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International students host International Night, May 15

Consider it a unique taste of the international scene, your chance to explore the culture of some foreign countries. Centralia College International Students are hosting a night of dining, art exhibits and entertainment Saturday, May 15, beginning at 5 p.m. And you're invited.

The dinner and art exhibition take place in the college cafeteria; the international entertainment and night market shift to Corbet Theatre. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for kids age 12 and under. Children under two are admitted without charge. The evening is suitable for the entire family. The cafeteria is located on Iron and Walnut streets on the college campus.

The event will introduce cuisine and culture representing a dozen different countries. The food is authentic and the entertainment accurately reflects that which you would find if you were to visit countries such as Japan, Nepal, Gambia, China, Korea, India, Viet Nam, Columbia, Hong Kong and others. Acts include singing and dancing, a puppet show, bamboo dancing, and others.

Part of the International Programs evening is the Night Market, the opportunity to purchase crafts that were made overseas and shipped to the college for this event.

Tickets for International Night are available by contacting the college at 360.736.9391, ext 625, or Tickets will be available at the door the night of the event.

Open house on Workforce Education programs, June 2

Individuals can have a first-hand look at Centralia College's Workforce Education programs, talk to faculty members, and explore career options during the college's Open House slated for Wednesday, June 2, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to everyone considering quality career training. High school students and their parents are encouraged to attend.

The open house, which includes the welding program's art show, begins in Washington Hall, on the college campus at the corner of Washington Ave. and Walnut St., which will be the check-in point. Individuals will then be taken to different areas of the campus, depending on their program of interest.

"We have outstanding Workforce Education training programs," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "People who are making decisions about what kind of work they want to do or training they might need to help them in their career should make this event a priority."

College Workforce Education programs represented at the Open House include: Accounting, Business Administration, Business Office Technology, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Network Technology, Criminal Justice, Diesel Technology, Electronics, Robotics & Automation, Energy Technology, Nursing, Nursing Assistant, and Welding. Instructors in each of these areas or staff will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.

Working professionals in nursing and criminal justice have been invited to talk about job requirements, employment outlook, and beneficial training to aid people looking for careers in these fields. Even during the economic downturn, graduates in most of Centralia College's Workforce Education programs have been able to find employment. That is, in part, due to the connections the faculty has with employers coupled with the quality training students receive.

Guenther named Trustee of the Year

Judy Guenther Judy Guenther, a Centralia College Board of Trustee member since 1996, was named the Washington state Trustee Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC) Trustee of the Year. The award recognizes an individual trustee for leadership and contributions to the college, higher education in general, and the community the college serves.

"Centralia College is extremely fortunate to have had Judy in a leadership position for almost 15 years. It is a tribute to her accomplishments that she is receiving this recognition," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. Guenther will be honored during the TACTC meeting May 20 and 21 in Wenatchee.

Guenther is the third Centralia College trustee to be given the award since its inception in 1982. She joins former trustees Jim Sherrill and Arland Lyons who received the award in 1995 and 1999, respectively.

According to the nomination letter, Guenther brought a strong background in small business and knew that many of her business-world colleagues would benefit from resources and expertise the college could offer. She checked with other community leaders and realized that while people knew about the college, few knew it had a board of trustees and even fewer were aware that the college could help them. She wanted to change that.

"I believed that the college, with its tremendous array of resources, could be and needed to be a partner to many community agencies, businesses, and industries to help carry this community forward," she said. She was aware of the concept of a community scan but there were no models of such a process in the state. She used common sense and the influence of her position as a board member to make scans part of the landscape.

"I wanted to find out what was going on among the entities within the community. I wanted to know what they were doing, problems they might be facing, successes they were having and where they expected to be in five years and beyond," she said. "Then I wanted them to tell us (the board and subsequently the college) how the college could help them get to where they wanted to go."

Under Guenther's leadership, the Board of Trustees initiated community scans, an innovative program that brings leaders in selected areas of business and industry to meet with trustees. Needs are expressed and ideas are exchanged and the college looks for ways it can provide assistance. As a result of scans the college initiated its Registered Nursing program, expanded its criminal justice program, opened its diversity center and launched Spanish-language radio programming using college radio broadcasting equipment.

"There have been other very positive outcomes because of these scans," said Walton. "We have made much stronger connections with our community and through the process we have identified and responded to very real community needs. Because of Judy's leadership in this we are able to provide a much higher level of service to our community."

The nomination letter also outlined Guenther's work in developing board outreach to the community, increasing giving opportunities to increase scholarship funding, supporting students, and raising the image of the college throughout the region. Each of the state's 34 community and technical colleges are led by a Governor-appointed board comprised of five trustees. Trustees generally serve a five-year term, longer if reappointed.

Running Start orientations offered May 3, 20

There will be two Running Start orientation sessions at Centralia College for students and parents of students considering Running Start at Centralia College. The sessions will take place in the Science Center, room 121, on Monday, May 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. and again on May 20, also from 7 to 9 p.m. Counselors will be on hand to answer questions and explain details of the program. Attending at least one session is mandatory for those who plan to sign up for Running Start.

The Running Start program for high school juniors and seniors allows students to take high school and college classes simultaneously. Those in the program are able to earn college credits tuition-free, often saving thousands of dollars over the course of the time it takes to earn a degree. Statewide, well over 10 percent of high school juniors and seniors are enrolled in a Running Start program in a two-year college. Centralia College enrolls more than 250 students from area high schools in its Running Start program.

A few Running Start students earn high school diplomas and college associate degrees concurrently but most complete high school and then continue in the college setting. For more information, including other orientation dates, see Running Start or contact the counseling office at 736-9391, ext. 265.

Family Fun Fest returns to college, April 23

One of Centralia College's most popular community events—Family Fun Fest—is returning to the college Health & Wellness Center on Friday, April 23. Family Fun Fest is a celebration for toddler and pre-school children—with their parents, of course—sponsored by the college's Child and Family Studies.

The activities, which run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include games, music, art, kids' crafts, animals from the Lewis County animal shelter, an obstacle course, and the very popular "Astro Jump Space Station." Centralia police and Riverside Fire Authority fire personnel will be on hand to entertain and teach. Firefighters will have bicycle safety helmets for sale at just $7; each helmet will be fitted to the child who will use it.

"Our focus will be promoting children's health and fitness," said Nancy Keaton Family Fun Fest Coordinator, "so there will be lots of information about what parents can do to help children stay healthy, active, and fit for school."

Child and Family Studies staff will give away toothbrushes and provide information on dental care. Most of the activities will be directed by participating cooperative preschools. The Fun Fest is a time for parents and children to enjoy playing together, doing a variety of activities that are designed for toddler and preschool age children. As many as 500 children and parents are expected to attend, and parents not currently affiliated with any cooperative preschool or local school district program are welcome to bring their youngsters to the Fun Fair.

Keaton said that many other agencies and companies have contributed to the success of the Fun Fest. Capt. Thorbecke will be available to talk about exercise, while folks from Blue Earth Farms will promote healthy eating and organic and all-natural products. Also on hand will be a crew from SW Washington Family magazine and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Lewis County. "Lewis County animal shelter will bring kittens and puppies for the little ones to play with," Keaton added. The pets will be available for adoption.

The Family Fun Fest is free and open to any toddler or pre-school age child with his or her parent. For further information contact the Child and Family Studies office at 736-9391, ext. 298.

Centralia College stages classic kid's play

The Centralia College drama department serves up a beloved children's classic to close out the spring season. It's the Alan Broadhurst adaption of Aesop's "The Tortoise and the Hare" all dressed up in colorful garb, charming sets, and an exchange of human and animal roles. The play is "The Great Cross Country Race."

In this version, the scatterbrained hare is constantly delayed by encounters with humans—stopping to gorge on a fisherman's lunch, getting trapped in a poaching-bag, spying on a pair of "soppy dates," and getting pinned up by the ears to a clothesline. Meanwhile, the tortoise plods relentlessly toward the finish line.

In this play, only the animals speak intelligibly; human speech is gobbledygook and totally incomprehensible. "The Great Cross Country Race" is a joy for children and youth, fun for teens, and a hoot for adults who get caught up in great storytelling. Director Brian Tyrrell has assembled two separate casts for "The Great Cross-Country Race" in order to give more of his drama students a chance to act in a children's play. Tyrrell notes that an actor's reward in doing a kid's play is huge, and markedly different than enjoyed in more adult performances.

"This is the first time I've brought a play back for a second schedule of shows," Tyrrell said. "We simply wanted to reach as many children as possible, and offer the play to the many adults who found the storytelling irresistible." The sets, Tyrrell explained, are sort of like a "pop-up" book and are surprisingly impressive. The costumes are colorful and everyone just seems to get caught up in the spirit of an ageless fable.

Tyrrell will take the play on the road for two special performances in area elementary schools, then bring "The Great Cross Country Race" back for four performances. Two are free, outdoor presentations adjacent to the clock tower at the center of the college campus. They are set for Monday, May 3, and Monday, May 10, both at 11 a.m. The public is invited to see this charming program outdoors. Inclement weather will move the play indoors to the Wickstrom Studio Theatre, still free to anyone.

More conventional staging of this traditional fantasy will take place on Friday, May 21, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, May 22, at 2 p.m. in the Wickstrom Theatre. Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors.

Free Job Fair returns to college, special break out sessions available to aid job hunters

Searching for a job may be more difficult this year because of the flagging economy but Centralia College is working to ease the job-hunting process as it brings together those searching for work with those hiring. It's the college's job fair scheduled for Wednesday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The job fair is free and is available to everyone. It takes place in the college's Health and Wellness Center (HWC), located on the college campus at the corner of Walnut and Iron streets. This year's job fair features two breakout sessions that will provide support for those engaged in a job search. The first session, led by Chris Bailey, begins at 10:15 a.m., in room 106 of HWC (the gym) and is titled: "Starting a Business in a Down Market." Bailey, who recently opened a real estate agency, will talk about overcoming barriers, real and imagined, to start your own business.

