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Person first: Siena special education program focuses on helping people learn
By Heide AW Kaminski
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Nov. 9, 2009
Imagine yourself in a classroom full of people and everyone gets what the teacher explains and you are raking your brain with frustration, because you don’t get it.
Imagine yourself listening to someone describe his emotions about an awesome piece of art in the SHU Klemm gallery, but you are blind.
Imagine yourself being so full of rage that you cannot complete your homework assignment, even though you have the ability to do so.
Imagine yourself getting yelled at and perhaps sent to detention for a behavior that you don’t understand as being inappropriate, or didn’t even know you displayed.
These are all situations individuals with disabilities find themselves in every day. Whether you plan on becoming a teacher or not, you will encounter these people every day, you may have some in your family or among your friends. They could even be your professor or boss.
About three years ago, Siena Heights added the special education program to their catalogue.
“These are people with a disability, not disabled people,” says Dr. Martha Carroll, adjunct professor in the program. “They are people first and not defined by the term ‘disabled.’”
People with disabilities very often have very special abilities, such as being extra warm and caring, being extra hard workers, or even displaying a superior IQ. Something in their brains or physique is different from that of which we consider normal and it often gets in the way of their daily functioning. That does not mean, however, that all hope is lost. Over the years we have moved from sending them to institutions to developing wonderful ways to help them compensate for their short comings so they can shine.
Special education has several main categories, with the three largest percentages being learning delayed (generally bright children, but they have difficulties with processing information), emotional impairment (can be present at birth or develop later due to a physical or emotional trauma), and cognitive impairment (brain dysfunctions present at birth, often causing what is commonly know as mental impairment, children who need more concrete information than others). Examples of cognitive impairments (CI) are Down syndrome and autism, emotional impairment (EI) includes children who have witnessed violence and learning delay (LD) is mostly affiliated with writing and math comprehension difficulties such as dyslexia. If you are interested in more precise definitions, you can look them up in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) – available in the SHU library.
Disabilities can be “invisible” such as in emotional impairments, LD, the autism spectrum, heart conditions, seizures; or in plain sight, such as in down syndrome. In general, parents of children with visible disabilities have an easier time getting help since the invisible impairments are more difficult to diagnose early or often express themselves in the child appearing to be severely misbehaving rather than a child who is responding to stimuli that affects the child’s functioning. These can be simple things that do not bother a “normal” person, such as certain lights, sounds or physical sensations.
Currently, Siena has one endorsement area, which is LD. The endorsement for CI is currently being written.
Special education teachers need special training in the identification process, developing of appropriate instructions and working with parents and educational teams at the school. They need to be very flexible, have great attention to details and be very calm. Utmost patience and compassion, without losing sight of firmness, are key factors in their work with these children. A regular classroom teacher, of course, needs the same qualities, but it is helpful to rely on the assistance from another teacher who is trained to design a curriculum that will help the child with a disability succeed. It is difficult enough to cater to a variety of learning styles among perfectly capable children and keep the classroom moving. Having a child with a specific shortfall, or even a combination of several shortfalls in a classroom crowded with other children, can make a general teacher more overwhelmed than he or she already is and it can cause serious disruptions in the class.
Children with disabilities can be educated in numerous ways and no one way is right for all of these children. Service can be brought to the child, meaning a specialized teacher comes into the regular classroom to assess and assist with special needs. Or, a child can go to the service, which ranges from a resource room utilized once a day for a set period of time to extended education in an inclusive room inside the regular school to specialized schools. In every case, educators strive to provide the child with the least restrictive environment.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) was signed into
law in December 2004. On Aug. 3, 2006, the U.S. Department of Education released the regulations implementing the IDEIA.
Students in the special education program are in it for the desire to help others. “I wanted to take a special education class, because I wanted to step out of just child development classes. I also wanted to learn more about children with special needs and everything that I can do to help them,” said Jessica Dehn. Kim Goebbel added, “I chose special education because children with special needs deserve to have the same opportunities as a typical child and I feel I can contribute to their education.”
Brad Lorenz said, “I chose special education because I believe that everybody, regardless of their ability or background, deserves respect. Everybody deserves the opportunity to succeed.”
Keeping it sweet among the stacks: Librarian uses ‘Mary Poppins philosophy’ with students
By Heide AW Kaminski
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Nov. 9, 2009
Whether you need a quick fix of chocolate, or an extremely-hard-to-come-by journal article, you can get both right in the heart of Siena Heights - Sacred Heart Hall, that is, more precisely, the library. There sits, with a smile and endless supplies of candy as well as uncanny powers to get to even the most arcane article, Siena’s human cyber search engine: Melissa Sissen. You always find her with a passion for people and her job at heart.
Being a librarian was not her childhood dream. Little Melissa, educated by Dominican sisters right from the start, wanted to become a nun. “But then, one day, I realized that it was not my calling,” she said. Sissen is, by her own admission, quite ornery, and has since discovered the joy of motherhood and grand-motherhood, so her change of career idea might have been better for all of us. Sissen shared, “Believe it or not, I used to be quite quiet, but then I had children…”
Sissen graduated from Siena Heights University in 1977 with a double major in English and history and almost completed a double minor in art history and French as well. “By then I knew I wanted to be a librarian, don’t ask me why, and I felt that I needed a well-rounded education to be a good one,” she said.
