Student Success Stories
At South, our students can "Start Here, Go Anywhere."
We know South students enjoy success. See for yourself and read some students and alumni stories below. Join our Alumni Association and get the latest on news and events or submit your alumni story today.
Also see Graduation Photos | Staff and Community | Student Statistics and Foundation Donors whose support helps our students succeed.
"I first came to South while I was still a student at Chief Sealth High School, joining the Running Start program," says Minh. It was this first experience at a community college that open my eyes and broke the cliché that only smart high schools graduates go on to universities. Minh is currently working at a Virginia Mason's Cancer Institute as a Licensed Practical Nurse and will return to South this fall to continue her education to become an RN. ~ Minh-Trang Duong LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) Program, Class of 2006.
Long Road Leading to
When Teklezgy Sequar started at South in 1993 as an
Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language
student he never believed he would be pursuing a
bachelor's degree. Teklezgy is originally from Eritrea,
a country situated in northern East Africa. He came to
the Seattle area where his brothers and sister are living
because of the continuing conflict his country has had
with Ethiopia. The conditions of his life were dangerous
because he had to serve in the military.....
a choice he did not
Teklezgy, who has earned
Associate of Applied Science
degrees in Network Technician
and Network Administration and
most recently this past spring an
Associate of Arts degree, will be
pursuing a Bachelor of Science in
Technology: Applied Technology. The degree, which he
should receive in 2008, is one of three bachelors degrees
that South offers on its campus. This one is offered by
Eastern Washington University. His goal is to find a
career in the IT industry.
He has this to say about his experience at the college:
�My experience here at South Seattle Community
College is a blessing. I never thought I would have
this opportunity to go to school and change my life.
But I discovered with determination and commitment
anything is possible.�
Read Full Story
South is a place where you can find your passion and
receive support even if you are not sure that college is
right for you. Janice Young (AA, Winter 2007) found this
out. In her own words, she describes her feelings when
she started: "I didn't know what I wanted to do with
my life, or major in. I just wanted to make my parents
happy, so I enrolled at South.
Enrolling was the easy part, but Janice would soon learn
there would be challenges in reaching a degree. Janice
recounts her experience: .....
�Math has always been an
obstacle for me. In high school I took the easiest math
classes just to get my credits to graduate. I honestly
didn�t think I would need anything more than to be able
to add, subtract, divide and multiply. Boy was I wrong.
To complete my AA degree I would have to pass Math
102 or equivalent. I tested into Math 083 (pre-college
math). I was so embarrassed that I eventually dropped
the class. I decided to concentrate on other parts of the
degree. I was completing just about everything but one
area was still untouched, math. �I went into Math 083 with a bad attitude, failed it and
retook it. Moved onto 084, failed it and retook it. Moved
onto 085, and failed it. Do you see my pattern? I went
into my math classes with the wrong attitude. Of course
I was failing. I didn�t try or put in the time I needed to
put in. I finally was able to move into math 098, and
Heidi Lyman was my instructor. Her love for math was
unbelievable, that it changed my perception. I put in
the time and I got good scores on my quizzes. It was
definitely a self-fulfilling prophecy. I passed math 098
and 102 with a 3.4.�
In addition to finding passionate instructors, Janice
credits Student Success Services with helping her reach her
goals. The federally-funded program helps those who are
the first in their family to attend college, low income, or
have a documented disability to pursue higher education
dreams. The program also has a learning center that
offers free tutoring, information on available scholarships,
university campus visits, and helpful workshops.
Janice will be attending Western Washington University
this fall, majoring in public relations with a minor in
Spanish. After she graduates from Western, she wants
to become an officer with the Seattle Police Department,
hoping to eventually work as a spokesperson for the
Read Full Story
Baby Boomer Finds New Passion
Retired after 27 years in the U.S. Army as a physician assistant, Steve Hale had
a desire to do something quite different. He thought what better way to explore
options it than to go back to school.
"Continuing your education later in life keeps your mind sharp," says Steve.
"And going to school is a natural way to stay involved with the community and
be around positive people going places."
South's Northwest Wine Academy seemed a natural fit for Steve......
