Page 1


Spring Issue 2

Archers Madness see page 3

March 24, 2017

Milo goes too far See page 7

authors among us See page 8

St. Louis Community College at Forest Park

College to eliminate P.E. requirement Change won’t affect current students By Jeffrey Wallace Richman The Scene staff Most future students at St. Louis Community College won’t have to take the two credits of physical education that are required of current students. The STLCC Board of Trustees recently voted 4-3 to make the change, based on a proposal from the College Academic Council and a task force that included Langrehr faculty members. Officials argued that the P.E. requirement kept some students from graduating and hurt the college financially. The state of Missouri provides state funding based on performance, including graduation rates. “I think it puts us in line with where the national trend is,” said Andrew Langrehr, the college’s vice chancellor for academic affairs. In 2011, nearly 50 percent of STLCC students who were close to graduating and who transferred to other institutions hadn’t completed the two P.E. credits of P.E., according to district records. The council also found that more than 85 percent of transfer students who start at STLCC end up graduated from a fouryear institution that doesn’t have a P.E. or wellness requirement. “None of the Top 5 schools that take St. Louis Community College graduates have the requirement,” Lengrehr said. The change isn’t good news for P.E. programs on STLCC campuses, which may eventually may decrease the number and variety of classes. Mark Applegate, P.E. department chair and assistant professor at Forest Park, notes that physical education helps students stay healthy and reduce stress. A vocal opponent of the change was STLCC retiree Bob Nelson, 78, of Kirkwood, a longtime basketball coach and P.E. teacher and later a Board of Trustees member. “When Nelson heard the board was planning to cut the P.E. graduation requirement, he went to Facebook and fired up his Rolodex and started an email campaign to stop the change in its tracks,” a St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist reported.

See P.E. page 2

Photo by Serenity Ghidoni

Student Adrian Bell Jr., 19, works on his abdominal muscles during a physical education class in the Forest Park fitness center.

Graphic communications returning to Forest Park By Nana Ramsey The Scene Staff

Students and faculty are thrilled that the full graphic communications program is returning to Forest Park after a four-year hiatus. Many students have been forced to travel to the Meramec and Florissant Valley campuses of St. Louis Community College to take advanced classes since Forest Park phased out the program in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013. “I enjoy working at Forest Park,” said Kalia White, 23, a graphics major and member of The Scene staff, who lives in downtown St. Louis. “And if I have a project due, it’d be nice to go there instead of Meramec.” It takes White an hour and a half to get to Kirkwood on public transportation. She gets up at 5 a.m. and doesn’t make it back home until 9 p.m. on some days. Last month, Jamie Kreher, chair of fine and performing arts at Forest Park, announced that the graphics program would return in the fall of 2017. She hopes it will solve the problem of students not finishing their associate’s degrees in graphic communications because they can’t get to Meramec or

Florissant Valley; and help Forest Park increase enrollment. “Not all at once, but this should bring more students back,” said Kreher, 42, an assistant professor of photography. Forest Park offered the graphics program until 2012, when the number of class offerings were cut in half, eliminating all 200-level classes, as a budget-cutting measure. Bruenger Only students close to graduating could finish the program at Forest Park. Others had to transfer to Meramec or Florissant Valley or travel back and forth. That didn’t sit well with Forest Park faculty or students. “Students should have the ability to go to any campus for their degree,” said Bruenger, 44, graphics coordinator. Kreher and Bruenger went to Larry Johnson Jr., who became Forest Park provost last summer, and asked him to consider bringing back the graphics program.