After graduation from Siena, she worked in the Lenawee County History Museum in Adrian for a few years. Her next job was the scariest she ever had, she said. “I worked for a credit bureau at the front desk. Balancing the books was not that easy, as numbers aren’t my strong point.” She also got in trouble for doing what she does so extremely well: being nice to people in need. While this is one of the best assets for her job here at Siena, this did not work so well in the credit bureau. “People would come in and, especially around the holidays, they would be worried because they didn’t have any money. I would tell them, just pay five bucks for now and keep yourself out of trouble. My bosses didn’t like that too much. Most of these were good people haunted by some catastrophic circumstance in their lives.”
After that, Melissa Sissen worked at the art museum in Toledo for six years. Her boss, an unmarried female, wasn’t too fond of motherhood. “So, when I told her I was pregnant with my second child, she more or less indicated that there was ‘another’ option. That was completely unacceptable for me, and I left the job to stay home for a while.” Staying home, while great for the kids, did not pan out for too many years for Melissa. “When I realized that I had all of Big Bird’s lines memorized and always correctly predicted what he would say next, I knew that I had been staying home with the kids too long.”
Alas, her relationship with Siena Heights was rekindled, but this time as a faculty member in the role we all know and love her in: the librarian. “I do just about everything around here, except for acquisition and the director’s job.” Sissen also teaches FYE (First Year Experience) with a complementary module this winter, “A Look at the Holocaust Through the Eyes of Children,” as well as bibliographical instruction, in her words, “lovingly known as B.I.”
She calls the students her kids, and they are the main reason why she has been here so long and does not foresee her departure any time soon. “I see so much great potential here,” she said. Reading, in her opinion is far from dead. “It’s just bananas that young people don’t read, I really want to see more people in the library!”
One of her goals in life formed a few years ago when she started children’s story hour at SHU’s library. “I decided I wanted to read all the children’s books from A through Z. The problem that arose was that every time I was done reading all books that began with the letter A, more books came out beginning with A. So, here I am, still working my way through the letter A,” she grinned.
Even though Sissen has the personality of a sunny day, she does have some pet peeves. “What I would like to see improve here at Siena are the options for commuter students. They should be the first ones to be allowed to register, because they have families, jobs, driving time and gas money to consider when they compose their schedule,” she suggested. She would also like to see the Sage Union be open five days a week, rather than four and open earlier for an extra cup of coffee to start the day after the drive here. As far as Benicasa is concerned, Sissen said, “It’s more set up for dorm kids and it is a tad bit too expensive.” Another pet peeve, which she shares with a large population at Siena: the parking!
In general, another thing that vexes her is, “kids who are on summer vacation and say they’re bored!”
One of Sissen’s trademarks is the never empty candy dish on her desk.
“Here I apply the Mary Poppins philosophy: just a spoonful of sugar,” she said. “If you feed birds, first you throw the seeds at a safe distance and you don’t make any sudden moves to scare them. And as the birds get more comfortable with you, they are willing to come closer and finally they realize that I don’t bite! So the students see my candy dish and at first they come to get a piece of candy, then they stop to chat and when they realize that I don’t bite, they even ask me for help!”
After that, you can even go further, because Sissen also loves hugs!
On a personal note, Sissen is married and has three sons and one granddaughter. Her hobbies include reading (who would have guessed!), metal-smithing, jewelry making, embroidery and painting (“I want to be the Grandma Moses of Lenawee County!”). She likes to offer the proud results of her artistic efforts at craft shows (“My husband calls them crap shows,” she laughed). Melissa also has 13 years of classical piano in her background, so it comes as no surprise that her favorite music band is… Metallica.
Q&A with Michael Fox Jr.
By Morgan Cross
Nov. 9, 2009
Michael Fox is Coordinator of Student Services for the Upward Bound Program here at Siena Heights University. Fox has many accomplishments to be proud of, including being the recipient of the NAACP Community Service Award, which he received at the Annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Oct. 3, 2009. Fox sat down for a recent interview with Spectra to discuss his recent achievement.How did you feel when you were presented your recent award?
It was a very surprising and humbling honor. I did not know I was receiving the award, but my wife and coworkers did. I thought I was chaperoning five of our students at the banquet, but instead I got even more.What was the reaction of your family and friends when they found out about you winning the award?
They were very proud and felt I was very deserving of the recognition.The NAACP was founded to help level the "playing field" for African Americans. Do you feel that "playing field" is level now, or at least going in the right direction? And, if so, how much would you credit the NAACP for that "leveling?"
The “playing field” is not completely level, but we have been moving in the right direction to see equality for all, not just African Americans. The NACCP is one of several organizations that have greatly worked to see the “playing field” leveled. In particular they have been ensuring equality and freedom for all Americans as well as tackling discrimination for 100 years. The local branch has been servicing and providing opportunities for the Lenawee County Community for a combined 34 years.Are you a member of the NAACP? How would you advise someone who wanted to get involved?
I am not a member, but look forward to joining the Lenawee County NAACP in the near future.What types of community service do you participate in?
I’m pretty open to doing any community service that I’m available to participate in. Some specifics include: Share the Warmth at the Salvation Army and donating blood to the American Red Cross. I raised about $950.00 for Communities In Schools of Lenawee and played in the Harlem Ambassadors vs. Lenawee Lightning basketball game in October 2007.Is there any specific type of community service that you would recommend to students at Siena?