During his career in the army he was stationed in
Germany, exposing him to the wine regions of Europe and growing his interest in the grape. His interest really peaked
as he traveled around Washington State � visiting wineries, talking to winemakers and seeing the wine country scenery.
The positives of the program are endless according to Steve: �Wine is about food, fun, history, religion, our culture and
meeting great people. Wine is also about visiting wine areas all over the world. This program also helps me develop
my creative side. It is interesting, can be challenging, and sometimes is a work out!�
Steve plans on taking winemaking classes this fall. He dreams of finding a part-time gig working for a small winery in
the area while continuing to work at South�s program.
Read Full Story
Erika Pollard ~ 2003 is one of the first students to take advantage of the new bachelor's degrees offered at South's new University Center. Erika is pursuing Heritage University's BA in Education (with Residency Certification and Elementary, K-8, and ESL Endorsements, K-12).
Erika, who is currently a Family Services Provider for Seattle Public Schools Head Start Program, has this to say about her choice:.....
"I started at South soon after graduating from high school but soon realized that I wasn't quite ready for college, so I took a break. Naturally, when I decided to pick up where I left off, I returned to South. I really feel like the college has helped me to set, visualize and accomplish my educational goals. Deciding to continue at South through Heritage for my BA was truly a no-brainer. The fact that I could continue to enjoy the qualities of South while obtaining my BA was truly a blessing for me."
Erika, who plans to become a middle School or high school teacher, wants to eventually obtain her master's degree and eventually obtain her principal's credentials. Who knows, maybe she will pick South again. Heritage University also offers these programs on our campus.
Read Full Story
"Receiving a scholarship from the
Foundation allowed me to complete
my transfer degree and made me feel
proud that I am part of the many
students at South deserving of a
scholarship. I will continue to give
back to the community that has given
me so many opportunities." Christian
graduated from Seattle University in
2007 and accepted a position with an
~ Christian Guerrero
AA degree, Class of 2005
"You only have one life and you have to live it to the best
of your ability," says Tammy, who has been educating
young people on making safe decisions since a life changing
accident left her a paraplegic. I encourage
people with disabilities to go to college to get an
education, and to try to get out there in the work force.
Tammy was hired in March 2007 as the Marketing
Manager for VARILITE, a local company in Seattle that
makes postural support systems for wheelchair users
~ Tammy Wilber, AA, Class of 2003
2006 Ms. Wheelchair Washington.
Kerry McNamar works and studies at South. An Officer on our Campus Security team, Kerry is also a full-time student at Heritage University, one of the college’s four year partners at our new University Center. “As a West Seattle resident, I love the convenience of taking classes so near to home,” Kerry said. He plans to become a teacher, and expects to graduate in 2008 with a BA in Education.
|Tuyen Nhan is a Running Start student at South and is taking courses toward Pre-Medicine. Her goal to become a pediatrician is reflected in her public service. She has volunteered at the Pacific Science Center helping children with science-based crafts and at Highline Head Start helping teachers and children in the classroom. She served at Highline Medical Center as part of Project HOPE, assisting patients in their care.
|Xuan Don is an international student from Vietnam. She plans to major in Biological Sciences. In addition to her rigorous course load, Xuan works to promote the academic success of her fellow students in the Women's Center, in the International Programs Office as Vietnamese Student Ambassador, and as a campus math tutor. She volunteers organizing activities for senior residents at Providence Mount St. Vincent. Her career goal is to work with the International Red Cross to provide global healthcare and education in impoverished nations.
Culinary Students Take State
Culinary Arts students recently won the Washington
State Preliminaries of the American Culinary Federation�s
Junior Hot Food Competition.
As winners of the Washington State Preliminaries, South�s
Junior Hot Food Team represented the state in the
Western Regional Finals in Coeur d�Alene, Idaho in April......
The students took part in the American Culinary
Federation Junior Hot Food Competition, which was
sponsored by the Washington State Chefs Association
and hosted by Olympic Community College. The
American Culinary Federation is the preeminent
culinary organization in the United States. It is not only
responsible for accrediting college programs but awards
professional certification levels and helps perpetuate the
Getting to regional finals in Coeur d�Alene, however, was
not as easy as it sounds. During the timed competition,
which lasted approximately four hours, the teams were
required to create a four course meal for four people, as
well as preparing all elements of the meal on site
Read Full Story
Emma Schuster tells about the journey that brought her
to South in her own words:
I was born and raised on the South Pacific island of
Tutuila in American Samoa. I came to South after high
school graduation in May 2006. I chose this college
because my aunt told me it was a great school. She is a
graduate of the Accounting program.