See Graphic page 2

Faculty exhibit runs through March 30

By Shileha Churchill The Scene staff “Decompositional Maelstrom # 27” is one of the most striking pieces of artwork in the annual Forest Park Faculty Exhibition. The sculpture is a three-dimensional collage of ceramic pieces, everything from a salt shaker to a light bulb, a coffee mug to

tiny human figures. Artist Troy Aiken made them from molds collected on his travels, most dating to the ’70s and ’80s. “I want to know what happens to our trash in the future and our ceramics in the future … what it will be like if we became dystopian society,” said Akin, a former California resident who began teaching art at Forest Park last year. “Decompositional Maelstrom # 27” is

Photo by Serenity Ghidoni

Fine arts chair Jamie Kreher poses in front of “American Mythologies,” a photo series she submitted for the Forest Park Faculty Exhibition.

one of 21 pieces in the exhibition, which will run through March 30 in the Gallery of Contemporary Art on campus. That also includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, graphic pieces and a video installation. Art professor Yingxue Zuo submitted a giant mural called “Carnival.” At first glance, it’s vibrant and colorful. A closer look reveals protesters carrying signs and other images that allude to political unrest. “I wanted to show how it may look like the world is having fun, but we still have lots of problems,” said Zuo, “For example, our issues with immigration.” “Carnival” is part of a series of three murals. The second is called “Money,” and the third is “In the Name of the People.” Susan Dawson, who teaches art history at Forest Park, was one of about 30 people who attended the exhibition’s opening reception. “Carnival” was her favorite piece. “It is very current, important and powerful,” she said. Many of the artists presented themes focusing on American society, culture and politics. Michael Paradise created a booklet called “Self-Satisfied” in honor of his art students at Roosevelt High School. He also teaches drawing part time at Forest Park.

See Exhibit page 2

News P.E.

from page 1

“It’s really a sad situation,” Nelson was quoted as saying. “Our society is fat. We’re overweight, and we need physical education.” STLCC students enrolling for the first time this fall won’t have to take P.E. classes, unless their majors or programs require it. The P.E. requirement will stay in place for students who have already been attending Forest Park. “I think it is important to note that the requirement isn’t gone,” Applegate said. “As of right now, all students are still required to take two credits of P.E.” Students can choose from 17 classes, ranging from Dance Aerobics to Beginning Rock Climbing, Swimming to Walking for Fitness, Stress Management to First Aid. STLCC programs created from this point on won’t have the P.E. requirement. Existing programs will have it until officials go through a formal curriculum process to remove it. “It could (become) a problem in the future if students believe that it’s eliminated, but in their current program, it’s not,” Applegate said. Forest Park students seem to have mixed feelings about the change. Nursing major Thalia Bates, 18, believes it will have a negative effect on students with busy schedules and weight problems. P.E. classes may be their only form of exercise. “I think (taking P.E.) lowers students’ stress levels, so taking away that requirement will make them more stressed,” she said. Baking and pastry arts major Jackie Huddleston, 17, said the change will alleviate discomfort for overweight or non-athletic students who don’t like going to the

gym because they don’t fit in. “I personally have always hated P.E., so it forces me to (take a class) and get a credit,” she said. Business major Tamia Houston, 18, sees good and bad in the P.E. requirement. She knows it’s important for college students to stay active because of all the “obesity and laziness in America.” On the other hand, Houston sees a possible benefit in eliminating the P.E. requirement: It might free up more time for students to be involved in clubs and other organizations or take more academic classes. “If I didn’t have to take P.E., then I would take business courses that apply to my major,” she said.


“I was presented with data regarding enrollment trends from the last five years,” Johnson said. “The data intrigued me so much that I requested that the faculty draft a plan to offer additional courses.” Meramec and Florissant Valley will continue to offer the full graphic communications program, along with Forest Park. White expects to graduate in the fall. She’s looking forward to having her last semester be easier than the others, thanks to faculty members and the provost. “It is my goal to support graphic communications faculty and students to ensure that Forest Park provides a menu of courses that will enable students to complete the program at one location,” Johnson said.


from page 1

Photo by Serenity Ghidoni

“Decompositional Maelstrom #27” is a three-dimensional collage of ceramic pieces by Forest Park faculty member Troy Aiken. paintings in a series called “Character Development.” “Blindside” focuses on phobias and other fears. Two women, Persona and Sage, are sitting and looking toward a light with a hand creeping up behind them like a shadow. “I wanted to show light and darks and how people have irrational fears,” said Mitchell, who teaches drawing and design. The Gallery of Contemporary Art is on the first floor of the Forest Park library building. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Admission is free.