I would recommend students to get involved in things they are passionate about in this community as well as in their hometowns. Also, being willing to explore other areas of service that they may not have done before will probably provide a feeling of being uncomfortable because community service is not about self or being comfortable it is about blessing others who are in need as you have been blessed. I would definitely recommend serving a shift or two with Share the Warmth at the Salvation Army.How long have you been working here at Siena?
I’ve been here two years as of Oct. 22, 2009. I’m actually the Assistant Director for our program even though my title is Coordinator of Student Services.
What exactly does your job as Cordinator of Student Services entail?
My job entails several things: Tracking our students who are not scheduled in our College Prep Skills classroom at Adrian High during a trimester, making sure they continue to do well in their studies; assist our seniors with the college application process and scholarship/financial aid process as they move toward graduation; supervise bridge student activities including completion of forms, coordinate summer class registration and monitor progress as they transition into college.Do you enjoy working at Siena?
Yes, everyone is friendly and we have a family atmosphere on campus that makes coming to work very enjoyable. Also, I appreciate the Executive Committee of the Administration working toward providing fairness to everyone in decisions they make for the community and especially during the difficult times we are facing with our economy.Is there any other information that you would like to share with the students and staff at Siena?
I truly enjoy making a positive impact on the lives of our students by providing guidance and encouragement toward reaching their educational and personal endeavors. I also enjoy working with the staff and parents. In addition, I love investing in my family, other youth and the community at large through my service.
By AJ Petronzi
Nov. 9, 2009
There are many things around campus that have deserved my attention, but I have failed to attend to them because of my schedule. I will attend to two of them now.
I have noticed an increase in litter around campus since the beginning of the school year. While in the last two weeks that amount of litter has gone down, it is probably because it is getting buried in leaves rather than just not existing. The litter is far worse than I had ever seen in the past and even included a used pregnancy test I found with Sotirios and Heide.
Is there a solution to this problem? Yes, there are several solutions. First, there are only three trashcans at the road sidewalk when you walk from Campus Village to Sacred Heart Hall, all on the same side of the street as the dorms. There is not one trashcan at the road sidewalk on the side of the field house. We need more trashcans on campus to help with the litter problem.
Another solution is for students to realize that this is the place they live and that they should respect that by not littering or vandalizing it. Establishing that train of thought would lead to less destruction across campus and less vandalizing of elevators. I cannot say I’ve heard of the problem yet this year, but it is always around this time of the school year that people start urinating in the elevators. That’s a million times worse than littering, and anyone who would do such a thing deserves to be flogged.
The other solution to the litter problem is that people need not to be lazy, because it is laziness that leads to littering. My freshman year I lived next to a group of athletes and they would drop things like an empty bag of Doritos in the hallway just a step away from the trashcan that was inside their door. This is laziness because they were too lazy to continue to grasp the bag for one more step. Maybe that should be looked into by the athletic department; it would probably explain why some of our athletic teams are sub-standard.
But trash is not the only problem on this campus. While I have not caught wind of it recently, and I find it amazing that students refuse to bring problems to Student Senate, discrimination is always a problem on campus. If you are being harassed, do not be quiet. Go to Campus Safety, Residence Life, and Student Senate. You are not the only one, but if you continue to think you are nothing will ever get changed. Harassment is illegal and Siena, unlike the high schools we all came from, is not going to protect students from going to jail if they commit a crime.
Again, a change in student feelings could also eliminate this problem. Harassing someone is an act of willing ignorance. If you are attending university you should be committed to learning, not committed to retardation. But if you choose to harass those around you because of race, economic status, or sexual orientation, you have closed your mind to learning and are wasting the money and oxygen on campus. Save government money and leave voluntarily, don’t make Campus Safety have to use the police.
I will save any other problems for the next issue of Spectra because I think I have provided enough for everyone to ponder this week. There is no reason why litter and harassment should ever be a problem on campus of a University. If students would commit themselves to learning and keeping their home, the university, litter free, it would benefit everyone and increase the effectiveness of the university’s mission.
Siena women’s sports reaching new heights
By Sarah Kennedy
Nov. 9, 2009
In case you haven’t heard the buzz, big things are happening at Siena Heights, especially with women’s athletics. Within multiple sports, the lady Saints are reaching new heights this season.
In women’s soccer, the Saints were named WHAC Champions, for the first time since 2002. They ended the regular season 13-2-3 overall and remained undefeated in the conference, at 10-0-2. The team held an unbeaten streak of 13 games at the close of the regular season, and broke a school record for a consecutive shutout streak (1305:47).
The Saints were the number one seed going into the WHAC tournament on November 7, at home against the Madonna Crusaders. The lady Saints defeated Madonna 2-0. Susie Palushaj scored first for the Saints, just 3:48 into the game, and scored again in the second half. SHU Goaltender, Hayley Mancini made many huge saves, to bring the Saints yet another shutout on the year. This advanced them to the Championship, to be held at home against Aquinas on Saturday, November 14 at 1 p.m. All SHU students will be admitted FREE with thtier Student ID.