The second session, The Psychology of Job Hunting in Stressful Times, begins at 11 a.m. and is also in room 106 of HWC. Centralia College's Atara MacNamara, assistant professor of psychology, leads this session. The sessions are offered without charge and take place in a room adjacent to the job fair.

According to Joan Rogerson, student employment specialist at the college and coordinator of the fair, more than 50 local and regional employers will be present to discuss employment and apprenticeship opportunities. Jobseekers are advised to dress appropriately for jobs they might apply for and to bring copies of a current resume. Rogerson also suggests that job hunters be prepared to talk with potential employers, shake their hands, look them in the eye, and smile.

Regional employers, ranging from the state departments of transportation, corrections, and public utilities to private firms such as Express Employment Professionals, Puget Sound Energy, Lucky Eagle, State Farm Insurance, and Wells Fargo Bank will be on hand. There will be law enforcement and health care agencies, schools and colleges, and labor unions describing their apprenticeship and training functions. Financial interests and skilled trades are also among the list of potential employers committed to the job fair.

The best preparation may be to learn a little about the possible employers to whom you want to talk. For more information, including Job Fair FAQs, see Coming Events.

Rabbit Hole on stage at Centralia College

Rabbit Hole posterIt has become an icon of American cliché to say, "I feel your pain." The phrase was uttered so often, in fact, by one recent president that it became an everyday punch line. But he didn't feel much pain, really. Yet sadness and sorrow and pain—yes, real pain—are an intrinsic part of being in the audience of "Rabbit Hole," the heart wrenching play by David Lindsay-Abaire. It opens on April 8 for just four performances in Corbet Theatre.

"Rabbit Hole" plays Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8, and a single matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 adult, $10 student and senior.

Given the intense emotional response common to most viewers of this play, perhaps the shorter run is something of a blessing. This brilliant anatomy of grief was drawn by Lindsey-Abaire through the tragic impact of the accidental killing of a small boy. We walk hand-in-hand with the parents as each searches for relief that can never fully happen.

In "Rabbit Hole" we feel the melancholy of release as the story unfolds through our witness to the separate pains felt so intensely by grieving parents. You may not leave the theater feeling warm and fuzzy, but you will be satisfied with the experience and the performance. Lest you begin to think this play is an evening of gloom and doom or an exercise in self-flagellation, we must hasten to add that "Rabbit Hole" is good theatre that sends you home pleased you endured the pain with the cast and can now enjoy the pleasure and relief of having been through it.

"Rabbit Hole" plays just the four performances at Corbet Theatre, so tickets should be reserved early. Call the college's drama department for tickets at ext. 525 or pick up your ticket at the Corbet Theatre box office, open from Monday, April 5 through Friday, April 9 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day in Washington Hall.
Spring Lyceum starts April 7

The Centralia College Lyceum series returns to Washington Hall on April 7 with a fascinating program lineup. Through June 2, the series will present nine absorbing programs, a one-man show at Corbet Theatre, and be involved in three off-campus events linked by theme to the centennial of Mark Twain's death.

Leading the way into the spring schedule is Centralia College science professor Dr. Steve Norton's look at the world of predator and prey in "There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch."

On April 7 at 1 p.m., Norton will examine the dark side of the predator-prey relationship from the bottom of the food web. Imagine yourself as a tiny snail in the mud of a creek bottom—an insignificant morsel, but a morsel nonetheless. Hovering nearby is a little sculpin—a common bullhead. To this crusty little fish, your morselness is acutely interesting in the cool shadows of the creek. If you win this ancient contest, the sculpin will simply swim away and seek his dinner elsewhere. If he wins, however, you've played your one and only lifetime role as escargot a la carte!

Lyceum is presented every Wednesday in Washington Hall, room 103, or in Corbet Theatre, also in Washington Hall, on the college campus from 1 to 1:50 p.m. The absorbing collection of programs is free and the public is invited to attend. See the Lyceum schedule for more information.

Auditions held for variety show, April 2, 3, and 16

Centralia College will stage the first big variety talent show on the Corbet Theatre stage in early May. It is the first such "vaudeville" format to be staged locally in many years—and talented local performers and acts are invited to audition for a place on the program.

College students as well as members of the community are invited to attend an audition on Friday, April 2, at Corbet Theatre, Saturday, April 3, in the Wickstrom Studio Theatre, or Friday, April 16, in the Wickstrom Studio Theatre, all at 7-9 p.m. The theatres are in Washington Hall at the corner of Washington Ave. and Walnut St. on the college campus. The public talent performance is scheduled for Saturday, May 8, in Corbet Theatre.

Students selected for the big show will vie for Centralia College Foundation-provided tuition grants ranging from $250 to $750, while non-student performers will try to win cash awards ranging from $125 to $500. Funding for the awards has been provided by Shop 'n Kart. Any kind of act that might have been seen on an old vaudeville stage or a current TV variety special will be welcome at the upcoming auditions. (Think: "America's Got Talent")

The program is co-sponsored by Shop 'n Kart, the college Dramatic Arts Department, Diversity Center, and Student Programs. There is no charge to audition and the tryouts are open to anyone who believes he or she can reach a "top sixteen" plateau in local talent. For more information about the auditions, please call Jefte Frias at Centralia College, 736-9391, ext. 356, or Brian Tyrrell at ext. 301.

Spring 2010 may bring record enrollment

Record numbers of students continue to enroll at Centralia College and while spring quarter may see the highest numbers yet, there is still room for new students in selected classes. Open registration is underway on the Centralia College campus and continues through this week. Spring classes begin March 29.

The biggest squeeze on college classes is in workforce education where many of the classes are operating near or above capacity. There may be student space in diesel technology, civil engineering, electronics and robotics, energy technology, and criminal justice, for example, according to Dr. Michael Grubiak, vice president of Students, "Because there is only limited space I would suggest that anyone considering a career in a professional/technical field that he or she talk to one of our counselors or an advisor." There is, however, space available in many of the academic transfer classes and the online course offerings.

While the legislature has increased the costs of going to a state university or four-year college by 14 percent this year, Centralia College students are seeing an increase in tuition costs of seven percent. That means a substantial savings for a family with a student entering college.

There is also room available for prospective students wanting to enroll in fine arts and drama and most of the college's science classes.

Late registrations are accepted Monday and Tuesday, March 30, but classes are filling quickly. With time running out, the admissions staff is urging students to come to the Enrollment Services Office in the Student Center, corner of Rock Street and Centralia College Blvd, or call the office at 736-9391, ext. 221, for details. Those planning to enroll at Centralia College East, which serves the east Lewis County area, are invited to register at the CCE office, 701 Airport Way, Morton.

Regional science conference held at Centralia College, March 24-26

Pat PringleMore than 150 eminent scientists and college science students will descend on Centralia College for a four-day regional conference beginning Wednesday, March 24. It will be the 82nd meeting of the Northwest Scientific Association (NWSA), an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Co-hosting the conference will be the Cascadia Prairie-Oak Partnership and the Northwest Lichenologists. The meeting will be supported in part by the Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service, US Geological Survey, Mount St. Helens Institute, and other public and private science interests. It may be the largest science gathering ever in Lewis County, and Mount St. Helens and the Oak-Prairie Lowlands from the Puget Sound region to the Willamette Valley play a prominent role in conference.

Dozens of scientific abstracts were submitted to the Association for this meeting, according to Pat Pringle, associate professor of Geology and Earth Sciences at Centralia College and current president of the international NWSA. Pringle is co-chair of the event, along with Hannah Anderson of the Nature Conservancy, representing the Cascadia Prairie-Oak Partnership.

Membership in the NWSA includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, and Alaska. Major special symposia on the agenda for March 25 and 26 include:

  • Thirty years research at Mount St. Helens: Lessons Learned and their Application Around the World
  • Floristic Quality Assessment: Opportunities for Application in the Pacific Northwest
  • Prairie–Oak Woodland restoration and management
  • The Biological, Landscape, and Disturbance Legacies of Railroad Logging: 50 to 130 Years of Post-Disturbance Recovery
Primary speakers for Thursday's plenary sessions include Frederick J. Swanson, professor at Oregon State University and a U.S. Forest Service Researcher, and Dr. Gerould Wilhelm, principal botanist/ecologist for the Conservation Design Forum. The speaker at the Thursday banquet will be Dr. Gregory John Retallack, a former Australian scientist who is now a professor at the University of Oregon. Retallack is a leading researcher on fossil records found in soils. His fascinating subject for the conference is "The World's Greatest Midlife Crisis in Antarctica—the Permian-Triassic Extinctions."

"We expect this to be one of our most productive regional meetings," Pringle said while explaining the composition of the conference. "These scientists and leading science students will get firsthand knowledge of the profound scientific consequences of a gigantic eruption and at the same time better understand the slow dynamic changes that can so critically affect a sensitive habitat such as the Oak-Prairies that surround us in Lewis County."

The broad-ranging meeting and associated conferences/symposia conclude on Saturday with field trips for participants to examine some strategies for restoring invaded prairies, a comparison of Willamette and Puget Prairies, Garry Oak Restoration in South Puget Sound, and lichens in the Mima Mounds.

Charlie Albright to perform at Centralia College, March 27

Charlie AlbrightThe new concert grand piano arrived at Centralia College's Corbet Theatre in December and will soon demonstrate its reputation as a quality instrument. The concert grand will get a taste of the limelight on Saturday, March 27, when Centralia College alumnus and piano virtuoso Charlie Albright performs in concert to help secure the piano's permanent place in Corbet Theatre. The concert will begin at 7 p.m.

Proceeds from this concert and the sale of representative piano "keys" will go to the Charlie Albright Piano Fund conducted by the Centralia College Foundation.

There are still concert tickets available at $25, but those could evaporate quickly as more people learn of Charlie's performance. The concert will be built around Schumann's "Carnaval, Op. 9," and the Schulz-Evler Arabesques on themes of "On the Beautiful Danube."

