources are available to support student success,” said Board of Trustees President, Manuel Osorio.   

Dr. Lewallen further stated, “We are excited to begin the projects approved by District voters in November.  Improving existing facilities and building new ones will allow us to provide world class learning environments that will support student success leading to high wage, high demand 21st century jobs and transfer to four-year institutions.”

“Our low borrowing cost will allow us to keep tax rates low while maintaining flexibility to sell additional bonds in the future to continue our Measure T projects,” added Figueroa.

The District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the sale of the 2017 Bonds in June 2017. 

 

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides workforce training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world class STEM education, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu. 

 

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Boronda International Study Program goes to France in 2015

Publish Date: 
Oct 1, 2014

SALINAS, Calif. – Hartnell Community College District is happy to announce the Sylvano and Maria Boronda International Study Program for 2015.   Applications are now available for a two-week study abroad program in France next summer; up to 10 scholarships will be issued.   This program is open to all who meet criteria and applicants need not be Hartnell students.

Students selected for the Boronda Program will study and travel under the direction of a Hartnell College instructor.  The scholarship includes paid expenses for air and ground transportation, lodging, meal allowance, and accident insurance.

This scholarship was established in 1985 taking students to Argentina, Guatemala, Japan, Hungary, Spain, Africa, and others.  In his will, Lester D. Boronda specified that the recipients are to be “Students of Unusual Promise in the Arts; namely, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Literature, Drama, Music, or Dance.”

Recipients will enroll in a Hartnell course covering French culture, history, and arts during the spring semester of 2015.  To apply, applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Demonstrate an active interest in at least one of the arts by serious previous commitment, participation, or study
  • Be a resident in Monterey County from at least January 1, 2014
  • Be at least 18 years of age by May 1, 2015
  • Be eligible for a passport as required for international travel

Applications are now available at the Hartnell College Foundation in room E-101 or by logging in to http://www.hartnellfoundation.org.   

Completed applications must be turned in to the Hartnell College Foundation or postmarked by October 24, 2014.  The mailing address is Hartnell College Foundation, 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA 93901.  If you have any questions, call 831-755-6810.

Hartnell Community College District
The Hartnell CCD serves over 15,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides workforce training, basic skills courses, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world class STEM education, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities, and athletics. We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.                -30-

Hartnell announces its 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame inductees

Publish Date: 
May 18, 2018

Hartnell announces its 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees

Fifteen to be honored on November 3

 

SALINAS, Calif. – Hartnell Community College District is proud to announce the Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018 to be inducted at a luncheon on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 411 Central Avenue in Salinas, California.  This will be the sixth annual event.

“It is truly an honor to welcome back and recognize those individuals and teams who have left their marks on Hartnell athletics during its extraordinary history of success,” said Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen.

Hartnell College has a rich athletic tradition and a long history of success that spans over the past 82 years, producing well over 8,500 student-athletes who have not only achieved success in athletics, but also in the classroom and in life. The 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees are:

Student-Athletes

Tyrone Ward, Track & Field/Football

Kendric Brooks, Basketball

Cesar Baltazar, Soccer

Staci Raine, Volleyball/Softball/Track & Field

Cristina Serrano, Track & Field/Cross Country

Mike Grim, Football

Bill Maker*, Football

Marv Anderson, Track & Field

 

Volunteers/Supporters

Jim Silveria*, Announcer

Gordon Ray, Announcer

*posthumous

Coaches

Jim Forkum, Basketball

Mike Garibaldi, Swim/Water Polo

 

Teams

1981 Rodeo

1994-95 Men’s Basketball

1998 Women’s Cross Country

“Many tears and smiles were shared at the past events by the teams and individuals receiving the prestigious honor,” shared Director of Athletics, Dan Teresa.  “Hall of Fame has become a homecoming tradition for alumni and their families.”

After the luncheon and ceremony, a wall with the inductees’ plaques will be unveiled in the Gymnasium. Later that afternoon at 6:00 p.m., the inductees will be introduced during half-time at Rabobank Stadium where Hartnell Football will face Los Medanos College.