Just a few short years ago, in 2004, Siena added their first women’s golf team to the athletic program. This year, the team is seeing its first graduates, seniors Kendall McVickers and Kelly Sawyer. In the golf postseason, Sawyer has been named as the first team All-WHAC selection. Overall, Sawyer averaged an 85.3 during the season, the lowest average on the team by nearly eight strokes. And, McVickers was honored by being named to the All-WHAC Academic team. Freshman, Kristin Howard was named the Saints Champion of Character player. To receive this award, recipients must show values of respect, integrity, responsibility, leadership, and sportsmanship.
The women’s cross country team travelled to Grand Rapids on November 7 for the WHAC Championship Meet, where the team came up just short, finishing second place overall. Kimberly Cramer led the Saints with a fifth overall finish and a time of 19:37. Close behind, were Dominique Miller, finishing in eighth with a time of 19:45, and Beth Heldmeyer in ninth. Both Cramer and Miller qualified for the NAIA National Championship Meet in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, November 21. Cramer was honored as a First Team All-WHAC performer. While, Cramer, Rachel Ham, and Karen Judd earned Academic All-WHAC recognition. Ham was also honored as the Saints representative on the Champions of Character team.
Revamped Pistons team will try to hush critics, impress fans this season
By Tyler Fowle
Nov. 9. 2009
George Blaha will be calling some new names in the familiar red, white and blue this year for the Detroit Pistons. The season tipped off Oct. 28 against the Grizzlies and the Pistons roster had a bit of a makeover. Joe Dumars, President of Basketball Operations, made some big moves during the offseason, bringing in free-agency studs, drafting a solid rookie group and signing a veteran who was once loved by the fans at the Palace. A new coach was also put in place after a dismal first season from Michael Curry a year ago.
The team we’ve come to know and love the last seven seasons started to break up last year with the Chauncey Billups trade. This offseason involved even more rearranging. Detroit lost a lot of experience in the post; Rasheed Wallace is off to play for the Celtics and Antonio McDyess likes his chances with the Spurs. Allen Iverson (who wasn’t “The Answer” at all for Detroit) signed with Memphis, who the Pistons beat opening night 96-74.
Ben Gordon, who averaged over 20 points per game last season with the Bulls, was the most publicized signing from the free agent market. The shooting guard from Connecticut will team up in the backcourt with fellow Husky, Richard Hamilton. The acclamation of Gordon brought doubt as the team tried to work an established shooting guard into the mix last season with Iverson. The experiment didn’t work, causing friction between Iverson, Hamilton and third year point guard Rodney Stuckey (I expect Stuckey to carry a hefty load this year and have a breakout season). It’s still to be seen whether the Iverson trade was a success, having freed up money to sign free agents such as Gordon. Gordon put up 22 points off the bench in Memphis, including a deep heave to beat the shot-clock that had no business going in.
Along with Gordon, Detroit snagged up Charlie Villanueva, who was placed on free agency after playing the last three years for the Bucks. The fifth-year forward, who also attended the University of Connecticut, averaged 16 points and nearly seven rebounds per game last season while only starting about half the games for Milwaukee. In his first game in the red, white and blue, Charlie struggled, only netting seven points and grabbing just one rebound. Villanueva should give the Pistons some much needed low post scoring and some versatility from the high post. He’s knocked for being too soft in the post but hopefully practicing against Ben Wallace will toughen him up.
Yes I said Ben Wallace.
One of the favorites from the 2004 Championship team is back in Auburn Hills trying to revive his career. After leaving Detroit “Big Ben” played for Chicago and Cleveland, neither of which had success. The Pistons welcome him back with open arms. A lot of youth has been added to the locker room and his veteran leadership will fill a void left by “Sheed” and “Dyess.”
Last season, a lot of experience was lacking at the Head Coaching position with first year man Michael Curry. Another newbie stands at the helm this year in the Palace – John Kuester. Kuester is a former NBA player and has coached on the sidelines as an assistant for nearly 10 years; including 2004, when he was on the bench with Larry Brown and the World Champion Pistons. He has worked with guys like Tayshaun Prince, Hamilton, and Wallace so this won’t be totally new to him.
Many believe it’s a rebuilding year but with the youth, and explosiveness off the bench, I think Detroit has a shot to shock a lot of critics. I predict they’ll be in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. As for the playoffs, check back in about six months.
Soccer sisters: Mancini twins have players on opposing teams seeing double
By Cory Bergfeld
Oct. 26, 2009
“Twin, are you going to let her score that easy?”
“Hey twin, how can you miss an easy ball like that?”
These are familiar comments heard when the Siena Heights women’s soccer team is on the field. The sounds are coming from Haley and Lindsey Mancini, junior soccer players and identical twin sisters.
The Mancini twins are natives of Berkley, Michigan and have been playing soccer together since they were only five years old. “We have played together for a long time so we know how to motivate each other and have developed a certain trust in each other and our abilities,” Lindsey said. “We were even more excited when we were able to continue our soccer career here at Siena.”
Coach Scott Oliver still remembers the first time he saw the Mancini twins play. “I went to recruit at a summer tournament in Traverse City. I saw these two impressive, twin girls with incredible size and athleticism and they were just better than everyone else on the field. I knew they were going to be good from the moment I saw them”
Haley, the oldest twin by only a couple minutes, is a sport management major who has yet to decide on a career path. She is also the starting goalie on the soccer team. Last season, Haley was Honorable-Mention All-American. She was also named to the NSCAA All-Region Team and 1st Team All-WHAC. So far this season, Haley has 75 saves on the season and an incredible 0.29 goals-allowed average. She has also been named WHAC Player of the Week twice.