A unique part of this fundraiser is the opportunity to purchase a representative key on this piano. Each $298 key purchased will be inscribed with up to 30 spaces and the engraved keyboard mockup will be permanently displayed in the Washington Hall foyer to demonstrate the purchaser's support for the college's musical arts.

To purchase one of the piano keys, call the foundation office at (360) 736-9391, ext. 290, or make an online donation at Giving to the Foundation (select Charlie Albright piano campaign). For tickets to the Albright performance, call (360) 736-9391, ext. 777, to reserve your seat.

Celebrated ER physician named Distinguished Alumnus award recipient

Jerris HedgesWhen he received his AA degree in general science from Centralia College in 1969, Jerris Hedges couldn't have known how far he'd go or what a mark he would leave in his wake. His goal was to make positive changes in the world, something that he has done and likely will continue to do. From ground breaking research on the pacemaker to serving as an initiator of the standardization of emergency room procedures, Hedges is certainly leaving his legacy. And for his accomplishments Hedges becomes the college's 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient.

"Dr. Hedges's accomplishments are extraordinary," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "He helped standardize emergency room procedures and wrote the manual for ER medical care that is in use around the world. He was a major researcher in the development of the pacemaker. His work has doubtless been responsible for saving of countless lives and he’s not done yet. We are very proud to have him as our Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient." Read more » » »

Winter Lyceum nears end, spring Lyceum on deck

The winter series of Centralia College's popular Lyceum program ends Wednesday, March 10, as a local historian chats with a real-life World War II "Rosie the Riveter."

The March 3 program, meanwhile, is led by Lisa Carlson, Centralia College biology associate professor. Her presentation features stories about women environmental leaders and their legacy on a global, national, and local scale.

Lyceum is held in Washington Hall on the Centralia College campus and begins at 1 p.m. Wednesdays. The events are free and the public is invited. Lyceum's examination of Women's History Month concludes as history columnist Edna Fund interviews Helen Holloway about her experiences working in a munitions plant during the wartime labor shortage. Women played a huge part in aircraft and vehicle construction, munitions, weapons manufacture, and other extraordinary wartime production. Holloway's is one of many intriguing stories about the war and the role women played in it.

Lyceum then goes on hiatus, returning on Wednesday, April 7, with a full slate of programs.

The first program on the spring docket features Dr. Steve Norton, associate professor of biology, in a fascinating program, There's No such Thing as a Free Lunch!

Norton looks at the perks and pitfalls of the predator-prey relationship from both sides of the food web. If a predator fails at its essential task, it merely goes hungry until the next opportunity presents itself. If a prey animal loses the timeless skirmish, it becomes a blue-plate special on something else’s menu for the day.

For Lyceum, Norton will use the example of hungry little marine fishes (sculpins) and a group of marine invertebrates (snails) trying not to become lunch.

The spring Lyceum series runs through June 2, with an especially appealing slate of programs including Mark train specials, organic farming, genetically modified food, the administrative future of Mt. St. Helens, and green jobs and new energy.

See the Lyceum schedule for details.

Financial aid workshop planned

Whether you're planning to attend classes online or sit in a college classroom, you may want to explore opportunities for financial support for your college education. Centralia College is offering two financial aid workshops that may be just what you need. These workshops will provide directions for plugging into FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program that is key to just about everything financial you need for your college journey. The workshops are:

Feb. 25, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Washington Hall (Centralia campus), room 205
Mar. 10, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Washington Hall (Centralia campus), room 209
(Washington Hall is located at the corner of Walnut St. and Washington Ave.)

Individuals or families seeking financial aid assistance may visit the workshop any time during the posted hours but need to be aware that it could take up to an hour to fill out the required forms. Those who might be attending at Centralia College East (Morton) should check in at the college's facility at 701 Airport Way in Morton, or call the Morton office at (360) 496-5022.

You are asked to bring a copy of your 2009 tax return and a W-2 statement (or your most recent pay stub). Staff will answer questions you might have and help you fill out forms. Parents who are participating are also asked to bring tax return information. Contact the college's office of Financial Aid for details: (360) 736-9391, ext. 234.

Trio named to Centralia College Sports Hall of Fame

Three former Centralia College student-athletes will become the newest members of the college's Sports Hall of Fame. Jill Johnson, '97, Rick Conroy, '65, and Mike Merriman, '62, will be enshrined Feb. 20 during half-time of men's basketball game with Grays Harbor College. The women's game begins at 5 p.m.; the men's game gets underway at 7 p.m. Both will be held in the Centralia College Health and Wellness Center. The public is invited. "The Hall of Fame features outstanding men and women who have excelled in sports at Centralia College," said Bob Peters, the college's athletic director. "The three we are inducting this year continue that tradition."

Jill Johnson

Women’s Basketball and Softball
1995 – 1997

During Jill’s two years at Centralia College she played basketball and was the Inspiration Leader in 1997 as well as the Sportswoman of the Year. She joined the Women’s fast pitch softball team during its inaugural season and was on the NWAACC All-star Team.

She attended Concordia University from 1997-2000 playing both sports and was on the NAIA All-Region Team for fast pitch in 2000. After graduating, she joined the United State Army Reserve and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

She currently lives in Vancouver and is stationed with the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade in Portland, OR.

Rick Conroy

Basketball and Track and Field
1963 – 1965

For the period of time that Rick attended Centralia College he set records in the 120-yard high hurdles, high jump, and triple jump. In 1965 he was the State Community College champion in the high jump at 6’4” and in the triple jump of 45’. The team took 4th in State with only five team members. After Centralia College he attended Central Washington University where he set even more records in track and field, some of which stood until 1975, and is still listed in the CWU Top 10 in some of this events as of 2009. He currently lives in Honolulu, HI with his wife Marian and plays 2-man beach volleyball.

Mike Merriman

Basketball and Tennis
1960 – 1962

Mike attended Centralia College from 1960 to 1962 and during his first year on the basketball team he was Co-Inspirational Player; during his was captain of the team and Most Inspirational player. He had scholarships to play basketball both here and at Western Washington University and received his master’s degree from Portland State University, which helped him fulfil his dream of becoming a teacher and coaching football, basketball, baseball, and even tennis at schools such as Adna, Cathlamet, and Cascade Jr. High in Auburn. He retired after 39 years of teaching, 37 of which he also coached. The Sports Hall of Fame was formed to honor and promote athletes, teams, coaches, and members of the community. Those selected may have made an especially positive and outstanding contribution to the college through their achievements in intercollegiate, interscholastic, or professional sports; or they may have been selected through exemplary activity in pubic life.

Funding made available for college science equipment

Centralia College science programs were given a much-needed shot in the arm when U.S. Congressman Brian Baird announced that a federal appropriation of $375,000 has been made available to purchase science equipment for the college. Science faculty will refine its equipment priority list and work toward purchasing modern scientific tools for student use this spring.

"We were contacted by Congressman Baird's office this past fall and asked to come up with ways he could help us improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at Centralia College," said Dr. Steve Norton, a member of the science faculty. It didn't take long to put together an equipment list that would best benefit the college's growing number of science students.

"This appropriation, and the support that we are receiving from the Centralia College Foundation, will go a long way toward improving the already strong, STEM programs at Centralia College. With 21st century tools, our students will move beyond learning about facts to being active participants–scientists." said Norton. "With this new equipment, it will be easier for our students to design interesting experiments, carry them out, and evaluate the results." Across the nation and at Centralia College science labs are being redesigned to encourage students to be actively involved in the process of science.

The Centralia College Foundation is working on a capital campaign to raise $3 million, $1 million of which would augment science equipment purchases.

"Science equipment can be expensive," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president, "but it makes a tremendous difference in the quality of a student's education at Centralia College. We are very appreciative of Congressman Baird's efforts in securing these funds, and of Senators Murray and Cantwell for their support of our application."

Norton said that science faculty members "will exercise due diligence in securing the best, most appropriate equipment. We want to be sure that we do the best we can for our students."

"By investing in education, we are investing in our future," said Baird. "(This equipment funding) will help prepare students to better compete in the 21st century job market. We will all benefit from their success."

Manfest music fest set for Centralia College

Manfest, a performance of music by males, will showcase 14 choir groups from the regional high schools on Thursday, Jan. 14. Students from grades 8 through 12, will perform during the first half of the concert and the Seattle a cappella group, Groove For Thought, will perform during the second half. The show begins at 7 p.m. in Corbet Theatre in Washington Hall on the Centralia College campus.

The public is invited to the evening concert. Admission is $5 or two cans of food, which will benefit the local food bank. Tickets are available at the door.

The award-winning choirs of Timberline and Olympia high schools will join choirs from Tumwater, Black Hills, Montesano, Tenino, Mossyrock, Chehalis, Aberdeen, Shelton, Centralia, Capitol, Onalaska, and North Thurston high schools.

While accompanists, performers and conductors are all male, Manfest is meant not to exclude females but instead to encourage males in a female-dominated field and expose audiences to underrepresented talent, according to Dr. Donna Huffman, professor of Music at the college. The concert is also a student workshop. Performers will begin their day at the college at 8 a.m. and rehearse for two hours with Terry Shaw, music director of the Olympic Choral Society and guest conductor for the event. Four students will also rehearse for a solo performance under the direction of Brian Galante, assistant director of choral activities at Pacific Lutheran University.

Dan Schwartz, Centralia alumnus and Olympia High School music director, will also be a guest conductor. The chorus will rehearse their music during the day and perform in the concert at night. They will sing Let All Men Sing by Keith Christopher and directed by Dan Schwartz, Workin’, a medley arranged by Audrey Snyder, including Working in the Coal Mine, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, Big Bad John, and Sixteen Tons, also directed by Dan Schwartz, and Grace by Mark Hayes and directed by Terry Shaw. Pro Musica, the college’s music club, sponsors the event.