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The booklet contains small pencil and oil-pastel drawings of students in different settings. “I wanted to show how I love (the diversity of) my students, and I wanted to show that amongst all of social injustice that we are having,” Paradise said. He also submitted a sculpture made of a tree truck with a rock in a cast-iron skillet representing a sunnyside-up egg. He found Aiken the rock while hiking in the woods, thought it was interesting and just had to take it home. “I call this piece ‘Out of Bedrock’ because I wanted to show the celebration of finding things in nature,” he said. The faculty exhibition was organized by Zue and Jamie Kreher, a photography professor and chair of fine arts who invited all Forest Park faculty to participate. Kreher also submitted a piece of her own. “American Mythologies” is a collection of travel photos, ranging from landscapes to a copper mine in Montana. They’re printed on souvenir-style plates, similar to the ones her parents buy on vacation. Kreher shows that photography can be inexpensive and accessible while also exploring the idea that people idolize the past and crave for nostalgia. “Are we seeing America as great, or were we ever great in the first place?” she asked. “As Americans, we always crave for America’s greatness and old ways.” Professor Metra Mitchell submitted three pieces in the exhibition. “Melancholia” is a dry-point engraving with a somber girl sitting alone in a chair. “Blindside and Desire & Despair” are two of 24 oil

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Page 2 The Scene

March 24, 2017


Turnaround season ends with tourney loss By Timothy Bold The Scene staff

Veteran coach Terry Collins has gotten the St. Louis Community College’s men basketball team back to its winning ways in only his second season. Collins led the Archers to the Region 16 championship and the National Junior College Athletic Association’s District 13 title, which resulted in a berth in the national tournament. Their season ended Wednesday in DanCollins ville, Ill., where the No. 14-seeded Archers lost to No. 3 Louisburg College of North Carolina, 92-70. Collins brings to the Archers more than 30 years of coaching experience, most as a head coach with community college teams in Illinois. He notched two 20-win seasons with John C. Daley College in Chicago. Before the 2015-16 season, Collins replaced Randy Reed, who was 36-28 in two seasons with the Archers, including a seventh-place finish in the NJCAA Tournament in 2014. Collins has a connection with STLCC’s athletics director, Shawn Summe. The two worked together at Ave Maria University in Florida, where Summe was the head baseball coach and athletics director and Collins was assistant basketball coach. Collins was on a visit with potential Ave Maria recruits when he accepted the position at STLCC, now focusing recruiting efforts in the St. Louis area for the first time since the late 1980s, when he was head coach at Belleville Area College at Granite City. In recruiting, “the one thing that has not changed is that the key is to find great leaders,” Collins was quoted as saying in an STLCC news release announcing his ap-

Photo by Isaiah Brooks

Sean Rigmaiden of STLCC shoots over a North Central Missouri College defender in the Archers’ 74-58 victory on Feb. 4. pointment. “When you have great leaders, a lot of things fall in place. Some things have changed, but having great leaders who work hard and are working toward the process of getting better, those are the kinds of people you want to bring into the program.” Collins inherited an Archers team that posted a 14-16 record in 2014-15, losing the Region 16 title game to Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. His first season here ended 12-18. “It wasn’t a lot of time to recruit, lack of depth and an injury-plagued team played a major part,” Collins said. “Teams would just wear us down, and we would make a lot of mistakes.” This season, with time to recruit and implement his system, the team enjoyed a major turnaround. “We have good balance with our offense

and defense,” Collins said in an interview late in the regular season. “We try to get players to understand their strengths in our triangle offense,” which features three guards. Sean Rigmaiden, a sophomore guard from St. Louis and the team’s leading scorer, said, “Once we figured out the triangle, everyone plays their part, nobody gets to play individually.” Collins’ recruiting efforts snagged starting guards Todd Simms, a freshman from St. Louis, and two sophomores, Brian Enriquez of O’Fallon, Ill., and Miles Nettles of St. Louis. Eight of the 13 players on the roster were freshmen brought in by Collins. “As far as the X’s and O’s, he’s so methodical,” Nettles said. “Since the beginning of the season, training was hard, but you see how it works and we roll.”