Lindsey is a biology/chemistry major who plans to become a physician’s assistant and is a starting defender. Last season, Lindsey was named 2nd Team All-WHAC and helped anchor a Saints defense that made the NAIA National Tournament. She has two goals on the season so far.
Both girls are part of a defense that has not allowed a goal in ten games, or 1060 minutes of play. Together they have helped the Saints climb to an 11-2-2 overall record and remain undefeated in WHAC play with an 8-0-1 record.
On the field, Oliver regards the Mancini twins as two of the most intense and confident players. “They know they are good and they are still pushing to make themselves and their teammates better. They never seem to be satisfied with their performance,” Oliver said. “They also lead by example. Sometimes they are all business and sometimes they can be the biggest clowns on the team, and it really helps our girls compete at the highest level but at the same time keeping them relaxed.”
“We are never shy about yelling criticism at each other whether it’s constructive or not,” said Lindsey. “We know how to motivate each other and get the other one playing at their peak performance.”
The sisters also have each other’s trust and backs. “This one time we were playing Madonna, a Madonna player took a cheap shot at Lindsey,” Haley said. “The next time down the field I was sure to come walking out of the box at the girl, letting her know to never come near my sister again.”
Off the field, the Mancini twins are just like any other siblings who fight and bicker back and forth and have a general love and appreciation of each other. Former teammate, and current graduate assistant, Kim Stoutenburg describes the twins as, “One of the most interesting relationships I have ever encountered. The Mancini twins may appear harsh, critical, and just downright mean to one another. Under the surface, they are the two who have the most trust, support, love, and dedication for one another and are fighting for the same goal and making the other the best player and person they can be.”
There seem to be no signs of slowing down for these twins. Their devotion to excellence helps form an unbreakable line of defense out on the soccer field, while their devotion to each other forms an unbreakable bond between sisters.
Drood takes the stage at Francoeur
By Marie Letson
Oct. 26, 2009
Directed and choreographed by Kerry Graves and musically directed by Jonathan Sills, Drood is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood that recently took to the stage for all to enjoy at Siena Heights University. The novel was Dickens’ last, unfinished novel and was originally a dark and brooding story. However, in the musical, Drood is portrayed in a whimsical, comedic fashion and tells the story in song.
I was particularly delighted when, during the first act, John Jasper, the supposedly upstanding music instructor for Rosa Bud, finds himself coming to his senses in an opium den run by The Princess Puffer, revealing dark side viewers may not have suspected.
In this story, Mr. Edwin Drood takes a walk late one night and is never heard from again. Each night the viewers voted on the murderer and how the story played out. On the night that I went, the murderer turned out to be Bazzard, a generally quiet and unassuming character who wanted, for once, his moment in the limelight. With his arrest on the charge of murder, he did indeed get his moment.
With that said, the orchestra was rather loud and at times, drowned out the lyrics of the songs. The songs in a musical, as you may know, tell the story. Missing some of the lyrics means missing some of the story. Since this theatre has no orchestra pit under the stage, the orchestra was placed behind and at the back of the stage. This challenge of where to put them, of course, played a role in the sound level.
The scene changes happened flawlessly and the lighting enhanced the effect of the backdrops and scenery. Each night of the play, the audience chooses the ending. That was an interesting twist to this production.
I was quite surprised and pleased at the ability of the actors. I only recall twice when one would stumble on a word. That’s remarkable for a small theatre group, considering that they have only been working on this production for a few short weeks. As well, since the production ends differently on each of the nights it is performed, some of the actors had to learn different songs and different roles for each ending, some of which they may never have the chance to perform. Along with all of that, the play was entirely done in an English accent. It was obvious that they were really trying to sound authentic, and I thought they pulled if off very well.
The costumes, backdrops, and scenery all seemed to be in keeping with the era in which they were portraying in the story. Even the ushers who sat us and handed out programs in the theatre kept in character.
Overall, I found the play quite entertaining, and the SHU theater department did a great job. It is always a plus when a production includes audience participation. I found myself laughing out loud several times during the performance. The play set out to humor the audience and during the production it seemed that the audience, in turn, was very pleased by the performance of the actors as well as in the overall flow, and in the ending of Drood.
Siena Heights women's soccer tears up the field: Leaves opponents scoreless
By Sarah Kennedy
Oct. 26, 2009
The Siena Heights Women’s Soccer team has clinched no worse than a share of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference title, with a current overall record of 12-2-2, and 9-0-1 in the WHAC. After accomplishing a 1-0 win over Madonna University on the road Saturday, October 24, the Saints clinched the #1 seed in the WHAC playoffs. Noel Luther earned the only goal of the game, and goaltender, Haley Mancini stood tall in net, recording yet another shutout for the Saints.
The team has a defense sure to intimidate all opponents who take to the field against the Saints. But, who wouldn’t be a little nervous facing a team that is working on an unbeaten streak of 12 games, and a shutout streak well beyond breaking the school record, at 1150:25 minutes and counting. The anchor to Saints’ defense is goaltender, Mancini, three time winner of the WHAC Player of the Week award this season. Mancini ranks in at number six in the country, with .290 goals against average and 75+ saves. Overall, the SHU ladies are ranked 24th in the NAIA, and sixth in total assists. Recently, the team notched their 10th, 11th, and 12th wins of the year over Concordia University (11-0), Aquinas College (2-0), and Madonna University (1-0). These wins extended Siena’s shutout streak to 10 games, and their unbeaten streak to 12. The ladies haven’t lost a game since Sept. 6.
