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Summer 2012


A look how GCCC has left its mark on people’s lives as we celebrate the college’s rebranding.

REACHING academic honors The class of 2012’s top two outstanding graduates share how they made the most of their collegiate experience.

GRAD ATTACK: Quizzes | Role Models | Advice

Editor’s Letter

We multi-task... • web design • motion graphics • photography • investigating • interviewing • writing • designing • video • audio • marketing • advertising


We are high tech...

• iMac & Quadcore Macintosh computers • Adobe InDesign • Adobe Illustrator • Adobe Photoshop • Adobe Bridge • Adobe Flash • iMovie • iDvd



Harley Torres

Yes, it’s that magical time of year, when the campus population thins out as summer sets in. While the Student Center and Saffell Library are not nearly as packed as they are during the fall or spring semesters, there are still students scattered everywhere. While not enrolled in summer courses, but lingering on campus to finish production of this issue, I wandered around campus. It felt like a ghost town. Quickly, I realized it was I who was the ghost. My freshmen year was behind me and with it, many lessons. As I thought about my first and last cigarette, I remembered the people who shared that lesson with me. This made me think about other alumni and what memories they have that tie them to GCCC. Sure, we are here to further our education; however, not all of our lessons are taught in the classroom. The path to our success is open to those willing to pursue it without fearing adversity. And navigating these paths is what we’ve learned as we’ve graced the halls, classrooms, fields, courts and corners of GCCC.


• • • • •

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Staff Margarita Arreola

Samantha Trejo

Thomas Mendoza

Jacqueline Majalca

Rosaura Martinez

Boomer Pauda

The advice students shared with me for my “Freshmeat” article made me realize we all commit the same mistakes our freshman year. You don’t have to be a freshman to benefit from the advice, anyone can relate to these first-year college experiences.

Getting to hear the stories of so many great individuals though the pages I worked on has been an experience of a lifetime. After hearing about Dwa’s story of determination, I feel inspired to be just as resolute in school, as well as my normal life.

The past year has taught me a lot. As the staff designer, I helped with the “Freshmeat” story. Even though I’m no longer a freshman, much of the advice is still applicable to me.

I had an opportunity to hear about many students’ journeys. The articles, “Overcoming Boundaries,” “Never too late to succeed” and “Rising to the top,” motivated me to continue on my own journey.

While writing my story “Into the Wild ,“ I learned how to not give up and to not stress about college. Along with that, I realized not giving up can lead you in the direction you desire.

This last issue of the 2012 year makes me proud to say that I’ve been on staff for yet another year. Having the resolution in school as well as life to accomplish what you need to do is key to what makes this magazine so great!

Funding for Breakaway magazine comes from student fees. Content published in the magazine does not necessarily represent the views of the college or college personnel. The Breakaway magazine is a designated public forum. It is not to be construed as a promotional item published by college personnel. Student editors make all content decisions. Faculty adviser is Laura York Guy. Letters to the editor are welcome and may be sent to Breakaway magazine, 801 Campus Drive, Garden City, KS 67846 or via e-mail to Volume 21, Issue 1 of the Breakaway was produced by Garden City Community College’s Breakaway staff and printed by Jostens, Topeka, Kan. The press run was 1,500. The 32-page magazine was designed on Macintosh computers using Adobe Creative Suites 5.

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BREAK away Vol.21|Issue3|2012



BREAKINGcharacter 04 Super Swender


As a husband, father and now the sixth president of GCCC, Dr. Herbert J. Swender shares what he sees as the important things in life.

Into the Wild

Alumni Brian Nelson talks about his adventures as the new Executive Director of Friends of Lee Richardson zoo.

theWORKS 08 Final canvas


From making pastries to studying psychology, students welcome challenges as they finish their studies.

Never too late to succeed

The inspiring journey of these two women once again proves that is never too late to obtain an education.

iceBREAKER 12 Overcoming Boundaries

Cover by Harley Torres

16 22

Reaching academic honors

The class of 2012’s top two outstanding graduates share how they made the most of their collegiate experience.

These are our days

A pictorial look how GCCC has left its mark on people’s lives.