In the national tournament game against Louisburg, Simms scored 14 points and Nettles had 12. Rigmaiden was held to three-of-14 shooting from the field and finished with 11 points. Collins describes his coaching philosophy as being “methodical and precise, trying to get better every day.” The offense averaged 70.1 points per game this season, a big jump from the 57.7 a game last season. Balanced scoring was a key among the starting five of Rigmaiden (17 points per game), DeVante Harrell (10.8), Enriques (7.6) and Nettles (7.9), all sophomores, and Simms (12). Collins expressed pride in the team’s 8-6 road record in the regular season and its resilience. The Archers lost their first meetings against Danville, Lewis and Clark, Arkansas State Mid-South and MCC-Penn Valley but defeated each of them in the rematch. Harrell has witnessed the improvements first hand. “We’ve got 13 players instead of seven, so the team has more contribution from the bench,” he said earlier this season. “We’re still working on getting things right because (the offense is) so complex.” Freshman Drew Smith said Collins is “very passionate, especially about teaching hard work and discipline in basketball. We’re playing in a system where a lot of guys can do things on the court. All of us have a nice shooting range.” Collins relied heavily on his bench to keep the tempo high. Marquis Pepper, Raushaun Amos, Nigel Ferrell, Henderson Faulkner, Jarmon Williams, Courtney Barlow, Adis Mujakic and Smith all averaged between 7 and 8.5 minutes a game. “The Region 16 games made us see that we can compete with anyone,” Nettles said. He said the 74-57 victory at Arkansas State Mid-South and the 90-78 win at MCC-Penn Valley were “us against the world, and we didn’t quit.”

Women fall short in 2nd round of nationals By Timothy Bold The Scene staff The St. Louis Community College women’s basketball team was short on depth but long on tenacity, and the team steeled itself for a successful season in part by practicing against men. After a 21-8 regular season, coach Shelly Ethridge’s team showed its grit by winning the Region 16 tournament and the District P championship, earning the 11th seed in the 16-team National Junior College Athletic Association Division II tournament in Harrison, Ark. On Tuesday, the Lady Archers advanced to the tournament’s Elite Eight by upsetting No. 6-seeded Guilford Technical Community College of North Carolina, 77-59. But on Wednesday No. 3-seeded Monroe Community College, part of State University of New York, rode a 29-11 second-quarter surge to eliminate the Lady Archers 8253, earning their 17th win in a row and 28th victory against three losses. The loss ended STLCC’s 13-game winning streak and gave them a 24-9 record. With a roster that typically had just eight players, Ethridge molded it into a tight unit featuring a strong work ethic. Rigorous daily practices included scrimmages against a team of men. “The season is 10 months long, so we all have dealt with a lot of adversity, injuries, disciplinary actions, family members passing, etc.,” Ethridge said. “All of these

obstacles have made us develop a strong bond, and we’re willing to play for each other, not for ourselves.” Starters Ellisha Davis, Shamiah Oliver, Chrishana Wilson, Alfreda Roberts, Shamara Glover and reserves Wilson Erika Harvey and Erica Waeltermann did the bulk of the work for the Lady Archers. Wilson, a 5-foot-10 freshman forward from Gateway Academy in St. Louis, averaged 17.1 points a game and led the team in rebounds. In Ethridge the District P championship, she pulled down a St. Louis Community College record 25 rebounds. In the NJCAA tournament opener against Guilford, Wilson hit 12 of 14 shots from the field, finishing with 28 points and 13 rebounds. In that easy victory, Davis scored 14 points while Harvey got 12 points, including seven straight points early in the third quarter. Oliver added 11 points. The Lady Archers shot 54 percent from the field, while holding Guilford Tech to 29 percent. In the second-round game against Monroe, STLCC started sharply, leading 19-15

after the first quarter. But errors plagued the Lady Archers — ­ they committed 27 turnovers in the game to Monroe’s 11. They trailed 44-30 at the half and never recovered. Oliver led the Lady Davis Archers with 19 points, while Wilson was held to four-for-10 shooting from the field and finished with 10 points. The team shot only 39.2 percent from the field. Before the tournament, Ethridge praised her club, saying, “Every Oliver player plays a critical part of our success.” Like the men’s team, the Lady Archers run a motion offense consisting of ball movement and lots of cuts around the perimeter, with the forwards crashing the boards. “We like everybody to get a touch and let it go, and very rarely do they take a bad shot,” Ethridge said. Davis, a freshman from Belleville East, loves the offense. “We’re on a fast pace up and down the court. (Ethridge’s) style makes me a better point guard.” Ethridge added that scrimmaging against a men’s unit “raises their level of play by