College names blue&gold advisor

Monica Brummer The blue&gold, the Centralia College student newspaper, is back in high gear with the appointment of a faculty advisor. The award-winning publication is now advised by veteran journalist Monica Brummer. The newspaper will continue to be published online only at

Brummer is an Oregon State University graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Journalism/Wildlife Science. At OSU, she was a reporter/photographer for The Daily Barometer, the OSU student newspaper. She has more than 20 years of experience in her field, which involves marketing, public relations, event coordinating, and advertising for non-profit sectors. Her work at The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and Portland Oregon Visitor's Association had her writing articles for national publications and newspapers. She developed nationwide ad campaigns and worked with VIPs at Paramount Pictures and NBC studios.

Locally, Brummer has worked on Thorbecke's marketing team and the Lewis County Community Trails project. She has organized Community Star Parties and two AirFair shows at the Chehalis-Centralia Airport. She has written articles for local media and has served as a webmaster.

Brummer is in her fourth year of teaching yoga and cardio PE classes at the college. She also works for the Centralia Police Department organizing volunteers and CPD-sponsored events, such as BlockWatch programs, graffiti clean-up weekends, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the Preparedness Fair. She replaces T.R. Gratz, who accepted a position within the college as dean of academic transfer programs.

Lyceum returns to Centralia College Jan. 13

The ongoing, popular community Lyceum program returns for the 2010 winter session at Centralia College on Wednesday, Jan. 13—just in time for a special tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday falls on Friday that week.

A popular nationwide touring company, The Living Voices, will perform their special memory of Dr. King at 1 p.m. in the college's Washington Hall. Using interactive theatre and video, the group recreates a young man's coming of age as an African-American in Mississippi during the 1950s and 60s. Entitled, "A Right to Dream," the program illuminates the issues of civil rights, leading audiences to understand how the fight against prejudice has shaped our history.

Lyceum is patterned after the old public meeting style inaugurated in Athens at the height of Greek culture. At Lyceum, the public, students, and scholars listened to the leading authorities of the day, with an opportunity to contribute ideas or ask questions. Centralia College has kept that unique concept alive, allowing the community as well as students and faculty to learn from visiting authorities on an endless range of subjects.

Lyceum presentations are every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m., generally in room 103 of Washington Hall. If demand warrants, programs are moved into Corbet Theatre. The Lyceum programs, which have proven to be among the most popular of the college’s regular features within the community, are free and open to the public. See the Lyceum Schedule for a complete listing of the winter Lyceum program schedule, or check the College Calendar.

Economic forecast presented at Centralia College

The Centralia College Foundation and Union Bank of California are bringing the most current forecasts for the new year's economy to this area. The presentation will provide business and industry leaders and individuals with an expert's perspective on the fiscal climate and predicted business conditions.

The program takes place Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in room 101 of the Science Center on the Centralia College campus. The forecast will be presented by Kei Matsuda, senior economist for Union Bank and manager of the far-flung investment research activities of the bank. He is known nationally for his work in macroeconomics and is based at Union Bank centers in California. Union Bank has been involved in managing investment accounts for the Centralia College Foundation.

The Jan. 13 meeting is free and open to the public, according to Julie Johnson, director of Donor and Alumni Relations for the Centralia College Foundation. "Our relationship with Union Bank has given us an opportunity to bring current economic forecasts to the Twin Cities and surrounding communities," Johnson said. "We're always pleased to share this information as part of our commitment of support to the community." Johnson said the presentation should also prove beneficial to individuals who manage their own investment or retirement accounts.

For further information about the event, please call the foundation at (360) 736-9391, ext. 290.

College begins work on Kiser Garden site

Kiser Garden siteThe Outdoor Classroom/Park
The buildings are down, the land is cleared, and now begins the process of creating the Rufus Kiser Native Garden and the outdoor learning lab site. The new college project is the southern half of the block across Walnut Street from Washington Hall, west of Washington Avenue. The Kiser Garden is pegged to be a long-term project and will take place in stages as funding becomes available. A long-term goal includes an interpretive center somewhere on the property, but during the early development stages you can expect the native plant collection, local shrubs, and indigenous trees to be labeled for easy identification and botany study.

During the first two weeks of December a work crew was on the college campus to demolish four houses owned by the college that were on the garden site. The portion of China Creek that runs through the block, north of the alley, could be incorporated into the garden. The Kiser Garden will include both annual and perennial vascular plants and flowers in the future, always favorites of the garden’s esteemed namesake. The collection will be developed and periodically expanded by the college's science faculty.

The Kiser Garden originally located near Kemp Hall, east of the current location, had to be moved to make room for the Science Center. The garden is part of the college's 20-year master plan. Rufus Kiser, for whom the garden is named, came to Centralia College in 1941 as a zoology and physical science instructor. By the time he retired in 1973, "Rufe" had taught nearly every phase of science, but was best-known for his popular and important forestry classes. During his tenure, hundreds of foresters, forest technicians, and others employed during the heyday of Lewis County logging could be counted among his former students.

Kiser was a beloved member of the early faculty and was—unknown to many—a world-class track star. He once qualified for a U.S. Olympics berth, but circumstances prevented him from taking part. As the Centralia Junior College track coach, along with field events coach George Rowswell and sprint coach Roland Dickie, Kiser's track teams were formidable. A Life Scout in the BSA, Kiser devoted much of his time to regional scouting, hosting dozens of troops and Cub Scout packs at the family's home on North Washington Avenue, across from Edison School.

Providence Centralia Hospital donates to College Foundation

Providence donationProvidence Centralia Hospital announced a $50,000 contribution to the Centralia College Foundation capital campaign and a $50,000 donation supporting nursing education at Centralia College.

"We believe this is an investment in the future of this community," said Providence Centralia Hospital Chief Executive Cindy Mayo. Mayo and Providence Southwest Washington Chief Executive Medrice Coluccio each started their careers in health care as nurses.

The $50,000 for the capital campaign will help purchase materials for the college's new Science Center, which houses the Registered and Licensed Practical nursing programs. The gift sets the stage for a yet-to-be identified naming opportunity for Providence Centralia, according to Steve Ward, vice president for Finance and Administration at the college and executive director of the foundation.

The other $50,000 will be placed in an account in the Providence Centralia Foundation to fund scholarships for Centralia College nursing students. The Sister Carolyn Koreski Nursing Scholarship Fund, named for long-time Providence Centralia sponsor Sister Carolyn Koreski, will be established. "We are pleased and honored to have the level of cooperation that exists between the college and Providence and the contribution by Providence is fantastic," said Nola Ormrod, who leads the college's nursing programs.

The hospital and college have had tremendous success working together since the college began its LPN program in the mid-1950s. Nearly 1500 students have trained at the college since the inception of the nursing program and hundreds have worked at the hospital during clinical rotations. Centralia College was among the first two-year colleges in the state to open an LPN program.

Since 2003, when the college added the RN program, about 50 RNs have been hired into residency programs and represent about 20 percent of the nurses currently working at Providence Centralia. The Centralia College Foundation is in the midst of a campaign to raise $3 million to purchase equipment and other resources that cannot be purchased using state money. To date, the foundation has raised more than $2 million toward its goal.

Social media expert speaks on college campus

Clay Loges, a legend among modern American business leaders, will share his successful philosophy and practices with local businesses. You won't want to miss the opportunity to hear this giant among American business leaders on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., in the new Science Center, Room 121.

Loges, international business leader and founder of the business that grew into Jiffy Lube, will bring you up to speed on the growing world of social media marketing. He will demonstrate how to tap into the burgeoning tools of social media to reach potential customers and increase customer base. Loges will open your eyes and your business to a world that can grow your business by reaching new customers and current customers in new ways. He has a proven track record that demonstrates the power of his techniques. The event is open to the public and is offered without charge thanks to the Centralia College Foundation.

Loges began his business career with IBM. He quickly discovered his talents lay in business conception and entrepreneurship and set out on his own. Since then, he's been a one-man wakeup crew for cutting-edge business concepts. He founded a chain pioneering in quick-service car care in the Puget Sound area, and soon expanded to California under the banner of Speedi-Lube that grew into the franchise chain you know as Jiffy Lube, the nation's leader in the market.

Today, Loges counts among his enterprises the Yodio brand—short for "your audio"—a web-based service that allows people to record and match voice comments and other rich audio to their digital photos. The concept has proven to be a big winner among social media users. For more information, call the Centralia College Foundation at 736-9391, ext. 290.

Budget cuts put stress on college

Looking for opportunity pretty much sums it up for a growing number of prospective college students given the current economic conditions. With Centralia College enrollment continuing to set records, it's apparent where people are directing their search.

Dr. Jim Walton, president of Centralia College, said that even as the number of students coming to college puts stress on college resources, "we will maintain our commitment to accept every student." The stress comes in the form of a state-mandated $1.1 million cut that began this college year and the portent of additional cuts that could reach more that $700,000 for the year that begins July 1, 2010. Whether that loss of state support happens will depend on state economic conditions and the state Legislature's response.

The college has experienced record enrollments over each of the past five quarters and is looking at a 35 percent jump in the number of students this winter quarter compared to winter quarter last year. Last year the college served nearly 4,700 students equating to 2,382 full-time students. Centralia College is funded for and authorized by the state to enroll 2,260.

The growth in student enrollments is felt acutely in the Workforce Education arm of the college where staff is hard pressed to find space for all students seeking professional-technical training. Welding and diesel classes, for example, are operating a capacity and the college had to add welding equipment to provide stations for all students. Part of the problem the college faces is finding the money to pay for those stations, needed to accommodate the enrollment growth.

"We are doing it but it is a challenge," said Walton. "We are holding to our commitment that even with declining state support we will continue to accept everyone who wants to come to college. We won't compromise the quality of the education we provide." It is advised that those anticipating taking winter quarter classes to register as soon as possible to make sure they can get the classes they want or need.