The Saints take to the pitch again on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at home against Indiana Tech at 4 p m. With a win Wednesday, the Saints have the opportunity to win the WHAC Championship outright.
Where the wild things are: Alumna brings art exhibit to Klemm
By Heide AW Kaminski
Senior Content Editor
Oct. 26, 2009
Inspired by Maurice Sendak’s “Where the wild things are,” Christina West thought of creating sculptures of people who are looking for something different, even if they do not know what that is. Open to interpretation is, are these people the wild things, are they looking for wild things, or are wild things lurking around the corner in these people’s lives.
While discussing which material to use for her sculptures, West was talking to a friend who had just been playing with play dough with his children. Alas, the connection – children’s book and children’s’ favorite material to create things with – was made.
In her artist’s statement, West writes: “My sculptures do not provide answers or assertions, but embrace uncertainty through the provocation of more questions. The figures are permanently frozen mid-gesture in a moment that encourages the generation of ambiguous narratives. Stripped from the context of previous actions, the figures’personalities, motives, intentions are malleable and unfixed in the viewers’ minds. Who they are is in a state of flux dependent on the stories viewers create.”
Stripped from the context of their previous actions, they certainly are! In fact, West’s sculptures are naked, so even the clothes do not distract the viewer from using his/her imagination about the meaning of the situation.
Check out the exhibit and bring time to let your imagination go wild!
To read more about this SHU alumna, go to http://cwestsculpture.com/bio.php
By the campfire: Father Tom Helfrich and friends reach out with Camp Alabare
By Sotirios Adamopoulos
Oct. 26, 2009
Siena Heights University Chaplain Fr. Tom Helfrich takes time each year to help immigrant families have a fun, relaxing week every summer.
On Common Dialogue Day, Oct. 8, students and other members of the Siena community gathered in room 42 of the science wing to hear Helfrich present “Incredible Journey: The Story of Camp Alabaré, Summer Time in the Country for Immigrant Families from New York City.” Helfrich presented with Ann Arbor-based teacher Karen Stein.
“For 16 years, Karen and I have been involved in a program during the summer that offers a genuine rest from the challenges of inner city living to a group of families mostly from NYC,” said Helfrich. “It’s mainly for them to enjoy a camping atmosphere.”
It all started in 1984 when Stein first helped the Heredia family. According to her, their life wasn’t exactly great for them in their native Dominican Republic.
“They didn’t have clean water or a lot of food,” she said. “They were getting pretty desperate so they came to live with relatives in New York City.”
While the U.S. has the famed reputation of being the “land of opportunity,” the Heredias ran into a few difficulties. Stein explained that the father was a notorious philanderer and left his wife and five sons to pursue other women.
Stein said that Sr Luchita, who worked for a Catholic charity organization, found them an apartment in the housing projects. Sr Luchita also found them ways to get food and enrolled them at school. The Heredia boys were learning English at this point while the mother had a little more trouble doing so. Stein mentioned that the Heredias were a very artistic family.
“Some of them would hide out at night at subway stations and paint graffiti on subway trains,” she said. “When they were coming back from that one night, they saw one of their friends get shot and killed.”
Eventually, Sr Luchita asked the family if they’d like to spend a week out in the country. They ended up visiting Trinetta, Conn.
“It was beautiful,” said Stein. “It certainly didn’t look like the Dominican Republic where there’s garbage all over the streets, and not like the Lower East Side of Manhattan which is crowded and full of crime.”
The Heredias had to share camp space with a Puerto Rican family, the Almadovars. Stein said it was interesting since the two families were predisposed to have some animosity toward each other.
“Generally, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans don’t get along,” she said. “So it was going to be an interesting week.”
Stein said the two families clicked well and learned to trust and love one another. They participated in a number of group activities including hunting, swimming, and arts and crafts. They also put on a talent show, which they dubbed, “fiesta.”
“They got together and used their musical and artistic abilities,” she said. “They put on a fantastic show together.”
The two families developed a close friendship after that week at camp and even kept in touch when they got back to New York City.
“The other family lived in another housing project close to them so the kids got to see each other throughout the year,” said Stein.
In 1994, Stein, the Heredias, and the Almadovars ran into a roadblock.
“We got off the bus and Sr. Luchita had some bad news,” said Stein. “She told us, ‘this group of families can’t come here anymore because there are a lot of new immigrants coming into the city and we need to make room for them.’”
Stein said the families cried and prayed because it was not something they wanted to end. They not only established relationships with each other, but with some of the volunteers that came to the camp year after year as well.
“When two or more are gathered in his name, God answers their prayers,” she said.Around the same time, Helfrich was heavily involved with Camp De Sales in Brooklyn, Mich. He said it was getting difficult to entice campers to come because many people chose to go to state parks instead.
“My brother came up with the idea of running a family camp,” he said. “We advertised and who do you think showed up with her family?”
Stein asked Helfrich if she could bring her two families from New York City to Camp De Sales and he immediately said, “Sure!”