I am very family oriented, so I am determined to be
the best that I can be not only for myself but for them.
I especially want to make my mother, Tai Duseigneur,
proud. I am committed to my studies but at the same
time I love to enjoy myself......
Bringing my Samoan and
Polynesian people together is one of my passions.
I was able to share my passion for my culture when
I helped host South's first annual Siva Pasefika, (South
Pacific Dance-Movements) last spring. The event was
a huge success. I look forward to continuing my work
in this area. I am now the Student Commissioner for
Pacific Island students for the college's Cultural Center.
Now I am stepping into my fourth quarter, and
I believe that choosing South has been one of my
best decisions. Not only does the college have great
programs but also is a great and safe environment
with a wonderful staff and administration. I am
working towards my Associate of Arts degree, so I can
eventually transfer to the University of Washington
and major in International Business Law and Foreign
Communications. I love it here and I believe in the
school motto: Start Here, Go Anywhere!
Read Full Story
Inspiration and Achievement
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Kyle Shaffer is a sophomore, studying Business.
Kyle is active in South�s student government, and serves as chairman of legislative affairs for
the USA (United Student Association). After attending South, he plans on applying to the
University of Washington�s School of Business.
Kyle spent 10 months last year studying in Japan. He would very much like to return in the
not too distant future, and believes that every student should consider studying abroad......
Outside school Kyle is an on-call teacher at WeeWACs Childcare Center at the Washington
Athletic Club in downtown Seattle. He enjoys working with pre-K children, and is especially
gifted at creative storytelling and impromptu marching bands.
In his down time, Kyle enjoys reading, karate, and hanging out with friends. You can usually
find Kyle in the fitness center working out or at a local pool.
Read Full Story
Alumna Goes Places
Kathie Pham is certainly making her mark. The former Running Start student (AA, Summer
2005), now studying finance and information systems at the University of Washington
Business School, won a position with a prestigious internship in Washington, D.C. this past
summer. The internship was offered jointly by the Organization of Chinese Americans
(http://www.ocanational.org), which is �dedicated to advancing the social, political, and
economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States,�.....
and the United States Student Association (http://www.usstudents.org),
which �believes that education is a right
and should be accessible for any student regardless of their socio-economic background
and identity.� For 10 weeks Kathie spent time in Washington, DC and at conferences in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Sacramento, California. She was able to meet many legislators
of national standing, as well as activists involved in making education accessible to all. The
experience has left Kathie inspired. She hopes to one day go to law school and eventually
become involved in policy issues affecting K-12 education.
Read Full Story
Deepak Parashar began taking classes at South when he was 15 as a part of Running Start. He earned a BS in
electrical engineering at UW,
and is now pursuing concurrent
JD and MBA degrees at
University of Alabama and
Notre Dame University.
Leonard South grad is a senior at the
University of Cairo majoring
in Islamic studies and
anthropology, with plans to
pursue a Master�s degree in
Middle East studies.
Abebe Aberra and son, Edonyas
South grad is now a country project management assistant
UW�s Department of Global Health, International
Training and Education Center for HIV (I-TECH).
South is a family affair for Jimmie Strauss and sons Johann and Eric.
Dad received an AAS degree in Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technology,
and both 20-year old Johann and 15-year old Eric participated in
South�s Upward Bound program. Johann, who now attends Stanford
University, was a program volunteer this past summer.
Dayib Ismail loves South Seattle Community College. So
much so that he arrives on campus before the cafeteria
opens, and often leaves at night as the library lights are
turned off. The Somali native, who has been in the US
for just eight years, has completed course requirements
for an AA degree in software engineering and is
currently working on prerequisites for transfer to a
four-year Registered Nurse (RN) program.