For more information about the induction, call 831-755-6810 or email Ashton Clarke at aclarke@hartnell.edu

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.                                                      ###

Alfred Diaz-Infante to be honored at Party in the Library this Saturday

Publish Date: 
May 9, 2018

Alfred Diaz-Infante to be honored at Party in the Library 2018

 

SALINAS, Calif. – Hartnell College and the Hartnell College Foundation present the 12th Annual Party in the Library this Saturday, May 12, 2018 at the Hartnell College Library located at 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA starting at 5:00 p.m. The theme for 2018 is Thrive!

This is the biggest fundraiser for the College to benefit students and programs.  This year the Party in the Library committee will recognize Alfred Diaz-Infante with the Hartnell College Foundation Leadership Award to recognize his role in making positive changes that affect the entire region.

Diaz-Infante, a Hartnell Alumnus, has been deeply involved with Hartnell and its mission for many years. He is a Salinas native who after attending Hartnell, transferred to Sacramento State University and UC Berkeley. Alfred is the President/CEO of CHISPA (Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc.); he served as a Hartnell College Foundation board member from 2007-2017 and as President from 2011-2015.

“Alfred’s leadership has been instrumental in securing philanthropic gifts that have launched forward-thinking programs and partnerships that are changing higher education in the Salinas Valley,” shared Vice President of Advancement and Development, Jackie Cruz.

The Hartnell College Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation organized by community spirited citizens to support and benefit the Hartnell Community College District. Its Board of Directors is comprised of volunteer leaders from the Salinas Valley.

For more information, go to www.hartnell.edu/party, call 831-755-6810, or email Ashton Clarke at aclarke@hartnell.edu.

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.                                                      ###

Student-Athlete Scholar Dinner

Publish Date: 
May 9, 2018

It was another first at Hartnell. On Thursday, May 3, 2018 we celebrated all graduating student-athletes on the President’s and  Dean’s lists with a dinner at Steinbeck Hall. Family and staff were there to cheer them on and wish them well.  It was the first time to award the Bill Elliott Student-Athlete of the Year Awards to two outstanding Panthers. The award includes a plaque of recognition and a $1,000 scholarship for their continuing education. The coaches had a difficult decision to make when nominating students in their areas. Out of seven nominees, two were selected to receive this year’s awards: Chace Miguel, Women’s Soccer and Ricardo Esqueda, Cross Country/Track & Field.

All of the student-athletes received recognition and a t-shirt to remember this event. Present at the dinner were my wife Michele, Trustee Manuel Osorio, VP Ben Figueroa, VP Dr. Lori Kildal, VP Jackie Cruz, and other staff and administrators. I was happy to give the opening remarks, followed by comments from Director Dan Teresa, and Panther Athletic Council Co-Chair, Sam Spadoni. This was a proud moment for the students, coaches, and staff.

 

Panther Prep gets better each year!

Publish Date: 
May 9, 2018

Many thanks to the dozens of individuals involved in making the 2018 Panther Prep Days a big success.  The outcomes at the King City Educational Center and Main Campus exceeded our expectations.  It was wonderful to see many local high school seniors enroll at Hartnell College.  Preliminary totals for each event are as follows:  346 students enrolled for summer and fall classes Friday at the King City Education Center and 511 students enrolled Saturday on the main campus.

Equally impressive were the large number of Hartnell College faculty, staff, administrators and student ambassadors who traveled to King City and/or spent their Saturday on the Main Campus.  It was also exciting to meet with parents who accompanied their high school senior to the event. 

It was a great experience for me to welcome the groups to Hartnell and to also present at the different parent workshops and answer questions.

“While there were many individuals who were vital to the success of these two events I would like to single out several colleagues who I felt went "above and beyond" to make Panther Prep 2018 a big success,” said VP of Student Affairs, Dr. Romero Jalomo.  “These individuals make up our college pathways team: Sara Sanchez, Brenda Jones, Wendy Cruz, Ernesto Rodriguez, Ariana Rodriguez, Laura Zavala, Isaura Arreguin, and Antonio Alarcon.”  