Eventually, Stein and Helfrich ran into some scheduling issues with Camp De Sales and had to find a new place for their campers. One of their group members searched online for camps in the Midwest, and found Camp Aldersgate, a Methodist camp, in Carrollton, Ohio.
“We told them we’re looking for a camp for inner city Hispanic people from New York,” said Helfrich. “They told us, ‘really? We’ve been interested in trying to do something for the poor and needy.’”
Helfrich said the group has been going to Camp Aldersgate for about nine years. The funds for each year’s trip come from a number of sources.
“We’ve been really blessed with one donor who has been very gracious and generous, but we really have to hustle ourselves with a big fundraiser during lent,” he said.
Their camping group calls itself Camp Alabaré, from the Spanish word for “praise.” Helfrich said that anyone who wishes to get involved should stop by his office between Ledwidge and Archangelus Halls.
“Nothing would please me more than to have some students from Siena come and help at Camp Alabaré,” he said. “Consider this an invitation.”
Those who want to get involved with Camp Alabaré can contact Helfrich at (517) 264-7198. Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPARHC started for SHU students
By Jay Nicols
Oct. 26, 2009
A new organization is on campus aimed at getting students more involved in student activities. Student Programming Association and Residence Hall Coalition (SPARHC), a combination of SPA and RHC, is geared at putting students in charge of the events and activities they want on campus.
Jacob Stasa is the SPARHC President, Timothy O’Brien is the VP, Lauren Jagger is the Treasurer, and Max Herby Derenoncourt is the Secretary. They were nominated and elected by members of SPARCH in a September 2009 meeting.
“As the President I am just hoping that everyone learns about our new organization, and everyone realizes that if they need residential help that is what we are here for,” said Stasa.
“Our activities should be a lot of fun this year. I also hope that a lot of people join, and our new organization does well.”
Michael Orlando, one of two faculty advisers for SPARHC and Director of Residence Life at Siena Heights, had a vision to get more students, residents and commuters, to participate in a host of committees to enhance student involvement on campus; campus-wide activities, leadership and diversity, residential initiatives, and late night programs. Director of Student Activities, Deanna Wagner is the other faculty adviser.
The Campus wide activities committee will work on getting students involved with athletics, theatre events, and community service projects. Leadership and Diversity will focus on celebrating and recognizing non-traditional holidays, initiate SPARHC development activities, and plan a campus-wide leadership retreat. Late-night programs aim to get the movies, bands, and comedians that students want to see on campus. It will also work on an Alternative Alcohol Program, because drinking beer is not the only way college students can have fun on campus. The Residential Initiatives committee will work on improving quality of life in the residential halls, keeping a dynamic social life among residents, involvement in the food advisery panel, and contribute to town hall meetings.
Orlando said the new organization is stirring controversy on campus. “We’re new and different; we were not using the potential of what could be at Siena.” With this new hybrid group, he hopes to see significant increase in student participation. SPARHC will receive 50 percent of the student activities budget to enhance the student experience at Siena Heights.Some students wonder why this organization doesn’t have representation in the Senate like all the other organizations. Orlando said that SPARHC is part of a three prong system to improve student activities on campus. He said the idea is to work with Senate and Student Life to give the students plenty of opportunities to get what they want on campus, on campus. He is hoping to get “uninvolved students more involved.”
SPARHC will work with Senate on leadership. Some of the ideas Orlando shared were co-programming, town hall meetings, and leadership conferences in conjunction with Student Senate. In the past, RHC worked closely with Senate, and SPA worked with Student Life. SPARHC will now be its own entity, fully functional organization which is not obligated to Senate oversight.
Wagner, the other faculty adviser, said, “SPARHC is a great combination of two student organizations that worked on similar projects and events last year. Both organizations struggled to find members and thus, manpower to carry out awesome campus events for all students.” She continued, “Combining the two organizations has created a new entity that has excited students and given them a new way to get involved because students can really see themselves as part of shaping this new student organization into something great!”
Rolling back to campus: Bidlack makes 290 mile bike trip for 45th class reunion at Siena Heights U.
By Heide AW Kaminski
Senior Content Editor
Oct. 26, 2009
Returning for her 45th reunion at Siena Heights University, Angela Bidlack, a passionate bicyclist, wanted to send a message.
Retired after a 35-year career in the financial services industry working with individuals and institutions in financial planning and portfolio management, she came back to reminisce with SHU friends. Despite modern means of transportation, she opted to ride her bike from Pennsylvania to Michigan, just too prove that one is never too old for anything.
“I wanted to send a message that you’re not too old, too fat or too anything to follow a passion,” said Bidlack. “Our bodies change as we age but you can’t just roll over and say, ‘Ain’t it awful!’”
This was not her first adventure of this sort, as she rode her bike to her 45th high school reunion at Resurrection High School in Lansing in 2005 as well.
Innocently, she sent a copy of the story about this trip in the Lansing State Journal to Jennifer Church at SHU, resulting in being convinced to do the same for SHU.
Not even rain and unseasonably cold air stopped this proud grandmother of seven grandchildren, ages two-and-a-half to 12, from achieving this goal.
Things have changed since Bidlack majored in math and minored in music here at Siena. Back in the olden days, there were only women at Siena.
“When the janitor started looking good, it was time to go home,” Bidlack said. “After the lights went out at certain hours, a nun came around with a flashlight to check on us.”
