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Sound Bites - Issue #71 - August 2019 #320

On the Cover
A Coach's Passion: Basketball for the Rest of Us!

Richard Hoffman, Coach

Most sports classes have a progressive structure – beginning, intermediate and advanced. But SMC Community Ed’s “Basketball For the Rest of Us” is unique in that it mixes players of all levels together.

In fact, one of its former students, Amin Sadeghpour, is legally blind and developmentally challenged. And the instructor at the time called him “the soul of the class.”

“Basketball For the Rest of Us” is now taught by Richard Hoffman, who has long had a passion for the sport, both as a player and spectator. “I started playing back in the 70's with a group of college friends quite regularly,” he said.

“I became more involved when I signed up for the class several years ago and became an assistant to the instructor,” he said.

Hoffman finds time to teach the class despite his hectic schedule as CEO of his own credit and collection company that involves commuting several times a week from his Beaumont home in Riverside County to Los Angeles.

“The biggest rewards are noticing and seeing the marked improvement in the students’ play and confidence levels week after week,” he said. “We do a weekly program called drills and skills in which students learn a new skill along with a drill. Through practice you become more proficient by applying your new skills. We do this by playing a half court and then proceed to a full court.”

Hoffman cites the example of a student who, on his first day of class, missed the basket on free throws every single time.

“Twelve weeks later on the last class this same student hit 19 out of 20 free throws,” he said. “This to me was truly a great and gratifying moment.”

Basketball For the Rest of Us” begins Sept. 9.

What's New
The Puzzle of a College-Within-a-College

Alice Meyering

The ever popular glass fusing classes always have high enrollment

from the desk of Alice Meyering

Running a program like SMC Community Ed – a college-with-a-college – is both an art and a science. I’ve been thinking about this as we approach the beginning of the fall semester on Aug. 26.

Take, for instance, our Glass Fusing classes. The course is so popular that faithful students will find out what the first day of registration is and stay up until midnight on that day so they can get a seat in the class the minute registration begins online. The result, year after year, has been a long wait list of prospective student who have grown frustrated at not getting into the class.

I added a second session, but the same thing happened. The level of demand and frustration just continued to grow.

And so, I came up last spring with what I believe is a creative solution that has been successful in accommodating prospective students who, year after year, have been left out.

I added a third session, but with a twist. It’s not listed on our website or in our class schedule. Instead, I send out emails to those who have been wait listed and extend an invitation to personally enroll them in the class. I go down the list until the class is full.

This takes up a good deal of time, but I do this because I believe strongly that we are here to serve our community as best we can. In other words, despite our limited resources, we at Community Ed try to be mindful of community needs and to find creative ways to meet those needs.

I encourage all of you to take a look at our fall class offerings and, if you haven’t yet, sign up for one or more of our courses. We have a wide variety of offerings for both personal enrichment and professional advancement. Thank you!

Glass Fusing begins Aug. 30.

Visit our award winning website at to register for classes online 24/7. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our classes. You can email us at or call us at (310) 434-3400.

Behind the Scenes:
2019 Photo Contest Winner Laurie McCormick Has It All!

Worldwide traveler/photographer Laurie McCormick: winner our 2019 Photo Contest

Laurie McCormick’s “Cuban Cool” garnered 1st place

Laurie McCormick in Antarctica

Laurie McCormick (right) in Venice, Italy

Laurie McCormick seems to have it all. The award-winning photographer and SMC Community Ed alumna has had her images printed in National Geographic Traveler Magazine, is living a dream life in Coronado, and has traveled the world with camera in hand.

Laurie McCormick’s “Cuban Cool” is the winner of the 2019 Student & Alumni Photo Contest – and the picture graces the cover of our Fall 2019 brochure. The first runner-up is Frank Damon for his photograph “I Dare You To Touch Me!,” and Mara Zaslove’s “Sand Painting” is the second runner-up.

Altogether, 207 photos were submitted for the contest from 50 students and/or alumni. The submissions were judged at two levels to boil the contest down to three finalists for public voting, which tallied a record 1,050 votes.

McCormick has had an interest in photography for many years.