Garden City Community College

Students who are studying English as a second language celebrate their culture while they share their unique experiences about migrating to the United States.

theSIDELINES 18 Freshmeat


College is not like high school, don’t fall for the misconception that it is easy. Outgoing sophomores breakdown what they really learned from college.

Flash of Blue

Respecting the badge may be hard for some college students, while others are training to become the long arm of the law.


Super Swender

Story By Samantha Trejo Photos By Jacqueline Majalca

As a husband, father and now the sixth president of GCCC, Dr. Herbert J. Swender shares what he sees as the important things in life.

During his sophomore year of college, Herbert J. Swender was the youngest official in the nation to have a playoff game in football. “I was selected to officiate a football game at Fort Scott, Kan. It was a 5A school and that was just one of the many opportunities I had,” Swender said. “Since then, that kept me involved in sports.” While Swender had no idea he would become president of a college, the young official had other things in mind such as being a football coach.

4_Summer 2012 breakaway

“My life plans at the time were to be a teacher and a coach. I was into officiating at the time,” Swender said. “I refereed football, basketball and actually did volleyball.” Swender continued to be heavily involved with sports as a little league parent, coaching his children’s athletic teams in soccer, baseball, and daughter Whitney’s softball team. “I enjoy being involved with the kids,” he said. Although he enjoys all sports, Swender responded without hesitation to his favorite sport to watch. “College level, whatever Kansas school is playing, that’s

President Swender spends a day reading stories and doing magic tricks for the toddlers in the campus day care center.

didn’t learn from the textbooks. “No matter how difficult you think you have it, let me tell you there is always someone else that has a lot more challenges facing them,” Swender said. “I think about my mother who had four kids before she ever went to college, working full time and some of the challenges and adversities that she faced pale in comparison to anything I can come up with,” he said. So what advice does Swender have for students who are struggling to obtain their education? “Stay in school. You just need to have inspiration from looking at other people and what they’ve done and accomplished. There are many students walking these halls right

the one I’m rooting for.” So what team would our president pick when it came between rivals Kansas Jayhawks and the Kansas State Wildcats? “I’ve got to tell you, for football it’s K-State all the way, but I enjoy watching the Jayhawks do well in basketball. They’re both very supportive of this college and we have students who go to both institutions,” he said Other than enjoying sports and the outdoors, there is one thing that Swender said will he always make time for, his family. After first setting eyes on wife, Diana for the first time, Swender knew it was love at first sight. “We met in high school. I married my high school sweetheart,” he said. The couple has three children, their oldest son, H.J., daughter, Whitney, and their youngest son, Austin. “I’m proud of them. Sometimes I embarrass them a little bit at things, but my perception is they’re proud of their dad,” Swender said. So how does a husband and father of three find time to do anything? Well, he thanks the Board of Trustees for being understanding when it comes to family and attending his kids’ events. Having a connection with the youth is something that Swender believes he The Swender family poses for a family photo following daughter Whitney’s graduation from GCCC. From left, son, H.J.; wife, Diana; Whitcan give in return. “Not every president has to have ney, President Swender, and son, Austin. kids to be a good president. I’m not saying that, but I think it’s important for me now who have a lot of challenges facing them. I think the in this point of my career,” Swender said. When it comes to his children’s career and education, important thing is that you’ve got to have a good support Swender said he hopes they go out and find what they’re system around and that’s not always easy to have,” he said. With so much experience at hand, Swender still has passionate about. “I hope they’re happy at whatever they do, that’s the goals that he would like to accomplish as our president. main thing. I think every parent wants their kids to be hap- “I think probably the most simple, yet complex goal is to make this experience that I’m having is to make Garpy,” he said. With both of his parents being educators, it was destined den City Community College even better than it was,” says that Swender and his siblings would follow in their footsteps. Swender. “My mom and sister have doctorates from Oklahoma “I had five presidents before me and as the sixth presiState University and then I do too, so there’s three of us from dent, I don’t want to let them down either. There is an expectation of excellence at this college and I sure want to Oklahoma State,” Swender said. With his family rounding out about 14 degrees from his maintain that...and elevate it even...I’m just proud of being alma mater, Pittsburg State, there is one thing that Swender a part of GCCC.” eGC3Media.com_ 5




Alumni Brian Nelson talks about his adventures as the new Executive Director of Friends of Lee Richardson zoo.