The students needed a permission slip to leave campus and had to follow a strict dress code which included dressing up for certain dinners and being dress-inspected for modesty by nuns before a dance. Bidlack said she enjoyed seeing the integrated student body, but is a little unsure about mixed dorms. “I’m not so sure this is wonderful. Just a personal opinion: I’d rather live with the girls and just date the boys. I think it is a more relaxed atmosphere,” she said.
Bidlack was most impressed with our “eye-popping art exhibits and Sr. Patricia Schnapp“She really knows where it’s at,” said Bidlack.
Bidlack is not done with her adventures just yet. She and her husband, Earl, are very active cyclists.
“We are traveling fools – I call it Earl’s Bucket List,” she said. “We do at least two rides of 150 miles or more. We ride every year in an MS-150 to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis and we are planning a cycling vacation to Southern Spain in October 2010."
Jeffrey Lindstrom, Ph.D.
Oct. 26, 2009
Now that we have settled back into our familiar schedules and routines, I wanted to let everyone know that our social psychology students have again partnered with Campus Ministry and the Psychology Club to sponsor the sixth Annual Siena Heights Food Drive to Benefit The Daily Bread. This year’s drive will kick off on Monday Nov. 30 and continue to Friday Dec. 4, 2009.
The Siena Heights Food Drive has become one of the largest private food donations that The Daily Bread receives all year. In the past five years, we have collected 15 to 20 tons of food and $3500 (both estimates). The timing of our food drive is also crucial in that the holiday season is traditionally the busiest time of year at The Daily Bread.
Hunger continues to be a devastating social problem in our community. Last year, The Daily Bread provided almost 120,000 meals. That’s an astonishing number, especially when you consider the population for the whole of Lenawee County is only a little over 100,000. And that’s only meals served at The Daily Bread; it doesn’t include figures for any of the other soup kitchens in Adrian or nearby communities.
To help understand the problem of hunger I encourage all of you to take a couple minutes to complete the “Hunger Quiz.” This can be found at www.feedingamerica.org (click “Faces of Hunger,” then “Hunger 101”).
At times during the previous food drives, people have asked me if I ever get discouraged about not being able to put an end to hunger. They seem to view a food drive as little more than a band-aid and not a lasting solution.
My response is that while I certainly understand their view of things, no, I do not get discouraged. In fact, I find the food drive to be a time that renews my hope that we can end hunger. The reason being, that we simply need to consider this problem from the perspective of the hungry and homeless populations, not from our perspective of food security.
When our food drive collects a can of food, we have fed a person for a day. Two cans means two days and 365 cans means we have fed a person for a year. For that individual, then, our efforts have ended his/her hunger, and now we can start to collect the next 365 cans in order to feed another person.
We are not trying to end the social problem of hunger. Taking that point of view would be overwhelming and would almost invariably end in discouragement. Instead, our focus is on one person at a time, one meal at a time, one day at a time. That is manageable and doable. I’ve seen it done for five years now, and I am boldly hopeful that our Siena community will do it again this year.
In a few short weeks we will launch the sixth annual Siena Heights Food Drive to Benefit The Daily Bread. There will be donation boxes located in every campus building. We will accept all donations of non-perishable food items, hygiene items, feminine hygiene products, baby formula and food (all ages), and disposable diapers (all sizes). Cash donations will also be gratefully accepted at our tables located in Sacred Heart Hall and in Ledwidge Hall across from the Welcome Center.
We may not all see the faces of the hungry and homeless, but that does not mean the problems aren’t real and right here in our community. And, we may not ever get to see all the faces of the people we help to feed, or hear their thank you’s, but I have, and I can assure everyone that they are also real and legit, and genuinely heart-felt.
Hunger is a crushing experience anytime, but it is especially tragic during the holiday season. When we come and ask for your support please contribute to the food drive. Let’s CAN hunger, Siena.
Other candidates overlooked for Nobel
By Josiah Kaseman
Oct. 26, 2009
After the announcement came that President Barack Obama had been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, many people were shocked and surprised. The question that many people seem to be asking is, “How, and for what?” That question should not have to be asked about a now world class award winner.
Obama won the award for his work relating to the disarmament of the world’s nuclear weapons (didn’t you know about that?) and for extending a hand to the nations that the late president Bush had shown a strong arm to. These “accomplishments” although somewhat impressive, are directly job related. The recognition of the Nobel Peace Prize is, at least in my mind, a little premature and inappropriate.
There were over 200 candidates for the peace prize this year. Some of whom had outstanding accomplishments of lifelong work. Dr. Denis Mukwege, whose whole life has been devoted to help rape victims, would have been a much more reasonable and deserving choice.
Dr. Mukwege is an African, French educated Gynecological doctor that works in the Congo providence specializing in helping rape victims. This in itself is an honorable cause, yet the situation goes beyond.
Over 27,000 rapes were reported for a single providence in the Congo last year alone. Dr. Mukwege has treated over 21,000 women during his work, and is currently working to create a clinic specifically for these women. Mukwege is a man in a million; can Obama really compete with this?
Gandhi, a world renowned man of peace, never won the Noble Peace Prize - a true misjudgment. Many deserving candidates such as Mukwege and a list of others missed out on a validation of a lifetime of priceless work for the service of others.
Obama now has an even grander image to work up to. I hope that he can bring peace that is worthy of his prize.