March 24, 2017 The Scene

increasing speed and physical style of play. They fought it in the beginning and eventually bought into my philosophy.” Roberts, a sophomore from Miller Career Academy in St. Louis, said, “Playing against them makes us react faster, and the physical play builds stamina.” Wilson added, “Our offense is pushing the ball, spacing the floor and boxing out for rebounds.” Offensive rebounding was a key strength for the team, with Wilson ranking third nationally during the regular season with 5.3 a game and Roberts 22nd with 4.4 a game. “We box out with better positioning and hit the boards,” Roberts said. Davis ranked fifth nationally in assists in the regular season, averaging 5.7 a game. “Our defense is pressure, man to man,” Ethridge said. “We rely on our defense to create offense. Initially our players didn’t understand the importance of defense and didn’t enjoy playing ‘D’ very much. Now they love playing it and have bought into our defensive scheme.” Going into the final game, opponents averaged 54.5 points per game with a 38.5 percent field goal percentage. Ethridge, completing her fifth season with the Lady Archers, has a 91-39 record. Her first coaching stint was at Belleville Area College (now Southwestern Illinois College) in 1991, turning that club into a winning program. She moved on to the University Missouri-St. Louis, where she led the team to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2000.

Page 3

A Day in the Life

Photo by Claudio Cobos

Above, art major Paulina Conner creates an image of the Jan. 21 women’s march, combining people from several photos into one painting; left, nursing major Mackenzie Chrun reads while sitting on a world globe scupture on campus; below, dental hygiene student Kelly Kline cleans the teeth of a live patient in clinic.

Abo Mari ter’s top r Darg sha colo for a leg; prof son Ame Boo jazz right ani C Layt wou

Photo by Timothy Bold Photo by Antonio Lloyd

Page 4 The Scene

March 24, 2017

e at Forest Park

Photo by Claudio Cobos

Photo by Claudio Cobos Photo by Garrieth Crockett

ove, Ceramic Technician ija Lajsic works at a pots wheel in the art annex; right, nursing majors gae Thompson and KenoJohnson note the size, or and proper dressing a wound on a mannequin middle right, pschology fessor Bruce John Munreads “The Handy African erican History Answer ok� and while listening to in the Highlander Lounge; t, nursing majors StephCaldwell, left, and April ton practice bandaging a und on a mannequin.

Photo by Claudio Cobos

March 24, 2017 The Scene

Page 5


College commemorates 1917 race riots By Timothy Bold The Scene staff

Photography major Kathy Carr had no idea that East St. Louis was the site of bloody race riots in 1917. “It was horrific, tragic and unthinkable that innocent people were killed for no reason,” she said. Carr, 46, was one of about 200 people who attended a Jan. 23 program that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the riots. It was held in the Mildred E. Bastian Center for the Performing Arts at Forest Park, Heather thanks to assistant communications professor Tiffany Lee with help from faculty members Zita Casey and Mariah Richardson and staff member Brittney Aledegbami. Lee is an East St. Louis native and mem- Wharton ber of the East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative, which co-sponsored the program. “My purpose was to get students informed on an event that had an effect on both sides of the river,” she said. The riots occurred on and around July 2, 1917. Labor- and race-related violence left 31 blacks and nine whites dead, according to official records. Some reports put the death toll at closer to 100. More than 300 homes and businesses were burned. The Forest Park program included speeches, gospel music, a video and spo-