Story, Photos & Design by Rosaura Martinez

Nelson, shows where the future Cat Canyon will be at the Friends Of Lee Richardson Zoo with the money that Lee Richardson Zoo is raising.

6_Summer 2012 breakaway

For Brian Nelson, one piece of advice he has for students and graduates of GCCC is simple. “You do not have to move to other places to look for a job.” Says Brian Nelson. “One night, while I was reading the Garden City Telegram, I saw an ad about hiring an executive director at Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo and jumped for it.” Brian Nelson is a graduate of GCCC. Now the Executive Director of Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo, Nelson said he realized that having this job was something that he was definitely going to enjoy. Before being the Executive Director, Nelson did volunteer work with the Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo. Nelson participated in plays on zoo grounds. “I was in two theater plays, one named “Cat Tales” and the other “Animal Crackers in My Zoop,” says Nelson. “These plays were held to benefit the Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo.” While a student at GCCC, he said he had his fair share of homework. However, he always managed his time to do them. “I was the kind of person who enjoyed school and academics,” Nelson says. Nelson’s advice to GCCC students is to not give up. Nelson advocates for students to try different fields in college until they find the right major as well. “Students need to try to listen to their instructors, they also need to be responsible and manage their time so that they are not always in a hurry,” he says. Nelson also recommends students be organized and plan very well. Now, as the Executive Director of Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo, Nelson heads the non-profit fundraising branch of the zoo. One of his charges is to oversee membership. “People who have membership will have free drive-thru visits to the zoo, discounts at the Safari Shoppe and discounts at other zoos as well,” says Nelson.

“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to work at Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo.”

Nelson said he is thrilled to be working at the zoo. “I am honored to have been given the opportunity to work at Lee Richardson Zoo,” he said. “The grounds are an escape to the stress of everyday life, and to be able to call this place work, is truly brilliant.”

Nelson’s personal philosophy is that students should be open to all possible routes in their lives and not just college.

eGC3Media.com_ 7


Final Canvas From making pastries to studying psychology, students welcome challenges as they finish their studies. Story and design by Samantha Trejo Photos by Harley Torres

Every year around May, GCCC’s Mercer Gallery hosts a student art show, which allows students to exhibit all of the art pieces they have completed throughout the year. For sophomores Adam Armijo, Jesus Landeros, Natalie Morales and Melody Virgil their last show is bitter sweet. “I think it’s an honor, I worked really hard on some pieces so it’s really nice to see them up on the wall and in the gallery,” said Natalie Morales about having her pieces in the show. One piece in particular that she enjoyed painting was of flowers that were given to her by a special person in her life. “I did a picture of Adam, my boyfriend. I painted the flowers that he gave me for Valentine’s Day, so that was really fun to do,” she said. Morales, who is transferring to Fort Hays State University to major in art education, wants to become an art teacher so she can show kids the real meaning of art. “I really enjoy art and I think that it’s a good outlet for kids. It gives the kids a break to be creative and have fun in school. I always enjoyed art class,” she said. Classmate and president of art club Jesus Landeros has similar plans in mind when it comes to his future. Landeros said he decided he wanted to be an art teacher during his senior year of high school. “I did my Buff project in high school and I taught a class Sophomore Adam Armijo takes one last look at his 3-D piece and it seemed pretty fun.” before placing it in the Mercer Gallery. He’s placing it in the In the show, Landeros has three prints and two sets of student art show which took place May 5-18. tea pots. Although he admits that he’s enjoyed learning how to make prints this year, his heart will always belong