Walton said the college will work on scenarios dealing with a possible cut of another three-quarters of a million dollars but is hoping that the additional reduction won’t materialize. "Dealing with the cuts up to this point has not been without pain," said Walton. "We are providing a necessary service to our community and for the region's economic recovery. We certainly want to continue doing that."

Not only does unemployment booster enrollment at Centralia College, the tuition increases at the four-year schools have also contributed. A 30 percent jump, more than twice what the state required the two-year colleges to impose, is driving four-year degree-seekers to the community colleges to at least begin the educational process. Not only has tuition taken a hefty hike at the four-year schools but some of the four-year schools have also capped enrollment and/or shut down some of their programs.

"A four-year degree is still just about the best way to get ahead in our culture," said Walton. "Some students are needing to readjust their career goals but it's obvious that students who begin at Centralia College, for example, will save thousands of dollars in tuition alone. Our doors are open."

Registration is underway at Centralia College and Centralia College East in Morton for the quarter that begins Jan. 4, 2010.

Winter 2010 offers many options

Open registration for the winter quarter at Centralia College begins on December 10, and a record enrollment is predicted. Students wishing the best choice of classes are encouraged to register early for the best selection.

Incoming students this winter have the widest range of course options ever offered at Centralia College. Depending on the specific classes chosen, students may wish to sign up for traditional classroom courses, online instruction, combination face-to-face and online "hybrid" classes, and new "flex" classes, in which a student may attend most sessions in person but may take a portion of the class online if necessary.

Most academic and professional/technical (WorkForce) classes provide starting dates at the beginning of any quarter, so students in a particular discipline won't have to wait until next fall to begin their college studies.

Winter classes begin on January 4, with most online classes set to begin Jan. 7 and continue through March 15, final class day of the winter session. New students wishing to enroll for an academic degree, certificate of proficiency, or WorkForce schedule should contact the Enrollment Services Office and complete an application for admission. See Admissions for more information.

New students will get help picking their classes by attending an advising fair prior to the beginning of the quarter. During the registration period, new students may also inquire about the availability of financial aid, on-campus part-time work, and other means of helping make your educational goals a reality.

For further information about classes available, tuition costs, financial aid, and other specific questions, see Admissions or call the Admissions Office at 736-9391 (753-3433 toll free from the Olympia area), ext. 221. Students who wish to enroll at the Morton campus should call 496-5022 for specific information.

Foundation seeks donors to purchase scientific instruments

The science building at Centralia College serves as a giant step toward giving students the best possible advantage as they head for further education or a working career. It takes more than a building, however, to give students the training and experience they need to compete. The Centralia College Foundation raises funds necessary to purchase cutting-edge scientific instruments students need to gain a significant level of experience and knowledge. Those instruments are generally not funded by the state in the capital budget, nor does the college have the resources to buy those critical learning tools.

To solve this problem, the foundation turned to the science faculty and asked for suggestions. Out of that brainstorming came the idea of specific gifts of high-resolution scientific instruments for use by students in a particular discipline. Think in terms of a sort of Star Trek/NASA stocking stuffer.

For fewer dollars than one might imagine, a donor can give such items as a hypsometer, a Digimelt heating apparatus, or a micropipettor. Some the college has too few of for a class, others simply aren't in the classroom inventory—and that's a setback for any dedicated student or instructor.

For as little as $100 a person may donate a stethoscope and blood pressure monitor to a health science or physiology class, or hypsometer for the environmental science, biology, botany, and geology classes. A hypsometer, by the way, uses a laser to measure the distance to the top and bottom of an object and then calculates the angle to furnish the specific height or altitude. The student can know the precise height or altitude of a building or depth of a canyon in a matter of moments. The old stepladder-and-tape method would be measured in hours and days!

For just $220 the donor might choose a micropipettor, a device that can precisely and repeatedly add very small volumes of reagents—as small as one millionth of a liter—to a student research project. That's critical in DNA and other microbiology experiments.

The Digimelt device is used to determine the precise melting point of chemicals and other materials. That's another critical tool that quickly provides a level of accuracy unheard of just a decade ago without days of painstaking work.

Other devices you might specifically donate to the college might include wave drivers, high-resolution GPS devices, earth science stereoscopes, and more. The donor's name will be engraved on a small brass plate and attached to the device wherever that's possible, and anyone may choose the specific science gadget they would like to give. Prices range from just over $100 to around $800, and the instruments will provide years of service to deserving students.

More information on how to purchase and donate an item will be posted on the foundation's Capital Campaign Web site at: For additional information, contact Julie Johnson, (360) 736-9391, ext. 516, or

Speakers Bureau: a free community service of speakers for groups, events

The 2009-10 Centralia College Speakers Bureau has nearly 40 subjects and speakers for area clubs, events, and meetings. Program chairs and others may book a college speaker at no cost for community events. Arrangements are between the requesting agent and the listed speaker. There is no charge for this community service.

Centralia College is rich in resources and expertise on a wide spectrum of topics, all available to your group. If you need a program on a topic not listed in the annual booklet, please contact Don Frey, director, College Relations, and he will attempt to find an appropriate speaker for your event and specific area of interest. This year you may choose from dozens of topical programs of wide interest to your group. Topics range from sailboat racing to crime and punishment, critical energy industry issues to salmon fishing, and from Shakespeare to soap making.

The listing of speakers is available in our 2009-10 Speakers Bureau brochure at College Publications > Speakers Bureau (pdf).

Your group might choose the insights of geologist Pat Pringle as he explains the volcanic process and ash-buried forests of the Northwest, a look at the quirks of the universe by John Martens, or Tony Petzold's advice for staging a puppet show. These and many more intriguing and timely speakers are available. The expertise available at Centralia College may also be valuable to media representatives seeking topic interviews or a local angle to a news story. The Speakers Bureau also serves as a reference for those needs. You may contact the speaker directly via contact information listed in the brochure.

Facilities named to honor former faculty

As part of the ongoing facelift at Centralia College, it was necessary for some of the old, existing facilities to disappear. Among the casualties were the Batie Science Center, Ehret Hall, Lingreen Hall, and the Rufus Kiser Native Gardens. New buildings now occupy the space of the former structures, and the native plant collection in the Kiser Garden has been uprooted and readied for transplant.

The college's Name Retention committee recently recommended that the names of these important pioneers in the early life of Centralia College be incorporated into the new Science Center and the new outdoor learning lab. Those whose namesakes will be transferred are: Bill Batie, Art Ehret, Minnie Lingreen, and Rufus Kiser. The foursome are nearly always mentioned when alumni share their memories with the college and foundation staff.

The recommendations, approved by the college board of trustees include:
  • The space on the west side of Washington Avenue between Walnut Street and Centralia College Boulevard will now include Kiser Gardens. Rufus Kiser taught physical sciences throughout his 32-year teaching career. The site will hold a small pond, creek frontage, and the plant collection. The block-sized park/study area is in the college's Master Plan and will be developed as funding permits.
  • The large tiered classroom in the college's multi-million dollar Science Center will be named for Minnie Lingreen, who taught history and social sciences during her 32-year stay. The site would recognize her long contribution to the academic heritage of Centralia College.
  • The college's specimen preparation area and microbiology laboratory rooms, also in the Science Center, would be named for William Batie, who began his 32-year career in 1940. Batie's dedication to the pure sciences helped build Centralia College's reputation for learning excellence.
  • The main lobby of the new Science Center, a place where students and visitors eventually gravitate, would be named for Arthur Ehret who served as a chemistry teacher and registrar during his 37-year tenure.
Room and area signs will be ordered and mounted within the coming weeks. Several of the buildings that currently stand on what will become Kiser Gardens will be razed during the coming weeks.

Electronics, Robotics, Automation: ERA program

Dave LaLondWhen the Centralia College electronics program adopted the "ERA" (Electronics, Robotics, and Automation) designation, it wasn't because electronics itself was less important. After all, the nationwide STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) included electronics as a key component. "We morphed from just 'electronics' to ERA," said electronics professor Dave LaLond, "because those were the elements our studies showed would provide the best family-wage jobs right here in our area." The former electronics program had earned a reputation for turning out the best technicians, often placing everyone enrolled in certificate or degree classes into good jobs even before they graduated.

Cal Taylor"The problem we had," added electronics associate professor Cal Taylor, "was that nearly all our students had to leave the Lewis County area to get those jobs." LaLond and Taylor worked with a former Centralia College dean of workforce education to get a clear picture of job needs in the immediate area. Nearly all the new businesses moving into our industrial parks were in dire need of workers skilled in robotics and automation, while established firms were quickly adopting such automated processes, according to LaLond.

The electronics staff quickly set about visiting all sorts of firms currently using automation and robotic functions, then writing a curriculum that would give students advanced electronic training in directing and operating robotic systems. In short, training electronics students for the ERA-based, family-wage jobs that were burgeoning in the local market. "Firms from new warehousing and distribution facilities to Cardinal Glass to most area sawmills and precision manufacturing companies need people who can understand and operate programmable logic controllers (PLCs)," LaLond explained. "Our challenge was to work with the firms, and with those who manufacture both robotic devices and PLCs to get the proper level of training developed."

The electronic faculty succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. They have developed a multi-discipline program that the students love, that teaches the right skills, and makes students immediately eligible for jobs in a rewarding and respected career field. One of the early ERA graduates from Centralia College is now programming the automated systems for half a dozen sawmills, boosting company profits and creating more high-wage jobs in the local community.

More of the recent grads are working at automation and computer-robotic interface than ever, and the numbers are certain to grow with the various industries represented here.

"One of the best outcomes," LaLond said, "is that graduates now have the background to enter almost any phase of electronics, responding to the best jobs they can find. If automation or robots aren't their cup of tea, they are qualified for computer networking and technology, electronic component manufacturing, broadcast or audio; just about any part of the field they choose."

"And if they do like robotics and automation," Taylor added, "they are ready for those career opportunities, too!" For more information, see Electronics, Robotics & Automation AAS degree plan or call 736-9391, ext. 282 or 323.