ken word. It was developed by commission members Eugene Redmond and the Rev. Joseph Brown. “They wanted to assure that students knew the impact (the riots) played, socially and economically,” Lee said. The keynote speaker was retired St. Clair County Circuit Judge Milton Wharton, commission co-chairman. He provided graphic details of the riots, including blacks being burned alive in buildings guarded by whites with guns. “Not a whole lot of people (know) about the horrors of the East St. Louis riots,” he said. “Most history books don’t acknowledge this event.” Also on the program was commission member Karla Scott, dean for diversity and inclusion at St. Louis University. She described the riots as a “pogrom,” defining that as “an organized massacre of a particular group or religion.” Filmmaker Sandra Pfeifer showed excerpts from “Against All Odds,” her documentary about the riots. The choir from Truelight Baptist Church in St. Louis sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “God Lead Us Along” and “Every Praise.” Forest Park students also. Erica Rushing read an original poem, Derrick Owens presented his spoken-word piece “Never Forget I Remember” and Phi Theta Kappa showed its video, “Fire Next Time Rise Above the Flames.” “I was able to learn history from a perspective of other people,” said audience member Heather Uhuru, 12, a sixth-grader. “I’m feeling more connected. That was never taught in school.” Also in attendance was Forest Park Provost Larry Johnson. He described the program as “insightful and moving.”

“As I sat in the audience, it reminded me of stories that I taught my students as a professor regarding the South and the struggles of African Americans and other marginalized groups. “Learning about the struggles of African Americans in the Midwest impressed me in a way like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘urgency of now.’” The East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative is a non-profit organization of community activists, scholars, educators and business

and religious leaders. It was formed in 2014 by the city’s mayor and city council. The next commemorative program will be held on the East St. Louis campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in May. Such events are designed to “shine light on a tragic event,” said commission co-chairman Edmund Brown. “My job is to create a real dialogue on race relationships. I want students to understand their history, not only those of color, but as American citizens.”

Letters to the Editor Dear editor: Five months into a woman’s pregnancy, her Facebook followers likely have seen a clear ultrasound image of her preborn baby. She’s showing and has started to feel her little son or daughter kicking her ribs. In Missouri, it’s legal to abort this child. It’s actually legal to abort the baby until just under 22 weeks, more than halfway through the pregnancy, when a preborn baby has the ability to feel pain. No reason is necessary for the abortion. To take the life of an unborn baby is a tragedy for human rights. It’s a cruel decision to take the life of this child by either lethal injection into its heart or by dismemberment of its tiny body. At 22 weeks, the abortion process is torture for the unborn baby. And the horror continues with pain the mother suffers after the abortion. Missouri has the opportunity to end abortion by the time babies feels pain, when they would be subject to the torture of

every pick and pull by the abortionist a s their little lives are ended. Please support the Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act. Many states have already passed this law, and it’s time for Missouri to follow. Christine George Circle of Life president Meramec campus Dear editor, I would like to thank June Williams, Neil Das, the library staff and the Forest Park campus for supporting me. The time and effort they put into the book signing for “Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series” was heartwarming. It led to a phenomenal discussion, and I am grateful. Tiffany Lee Assistant communications professor Forest Park

Scene THE

Managing editor: Chris Cunningham Layout editor: Darryl Reece Administrative assistant: Kalia White Reporters/photographers: Garrieth Crockett, Shileha Churchill, Nana Ramsey, Niki Best, Timothy Bold, Isaiah Brooks, Serenity Ghidoni, Claudio Cobos, Antonio Lloyd, Jeffrey Richman, Daphne Drohobyczer Faculty advisers: Teri Maddox, Fred Ortlip The Scene is a publication written and designed by students at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110. The office is in F Tower, Room 408. The telephone number is (314) 644-9140. The e-mail address is All text, photos, graphics and other content are property of The Scene and may not be used without permission. Views expressed are not necessari-

Page 6 The Scene

ly those of St. Louis Community College, its Board of Trustees or administration. The Scene welcomes opinion pieces and letters to the editor. They should be signed and include the writer’s student or staff number. They can be mailed to the above addresses or delivered by hand. We reserve the right to edit for length and taste. The Scene will run classified ads for students free of charge. They should be submitted in the manner described above.