8_Summer 2012 breakaway

to ceramics. 3D Art instructor Brian McCallum showed Landeros the tricks of the trade, which is what he said got him to the level where he is at today. “I’ve been close to McCallum since I got here. He’s been showing me his little tricks that he has for pots,” he explained. One thing that Landeros says he’ll miss is the art club pot lucks. “I love pot lucks because they’re just so fun and so memorable you know, McCallum had two. He throws the best potlucks,” said Landeros. While the majority of the sophomore students are moving on to become sculptures of the mind, Melody Virgil is continuing her education in the name of sculptuing desserts. Virgil, who is planning to attend Johnson & Wales University in Denver, is more than excited to continue doing art in a sweeter way. “About five years ago I think it was, I had watched Ace of Cakes for the first time and I was hooked. It looks so fun with sculpture and cake and then you can eat it and destroy it,” she said. Since then, Virgil said she has been addicted to the wonderful treats and delicacies which have shown through in her artwork. In the show, she has an etching piece and a ceramics piece resembling two cupcakes. From having pieces in the show, Virgil also has a soft spot for the gallery. Working there since last October, she has been busy hanging shows, making labels and sending up to 600 postcards per show inviting people to attend.

Anthony Moncada talks with Natalie Morales as they view her oil paintings during the opening reception of the student art show May 4.

Although she says she’s had fun working at the gallery, Vigil will not miss the vigorous tasks. “I’ve lived in Garden my whole life I don’t think I’m going to miss it,” she said comically. In contrast, Adam Armijo will miss Garden City and the people he has met during his time here. The Colorado native is also very proud about graduating from GCCC. “It’s pretty nice you know, I’m like the first one out of my grandma’s grand kids to actually graduate at all from college,” he said. Armijo said he plans on continuing his education at Fort Hays State University and major in psychology. Unlike his classmates, he doesn’t really consider himself to be an artist but says he’s excited about having his piece in the show. “The inspiration was a stegosaurus and a Febreeze bottle,” Armijo went on to explain how it was an assignment for his 3-D design class. “We picked an animal at random and passed around papers and put your favorite and least favorite animal and I got stuck with a stegosaurus and something else, it was also a cockroach,” he added Even though he is unsure about continuing art courses while in Hays, Armijo said he will always remember his time at GCCC.

Jesus Landeros cutting away in the studio as he makes a frame for one of his prints that was featured in the show. eGC3Media.com_ 9


Never too late to

SUCCEED The inspiring journey of two women proves that it is never too late to obtain an education.


Maricela Gomez giving her speech at the GED graduation.

10_Summer 2012 breakaway

Story by Samantha Trejo Photography by Jacqueline Majalca & Rosaura Martinez Design by Jacqueline Majalca

aricela Gomez dropped out of school in the fourth grade when she was just 10 years old. “My parents did not believe that it was very important to have an education,” she told the audience during her address at the May 6 GED Commencement. Living in Johnson, Kan., Gomez graduated last February through Project Destiny, a progam located in Ulysses. Like many of the GED students who were graduating, Gomez had to overcome many struggles while at the same time trying to graduate. As she was preparing to take her finals in December, Gomez’s mother had to have open-heart surgery. This caused her to put a halt to her studies. Through the support of her husband and family, Gomez was able to complete her GED. “I knew that it was not going to be easy, but I’m able to say that I made it. Now I have plans to continue my education,” she said. Currently taking CNA classes at GCCC, Gomez encourages others to not give up for any reason when it comes to school and their education. As her speech came to a close Gomez gave a piece of a advice to those adults who doubt themselves on being able to finish school. “I want to tell every woman and man, if you have a dream to continue your education, but you think it’s too late, don’t miss the opportunity. You can do it,” she said.

At the reception after graduation, Brenda Armendariz is accompanied by Mark Campus (to her left), lead GED instructor and Hector Martinez (to her right) the Director of the Adult Learning Center.