Dayib�s software engineering skills have already helped
the college community. As a final class project, he
and fellow students created new software for use in
He then interned for six months at the
Seattle Community Colleges District office, working on
websites and the Intranet. It was a positive experience
that he says �opened the door to what the life of a
software engineer was like. �
Unable to find his dream job, Dayib spent the next
several years as an interstate truck driver, hauling
produce from California to the East Coast. It was
during those long trips that the idea of becoming a
nurse took shape.
�A nurse is like a mechanic,� he says. �And the most
important mechanic in the world is the mechanic of the
Nursing, he realized, would allow him to pursue his
lifelong passion to help people in need. At the same
time, he�ll be able to utilize his technology skills in a
high-demand profession that is becoming increasingly
computerized and high-tech. Plus, his cultural
understanding and fluency in four languages (Somali,
English, Arabic and Swahili) will enable him to better
serve a multi-cultural patient population.
While looking forward to graduation, Dayib says he
will miss much about South, including the beauty of
the campus, accessibility of the faculty, and the diverse
community of which he�s become a part.
�That diversity is important because everybody can
belong to the community,� he explains. �When you
see different colors, you see that you can mix with
Dayib works as a part-time cab driver to support his wife
and three children in Somalia, looking forward to the
day he can bring them all to join him in Seattle. In the
meantime, he will continue to arrive early and leave
late, studying to not just keep pace, but to get ahead.
Read Full Story
All-Washington Achievers Abeba Vandenburgh (College Transfer) and Tram (Tammy) N. Tan (Running Start) were selected as South’s
representatives to the All-Washington Academic Team, which honors Washington state community and
technical college students for academic achievement and community service.
and other members of the All-Washington Academic Team were honored at an awards
ceremony on March 20, at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, where
each student scholar received a medallion, and a $750 scholarship.
Tram N. Tan
Eduardo Muñoz ~ 2003 Running Start Student came to South in 2003 as a teenager
to finish his high school diploma as a Running Start
student. Eduardo struggled to complete this initial goal,
but he did find success in other areas.
He served as the
Chicano/Latino Commissioner for the Office of Diversity,
and as a Senator for the United Students Association.
Through his involvement, he found a network that would
support and encourage him to persist in his educational
Eduardo has earned his GED, and now is pursuing
a degree that will prepare him for a university program
in design and architecture. Eduardo also works for the
Student Outreach, Admissions and Recruitment office.
He feels that through this work he can give something
directly back to the community. “With everything I’ve
learned here at South, I feel ready to meet my future
head-on. I have set my goals in life and I am going to
achieve them. I have had so many good experiences at
South that I don’t think I would be as strong today if it
wasn’t for the people, the services, and the friendships
that I found here.”
Read Full Story
A Good Evening speech from Jonathan Habeeb-Ullah:
I am very happy to stand here before all of you this evening. Just a couple of years ago, I never could have imagined this moment, that I, Jonathan Habeeb-Ullah, a student here at South Seattle Community College would be giving a special occasion speech like this one.
To those of you that have achieved your dreams, and to those of you that are going on even farther to achieve your goals, as well as those of you around us that have inspired us to make it here today......
This truly is a day to remember, a day of achievement, a day of fulfillment, and completion of fulfilling our dreams.
I take great honor in being here, to have the chance in speaking to you before you take that second step to a four year University, or on your way to your career, coming that much closer to completing your goals.
Through out the hard times of struggle and sacrifice of being a student and giving until there’s nothing left.
This is a day of honor, for all of you, for never giving up on your dreams. As you leave here tonight and think back on this place remember the experiences that you have gained, and the people’s lives that you’ve touched along the way.
Through out your lives you have become something more than a graduate.
You have become role models to those around you.
You have been given the ability to up lift the spirits of those around you who didn’t think it was possible to make it; you are the impossible made possible…
It takes courage to turn the word “no” into “yes”, to turn “I can’t” into “I can”. There are no stops on this ride until we reach the end of the line together.
It is that determination that helps us students with the struggle, the sacrifice, and the commitment to be in college, to stay in college and to make our dreams come true. This is a blessing.
Webster’s Dictionary defines determination as:
“A fixed movement or tendency toward an object or an end.”
The dreams that we hold in our hearts is the object that is the visions of our destinations, our ends with no boundaries, our goals that are driven by determination.
Sometimes life is the best teacher in order for us to focus through the darkest times of life’s trials and tribulations.