Lyceum to examine 1919 tragedy

From November 4 through December 2, the very popular Centralia College Lyceum will examine the events that occurred in Centralia on the nation's second Armistice Day, November 11, 1919, and which came to be known as The Centralia Massacre.

In the merciful detachment of memory and understanding, the intensely emotional post-WWI conflict is now more appropriately acknowledged as the "Centralia Tragedy." It was on that day a sequence of events unfolded that would result in four American Legionnaires and one labor union activist dead, a dozen or more wounded, towns and families divided, and a sense of community shame that would grow and prosper as the decades passed.

For the Wednesday programs in November and early December, Lyceum brings four speakers representing the warring sides of the original conflict, the time-softened facts of the matter, and the progression from labor/management violence to modern, negotiated labor representation. Lyceum again sets out to prove that most of the hostile of histories can be properly viewed from the perspective of accuracy and compassion. The scheduled topics are:

Nov. 4—Dr. Susanne Weil, Centralia College, will overview the causes and enduring impact of the events that shaped the infamous local tragedy.
Nov. 11—Veteran's Day, the successor to WWI's Armistice observation. Students and citizens are encouraged to visit some of the sites recalling the events of 90 years ago.
Nov. 18—Aaron Goings, teacher of labor history at St. Martins University will speak on "Business As Usual: Employers Terrorize Workers in Centralia, 1919."
Nov. 25—Dr. Earl Nordby, Chaplain, Post #17 of the American Legion speaks to "Veterans Attacked by Wobblies: The November 11, 1919 Legionnaire-Wobbly Catastrophe."
Dec. 2—Providing a unique twist to conclude these thoughtful discussions is Dr. Laurie Mercier, historian, WSU-Vancouver, in "Out Front and Behind the Scenes: Women in the Pacific Northwest Labor Movement."

Lyceum programs are at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and are held in room 103 of Washington Hall or in Corbet Theatre, located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Walnut Street on the college campus. Lyceum programs are free and open to the public, which is cordially invited to attend.

Business gone sour? Try creative teamwork

If the present economic decline has put a stranglehold on your small business or enterprise, you're probably in more of a "depression" mode than a pipsqueak recession. You could lower prices, but margins are already slim. You could advertise, but cash flow won't allow it. You could reduce payroll, but you're the only employee—and the taxman is getting most of your income. What can a small entrepreneur do?

The very popular Centralia College Lyceum program on Wednesday, Oct. 21, might have an answer. Two noted experts—business consultant Joe Martins and Centralia College psychology professor Atara MacNamara—will show you ways to boost your business with an up outlook on a down economy. This revelation begins at 1 p.m in Corbet Theatre.

The program, "The Phoenix Process: How creative teamwork can reinvent a business," will offer a positive approach in challenging times. This team looks at strategies that may allow you to tap into innovative or little-known strategies to gain an advantage for you and your customers. The basic concept is to not struggle with a downhill slope when business is bad. Instead, use the resources you'll learn about and let your competition do the struggling while you succeed. Martins and MacNamara will explain how non-traditional alliances and uncommon teamwork works.

Lyceum brings outstanding programs and leading speakers to Centralia College every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. in Washington Hall Room 103 or in Corbet Theatre on the college campus. The public is encouraged to attend these free, informative weekly programs, located in Washington Hall, at the corner of Washington Ave. and Walnut Street in Centralia. For more information, see Lyceum Lecture Series, or call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 239.

College celebrates adult literacy week Oct 18-24

This year marks the fifth successive time a Washington governor has declared the third week of October to be Adult Literacy Week, and Centralia College continues its efforts to provide adult basic education to students throughout the region. In the shadow of all-time record enrollment at Centralia College, most observers know that basic education is still one of the primary keys to building the community.

Centralia College continues to provide a pathway for those without a high school diploma and those not ready to enter college. Courses are available that will lead to GED high school equivalency testing, and direct high school diplomas for students who choose that pathway. There is little doubt that the services are needed. An estimated 25,000 people in the region lack a high school diploma, and many of those may be facing extended periods of unemployment without essential basic education. Through the Centralia College Basic Skills program unskilled workers can change the odds in their own favor.

Adults may take Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language classes at Centralia College for as little as $25 per quarter. Program manager Dennis Hatch said that adults who cannot afford the registration fee may apply for a waiver to attend the classes at no charge. "There is a testing fee for each of the five GED test sections," Hatch explained, "but there is some scholarship money to help students. We do our best to get almost anyone in who wants to work toward adult literacy goals."

Students can enroll for a few basic education courses in such essentials as math, reading, writing, and other classes that can develop important job skills. On completion of those classes a student may be qualified to take college-level classes in any of dozens of high-demand jobs. To contact the ABE and English as a Second Language staff, call (360) 736-9391, ext. 216.

"A world without honeybees?" Like fruit? Thank a honeybee

Almost everyone knows that honeybees perform a critical service by pollinating thousands of important food crops. Without the bees it would be impossible to grow apples, peaches, most berries, and nearly all our favorite flowers, and many everyday crops and plants. What most people don't know is that the earth is experiencing a chilling shortage of honeybees—and many of our food crops could soon be jeopardized as a result.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1:00 p.m., retired Washington state Apiarist Jim Bach will be featured at Centralia College's popular Lyceum series to talk about "A World Without Honeybees." Bach will discuss the frightening "colony collapse" syndrome, what is happening to billions of honeybees, and the implications of the crisis on human beings. Bach will repeat his program at 7 p.m. that evening, in Corbet Theatre, for folks who cannot attend the afternoon program. The evening appearance by Bach is sponsored by Centralia College Lyceum, WSU Extension, and the Lewis County Beekeepers Association. There is no charge and the public is invited to attend either presentation.

A lack of honeybees might eventually lead to a loss of hummingbirds first, then most songbirds, and finally an end to readily available, low-cost meat and other basic food products. The changes to average daily life and our wonderfully varied diet would be staggering. What can homeowners, farmers, and others do to prevent this potential catastrophe? Plan to be at the Oct. 14 Lyceum to hear the possible answers from an expert.

All Centralia College Lyceum programs are free and the public is invited every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 103 of Washington Hall on the Centralia College campus. For further information about Lyceum, see Lyceum Lecture Series or call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 239.

smoke free sign on campus

Centralia College moves toward smoke-free campus

Finding a place to smoke a cigarette on the Centralia College campus just got a little more difficult. Beginning with this fall quarter, the college opened a smoke-free corridor stretching the east-west length of the campus, and moving north and south to the entrances to all facilities on college property. The corridor bisects the college campus along Walnut Street and is bordered on the west by King and on the east by Iron streets.

The smoke-free corridor initiative, currently pushed by the student government, is aimed at eventually making the college campus entirely smoke-free. With this move Centralia College joins a growing trend as colleges follow the lead set by some state governments and recommendations from health care providers. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among both men and women. It claims more lives each year than colon, prostate, lymph and breast cancers combined. Yet most lung cancer deaths could be prevented. That's because smoking accounts for nearly 90 percent of lung cancer cases.

The move by the college and its student government is also aimed at eliminating second hand smoke some have had to inhale walking through areas where smokers congregated. Smokers can still light up on campus as long as it's in their vehicle in a parking lot. They can also smoke on city-owned streets and sidewalks around the perimeter of the campus.

The smoking ban applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to the campus. A smoke-free campus was first floated by the college's nursing club two years ago but did not have widespread support. This year, the college's administration and student leadership support the smoke-free corridor. Walnut Street, identified as the Aadland Esplanade on campus, is lined with temporary no smoking signs. The college's security staff may also be reminding offenders of the ban.

"First and foremost it is a matter of personal health," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president, "but it is also a matter of courtesy to others."

Jason Lezak with Trio students

Jason Lezak inspires students to set goals, visualize success

Recently, Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Jason Lezak shared his experiences, challenges, and methods for success with TRiO students and families in Corbet Theater on the Centralia College campus. His road to gold was not an easy one and Jason had some good advice for achieving any goal you might have, athletic or not.

Jason told the story of his swimming career starting at the age of five, and ending with a gold medal in 4x100 m freestyle relay and a long awaited individual bronze medal in the 50 m freestyle in the 2008 Summer Olympics. His anchor leg in the 4x100 m freestyle relay was the fastest 100 m split in history. This was after many ups and downs as a world class swimmer. He finished as high as 21st in qualifying races for the 50 m freestyle, and his 4x100 m relay team lost six straight years from 1999-2004 including twice at the Olympics, twice at World Championships, and twice at Pan Pacific Games. Prior to 1999, the U.S. 4x100 m team had never lost that race in international competition. But Jason used the power of positive thinking, hard work, and a relentless pursuit of his goals to achieve the success we all witnessed in the Olympic Games last summer.

Jason, at age 33, says his swimming career is far from over and he hopes to make the 2012 Olympics. He says he feels great and is confident in his ability to compete even though he will be considerably older than the average Olympic swimmer. His positive attitude and methods of setting and achieving his goals can be used by any person and for any purpose. You can set your own goals for great success in your education, career, or athletics. Here are Jason's take-home messages for meeting goals and dreams you may never have thought possible.
  • Set goals, and review them frequently. Don't be afraid to make them big and set smaller short-term goals that get you to your bigger goals.
  • Visualize success for yourself frequently; stick to positive self talk; stop negative self talk.
  • Be willing to work and do it.
  • Sacrifice and make good choices–minimize frivolous activities and do what it takes to succeed. Focus on your goals.
  • Do the little things needed to be successful and stay on track–study, practice, listen to your parents, teachers, coaches and mentors. Get help from your support group and add new people to it.
  • Learn from your mistakes, put them behind you, and move forward with a positive attitude.
  • Be prepared for opportunities–Jason could not have continued his swimming career at University of California/Santa Barbara without being prepared academically. Don't wait to improve your GPA and make yourself well educated.