Mark Campos, lead instructor of the GED program at GCCC, agrees with Gomez’s statement and encourages everyone to complete their education. “We’re not asking them to be rocket scientist. We’re just asking them to have faith in themselves and faith in their ability.” As Campos wraps up his first year of being at GCCC, he looks back to what he loves most about his job. “One of our speakers, Brenda Armendariz, she had struggled so hard. I really worked with her in the science category to pass her GED test and she passed it, but unfortunately the time had passed that her other scores ran out so she had to start over basically. There was a point where we really thought that she might have given up…but she didn’t. She continued to come and worked on everything else and got those other tests passed and now she graduated. So that was really big,” he said. Dropping out her freshman year of high school, Brenda Armendariz believed that school would be easier to finish in the future but admits she was wrong. “The day I realized that I needed my education was when my younger sister asked me to help her with homework. Her math assignment seemed like rocket science to me. I felt so dumb at that time. At that very

moment I decided to better myself,” she said. Beginning her journey in 2005, Armendariz admits that it was far from easy getting her GED. “A lot had dropped me to my knees to the point that I would give up, but I would pick myself up. My family and friends would motivate me to get back into school,” she said. Also a speaker for commencement, Armendariz tearfully thanked family and friends. “I love you guys and thanks for always being there for me. Without you this would not have been possible for me to accomplish.” She continued by motivating her classmates and sending a message out to those who didn’t believe they could make it to graduation. “To all the people who did not believe in us, look at us now. We are all standing here with our heads held high getting ready to walk across the stage to receive our diplomas and praying we don’t trip,” she said with a smile. Armendariz said she plans to continue her education at GCCC and complete her CNA and hopes of going into forensics one day. “I love forensics and I would love to do that.” eGC3Media.com_ 11


OVERCOMING BOUNDARIES Students who are studying English as a second language celebrate their culture while they share their experiences about migrating to the United States. Story By Samantha Trejo Photos By Jacqueline Majalca

Each spring semester, ESL instructor Jeani Ferguson looks forward to all of her student’s “Immigration Experience” presentations. “I love this project. This is the eighth time that we’ve done it and I love doing it every time,” she said. Beginning in the second week of classes, Ferguson gives students prompts about their lives and immigration experiences. “It encourages them to use the grammar that they’re learning, but in a meaningful way, instead of just dry, old dusty exercises,” she said. This semester there are 13 students: Exna Aburto, Vanessa Aguirre, Guadalupe Asebedo, Evelyn Baluyot, Thang Cao, Lia Dung, Ubah Farah, Pa Te Kheng Lawt, Win Khin, Nhan Lam, Mayra Puentes, Alejandro Valenzuela, and Jose Padilla Vazquez. Each student had the opportunity to share their life story and unique experience immigrating to the U.S. “They get to preserve their immigration stories because we’re a nation of immigrants. Everybody has someone in their family who immigrated from somewhere and those stories get lost after a couple of generations,” Ferguson said. “This is an attempt to preserve 12_Summer 2012 breakaway

their culture.” Whether they left their country for a better education, future, or family; all of these students will now have a story to pass on in their families from generation to generation. When Evelyn Baluyot came to the United States from the Philippines, she never imagined learning how to drive or even working at Wal-Mart. “My life changed when I came here, I became a more mature and responsible person,” she said. Baluyot is the youngest of two brothers and four sisters. Her father passed away when she was 12. The reason for their move was her grandmother, who was already in the United States. She wanted her family to be together, so Baluyot’s grandmother completed a petition for her mother to come to the U.S. Evelyn was underage during the time so she did not have to go through the petitioning process. Once they were approved, she arrived in the United States Nov. 3, 2011. Baluyot had already learned some English when she was in the Philippines, so the language wasn’t too foreign for her. “Students from the Philippines study English from

middle school to college,” Baluyot said. Before coming to the U.S., Baluyot was already attending college, she studied as a radiological technologist for two years. Now she wants to major in ultrasound therapy or respiratory therapy but admits that being a student can be tough. “Working and studying is very hard, but I try to manage my time by not being on the Internet, or Face book, or other social networking and even by not going out.” Despite the minor distractions, Baylulot hopes to continue her education to go back to her country and open up her own businesses. Classmate Pa Te Kheng Lawt, on the other hand has other things in mind when it comes to his future. Lawt has a dream of continuing his education while sharing the word of God with others. He wants to go to bible school and become a pastor. When Pa Te Kheng Lawt found out he was chosen as a refugee to live in the United States, he said it was like winning the lottery. Lawt grew up in Kalayma where the government had control and limitations over everyone. Although his father owned a furniture store, they did not make enough money for their daily essentials. At the age of 12, Lawt began working with his father to help and make money for his family. In 2004, he had to flee Burma and escape to Malaysia. Once he arrived, he applied for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and qualified as a refugee. While waiting for a response, Lawt continued working. He described the wait as long and really sad. “I had no idea what to do during that time,” Lawt said. After three worrisome years of waiting, Lawt was selected for a spot to come the United States. In September of 2007, he finally arrived in the U.S. and his new home, Seattle, Washington. He recalled his transition to the U.S. very difficult only knowing two words “yes” and “no”.

