Despite challenges of pandemic, campus community reflects gratitude

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Recently, the college’s Celebrations Committee hosted an online gratitude gathering. Students, faculty and staff members shared a diverse range of reasons for being thankful, even in the face of the challenges presented by the coronavirus and stay-at-home restrictions. Executive Assistant of Academic and Student Affairs Lucia Lucero captured a number of the sentiments in a slide show. What follows are some of the expressions of gratitude our campus community members shared.

Andrea Loibl
Student Government Association Senate Chair, School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts

I have been a student at SFCC for two years, and I am grateful for the positive energy the community college has provided the students this year. During quarantine, we all struggled to adapt to the new environment, but with the wonderful staff here at SFCC they had given us hope. With my COVID-19 experience, I was struggling to make an income because my hours were cut at my job, and I was afraid I would have to drop out of school. However, the emergency fund SFCC offered to students has helped me tremendously so that I was able to finish my Spring 2020 semester. I am thankful that I was selected for this fund because I am on track to graduate.

In addition, I am the Senate Chair for the School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts. I am grateful to have joined SGA because they have helped me get through this rough year. We stuck by each other’s side during quarantine and we motivated each other to do better. 2020 has been a rough year, but like my favorite actor Robin Williams once stated, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong. I do believe in love; it’s wonderful – especially love third time around, it’s even more precious; it’s kind of amazing.”

Let’s hope and stay positive for a better a year!

Ian Widrick Martinez
Student Government Association President

Students need a champion who will advocate for the change they desire. Students not only need a champion, but a voice that will advocate for them in decision-making conversations. Being able to impact students in our community is the work that’s considered ‘invisible’ by most. I am grateful for this work we’ve accomplished as SGA has helped me to be able to shine light on outstanding students, organize and shape impactful events, challenge possible assumptions, and create meaningful and personal bonds with students. 

By being part of such an organization where you advance your overall leadership capabilities and strive to make a difference in student’s lives, I have found my passion. A passion that requires me to be present, focused and constantly aware of the transition people desire. I hope I can continue my journey as a public leadership servant. 

John Ketchens
Systems Analyst and Banner Programmer

Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you. ~  Ellen Caddy

I’m grateful for God’s grace, my health, and happiness, as well as, the extraordinary people who are in my life – my life partner, my brothers, my dog, my extended family, good friends and colleagues. 

At SFCC, I’m immersed in an environment of professionalism, diversity, and support for student success. I’ve been humbled by displays of graciousness and sincere friendliness. What I’ve missed most during the campus closure are the range of support from smiles from the facilities staff, hugs and sincere greetings from colleagues and students in the hallways, genuine displays of support from my IT manager to other staff and faculty to a warm handshake and caring remarks from President Rowley. 

I’ve been honored to contribute to the furtherance of the overall student experience: Participating in the Men’s mentoring program, the excitement of the graduation ceremony, and celebrating with the diverse groups that comprise SFCC – Black History, Native American Awareness, Hispanic Heritage, and LGBTQ Pride.

Gerard J. Martinez y Valencia
Academic Advisor 

2020 will be the cursor, good or bad, that we will reference for decades to come. With this year’s tempest of challenges comes the opportunities to value, appreciate and journey inward, hopefully, toward renewal. In our little corner of the earth here at SFCC, I find a calm of gratitude and faith that guides me through my life challenges and new directions amidst the multitude of chaotic whirlwinds on uncharted territories.

I am grateful for my family, my job (which allows me to work with wonderful professionals while serving our students), friends and a community that take responsibility for their health and safety, and the charitable contributions for others in need.

Personally, I’m finding time to treasure my children and family, and to practice self-care. I’m also focusing more on creative endeavors and expressions that feed my soul. I rest in liminal space awaiting my next pathway.

Aamna Nayyar, B.Sc. BDS, GPR, DDS
Dental Health Program Director

I would like to express my tremendous gratitude to everyone helping us stay on top of our duties during this pandemic year. As faculty members, you have demonstrated your incredible care for and commitment to our students. Thanks for the dedication of our exceptional staff across the campus. At a time of great need, you have stepped forward with flexibility, resiliency and resolve. Many of you have worked round-the-clock, night and day, without rest or relief. I am truly grateful for everyone’s extraordinary service. Thank you for your support and your continued commitment as we work together to keep everyone safe and carry out our educational mission. My prayers are for you, ‘Using the beautiful Names [of God] – we glorify You and ask for Your Strength and Power against all evils that are apparent or hidden. Aameen (Book: Three Paths. One God).’

Stevie Smaltz
Technology Support Supervisor, Office of Information Technology

This year end is like no other I’ve known at SFCC, yet we have all risen to the occasion, learned how to do things differently, and did them well. Students, staff and faculty learned new effective ways to show up and deliver during this challenging time. One of my hopes is that when we return, we continue to fully utilize all the valuable remote tools we are incorporating off campus. I am grateful to the college for handling the on-campus Covid protocols so well, for being flexible and adjusting appropriately as we go. It keeps the doors open and people safe. Due to the full support of the Office of Information Technology, good Covid protocols and everyone’s patience, User Services and other teams can be as safe and productive as possible. On a personal note, I have gained a new appreciation for so many things I use to take for granted, at work and at home, developing a calm gratitude I will strive to retain.

Brooke Gondara, Ed.D.
Early Childhood Center of Excellence at Kids Campus Interim Director

This academic year has been one of the most challenging of my entire career, like so, so many other people. We have been forced by the pandemic to shift, adapt, learn new ways of doing and being, while being flexible and responsive to our community’s needs. 

As this year ends, I am extremely thankful for and proud of the hard work of the team at Kids Campus. Kids Campus has been very successful during this trying and unprecedented time to keep our early learners learning and supporting working families. 

Additionally, First Born {a program housed in the Early Childhood Center of Excellence that supports first-time parents} continues to train and certify home visitors who provide critical linkages, connections and services to families and children throughout the state and is currently studying the effectiveness of telehealth service delivery in home visiting.

Incredible work! Nea’ase. Thank you.