College opens forestry tech program

Careers in forestry may be making a comeback and Centralia College, working with Grays Harbor College is opening a two-year Forestry Tech degree training program that could go a long way in getting people back to work in that field.

The growing need for forestry technicians has been spurred by U.S. Senator Patty Murray who was instrumental in securing funding to support the two colleges' training efforts. Federal funds have been coupled with money and support from the Pinchot Partners and Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council. It is expected this partnership will cover the tuition and book costs for two years for those accepted into the program.

The primary instruction site will be at Centralia College East in Morton. Students will be connected to Grays Harbor College through two-way interactive video for the natural resource classes. During a six-week intensive spring quarter 2010 students will travel to multiple sites throughout the state for on-site training opportunities. "It's something that has been in the works for a while but everything came together just recently," said April Doolittle, director of Centralia College's Morton Center. "This program offers a practical approach that provides the necessary skills and knowledge to compete for a job," said Doolittle. "We offer an applied approach that integrates natural resource concepts and principles with field work," she said. "It's a chance to gain some invaluable hands-on training and experience."

Currently the program, which starts this fall with a cap of 24 students, will train graduates to qualify for career options that include: forestry technician, forester, urban forester, research forester, arborist, environmental consultant, forest resource administrator, conservation geology, fire suppression specialist, rangeland specialist, environmental protection specialist, habitat conservation specialist, GIS cartography, GPS field technician, biostatistician, nursery/greenhouse manager, soil management, insect and disease management, land rehabilitation specialist, and other positions.

The curriculum is modeled after the Society of American Foresters accreditation standards. This will be one of three approved Natural Resources–Forestry Technician programs available at the college level in Washington State.

For program information, see the Forestry Tech Program web page. For information on admission to the program, contact:

April Doolittle,, (360) 496-5022 or (360) 736-9391 ext. 380;
Lynn Schinnell,, (360) 496-5022 or (360) 736-9391 ext. 380;
Bev Gestrine, Worker Retraining,, (360) 736-9391 ext. 351; or
Fred Schwindt,, (360) 496-5022 or (360) 736.9391 ext. 265.

New Fall quarter may be biggest yet

After consecutive enrollment peaks for the spring and summer quarters at Centralia College, officials expect to welcome a new all-time record number of students when classes start on September 21. The enrollment upsurge is squeezing the college as it works to provide instructors, classes, and seat space for all who enroll. Many of the professional/technical classes are near or above capacity; there is, however, space available in many of the academic transfer classes and the online course offerings.

"A lot of students are returning to get training that will upgrade their job skills and increase opportunity for employment," said John Martens, college vice president for Instruction.

"The state budget deficit has given our students a big break, too," according to Dr. Jim Walton, Centralia College president. "While the legislature has increased the costs of going to a state university or four-year college by 15 percent this year, our students are seeing an increase in tuition costs of around seven percent. That means a substantial savings for a family with a student entering the college career race."

Some professional and technical courses are providing added opportunities for job-seeking students this quarter, including those in civil engineering, electronics and robotics, energy technology, and criminal justice—as well as business and marketing skill development classes. Also available for prospective students are classes in fine arts and drama.

Fall classes begin on Sept. 21 for classroom students and Sept. 24 for those using an online class strategy. Open enrollment continues through this week but classes are filling quickly. With time running out, admissions staff are urging students to come to the Enrollment Services Office in the Student Center, corner of Rock Street and Centralia College Blvd, or call the office at 736-9391, ext. 221, for details.

TransAlta receives prestigious state community college 'partnership' award

TransAlta's commitment to invest in the future of the communities where it operates was recognized with the Washington statewide "Partner of the Year Award" for support of a community or technical college. With operations in Centralia, Washington, TransAlta Corporation produces power for the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized as an extraordinary supporter of Centralia College and a great supporter of the regional Lewis County community.

The award, given by the state Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC), is given annually to a corporation, company, agency, or organization for providing time and resources in support of the state's community and technical college mission. TransAlta's 2009 award is just the third time TACTC has given the prestigious honor. TransAlta was nominated by the Centralia College Board of Trustees and strongly supported by trustee chair Judy Guenther, Centralia College Foundation president Dennis Calkins, and college president Dr. Jim Walton.

TransAlta received the nod from the TACTC awards committee, representing Green River, Whatcom, Spokane, and Shoreline Community Colleges. In formally making the presentation the state organization noted, "TransAlta approached Centralia College to discuss the creation of an energy training program similar to one sponsored in Canada. Seven years later, with a TransAlta commitment of $1 million in cash, equipment, and personnel services, Centralia College hosts a Center of Excellence for Energy Technology that serves the entire Pacific Northwest region."

TransAlta has become almost legendary in support of the general community. In her support of the TransAlta nomination, Guenther wrote, "They were one of the first companies to step forward with manpower and money when we had the significant floods in 2007 and 2008. TransAlta is a great community member...they are truly an excellent example of what the TACTC Partner of the Year Award represents." TransAlta recently committed $500,000 to the Centralia College Foundation's current capital campaign, earmarking the money for a new educational facility, student service center, and college commons. The new building project, scheduled for groundbreaking as the third phase in a series of major college expansions, will be known as the "TransAlta College Commons." It will occupy a site directly south of the new $33 million Science Center on the Aadland Esplanade and across Washington Avenue from Washington Hall.

In a letter in support of the nomination, Walton wrote, "When it was forced to shut down its mining operation, TransAlta gave us $500,000 to award as scholarships to former employees, their spouses, and their children...TransAlta is a great supporter of Centralia College and I cannot help but think the actions of TransAlta are exactly what this award was conceived to recognize. TransAlta is a partner I am proud to support in this nomination."

Unemployed worker training program, workshop Aug. 13

Unemployed workers in Lewis County may be eligible for a new program that provides state-paid job-readiness or new-career training and in many cases allows the worker to continue to draw unemployment benefits while they train.

Unemployed, displaced workers have an opportunity to meet with Centralia College and Employment Security representatives at a pair of meetings on Thursday, Aug. 13. A morning session from 10 a.m. to noon will cover the general program and allow job seekers to ask questions. That meeting will be held in room 109 of the new Science Center at the corner of Washington Ave. and Walnut Street.

"There are some rumors floating around about this program and we want to clarify what the program is about and how individuals can access training programs," said Bev Gestrine, director of Worker Retraining at Centralia College. "People need to know the facts," she said.

A second session will be in Washington Hall from 1-3 p.m. to cover the financial aid aspects of the program, and determine funding eligibility for jobless workers that plan to enter the program. Centralia College Financial Aid staff will be on hand to help prospective students secure tuition and retraining benefits. Workers will have a choice of training options, depending on their career or job-skill upgrade choices. The unemployment cash benefits may have some added eligibility restrictions, but may also include extended benefit periods. Questions concerning retraining options and the benefits package—for both class costs and extended unemployment compensation—will be thoroughly covered in the two workshop sessions.

Washington Employment Security has already contacted more than 1,825 displaced Lewis County workers about the program, but could not include details on a case-by-case basis. Potential new job trainees will need to attend these meetings to determine program and compensation eligibility.

Gestine said seats for the Aug. 13 meeting are limited; she urged those interested to reserve a place as soon as possible. Call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 385 or 770, to secure a spot. Gestrine said more meetings would be scheduled to meet additional demand from displaced workers wishing to enter the state-sponsored displaced worker program.

Centralia College donors overcome current recession

Centralia College Foundation board president Dennis Calkins announced that the foundation has met its 2008-09 annual fundraising goal of $375,000. Calkins expressed gratitude to the community for its strong support of Centralia College and the Centralia College Foundation. "It is gratifying to see the community come together to support the goals of deserving students in their pursuit of higher education," stated Calkins.

The campaign got a huge boost from the Earnest and Edith Driscoll estate earlier in the year through an estate distribution of $640,000. "This gift will benefit future Centralia College students through scholarships," noted Dwayne Aberle, campaign chair. "The result shows the huge impact of remembering students in a will or other long-term strategy for planned giving."

The goal for the 2009-10 Annual Campaign will be $393,750 and will begin with the annual kickoff in October. As tuition increases by seven percent this year and regional unemployment expected continue its push into double digit territory, it will be more important than ever to meet the new goal so students have funding to pursue their education at Centralia College.

Even though the annual campaign has met its goal, there is still work to be done. The foundation board recently embarked on a $100,000 campaign to bring a superior grand piano to the Corbet stage. The new concert grand piano will honor Charlie Albright, one of Centralia College's most celebrated graduates and a world-class piano virtuoso. The nine-foot concert grand piano will bring unparalleled distinction to concerts, performing arts, and music education at Centralia College. The Charlie Albright Piano Campaign has raised $65,000 and recently received a matching grant from the Robert O'Neill family; every new gift will effectively be doubled. For more information on the 2010 annual campaign or to support the Charlie Albright Piano Fund, please call the foundation office at (360) 736-9391, ext. 290, or visit the Centralia College Foundation Web site at

Patrick Pringle07/14/09
Mt. Rainier guidebook wins national award

A Centralia College writer and science instructor has received a prestigious national award for his outdoor field guide. Pat Pringle, associate professor of Earth Sciences, has been notified that his newest work, The Roadside Geology of Mt. Rainier National Park and Vicinity, has won the 2009 "Best Guidebook" award from the nationwide Geoscience Information Society (GSIS). GSIS is the nation's leading membership organization in the geological sciences arena, providing the latest information to professionals, amateurs, and sightseers around the world. GSIS is a member organization of the Geological Society of America and the American Geological Institute.

Pringle brings a combination of scientific accuracy and common language making the book valuable to amateur geologists and vacationers and seasoned professional and geology-related scientists. Pringle's two volcanic guidebooks, the result of years of study in the field and experience on the ground around the peaks, are comparative best-sellers around the region and have won wide critical acclaim by geologists and lay writers alike. Prior to coming to Centralia College, Pringle worked at the Cascades Volcanic Observatory for over a decade and later for the Division of Geology, Washington Department of Natural Resources, for nearly 15 years.