After six months of adjusting, he got a job as a cook with no high school diploma or even knowing English. Physically, he said the job was easy but communication was very difficult. During his time in Seattle, Lawt learned how to play the drums and also met his wife. Although they had met in Seattle, Lawt went after his love when she relocated to Garden City in 2009. They now have a baby boy named Bilshan, who is a year and a half. After five years in Garden, Lawt’s sister Thian Par and nephew Jonah came to the U.S. and joined he and his family. Lawt now works full time at Tyson as a trainer, interpreter, and medical transportation driver. Although he is eager to go back and visit his native country, Lawt plans on staying in the United States with his family to pursue his dreams

eGC3Media.com_ 13

Reaching academic honors


14_Summer 2012 BREAKaway

Carly Schmale, Garden City, accepts the award for outstanding female student from President Herbert J. Swender during the commencement ceremony.

The class of 2012’s top two outstanding graduates share how they made the most of their collegiate experiences.


hat do you want to be when you grow up? For some, the answer to this question comes as easily as breathing. For others, they suffocate under the pressure of picking a career. For Carly Schmale, her choice was obvious. “When I was younger, about my sophomore year of high school, I was involved in an accident that left me in physical therapy,” she said. “While I was doing my exercises, all I could think about was the pain.” After fully recovering from her therapy, Schmale said she stood resolute to never let anyone endure what she did. Not only did Schmale not like being on the receiving end of therapy, but she wanted to help people avoid the pain from P.T. “I like to help people get better, whether that’s in physical training or in day-to-day life.” Fast forward to her final semester at Garden City Community College, and Schmale majored in Physical Therapy, graduating at the top of her class alongside fellow graduate, Dwa Tho.

These two outstanding students earned the 2012 honors for outstanding female and male graduate. During the Academic Honor’s Dinner, Schmale and Tho learned about the award. “When they annouced my name for outstanding female student, my heart skipped a beat,” Schmale said. At commencement, GCCC President Herbert J. Swender, Ph.D. presented them with medallions. Schmale said she plans to attend Fort Hays State University to continue her education. “Really it’s just what I’m good at,” Schmale said. “I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction from helping people, enough to want a job out of it.” Following Fort Hays State University, Schmale plans to continue her education even further. “I just want to make sure I know everything I need to,” she said. At GCCC, Schmale is involved with Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges. Schmale’s advice to those who want to follow in her footsteps is simple, yet powerful. “Find what you like to do, and pursue it.” Schmale’s said her secret has been finding balance between school and social life. “Staying focused has been my biggest ace in the hole throughout my academic career,” she said. eGC3Media.com_ 15

Burma native, Dwa Tho proudly holds his diploma following graduation.

Dwa Tho poses with his sister, Mya Cho, who graduated from GCCC as well.

Dwa Tho accepts his recognition from President Herbert J. Swender for being the top male outstanding student.

16_Summer 2012 breakaway

Dwa Tho with his wife, Eh Ka, after graduation.

“Having my first degree in this country means a lot to me.”

