Sound Bites - Issue #22 - June 2015
Community Education's Premiere Online Magazine
This Month's Topics:
- Imagining an Even Brighter Future
- What's New: Photo Contest Winner…Dean Reyes!
- Stand-Up Comedy Graduates Perform at Comedy Store
- Sinclair Rimmon: A Hunger to Help Others
Career & Contract Ed.
Imagining an Even Brighter Future
I wish I could clone my staff. Why? Because Alice Meyering and Jocelyn Winn perform miracles in running a college-within-a-college with more than 6,000 registrations a year and a robust offering of classes that I believe makes our community a better place. Just think what we could accomplish if I could have two Alices and two Jocelyns!
I’m reminded of this as we complete our annual Program Review, a document that takes a look back at our accomplishments of the past fiscal year and what we hope to achieve in the next year. Preparing the report is a useful process because it encourages honest self-assessment and leads to healthy contemplation. It reminds us of why our program exists and how it enriches us, opens doors to new career opportunities, and even changes lives.
As outlined in our Program Review report, Community Education supports SMC’s mission to nurture a lifetime commitment to learning – a commitment that is deeply embedded in the entire Santa Monica and Westside community. We are constantly examining our class offerings to respond to the region’s economic and employment needs and the desires of our community (for example, our Organic Gardening and Drought Tolerant Landscaping classes are perfect responses to a groundswell of interest in healthy living and to California’s serious drought).
We’ve made major efforts to reach out to and engage with our community – through a monthly newsletter, social media platforms, and even a semi-annual Student Art Exhibit. This year, we held our first Open House, with attendance that exceeded our expectations, and a Student Photo Contest that drew nearly 1,000 public online votes for the three finalists’ images.
The result of these moves is more enrollments, more engagement, more interest in our program. But to some extent we’ve become a victim of our own success. More community interest means more phone calls and emails to respond to, more curriculum calibration (which is an art and a science), more energy devoted to the extra work involved in such endeavors as a Photo Contest.
When you think about it, Community Education – a self-sustaining program – is larger than many colleges and universities in America. Yet, it is essentially run by two people. Imagine what we could do with one or two more like Alice and Jocelyn!
Director of Career & Contract Education
Community & Contract Education
What's New: Photo Contest Winner…Dean Reyes!
It’s a pleasure to lead a vigorous round of applause for student Dean Reyes, who won our first-ever Student Photo Contest with his beautiful image of the iconic Griffith Observatory, Observatory at Night.
But I take equal pleasure in congratulating all three of the finalists and, indeed, all of the 14 contestants – all former or current students – who submitted 63 images, exceeding our expectations of participation. I was blown away by the quality of the photos and by our students’ talent.
The winning image will grace the cover of the Fall 2015 Schedule of Classes, and we will do a more in-depth feature on Reyes in July’s issue of Sound Bites.
Dean’s photo places the observatory against a backdrop of a ghostly Downtown Los Angeles. Shot on a Nikon D700 with a 28-300mm lens, it was taken as part of an assignment for the "Beyond Basics" photography class taught by Larry Jones.
Dean told us that he started taking photos on his many trips, teaching himself through trial and error. Then, a former coworker suggested he take Jones’ “Basic Photography” class because she had learned so much in it herself.
“Since then I’ve taken ‘Beyond Basics Photography,’ also taught by Larry Jones, and went to private photography workshops that Larry has been offering over the years, in Malibu Creek and Joshua Tree,” Dean said. “And in reading my fellow finalist Andy House’s picture description, I’m encouraged to take ‘On the Street with Your Camera’ class with Ed Mangus in the future.”
Aside from House, whose photo, “Sunrise Smoke,” was taken in India, the other finalist is Susan Jackson, whose image, “Shoes,” was captured in Hollywood during the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Shoot.
A panel of SMC judges selected the top three images, and then the public picked the winning photo through an online voting system that ended June 8.
“All the other finalists had great photos, so winning this contest is truly an honor,” Dean said.
Dean, of Del Rey, who is in his 30s, is a structural engineer and he volunteers as a camp counselor for Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times and on medical missions in remote areas of The Philippines.
It’s moments like this – and students like Reyes – that help make my work so rewarding and make me so proud of our program. Again, bravo Dean!