We are blessed when those helping hands that are around us are there to let us know that it is possible to succeed, and to turn a negative into a positive.
With the helping hands of those around us and our determination, we have been shown that there is light; there is a future.
I dedicate this speech to those of you who have given us students this chance of being here today.
I dedicate this speech to those students who have learned from life’s experiences that there is a better way.
To these students I say congratulations and to those of you who have made our dreams possible I say thank you.
Read Full Story
South Students All-Washington Academic Team Honored in Olympia.
Khoa Ho and Kathie Pham were recognized as top community and technical college
students for their academic achievement and community service. The two are part of a
group of students representing the state’s two-year colleges. The students were
nominated through a state program modeled after the national All-USA Academic Team,
initiated by Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college international honor society.
The program has become the showcase for Washington's community and technical
colleges because it honors the academic high achievers, the men and women who have
demonstrated a commitment to success in the classroom and in the communities in which
they live. This recognition demonstrates the state's commitment to scholarship and
community service on the part of those attending the state's public community and technical colleges......
If there is one word that describes Khoa Ho – it’s involved, both on campus and off. Ho
is vice president of the International Students Club, membership chair of Phi Theta
Kappa, and math and science tutor at the college tutoring center. Off campus he teaches
Vietnamese to Vietnamese American kids, tutors at an area high school and volunteers
with the elderly through his church. This is done while carrying a full course load and
maintaining a high GPA. With such a drive to succeed, Ho is sure to reach his goals.
Sometimes a change of environment is all a student needs to succeed. For Kathie Pham,
it was her decision to become a Running Start student, Washington’s high school college
credit program. Since then, she has become a leader inside and outside of the classroom.
As the Academic Success Committee Chair at the college, she has helped foster a
program where students can take faculty to lunch, which has improved the learning
community on campus. In another instance, an instructor recalled how Pham empowered
her fellow students in a group project to “take ownership” of their presentation.
The two students were honored at an award ceremony on March 2 at South Puget
Sound Community College in Olympia. Each student scholar received an All-
Washington Academic Team medallion, a $750 scholarship, and was personally
recognized by Gov. Christine Gregoire.
Read Full Story
Council for Opportunity in Educations
24th Annual Policy Seminar.
Students Elise Hwang and Johann Strauss recently helped represent Washington State at
a national education conference in Washington, D.C.
The two are alumni of South Seattle Community Colleges Upward Bound program, part
of the federally funded TRIO programs whose mission is to build a tradition of college
among students who might never consider it an option. Souths program serves
Evergreen and Tyee High Schools.
The two were in Washington, D.C. to attend the Council for Opportunity in Educations
24th Annual Policy Seminar. The council is a national organization, headquartered in
Washington, D.C., which represents institutions of higher education, administrators,
counselors, teachers, and students in the federal TRIO programs across the country......
As a part of the seminar, Hwang and Strauss visited congressional representatives and
their staff to inform them about the TRIO programs, due in part to proposed White House
cuts to the programs.
Elise Hwang is in her first year at New York University, where she is studying social
work. At Tyee High School she was active in shaping the campus through the schools
Totem Council, which worked on improving the social climate of the school.
Johann Strauss is currently in his second year at Stanford University, where he is
studying international relations. As a student at Tyee High School, he was student body
president, founder of the Tyee Latino Club, and co-founder of Tyee Diversity Team.
Read Full Story
|Maria Lopez ~ 2005 College Transfer Graduate
Maria Lopez immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico City 18 years ago, seeking a better life. At first, her lack of English kept her from going to college; however, she soon discovered the ESL program at South Seattle Community College. As her language skills improved, she began taking academic courses. She credits Math Instructor Ted Coskey, who she calls an "inspiration," for her early successes in pursuing her educational dreams......
Maria also found help with Student Success Services
, which helps students like her who are the first in their families to attend college. Maria is giving back and now serves as a peer tutor with the program. Receiving her Associate of Arts this fall, she plans to get her teacher certification at Central Washington University's Des Moines campus. She hopes to one day be a community college math instructor.