Pringle previously wrote the companion piece to his latest popular science guidebook, The Roadside Geology of Mount St. Helens and Vicinity. Pringle will receive the award at the joint meeting of the GSIS and the Geological Society of America next October in Portland. Both books were published by the Division of Geology of the Washington DNR and are available at the DNR offices in Olympia, at Book 'n Brush in Chehalis, or the Centralia College Bookstore.

Rick Skinner07/09/09
College signs new head baseball coach

Centralia College has hired a new coach to lead the men’s baseball program. The new Trailblazer skipper is Rick Skinner, a native of Vancouver.

Skinner left the head coaching post at Hockinson High School to accept the top spot in the Blazer baseball program. His team played against Centralia and W. F. West, and Skinner says he has a good relationship with baseball coaches for those local high schools. That will help, Skinner says, in bringing more Centralia and Chehalis baseball standouts to the local diamonds. “He has connections to the area, he knows baseball, he knows how to coach, and he is a good fit for the college. He will is a great addition to our sports programs,” said Bob Peters, Centralia College athletic director.

Skinner graduated from Mt. Hood Community College and from Concordia College. He played varsity baseball at both colleges and maintains positive ties with the coaching staff at each. “The number one thing I want to do,” Skinner explained, “is to change the attitude of the players. I know a positive attitude will help them start winning games, especially the tight ones.” Skinner is high on the talent on the current team, as well as players on area teams. “There are a lot of good players in this area,” he said. And he is already working to develop those players. “I plan to hold college-sponsored training camps for a number of age groups,” Skinner continued. “There will be a major ‘Prospect Camp’ for returning players, new recruits, and potential players. Later in the year we will hold age-specific baseball camps for kids from middle school on up.”

Skinner has picked part of his coaching staff and will announce his choices soon. But Skinner clearly gets top-flight assistants who share his positive attitude and work ethic. Prior coaching periods have been positive, Skinner says, because of that kind of outlook. “A team’s positive attitude and willingness to work,” he maintained, “reflects the style and example of the coaching staff. If my coaches and I are solid and upbeat, the kids will feel our moral support from the very first day. “If we work hard, the kids will work hard,” Skinner concluded. “That’s how winning teams are built.” Skinner is planning to get some teaching assignments in local high school districts and move his family from the rural North Vancouver area as soon as possible.

T.R. Gratz06/17/09
T. R. Gratz named to college admin position

A 15-year veteran of the Centralia College faculty has been named Interim Dean of Instruction for Academic Transfer.  T. R. Gratz, the former director of the college's long-running and award-winning "blue&gold" student newspaper, will assume his post July 1.

A 2000 "Exceptional Faculty" award recipient, Gratz has been the college's journalism instructor and has taught English at the college since his arrival in 1994. Under his leadership the "blue&gold" was a perennial award-winning publication as judged against other two-year college student newspapers throughout a multi-state region. Gratz recently moved the student newspaper publication to an Internet-only digital newspaper to increase accessibility and provide readers with instant access to college news. The move to an electronic platform, however, was already on Gratz's agenda as a means of teaching students the systems they will need for electronic publications and for strictly-Web-based news and information delivery systems.

In making the announcement, John Martens—college vice president for Instruction—noted Gratz has a strong academic background, a commitment to the college, and demonstrated leadership skills. The college will continue publishing the "blue&gold."

Summer quarter starts June 22

Summer quarter at Centralia College begins on Monday, June 22, giving many students the opportunity to get the skills they need to increase their employability. Students looking to start or continue their journey toward a four-year degree may use the summer quarter to help them reach that goal and do so at a lower cost. Enrollment is now underway and will continue through Monday. Late registrations may be accepted through Thursday, June 25.

Despite potential record high summer enrollment, college administrators say many classes still have room for those who sign up soon. "We've tried to anticipate a larger number of students who need advanced career or technical training," said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. "Economists say employment numbers aren't expected to rise until late spring or early summer next year, and we felt summer was an ideal time to let unemployed or underemployed people get a head start for better results when the jobs do come back."

Among the classroom subjects available for summer quarter are: accounting, health care, business and business office technology, criminal justice, nursing assistant, welding, and others. Many academic courses are open for summer enrollees.

There is a wide range of online classes available. The summer quarter online classes run from June 25 through August 17. Students at Centralia College or Centralia College East may register online or in person at the Enrollment Services office. For further information call Centralia College at 736-9391, ext. 221, or Centralia College East in Morton at 496-5022.

College offers homebuyer assistance class

Home ownership can be a source of financial security but for some the home buying process can be daunting and a financial drain. Centralia College is offering a series of Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) homebuyer seminars that can open the door to financial packages that make purchasing a home more feasible.

There is no charge for the class and anyone currently planning to purchase a home is encouraged to attend. Homebuyers who complete this class may qualify for the $8,000 tax credit plus up to $10,000 in down payment assistance.

The two-night seminar is held in the Centralia College Science Center, room 108, and is led by Nita Cook of Madrona Mortgage, and Diane Weaver of REWARD Int'l Real Estate. The class covers budgeting, building credit, financing, real estate procedures, inspections, escrow and insurance. Guest speakers will include certified home and pest inspectors, insurance professionals, and title company professionals. In addition, this free five-hour class is required by WSHFC for new buyers to qualify for state bond down payment assistance. To qualify, the buyers cannot have owned a primary residence in the last 3 years and must earn less than $95,000 per year; Buyers have until 12/1/09 to finalize a home purchase for this current stimulus package.

For information on class dates and to register call: 360-791-7355, or visit

Centralia College Commencement set for June 12

In the afternoon of Friday, June 12, some 450 Centralia College students will formally complete at least part of their education when the college holds commencement exercises. Some will earn transfer degrees and enter a four-year university in the fall; some will receive associate degrees that open the door to career opportunities. Other students will be awarded certificates that they'll use to compete for good jobs, while still others will celebrate hard-earned GED diplomas, the equivalent of high school completion. About 200 students will take part in commencement as a sign of their achievement. Hundreds of friends and family members will be on hand to share that moment and the event will be telecast on Cable TV, Channel 3, in the Centralia/Chehalis area. It is also signed for the hearing impaired. You may also view the live video of the commencement site.

In addition to Dr. Jim Walton, Centralia College president, speakers will include Jean DeSpain, the 2009 Centralia College Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient, and former newspaper executive Tom Koenninger, one of Centralia College's first trustees and a current member of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Tad Roeder, president of the Associated Students of Centralia College, will also speak and music student Sarah Edwards will perform a musical selection.

Dr. Michael Grubiak, vice president of Student Services, will present Outstanding Student Awards to recipients Evan Hedlund, Devon Kuhlmann, Lori Taylor, Rodney Tennison, and Nicole Wall.

A reception, sponsored by Student Programs, will follow the ceremony and will be held in the college cafeteria.

This year marks a new site for the mid-June commencement exercises as the ceremony moves to a grassy area just north of the clocktower between the Kirk Library and Kemp Hall, just steps off the Aadland Esplanade. There are no restrictions to the number of guests who may attend.

"For each graduating student," observed Walton, "this day has a special meaning and will be remembered for a lifetime."

Centralia College welders show artistic side

welding student
The welding classes at Centralia College will hold their third annual "Welding Art Show" on Monday, June 8. The welding lab and exhibits will be at the Technical Arts building of the college. It's located at the corner of West Walnut and King Streets. Welding instructor Ken Cotton said most of the nearly 30 welding students have artistic or useful projects they have fashioned as they learn their skills, and all are anxious to show off their one-of-a-kind handiworks.

"We've found that students really sharpen their detail skills while they work on projects that have particular value to them," Cotton explained. "Whether it's a barbecue or a statue of an elk, their involvement with the subject helps them become better welders."

The student welding art show will run from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., and visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite pieces of work. The student winners get prizes furnished by local firms that work with the welding department. Area vendors will also have displays at the art show to illustrate the value of the program to area businesses, and to let the community know what special services they might find available locally. There are dozens of different projects in this year's show, and Cotton says some of the artwork, painted saw blades, decorative tools, and new variations on old designs are fascinating. Each year the number of visitors has grown, and the college expects up to 300 people to drop by on Monday to see the work on display. There is no charge to visit this exhibit of student welding skill and the public is cordially invited. For further information, contact Cotton at 736-9193, ext. 391.

Land Survey Scholarships at Centralia College

The Northwest's largest surveying and engineering association has again recognized the professional stature and value of the Civil Engineering program at Centralia College. The Land Surveyor's Association of Washington (LSAW) has made available to the college two full-year scholarships for promising survey technology students for the upcoming 2009-10 academic year.

LSAW is the largest membership organization of surveyors, cartographers, and other civil engineers and technicians in the region. The association has about 1,500 members including licensed public engineers, mapmakers, GIS and GPS specialists, and professional field, geophysical, and marine survey technicians. The group strives to ensure that the best industry standards are taught to engineering and technical students in the Washington college system. Centralia College has been able to provide LSAW scholarships in the past and this new award reaffirms the career value of the technical programs in place.

Civil Engineering assistant professor Ann Alves says an LSAW education committee will award the new scholarships to a pair of second-year students in the Centralia College program after academic reviews. There are currently about 16 students eligible, while another dozen are finishing up their associate degree studies this month. Alves says many civil engineering students plan to continue their education to earn four-year degrees. "We are seeing more students than usual continue for BS degrees," Alves said. "It's partly due to the country's economic downturn. Today, the four-year degree still gets the best jobs, and most technicians now need a two-year associate degree to compete for the technical positions."

The Department of Labor predicts a strong, continuing demand for engineers, surveyors, and technicians, but those with at least associate degrees or certificates will land the bulk of the available jobs. For further information on the Civil Engineering Technology program at Centralia College, call Alves at 736-9391, ext. 334, weekdays.