Beyond these individuals were many faculty, staff, students and administrators who hosted resource fairs on both campuses, conducted parent workshops, provided counseling services, registration services, financial aid and assessment services, IT support, cashiering services, coordinated breakfast and lunch, led campus tours, provided disability support services and helped or answered questions to 857 high school seniors over the past two days.

Panther Prep 2018 was a successful collaboration that brought together all divisions of Hartnell College. Among them were Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Administrative Services and Information Technology.  A big thanks to the President's Office and Foundation/Advancement staff who participated as well.  We proved once again that together we can provide a productive and meaningful experience for our incoming students.  

 

Western Food Safety Summit is May 9 at Hartnell

Publish Date: 
May 4, 2018

Western Food Safety Summit is May 9 at Hartnell

Dynamic industry leaders and topics on food safety throughout the supply chain

SALINAS, Calif. - The Agricultural Business and Technology Institute at Hartnell College is excited to host the 13th year of the Western Food Safety Summit May 9, 2018 at 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA. This event is from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the theme, ‘Food Safety throughout the Supply Chain.’

The Summit will start at Mainstage (Bldg. K) with welcoming remarks from Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen, followed by special keynote speakers, Kurt Gollnick, Vice President/Chief Operational Officer of Scheid Family Wines, and Sonia Salas, Director of Science and Technology of Western Growers - as food safety transcends the robust agricultural industry in the Salinas Valley. 

Dynamic presentations will complement the keynote speakers with industry leaders who will touch on a variety of topics. Presenters include:

  • Cindy W. Lewis, FDA and Steve Patton, CDFA on FDA Updates to the Produce Safety Rule and Compliance and Enforcement by CDFA
  • Brian Zomorodi, Apio, Inc., What has Changed in Food Safety Over the Years
  • Henry Gonzales, Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner, Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) and Monterey County Crop Report
  • Clarisa Molina, Primus Auditing Ops and Serka Solutions, LLC, Produce Safety Rule
  • Abby Taylor-Silva, Grower Shipper Association of Central California, Water Sustainability and its Role in Food Safety
  • Johnny Massa, Comgro Soil Amendment, Adequate Curing
  • Justin Kerr, Factor IV Solutions, LLC, Listeria Prevention
  • Patrick Zelaya, HeavyConnect, Inc., Get the Paper Out of the Field

The Western Food Safety Summit brings together all levels of the agricultural workforce and support services to California’s Central Coast for a day of intensive training on the most current issues and concerns for fresh fruits and vegetables but also will allow you opportunities for networking. 

Tickets are $200 per person and include breakfast, lunch and course materials and are now on sale at https://give.hartnell.edu/register.

For media inquiries the day of the event, you may contact Director Rosie Armstrong at (831) 759-6050 or rarmstrong@hartnell.edu or Cristina Westfall at the Hartnell College Foundation at 831.755-6810 or cwestfall@hartnell.edu.

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.                                                      ###

Dr. Willard Lewallen receives Distinguished Alumnus Award from Cal Poly Pomona

Publish Date: 
May 1, 2018

Distinguished Alumnus Award for Dr. Willard Lewallen

Cal Poly Pomona bestows high honors on Hartnell’s Superintendent/President

 

SALINAS, Calif. – On Friday, April 27, 2018, Cal Poly Pomona and its Alumni Association honored Hartnell College Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen (’78) with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Athletics category. 

This was the 58th Awards Gala held at the Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona “honoring nine alumni who have achieved extraordinary success in their chosen fields, thus bringing distinction to themselves, their community, and their Alma Mater,” said University President Soraya M. Coley.

“It is very humbling to be named a Distinguished Alumnus for Cal Poly Pomona. I am just an average kid from Pomona who was provided extraordinary opportunities during my life,” expressed Dr. Lewallen. “I am truly standing on the shoulders of those who lifted me up along my path...my parents, teachers, colleagues, mentors, coaches, and most importantly for the last 36 years, my wife Michele and my children.”

Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen is a native Californian and a product of the California public education system where he graduated from Garey High School in Pomona. He completed a B.S. degree in Kinesiology with honors at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and was a member of the 1976 national championship baseball team, which was inducted into the Cal Poly Pomona Athletics Hall of Fame on February 17, 2018. He was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship at Purdue University where he completed two master’s degrees. He completed a Ph.D. in education at UCLA.

Under his leadership, Hartnell College has increased degree completion by 90 percent and increased student transfer by 56 percent. Lewallen says he was attracted to the field of education early in his college years because he saw an opportunity to help young people grow and develop, to help them reach their goals and dreams.

Prior to joining Hartnell, Dr. Lewallen served as a faculty member and administrator for several other California community colleges, including President of West Hills College in Coalinga. He has also served as a n adjunct professor in graduate studies at Chapman University in Orange and University of La Verne.

The elegant dinner program was filled with proud family and friends rooting for the recipients of such honorable award.  With Lewallen were his wife Michele, daughter Jennifer, son Kasey; friends Dr. Lionel and Deb D’Luna; David Hunt; Praful Kulkarni; Trustee Candi DePauw; VP of IT, David Phillips; Director of Communications, Esmeralda Montenegro; and Hartnell supporters and friends, Vivien & Butch Lindley.

Dr. Lewallen's record of leadership, scholarship, achievement, accomplishment, community involvement, and service are documented in his curriculum vitae, which can be accessed at  http://www.hartnell.edu/sites/default/files/Library_Documents/president/docs/willard_lewallen_-_cv.pdf.

His wife of 36 years, Michele, served as a faculty member at Antelope Valley College for 30 years teaching health and physical education and also serving as a softball and basketball coach. They are the proud parents of Jennifer (32), Kasey (30), Parker (28), and the proud grandparents of Mina. He and Michele lead physically active lifestyles that include a commitment to physical fitness and health. They have both completed the Los Angeles Marathon twice and Michele has completed several other marathons and triathlons.

To set up interviews with the Superintendent/President, contact Lucy Serrano at 831-755-6900.

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.                                                      ###

TWS presents rare musical adaptation of Steinbeck's Of Mice & Men

Publish Date: 
Apr 26, 2018

The Western Stage and The National Steinbeck Center present

Rare Musical Adaptation of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Archived for 60 Years

Premiered Off-Broadway in 1958, last heard a decade ago

Mainstage, Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

SALINAS, Calif.  The Western Stage (TWS) will culminate its SpringFEST 2018 with a staged reading of Of Mice and Men, a musical drama by Ira Bilowit. This is in partnership with The National Steinbeck Center (NSC), which recently acquired a treasure trove of original scripts, scores, and photos from the 1958 NYC debut; The Western Stage gained permission from the Steinbeck family estate to re-introduce the public to this little-known work. This original musical treatment carried Steinbeck’s blessing throughout its creation, and the hope is that TWS will be able to present a full-scale production of this resurrected masterpiece in the near future.

The reading will be presented as a free event for the community in conjunction with the NSC’s Steinbeck Festival (May 4, 5, and 6, 2018; www.steinbeck.org). Just one performance will be held in Hartnell’s 500-seat Mainstage Theater on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA. Special guest Waverly Scott Kaffaga, who is John Steinbeck’s step daughter, will be in attendance.

The original production boasted a top-billed cast, including Art Lund, Jo Sullivan, and Leo Penn (father of actor Sean Penn, who coincidentally is a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award). How is it possible that a production that garnered the support to premier Off-Broadway, earned a gold star from John Steinbeck, and scored such an all-star cast, disappeared into oblivion? Soon after the musical opened, a newspaper strike hit New York City, all but obliterating any chance for publicity. The few reviews it did receive were very good, but it was not enough to build up an audience. The show closed after just six weeks and has not been produced since.