Read Full Story
|Claudia Sorum ~ Student Overcomes Odds to Succeed
If you had asked Claudia "Dia" Sorum a few years ago if she would be contemplating finishing her bachelor's at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington or Seattle University, she would have probably told you that the dream of college was not even on her agenda.
Dia, a 3.8 GPA student in the Computing Technology program at South, has come a long way, showing that everyone deserves a second chance......
Her life, which never had a solid start, began with a shattered childhood and culminated in her being sent to prison as an adult. Where many people might see prison as an end, Dia saw it as a beginning to a new life. After her release, Dia went to work, enrolling in South's Life-Skills-to-Work program and eventually reuniting with her three children. She was able to continue her studies at the college due to a federally-funded Carl Perkins grant the college receives to support career training for ex-offenders.
Dia's story of hope was featured in the January edition of the local magazine "Seattle's Child." She has also used her life experience and her coursework at South to help others, preparing a resource guide for offenders re-entering society. This work was capped off by a presentation before a joint committee of the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives about the children of the incarcerated in January 2005.
Read Full Story
|Deb Twemlow - College Transfer Graduate
Virginia Sullivan, Director of Advising & Running Start, recently received a letter from former student Deb Twemlow, who is now the Recreation Director for the University of Alaska Southeast. The following are some excepts:
"Almost ten years ago my college experience started at South Seattle Community College......
I still remember how big it felt to walk around campus and see all the different buildings, housing so many opportunities for social and educational growth. Signing up for classes was really exciting because there were so many choices and I wanted to learn about everything.
"I was able to broaden my awareness in such topics as British English with Mr. Bob Dela-Cruz, Psychology with Mr. Bob Rice, Anthropology with Mr. Mike McGrath, and Music with Ms. Paula Herd. I thank these and countless other SSCC professors for having the patience to teach a wide eyed young girl full of ambition to never give up on my hopes and dreams.
".If I could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about attending school at South Seattle Community College, it would be to ask lots of questions, take the time to answer the questions your professors ask of you, don't be afraid to stick to your goals no matter how crazy they seem, and to truly immerse yourself into your college community. There are countless professionals at SSCC who have dedicated their lives to helping students succeed. Keep that in mind during your time and when things become overwhelming seek out an advisor, faculty, staff, or fellow student to pull you through.
"True success is never an easy road and graduating with my Associate of Arts from SSCC took a lot of long nights reading, some blank stares at a frozen computer screen trying to write a term paper, some Seattle rainy days that
I thought would never end, and some days so filled with activity that I didn't even want to get out of bed in the morning. These are the moments though that gave me such an indescribable personal satisfaction when walking down the graduation isle."
Read Full Story
|C'Ardiss Gardner ~ 2004 College Transfer Graduate
Students at South often show us how to live the school motto of
"Start Here, Go Anywhere.". C'Ardiss, or CC, is an example.
CC's journey at South began in 1994 when she was 18 years old. Her
dreams were delayed to take care of her two children and to enter
the workplace. Determined to finish her associate's degree, CC entered
the college again in spring 2003 and was able to complete her degree......
This was no easy task, as it required taking 25 credits each quarter,
while working full time. CC went far from Seattle when she started the next step of her education at Yale University in the fall of 2004.
Read Full Story
|Joseph Seia ~ 2002 Upward Bound Graduate
Joseph was honored as one of the Seattle Times’ “Outstanding Graduates 2002.” His freshman year in high school Joseph thought to himself, "Maybe I shouldn't be just doing what my peers are doing. Maybe there's something bigger out there for me. You only live once and I want to help the world," he said.
Pursuing his studies was challenging as he grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with 10 relatives......
But through Upward Bound, which helps low-income students get to college, Seia was surrounded by role models who provided guidance and encouragement. He raised his grade-point average from 1.8 in his freshman year to 4.0 as a senior. Joseph planned to enter Seattle University's addiction-studies program and then work with youth in his community.
Read Full Story
|Tory McPhail ~ 1993 Culinary Arts Graduate
What does Tory McPhail have in common with cooking legends Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shannon? All have held the position that Tory now holds, executive
chef of the prestigious New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace.
Knowing that he wanted to be a chef since a young age, the Ferndale
native began his culinary journey at South. After graduating, he
began his professional life at Commander's Palace, moving through
all 12 stations in the kitchen in two years......