Stand-Up Comedy Graduates Perform at Comedy Store
“Stand-up comedy is an art form and it dies unless you expand it.” – Sam Kinison
“While awaiting sentencing, I decided to give stand-up comedy a shot. The judge had suggested I get my act together, and I took him seriously.” – Tim Allen
Stand-up comedy has an important place in the American zeitgeist. It has given people much needed laughter in a world of turmoil, it has launched careers of big film and TV stars, and it has burst the pompous bubbles of politicians and others in power.
And L.A. is arguably the most fertile breeding ground for stand-up talent. That’s why SMC Community Ed’s "Stand Up Comedy Workshop with Comedy Store Graduation Show" is such a special offering.
Taught by "Late Show with David Letterman" regular Jonathan Leigh Solomon, the class not only cultivates talent, it gives students an unparalleled opportunity to perform at what might be considered the Mecca of stand-up comics. In fact, the students’ graduation performance attracts professional comedians who are curious to see the roster of new comedy talent.
in January 2015
In May, the most recent crop of graduates played to a sold-out house, with the show featuring 14 comedians, ranging in age from 17 to 88, Solomon said. Included were the graduates and alumni from previous workshops, some of whom are now Comedy Store and Flappers Comedy Club regulars.
Solomon said one "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" regular in the audience remarked, “Either Jonathan is a really good teacher, or some of the acts are ringers!”
Sinclair Rimmon: A Hunger to Help Others
There is no more powerful motivator than hunger. Just ask Dr. Sinclair Rimmon, whose impoverished childhood in pre-World War II Warsaw was frequented by hunger, but which launched him on an extraordinary life journey and career that is filled with accomplishments and service to others.
Rimmon, who has been teaching Import/Export classes at SMC Community Ed and other colleges and universities throughout the West for 30 years, has been working since he was 8 years old. Now, decades later, he can point to a doctorate in Economics, the establishment of a successful import business that he has turned over to three of his five adult children, and a happy marriage of 60 years among his many achievements. And just as significant, he has many testimonials from the hundreds of students he has taught over the years whose lives he has influenced.
“I’m teaching because I feel a responsibility to enable young people – and some older – to become entrepreneurs,” he says. “Many of them are unemployed, many of them have little money. But I want to give them the tools, I want to make it easier for them to succeed without having any money.”
Many of his former students have established successful import/export businesses. Some, like Lidia, a Beverly Hills woman in her mid-30s drowning in sadness over the sudden death of her husband, found her life changed in ways she could not imagine.
After encouraging and helping Lidia start an import business, Rimmon ran into Lidia on a trip to San Francisco. She told him, “Less than a year ago I was totally lost – without my husband and no direction. Now, it is like I have a new lease on life, with my new venture, my goals. Thank you so much for everything.”
and Joan Rimmon
Rimmon started working in a lady’s hat factory in Warsaw when he was just 8. At times hungry (he tells the story of his father who gave him week-old stale bread covered in garlic so his son could imagine he was eating salami instead), he was driven at an early age to work and be the first in his family to attend university.
When his family moved to Tel Aviv before World War II in what was then British-mandated Palestine, he continued working – as a bicycle delivery boy for a company that imported pharmaceuticals and later in the office of that business that expanded its imports to include imported cocoa beans from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and other products. As a teenager, he worked during the day and attended night school from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
In 1950, after serving in the Israeli military, he moved to California, attending community and state colleges before going to UCLA on a scholarship.
Not only did he establish a successful import business (mostly textiles) and a teaching career, he and his wife Joan raised five children (they now have 12 grandchildren), he published a textbook “Importing: Your Guide to Fortune and Fulfillment,” and he is currently working on his autobiography. And on top of that, he works out at a gym five days a week.
Teaching holds a special place in his heart.
“I have a warm feeling for Santa Monica College,” he says. “After 30 years, I’ve met so many wonderful students. And recently, after class some of the students expressed heart-felt appreciation. That’s the greatest reward for a teacher.”
Dr. Sinclair Rimmon will teach a series of classes, “Profitable Career in Importing/Exporting,” July 18-19. Students can take any or all four of the workshops.