After moving from Burma as a refugee to the United States at the age of 16, Dwa Tho has overcome many obstacles in life. By graduating from Garden City Community College as the male outstanding student, Tho has proved that nothing is impossible and that dreams come true. “My hard work didn’t go unnoticed,” Dwa Tho said. Tho said he came to the United States as a refugee with his older sister, leaving his other sister and his parents in his native country. Tho came full of dreams, wanting to achieve an education to help his family. When he first came to the United States, he worked at BPI for 6 months to raise money to pay for college because he really wanted to study and also to support his family. Tho, who had finished high school in Burma, took classes at GCCC’s Adult Learning Center to improve his English before he enrolled in regular college classes. Tho said the major struggle he faced was the language even though he already knew the basics. Tho said when he was in Burma he wanted to be either a doctor or an engineer because those careers

are very popular and respected. Tho said he really thought about what he wanted to do. For that reason, when he began taking classes at the college, his major was pre-med and then chemistry. However, after taking a sociology class from Dr. Greg Thomas, Tho said he found out that he was really interested in learning more about it. Tho said he realized he needed to do what he enjoys and enjoy what he does. Being involved in organizations like HALO and SSS helped him earn his degree even though he wasn’t a very active member. He said his involvement helped him learn to be more social. Along with that, SSS helped Tho with the materials for college. Tho said Kurt Peterson, SSS advisor, was very helpful when he needed advice. Tho said he considered quitting college because his father was very ill in Burma. Tho thought he needed to get a full-time job to raise money; however, Peterson convinced him to stay in college. After consulting Peterson, Tho decided to attend classes part time and work full time. Tho works as a case worker in the refugee offices in Garden City. Having the ability to speak three languages—Burmese, Korean and English—has given him the opportunity to help other refugees. “Coming to the United States to study was one of my dreams,” he said. “The United States offers many opportunities to obtain an education. Anyone can get an education, so don’t waste time, go for it” Tho said. Dwa Tho working at his job at the refugee center in Garden City. Tho enjoys his job since he gets to help refugees as being a great role model.

eGC3Media.com_ 17


n that it is eas o ti p e c n o c is ’t fall for the m n o d l, o o h c college. s m h o ig fr h d e e k li rn t a o le n College is hat they really w n w o d k a re b Sophomores

“Make sure you make the right choices, don’t have too much fun because having too much fun will distract you from your studies.” Carlos Ahkothe, Del Rio, Texas.

“Make sure you go to class, don’t procrastinate, and don’t spend all of your time partying.” Kallie Hoover, Denver, Colo.


“Don’t procrastinate because that stresses you out more and you will be freaking out.” Allison New, Topeka, Kan.

“Keep your stuff in order, do your work, and don’t stay up late.” Samantha Boorhees Phillipsburg, Kan.

Illustration by Margarita Arreola and Thomas Mendoza | Text by Margarita Arreola | Design by Samantha Trejo | aPhotos by Jacqueline Majalca 18_Summer 2012 breakaway

“Come to school prepared to work. Spend a lot of time in the library studying and use your resources wisely.” Colman Rodriguz, Cincinnati, Ohio

“Marriage–a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters written in prose.”

Welcome home at Davis Design

Bridal Registry Unique Home Decor Interior Design Services Home Staging f f O Holiday Decor 10% l Bridatry Gift Certificates Regis Check store for more information

Find us on Facebook 426 N. Main St., Suite A | Garden City, KS | 620.260.9252 eGC3Media.com_ 20


Flash Blue of

Respecting the badge may be hard for some college students, while others are training to become the long arm of the law. Photography by Ibel Omar Story and Design by Harley Torres

The flash of blue and red lights catches your eye from your rear view mirror. Suddenly, sirens whoosh past your vehicle as a patrol car speeds by. You watch as the officer flies through stop lights and intersections feeling relieved and bewildered. It is easy to forget that there’s a human being in that squad car. A person who operates each day with the operating under the principles of clarity, humility and honor. 20_Summer 2012 breakaway






These principles are not something they are born with; much like everything in life, they must be learned. These principles are central to the training students who study in GCCC’s Department of Public Safety, one of the college’s oldest career preparation programs. “DPS got its start on campus in the late 1960s with the Criminal Justice program,” David Rupp, instructor of Criminal Justice explains. “Later in the 80s our EMT program began, and then fire science in the early 2000s.” Along with a degree from the DPS, there is a newfound respect and livelihood students take away as they begin their career. Abel Amador, vice president of the Freshman Criminal Justice program, has been a police intern for two years in his home town of Ulysses, Kan. “There’s an amount of self-gratification that I have when I’m on the streets,” Amador said. “Knowing that I’ve done my part to keep my town safe for the public makes me extremely proud of myself.” Along with a sense of pride, many graduating officers, EMT’s and firefighters have another type of security, job security. “It’s nice to know that in today’s economy; there will always be a job opening,” Amador said. With his role as a vice president in the criminal justice program, Amador also gains experience in organizing events for the department. “The main goal of being president is to manage all the C.J. students” said freshman president Manny Ultreras III. “Some are harder to deal with than others but it helps build my managerial skills,” he said.