He left briefly to
broaden his culinary knowledge and held positions in Florida, London
and the Virgin Islands. He returned to Commander's Palace in 2001
and trained under Jamie Shannon, learning what it takes to lead
a staff of 60.
Now its executive chef, Tory has been gathering his
own accolades and making his mark. He was nominated as one of the
James Beard Foundation's "Rising Star Chefs of the Year 2003,"
appeared on the Food Network, and hosts Turner South's original
weekly series "Off the Menu." Check out where Tory works
Read Full Story
|Norm Knowles ~ 2003 Web Design & Development Graduate
When Norm Knowles found himself at South, it was far away from his home in Alaska and former life, where he spent the previous 16 years finishing concrete and
pouring foundations, as well as working part time as a personal
trainer. Norm’s life changed when an ice climbing accident left him
unable to continue doing construction work, eventually leading him
to seek training for a new career......
His new path brought him to South,
where he graduated from the Web Design & Development program
with an emphasis in systems administration.
“I researched the technologies and industry standards used
in the career I wanted, and the program at SSCC covered more of
them than any other single program I could find,” says Norm.
Norm credits South’s computing instructors with his success
and current employment by the state of Alaska, where his duties
include serving as a Webmaster of many state Web sites, systems
administrator for a Web server, database administrator, and Web
“All of the instructors at SSCC made an impression on me,”
says Norm. “Some impressed me with their technical expertise,
others with their genuine concern for each individual student. More
than a few of them demonstrated both of those qualities. A perfect
example of this is Sabra Schneider (Web Design & Development
“My education at SSCC prepared me to hold my own. As a matter
of fact, after a round of discussions in one of the Alaska State
Webmaster Committee meetings, the comment was made by a member of
the Governor’s Communication Commission that ‘...it
looks like we got the real thing when we hired this guy.’
That and the job made two years of study at SSCC worthwhile.”
Read Full Story
|Josh Turner ~ 2005 Running Start Graduate
How many 17-year-olds do
you know with a college degree under their belt after just two years?
Josh Turner is such a student. In the fall of 2003 Josh started full time at South as a part of the Running Start program, which lets
students earn tuition-free college credit. He will graduate
in June 2005 with his Associate of Arts degree. Josh plans to attend
Central Washington University in Ellensburg, to pursue a major
in information technology.
|Jessica Burtt ~ 2005 Running Start Graduate
"I have been a Running Start student at South Seattle
Community College since the fall of 2003 and I just want to tell you how much I love it. Most kids at my high school give me an awful look when I tell
them that I am in the Running Start Program. They think I am a genius
because I am taking college classes. But I tell them I definitely am
not. In high school I was a "B" average student, (except for math)
but my grades started to drop at the end of my sophomore year......
I was bored and I felt dumb. "When my mom told me about Running Start my first thought was "No." I couldn't even pass the classes in high school. Why should I go to college and fail there?
She said all I had to do was try one class to see what I thought of
it. So I took the COMPASS test, (which I later found out was much
easier than the WASL) passed and took English 101. To my surprise
I loved it. It was interesting, made me think and express my thoughts. The next quarter I took three classes. I was never pressured
to take more than what I could handle and I still got to go to high
school in the afternoon.
"There is something really important that I would like to share: I was horrible at math. The second day of my freshman year in high school I was so humiliated in my math class that I was afraid to try after that. Every time the teacher called on me I would say I did not do my homework and I
usually did not because I never understood it. When I started math
here at South I was afraid to ask questions
in case they might be stupid. When my teacher noticed my nervousness,
and my assignments not being turned in, she talked with me.
She started working with me on a daily basis. I was still so nervous when she would ask me a simple question I would panic and forget to think. But as the quarter went on I got better. I became more comfortable with her and with math. I am now taking my fifth math class at the college, she is still my teacher. She made a comment
to me the other day when she looked up from helping another student
and saw me whipping through my homework that maybe I should consider
taking a harder math class. I think she was a little proud. I am
now helping my sister (who is in high school) with her math;it makes
me feel so confident in myself, for I had failed that high school math class.