March 24, 2017

Flip Side

for me, I found that Judaism indeed was the appropriate destination. But among some sects within the religion, I had choices to make:

Ultra Orthodox

Religion can be a matrix of choices By Daphne Drohobyczer The Scene staff When I was little, I asked my dad, “Do you believe in God?” He said, “No, we are atheists.” Coming from communist states Russia and Poland, atheism is all he knew. Nevertheless, when I started kindergarten at a public school in Ohio, my parents sent me to an orthodox Jewish synagogue for Sunday school, where I read the children’s version of Torah (Old Testament) stories and spun the draidle on Hanukkah. For my consecration, I chose the story of Jonas and the Whale. Without any anti-semitic undertones, other students at the public school would innocently tease me about my religion. I would say, “I am half-Jewish and half-Christian,” but somehow, I was a little ashamed that I was Jewish and clung to the fact that my paternal grandmother was a Christian. On my journey to find a religion that fit

Men usually wear a black kaepa, or yarmulke (a small circular cap), or black fedora and usually dress all in black. Married women usually wear a hat or knit cap, with a skirt past their knees. They do not drive on Shabbat – the weekly holiday from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. You will often see them walking on Delmar Boulevard in University City. They eat only kosher meat (in which the animal is slaughtered humanely), and do not consume meat and dairy during the same meal. For the ultra-Orthodox, talking about Torah is an important part of every lengthy conversation after the initial “schmooze” (normal chatting).

Modern Orthodox

A lot of modern Orthodox wear head coverings, but some only wear a kaepa or hat to synagogue. They are often professionals in medical or law fields. They are able to spend one full day away from work because they also celebrate Shabbat on the weekend. During this time, however, doctors are still on call and are obligated to visit their patients. In both ultra Orthodox , modern Orthodox and Conservative, emphasis is put on reading Hebrew and interpreting the Torah. This interpretation is called Midrash. Discussing Midrash is an intellectual and fascinating experience. Modern Orthodox keep kosher at home but often eat vegan at restaurants.


They keep kosher in a different way, because legend is that God asked the Jewish people not to eat meat at all; however, they bargained with God to kill animals hu-


manely and thus to eat them. Therefore, the Conservative movement asks that we are just ovo-lacto-pescatarian, a diet that includes fish, dairy and eggs. Most members of the Conservative movement drive to synagogue and tend to be vegetarian. Conservative followers also celebrate Shabbat, but they are more mainstreamed. Conservative Jews, like all the Orthodox, enjoy Midrash; however, women can even wear miniskirts and most do not wear any type of hat during the workweek.


This is an excellent place for women, minorities and converts. The movement is also inclusive of women rabbis. “Spiritually Jewish” is the description that is most accurate for the movement. Because this sect is still monotheistic, it falls under the umbrella of Judaism; however, it has no lifestyle restrictions. Eating meat from swine is a no-no for the sects listed previously; but Reform does not see eating ham as a problem. Also, converts and minorities find being in the Reform movement easier and inclusive of them. Reform training takes only a year for anyone converting to Judaism. For Conservative and Orthodox, training can take from four to 10 years.


This is an artistic development of Judaism, seen as “alternative.” Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist make use of instruments during Shabbat. Reconstructionist instruments are soul friendly. In Reconstructionist and Reform, anything goes: no eating restrictions, no need to follow traditional Jewish traditions. I tried all of these sects. Several years ago, I left a modern Orthodox synagogue, and I decided to sit out of synagogue for a few months. But at a restaurant one day, I started

On my journey to find a religion that fit for me, I found that Judaism indeed was the appropriate destination. But among some sects within the religion, I had choices to make. talking with a nice elderly man who told me he was a philanthropist and invited me to the Conservative synagogue Kol Rinah in U. City. I went, and I am having the time of my life there. I have been a member for four years, and I have never felt this welcome anywhere else. Members even stood by me while I was exploring Catholicism with a friend for two years. He and I attended Mass most Sundays for almost two years. I felt uneasy because I am naturally monotheistic, but I considered converting because my friend wanted to marry me. But he insisted that I become Catholic; he put me in “the marriage trap.” In the end, I decided that I am still Jewish, because Judaism is the matrix of my choice. In the end, religions are matrices -- and if you believe in being in a matrix, you can find the religion that fits your needs and values. This world is full of choices. I am Jewish by birth, and now also choice because I explored another major religion.