Each year students vie for the limited spots for admission to the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy. “Getting in is almost as big as being accepted to college,” Amador said. “I feel very fortunate that I was picked for K.H.P.” Amador was handpicked by the K.H.P. Along with four others from a pool of 30 applicants. In order to be admitted, applicants undergo extensive scrutiny as well as background checks. Amador said he prepared for his “brush with destiny” by working out for the prior three weeks. “I try to eat right and make my bed military style every morning, just because that’s what will be expected of me,” Amador admits. While Amador is aware of the stereotypes people have about law enforcement personnel, he says he is still just like everyone else. He likes to play guitar and watch videos on YouTube. Ultreras has his hands full during the day, but at night he’s listening to music in his dorm and hanging out with the friends he made in cross country. Being a police officer isn’t for everyone; both Amador and Ultreras have sacrificed a lot for the sake of their careers. Ultreras has less time to relax with his girlfriend and Amador has struggled with discrimination in the name of his career. “It’s tough sometimes, everyone looks at me and all they see is the badge and the gun,” said Amador. “But at the end of the day, I know I’ve done a good job and kept the streets safe for another day.” This will be the second time Amador will attend the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy for summer training. Afterwards he will return back to protecting the streets of his hometown, where he said he belongs.

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These are our days A pictorial look how GCCC has left its mark on people’s lives.

Layout by Harley Torres Photography by: Jesus Lozoya, Jacqueline Majalca, Allyson Maturey, and Harley Torres

Top: Students show their school spirit as they light the fire of competition in the Buster Football homecoming. Left: Courtney Abbot performing “Sex Signals“ at orientation day as part of Catharsis Production’s sexual assault prevention program.

22_Summer 2012 breakaway

Bottom: Keyla Pena, Amber Gardner, Issa Garcia, members of the GCCC cheer leading squad, make calls during the 32nd endowment association’s phonathon.

Top: Bobby Smith, Montezuma, Kan., warms up prior to the homecoming game against Airforce Prep. The Busters lost 14-26. Right: Arun Manilal Gandhi, fifth grandson of Mohandos Ghandi, visits campus to deliver a message of peace on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Bottom: Justin Goodwin, Nancy Wright, and Chase Lumley portraying Roger, Dianna, and Black (respectively) in the final act of the drama department’s “Seven Deadly Sins.”

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24_Summer 2012 breakaway

Right page: Top: College President Herbert J Swender gives his inaugural address after being sworn in by the Board of Trustees during GCCC’s first presidential inauguration. Bottom left: KAKE Anchor/Reporter Larry Hatteberg speaks during the annual Kansas Associated Collegiate Press conference in Salina, Kan. GC3 media attended and brought home the All-Kansas award as the top two-year Kansas newspaper. Bottom right: First ever commencement speaker that was not a student, Mark Randall from the Denver Nuggets addresses the graduates sharing his philosophy of good character. Left Page: Top left: Micah Kasriel, advisor for SGA, helps distribute water bottles during the campus-wide Earth Day celebration. Middle: The Eagle Med helicopter rises off the ground after a successful scenario day hosted by GCCC’s Department of Public Safety. Bottom right: Isaiah Anderson, Johnson, Kan., peeks around a corner to take a shot during ‘What The Puck.’ This SGA event crosses paint ball with Nerf tag. Bottom right: Wendy Waechter, Lakin, Kan., hoists her mini fridge to set it in her truck bed. “Packing up is like playing “Tetris.” Waechter comments.

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Breakaway Summer 2012  

Vol. 21 Issue 3

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