The musical was conceived by Ira Bilowit, a renowned New York arts journalist over six decades, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 90. He wrote as a theater critic and editor for several arts publications. Bilowit became inspired after attending an evening of Steinbeck, where two actors presented the last scene from Of Mice and Men, bringing him to tears. He was reminded that Steinbeck’s classic was one of his favorite books. He had also recently seen a production of The Threepenny Opera and felt that there was a strong corollary between Steinbeck’s writings and the genre of folk opera.

Not only was Bilowit’s proposal approved, the creative team was in constant communication with Steinbeck during the adaptation process. Steinbeck wrote letters full of suggestions, while at the same time telling them that he didn’t want to interfere with their work. Bilowit and his team were invited to Steinbeck’s New York townhouse to present the music, and as Steinbeck listened, with eyes closed, he heard the song, “Candy’s Lament,” and wept.

Western Stage’s long history of presenting Steinbeck’s works in full-scale production, staged readings, and touring shows makes it ideal for presenting Bilowit’s long lost work. TWS’s Artistic Director Jon Selover will be directing the upcoming reading, which holds a personal significance for him, as Of Mice and Men was performed during his very first season with The Western Stage in 1984. “To direct a production that was close to Steinbeck’s heart, to bring it back after 60 years, and to do it here in Salinas is really quite special,” Selover says. Also on the production team is Don Dally as Musical Director and Music Dramaturg, who will be interpreting and transcribing the original handwritten score.

Steinbeck’s Relevance Today

Although it is 60 years old, this musical version of Of Mice and Men is resoundingly modern, especially in the way the writers expanded the character of Curley’s Wife, which some use as argument for Steinbeck’s alleged disdain for women (due to the fact that she was never given a name). In the present #metoo age, we are given a deeper look into her character and motives as she struggles to free herself from oppression and the limited options given to women at that time. Curley’s Wife is given three arias of her own and there is a hint of a romantic entanglement with George. It can be supposed that her namelessness does not come out of a disdain for women, but rather, his method of presenting her as the only way the male characters see her: generalized, blurred, invisible. This aptly ties into the theme of this year’s Steinbeck Festival, “The Women of Steinbeck’s World.”

Steinbeck was known to have said that the reason for writing was to help people to understand one another. That sense of empathy and understanding permeates Of Mice and Men; a story about working class farm hands whose lives reflect today’s migrant workers. Little has changed for migrant workers since the book was written; they still experience a life on the move, no job security, low pay, and harsh working conditions. Steinbeck’s intimate reflection of that life and the dreams that the characters have for a better life and a better future are no different from the dreams we each hold onto. In effect, he wants us to remember we are all Dreamers.

DETAILS: The Western Stage will culminate its SpringFEST 2018 with a staged reading of Of Mice and Men, a musical drama, in partnership with The National Steinbeck Center. The work, which had Steinbeck’s heartfelt support, has been archived for 60 years since its Off-Broadway debut. This event will be a free event for the community, in conjunction with the NSC Steinbeck Festival (www.steinbeck.org).

 

WHAT: Of Mice and Men, a musical drama. Adapted by Ira J. Bilowit and Wilson Lehr. Music by Alfred Brooks, Lyrics by Ira J. Bilowit. Based on the Steinbeck novel.

WHEN: Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Western Stage, Hartnell College, Building K, 411 Central Ave., Salinas.

TICKETS AND INFO: This event is free to the community. General seating is on a first-come basis. This event is wheelchair accessible.  Individuals requiring sign-language interpreters, real-time captioners, or other accommodations should contact Melissa Chin-Parker at (831)770-7088 or mchin@hartnell.edu a week prior to the event.

PRESS: For additional information and publicity photos, contact bhouse@hartnell.edu.

