May 2013                                                                                           Volume 4, Issue 5
Congratulations to our graduates at Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Newsletter
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Cindy Miles     
Commencement season is always an exciting and emotional time at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges. It's wonderful to see the happy faces of students wearing their caps and gowns as they receive their degrees or certificates. For some of them whose stories I've gotten to know, it's moving to know that they have triumphed over incredible obstacles to achieve their educational goals.
I think of students like Viktoriya Sinelikov, a Ukranian immigrant who spoke little English when she started at Cuyamaca College in 2007. She will be the valedictorian at the college's commencement June 6. I think of Derrick Torrence, Grossmont College's student speaker, a Marine for 22 years who will be joined at commencement June 5 by his daughter, Jacquelyn "Jade" Torrence, a fellow graduating senior.
We're proud of all of the more than 1,200 graduates at our two colleges, and I hope you will join me in congratulating them and wishing them a bright future!
Cindy L. Miles, Ph. D.
Chancellor, Grossmont-Cuyamaca
Community College District


Grossmont commencement June 5
Grossmont College commencement speaker Derrick Torrence with his daughter, fellow graduating senior Jacquelyn "Jade" Torrence.  
W ith many students earning multiple credentials, Grossmont College will award about 1,200 graduates more than 2,100 degrees and certificates at its 52nd commencement ceremony June 5.



The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. in the main quad, with the Rev. Eric Smith, a Grossmont College student in the 1990s and founder of the Loving Care Outreach Church in Oak Park, as the keynote speaker. Marine Corps veteran and social and behavioral sciences major Derrick F. Torrence will be the featured student speaker. 


Smith turned away from a drug-fueled life of self-destruction and found his way back on track through education and his faith. 


Following two years at Grossmont College in ethnic studies, Smith received his bachelor's in human development from Christian Heritage College. He entered the ministry in 1999 and started his church to serve the public and those in need, including addicts, alcoholics, inmates and troubled youth. He also founded the Loving Care Center, a non-profit serving the elderly in skilled nursing facilities.


 Torrence, 43, retired from the Marine Corps in 2009 after 22 years of military service and multiple deployments overseas. An addiction counselor during his military service, he plans to follow up his associate degree from Grossmont with  bachelor's and master's degrees in social work. With a goal to become a military social worker, he has been busy during his post-military years as both a student at Grossmont College and counselor for

various social service agencies and nonprofit organizations.   
Cuyamaca commencement June 6
When Viktoriya Sinelnikov learned she was going to be the class valedictorian for Cuyamaca College's 35th commencement June 6, where 520 students are eligible to receive 830 associate degrees and certificates, the Ukrainian immigrant admitted she didn't know what the title meant - much less understand that she was expected to give a speech as the top student in the graduating class.    

Sinelnikov, a science and mathematics major who graduates with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, says the 5:30 p.m.commencement will be one of her life's high points, along with her wedding, the birth of her two children and her citizenship ceremony two years ago. Sinelnikov, who began at Cuyamaca College as an English as a Second Language student in the spring of 2007, worked as a nurse in her native Ukraine and left the country in 2004 to marry a fellow countryman who had immigrated as a child to the United States. The 32-year-old plans to transfer to San Diego State University next year and to pursue a career in the medical field.  


A person who's faced challenges of another sort is Cuyamaca's keynote speaker, Alex Montoya, manager of Latino affairs for the San Diego Padres, and an author and internationally recognized spokesman on issues relating to people with disabilities. In his role with the Padres baseball club, he is responsible for coordinating the team's Latino community involvement in San Diego County and Mexico.


Montoya was born in Colombia missing one leg and both arms, and was sent to San Diego at age 4 to live with relatives in San Diego so he could get the medical care he needed. He received his bachelor's degree in communications at the University of Notre Dame and a master's in sport management from the University of San Francisco (Orange County).


Classes available this summer 
at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges

Summer classes   

 The June 8 registration deadline is quickly approaching for students to take advantage of this summer's tripling of short-term classes over the previous year.  


 Thanks to voters who passed a statewide tax measure last fall that increased education funding, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are offering  250 class sections compared to just 74 last summer. Before state budget cuts began whittling down the summer program, the colleges offered nearly 700 summer course sections at their peak in 2008.


 November's passage of the statewide tax measure, Proposition 30, prevented further catastrophic budget cuts to education that totaled $16 million for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca district alone between 2008 and 2012.


The summer classes offer a great way for students to enroll in prerequisite classes that can fill up quickly during the school year. Some of the classes both colleges are offering include history, biology, chemisty, sociology, math, music and psychology. 



The first round of six- and eight-week classes begin June 10. Class schedules are available on the Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College websites.


Continuing ed classes this summer

cont ed summer classes
The college district's Continuing Education and Workforce Training division, based at Cuyamaca College, has several new summer classes from June to August, with fees ranging from $0-$50:  


  •   How to Become a Farmers'Market Vendor: Learn the ins and outs of being a vendor, including what sells and what doesn't, food preparation legalities and health requirements, and how to bring your locally grown produce to the market.
  • Girls on Guard:Also new is a self-defense class (not martial arts) for teens and women, ages 13 and up, that teaches how and why women are attacked, vulnerable areas of a woman's lifestyle, and the difference between date, acquaintance and stranger assaults. Students will also learn the 10 most common ways that attack occur and will be able to practice defense techniques.
  • Creating a Successful Winery Business:  An overview of the size and scope of wine worldwide and in the county, plus information on the county boutique winery ordinance; sales and marketing; maintaining a vineyard; hiring employees and more.
  • Real Estate for Consumers: A survey class providing the fundamental basics and terminology in selling, buying, leasing, or renting real property. Consumer protection will be emphasized, along with an understanding on how to work effectively with real estate professionals.
  • Solar 101 for Homeowners: A free class about solar technology and how it works; how to determine if solar is right for your home or business; rebates and incentives, and cost and savings of going solar. A local case study will be reviewed.           
  • Make Money with a Home-based Typing/word-processing Business: If you can type, you can make money at home using your word processor or computer. Learn from someone with 20 years' experience on starting a new business; how and where to find clients; 50 ways to advertise or market your services; effective home-office equipment choices; and free national networking information.
For information on fees, dates, and locations, as well as online registration, go to , call 619-660-4350, email or stop by the office at the One-Stop Student Services Center, A104, at the Cuyamaca College campus, 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway, El Cajon 92019.
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