“My first class was at the Massachusetts College of Art in 1973,” she said. “It was a course on black-and-white developing and printing. I then turned my kitchen at night into a dark room. My first cameras were a brownie, Polaroid and Instamatic. “

Later, in Los Angeles, she honed her photography skills. She took a few classes at the Julia Dean Los Angeles Center for Photography on “The Next Step.” These courses introduced her to how to put together a portfolio of her work and how to promote her photography. These steps helped her get her work seen, which lead to all the awards and recognition.

She’s also taken photography safaris throughout the world since 2005. Among the places she has traveled to are Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Canada, Yellowstone in the winter, Cuba, Mexico, Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, Greece, Romania, Croatia, Maine, South Carolina, Arizona, Zion and Arches National parks in Utah, Washington, Oregon, San Francisco and more.

“But what I am mostly known for is my series of work with my miniature collections in my photography – 'Miniature Appetite,’ 'Miniature Moments in my Daily Life,' and 'Miniature Clothesline Series,’” she said.

McCormick moved to Coronado Cays in the San Diego area two years ago and joined its yacht club, which is a five-minute walk to her home.

“My condominium is right on a canal with a gorgeous view, and I have my own boat slip,” she said. “I bought a kayak and an electric boat called a Duffy, which I use to travel the canals and the San Diego Bay, so I think I am living my future and best life ever.”

McCormick, a financial advisor since 1977, has taken seven classes at SMC Community Ed since 1998, and believes the classes have been “top notch excellent.”

McCormick took her winning photo January 19, 2013 when she was visiting Cuba, and one afternoon she and her friends were sitting at a table outside a hotel in Havana having coffee.

“We all saw this man walking down the street so we jumped into action and starting taking pictures of him,” she said. “I ran ahead because I noticed a wall that would make a great background and I stood across the street waiting for him. As he strolled by looking so damn cool, I took about ten to 12 images, and this one I felt was perfect.

McCormick captured the image with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, F 4, IOS 400, 1/1600 sec, 47mm focal length. 

“I am proud to say my image appears on the last page of the October/November 2017 National Geographic Traveler Magazine, accompanied by an article about Cuban music,” she said. “And just think, my photography all started at Santa Monica College Community Ed in their awesome photography courses.”

For questions on the voting process, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Your Journey Through 20th Century Art

Michelle KingMichelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

Art & architecture historian Eleanor Schrader presents our Signature Lecture

A German Expressionist photograph

Albert Gleizes,1915, Composition pour Jazz

It’s always a pleasure to highlight something unique at SMC Community Ed, and so I’m taking a moment to talk about our Signature Lecture this fall – given by the ever-popular art, architecture and design expert Eleanor Schrader.

Our Signature Lecture this fall will take you on the journey of “Art Movements from the Roaring 20s through the Swinging 60s.” The 20th century was an age of dramatic social and political change, with artistic movements simultaneously echoing and influencing those changes. Through the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the increasing influence of European art upon American sensibilities, artists have captured the ebb and flow of social changes within their respective movements.

This two-part lecture presents “A Time of War and Surrealism” Nov. 2 and “A Time of War and Optimism” Nov. 9.

Schrader is an award-winning educator, lecturer, writer, and historical design consultant. She lectures worldwide on the history of furniture, decorative arts, architecture, and interiors and leads art and architecture tours in Los Angeles and throughout the world.

She has been named a Distinguished Instructor at UCLA Extension, where she teaches history of architecture, interior design, furniture, and decorative arts. She is also Professor Emeritus of Art and Architectural History at Santa Monica College.

She has done graduate work in fine and decorative arts at Sotheby's Institute in London and New York and has served as a Design Review Commissioner for the City of Beverly Hills.

She hosted a radio show on Voice America Internet radio called "Dishing the Dirt on Design," and her YouTube video show is “Sit Down Darling, Let’s Talk Design.

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Beverly Hills Historical Society, Beverly Hills Heritage, the Malibu Adamson House Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House Foundation, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the John Lautner Foundation.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at or (310) 434-3400. Have a wonderful summer!

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education


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