Cartoon by Kayla Arnold

March 24, 2017 The Scene

Page 7


Authors inspire, educate youths

Communications faculty sign books on campus By Niki Best The Scene staff

Assistant communications professor Tiffany Lee has great admiration for the Rev. Joseph Brown, a Jesuit priest who was the first black student at his seminary in the 1960s. Stresses and challenges caused him to suffer an emotional breakdown, but somehow he managed to graduate. “What I liked most about him was that he was honest about the highs and lows of his life,” Lee said. “He would encounter a problem and fall down, but the difference was that he would get back up and keep trying.” Brown is one of more than 100 inspiring people whom Lee wrote about in her book, “Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series.” She self-published it last August with co-author Reginald Petty. Lee and Petty appeared for a discussion and book signing on the Forest Park campus in February as part of Black History Month. Adjunct communications professor Mariah Richardson led a similar event. She self-published the children’s book “Madeline Delilah: Extraordinarily Ordinary” in 2012. “The book is based around teaching children that they need to be responsible,” she

Photo by Isaiah Brooks

said. “Madeline Delilah learns that along the way.”

Above, communications adjunct Mariah Richardson speaks in Cafe West about her children’s book, “Madeline Delilah: Extraordinarily Ordinary;” left, a Madeline doll stands on a table during Richardson’s book signing; bottom left, assistant communications professor Tiffany Lee, left, and co-author Reginald Petty discuss their book, “Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series” in the Highlander Lounge; far left, the cover of “Legendary.”

Inspiring black youths

Lee, 42, of East St. Louis, joined the Forest Park staff in 2008 after a year of teaching on the new Wildwood campus of St. Louis Community College. She now teaches Oral Communications and Public Relations. “Legendary East St. Louisans” is Lee’s first book. She wrote it because she wanted to inspire black youths by sharing stories of African Americans who have overcome obstacles in life. “Many times, when we hear of people’s stories, we don’t hear about their downfalls,” she said. “They make you believe that once they start moving uphill, everything moves out of their way. That is false.” The Rev. Brown’s story is one of Lee’s favorites. Today, he is a published poet with a degree in American Studies from Yale University. He teaches at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Lee and Petty also wrote about Larry Gladney, a research physicist, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of more than 600 scholarly articles. “His mother had been a sharecropper and


Photo by Isaiah Brooks

moved to East St. Louis with him when he was a baby,” Lee said. “It was her love for science that sparked his interest in the field. He began his undergraduate study in physics at Northwestern and earned his master’s and Ph.D. in physics at Stanford University.” Lee’s friend, Zita Casey, assistant humanities professor at Forest Park, helped edit the book. She describes it as “enlightening and important.” “I love it because it recognizes all of the outstanding people from East St. Louis and documents their accomplishments for present and future generations,” Casey said. “It presents individuals who are worthy of imitation.”

Teaching responsibility

Photo by Garrieth Crockett

Richardson, 57, has been teaching at Forest Park for 10 years, except for a brief break. Outside of the classroom, she has written several plays, most of them focused on self-actualization and current issues. “Madeline Delilah: Extraordinarily Ordinary” is Richardson’s first book. It was adapted from a play and illustrated by her friend, Dane Sislen. “The setting of the book is in contemporary-old North St. Louis near the legendary Crown Candy store,” Richardson said. Madeline is a fictitious girl who loses a bracelet given to her by her mother, who is deployed overseas with the military. Madeline needs to find it before she Skypes

Page 8 The Scene

her mother on Fourth of July. “The book is based around teaching Throughout the story, Madeline gets help from her friends, Stanley and Lupe, who also learn about responsibility. “What I like best about the book is that it is (written) from the child’s perspective,” said Carla Moody, a communications professor at Forest Park. “We tend to think that children don’t understand the world and personal events, but they do. Delilah is a wanderer and an adventurer; she is a dreamer – all the things that we, unfortunately, as adults give up.”

At a glance "Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series" by Tiffany Lee; available at "Madeline Delilah: Extraordinarily Ordinary" by Mariah Richardson; available at, or

March 24, 2017

The Scene Issue 2 Spring 2017  
The Scene Issue 2 Spring 2017