ABOUT THE WESTERN STAGE

Founded in 1974, The Western Stage (TWS) has evolved over the last four decades into one of the most respected community-based theaters on California’s Central Coast. TWS is committed to enriching the culture of its community by bringing together professional artists, theatre students, and community members to produce a dynamic season of plays that enhances the lives of both the artist and audience; developing new works that speak to the history and culture of the Salinas Valley; and provide educational opportunities that allow students of all skill levels to explore and develop their unique talents.

HARTNELL COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT – ESTABLISHED IN 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.       

 

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From Harvest to Harvard - paving the way

Publish Date: 
Apr 25, 2018

From Harvest to Harvard

Director of HEP, Eric Becerra off to Ivy League University

 

SALINAS, Calif. - The Hartnell Community College District is proud to grow leaders inside and outside the classroom.  Such is the case of Director of High School Equivalency Program (HEP), Eric Becerra, who for years has promoted higher education to local high school students and farm working adults. This fall, he is headed to Harvard University for a doctorate degree.

“Eric is one in a cadre of young Latino/a education professionals at Hartnell who are making a difference in the lives of Hartnell students and in our communities,” expressed Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen. “He is a rising star who is always focused on lifting up all of those around him.”

Growing up in Castroville, Eric Becerra never imagined himself living on the East Coast – let alone, attending one of the most prestigious Universities in the world. However, life has a way of placing opportunities out there for those who really want to make a difference in the lives of masses. He comes from a farm-working family and credits his migrant counselor in high school, for guiding him towards higher education and advocacy. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz, and earned a Masters in Counseling from San Diego State University. He came to Hartnell four years ago to lead HEP with great success.

Thanks to a fellowship with the National Community College Hispanic Council, Eric found out that only .03% of Latinos complete a doctorate degree. He was inspired to be one to move the needle thanks to stimulating words from Dr. Ted Martinez from the NCCHC and SVDA guest speaker and Harvard Alum, Dr. Cesar A. Cruz.

After years of accompanying local students in the Salinas Valley Dream Academy to visit Ivy League schools, he felt the need to walk the talk and envision himself completing a doctorate at one of those institutions. He applied to the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program at Harvard University, a program that admits a cohort of just 25 students each year.

“This whole process has never been about me,” said Becerra. “It is a collective win for my family and my community.” He was one of 50 candidates selected for an interview, and indeed, a few days after completing the day-long interview process, he received the call inviting him into the doctorate program, with a full scholarship plus a monthly stipend.  This is a three-year accelerated program – two years of full time study at Harvard and his third year potentially back in California for his residency. His family is supportive and excited.

“To think that someone from Castroville, CA, is making a way for other farm worker children to think of themselves as able and deserving of such opportunities is mind boggling,” expressed Becerra with tears in his eyes.

He did a special reveal with his four children (Alicia, Andreya, Tlaneci, and Cuauhtemoc), wife Clarisa, and other family members. He had special shirts that read ‘Someone at Harvard loves you a bunch’ in Spanish. Although he will be away for two years, they are so proud of him; his father Humberto Becerra and mother Raquel Davila shed tears of joy at the great news. “Keep fighting for progress, not just for yourself, but for all those of us who did not have the opportunity,” his father told him.

Eric says that he is surprised at the impact his admission has had on the lives of his children and those around him. Many old friends telling him they have been inspired to action and plan to pursue a doctorate as well.

“My 12 year old daughter wore her Harvard tee-shirt to school the very next day; my six year old daughter refused to take it off for one whole week and has been telling everyone her daddy is going to Harvard,” shared Becerra.

He says that having a doctorate will open up a world of opportunities his younger-self would have never imagined. For now, he wants to continue telling his story and becoming more comfortable doing so because he has come to appreciate that others may relate and connect with his experience. His HEP family is beyond proud and happy for him – they will miss him, but know that greater opportunities wait.

“My goal is to lead from where I stand – and stand where I can have an impact,” concluded Becerra.

“I look forward to that day when I get to say ‘welcome home Dr. Becerra,’” added Dr. Lewallen.

For more about Eric Becerra’s journey, you may contact him at ebecerra@hartnell.edu.

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.                                                      ###

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