"I love being a full time Running Start student, but I am still involved with my high school. I play Varsity Soccer, Basketball, and Softball. I go to all the dances and an
occasional assembly when I can. My college grades are so much better
than high school. Being in this environment has opened my mind,
it has made me think, learn, and study, most importantly it has
made me feel confident in myself, because being at South Seattle
Community College has proven to me that I am a lot smarter then
what I thought. I am going to be graduating this spring from high
school, with my A.A Degree. I was able to stay active in my high
school and get a better education, for free!!!!"
Note: Jessica graduated with a 3.3 GPA and transferred to Central Washington University.
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|Bart Kuliczkowski ~ 1992 Culinary Arts Graduate
Chef Kuliczkowski shows that hard work and dreams go a long way. Originally from Poland,
Bart came to the United States in 1986. Shortly after immigrating,
he started his culinary journey at the age of 14 at Tosoni's, an
Italian restaurant in Bellevue. His road to success also included
training under the executive chef at the Bellevue Hyatt Hotel, attending
school, and serving as executive chef at Ristorante Paradiso in
Kirkland for 10 years.......
After spending nearly half his life in the
kitchen, Bart and his wife Jerri decided to open their own restaurant
- Sages. The Redmond restaurant opened in 2001 and has been described
by the King County Journal as "rustic-style Italian food with
a Continental flair." One of his customers has had this to
say about Sages, "This little place gets my vote for best food
in this area!" To learn more about Bart's success, go to www.sagesrestaurant.com.
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|Lyudmila Botamanenko ~ 1996 Accounting Graduate
Lyudmila is a great example of South’s motto “Start
Here, Go Anywhere.” Her story is that of a remarkable individual.
Lyudmila came to the United States from Ukraine in 1989. At that
time she did not speak much English, so she enrolled in the English
as a Second Language (ESL) program in 1993.
After completing the
program she enrolled in classes and received a certificate in accounting......
She was a very dedicated student and eventually started volunteering
in the Basic & Transitional Studies Office, which houses the ESL program, helping
out with office work. She made such an impression that she was hired
at the college, eventually worked her way to a position as
a fiscal technician. Lyudmila, who had been at South for
10 years as a student, volunteer and employee, retired
in June 2003. We look at her journey with both thanks and admiration.
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|Mat (Mathias) Wolf ~ 1992 Culinary Arts Graduate
After graduating from South, Mat promptly moved to New Orleans, where he spent the next five years mastering the techniques and ingredients of the city’s unique
cuisine. He returned to Seattle in 1998, holding positions at Campagne
and Flying Fish. Drawn back to New Orleans in 2002, Mat won the
position of executive chef at Gautreau's, where he indulges his
passion for creating seafood dishes, calling back to his Northwest
Mat was named one of the best new chefs in the country
by "Food & Wine" magazine in July 2004. The bestofneworleans.com
has this to say about him: "Seasonality and freshness are always
priorities in Chef Mathias Wolf's menu, so look for a number of
frequent changes in his menu at the classic, intimate Uptown eatery."
Mat is very modest about his efforts and gives credit to those around
him. "I received excellent support from South's instructors
and previous grads when it came time to find a position after graduation," he said. "That network opened the biggest door for me, allowing
me to move to New Orleans and work my way to where I am today."
Take a look at Mat's restaurant at http://www.gautreaus.net.
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Dana Musselman (left) Valerie Tran (right) ~
2002 Running Start Students
“I like the fact that my classes are flexible. I like the
ability to choose what to take and how great the teachers and students
are. It’s nice to have small class sizes and the closeness
of the student teacher relationship. Plus, the fact that my classes
are free doesn’t hurt. I have a great opportunity to achieve
a lot further than my peers. I have excelled in college and when
I transfer to a four-year university, the transition will be easier.”.....
~ Dana Musselman (left) ~
Junior, Chief Sealth High School
“I like that I could receive college credit for classes taken
in the Running Start program. Running Start also gave me an opportunity
to experience a college-level class, the curriculum and standards,
while attending high school at the same time. I like the nice staff
members, the peaceful atmosphere and the curriculum at South Seattle
Community College. I have learned a lot in my classes.”
~ Valerie Tran (right)~
Chief Sealth High School graduate ~
Attending Seattle University in fall 2002.
Dana & Valerie
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