A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

No Welcoming Week events due to pandemic

Journalism-151 As the fall semester begins, the LCCC campus is missing many excited and eager faces as it used to seeing around this time of year. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of LCCC during the Welcoming Week. “In…

Campus beefs up covid-19 precaution to ensure safety

Oscar Rosado Editor-in-Chief   As a Fall semester starts, security measures to keep COVID-19 in check have been implemented by LCCC to ensure the safety of the students, faculty and staff. Campus Security Chief Kenneth Collins said many new procedures…

Lorain County Community College wins 11 Press Club awards

Jayne Giese Staff  Writer LCCC took home 11 honors at the 2020 All Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards held by the Press Club of Cleveland via a Zoom conference on Aug.7, 2020. The Collegian won nine honors and the Boom…

College switches many classes to online as precaution

Jayne Giese Staff Writer Lorain County Community College has postponed all in-person classes from March 11 through March 14, in response to the coronavirus, COVID-19. The college also has extended its spring break from March 15 to March 24, and…

LCCC named among top 150 community colleges

Oscar Rosado Editor-in-Chief LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. is pleased with the college being named among the top 150 community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute.  As one of the 150 top community colleges, LCCC is eligible to…

Alumni encourages future reporters to be right, not first

Oscar Rosado

Digital Media Coordinator Ron Jantz shares his past experiences at LCCC, aiming for his career goal to be a broadcaster.

Graduating from Midview High school in 1983, Jantz considered both college, and military service, the latter following in the steps of his father who was a marine. Jantz chose college and during his time here at LCCC he had help from a mentor.

“When I was here, I had a great instructor who turned into a mentor for me. His name was Dr. Roy Berko. He was my communications professor, broadcast television professor, he was a lot of things for me,” said Jantz. Burko taught in the Arts and humanities division, and taught a variety of subjects.

Tieing two interest together 

“I came here knowing that I liked two things a lot: one was sports, and two was writing; so I thought how could I tie those together?” said Jantz. He added he wasn’t good at sports, but loved playing them, and being around them. He thought he could be a sports writer. With the help of Berko, keeping Jantz under his wing, he was led to the idea of being a broadcaster. Jantz studied journalism, and eventually got a journalism degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps school of journalism, with a broadcast bend to it.

Jantz graduated from LCCC in 1985 with an Associates of Arts degree. He then proceeded to go to Ohio University E.W. Scripps school of Journalism, at the time, one of the top three journalism schools in the country. 

Jantz went to Ohio University as a full standing Junior, and didn’t lose anytime, graduating in four years. Two at LCCC, another two at Ohio University.

Jantz interviewing Legendary race car driver Mario Andretti at the Cleveland Grand Prix in July of 1988.  I was working in CLEVELAND for the Ten O’clock News as a television sports reporter.  I was a television sports reporter/anchor for 14 years in Cleveland. See years at Ch 43 and 7 years at Channel 3 News.                                                                                                     Submitted Photo

Hands on training

“I loved them both,” said Jantz. “There were pluses to both. Going here [LCCC] first provided me the opportunity of that one-on-one attention that I got from a guy like Dr. Burko, that you wouldn’t get at a university – there were just too many students. The second was that I was able to participate in things like the Collegian. I wrote for the Collegian in 1983. I was also able to put my hands on television equipment right away. I learned how to operate video cameras, learned how to edit, tape to tape back then, now everything’s digital. Learned how to work in a television studio we had here on campus – right away, as an eighteen year old out of high school.”

“Needed to feel confident”

“When I went to OU as a Junior, I felt pretty confident in my abilities. I needed to feel confident because I was going to a very competitive school, specifically the E. W. Scripps school of journalism,” said Jantz regarding being a part of a bigger school. 

“You needed to believe in yourself because you were competing with a lot of other students for opportunities to write for the paper, and broadcast for the students’ news. You better be ready to compete,” said Jantz. He then added, “With journalism, you have to want it! You want to live it, you gotta have passion for it.”

Jantz believes education plays a big role in success.

“Think things in a construction way. Like the foundation of your house. If it’s not strong, the house is gonna crumble. If you don’t have a strong foundational base in your education, it’s gonna crumble,” said Jantz. He added, “I had a strong foundational base in my education, and in my pursuit for a career because of LCCC. I was able to accomplish the things that I chased because of the confidence that my foundational base here gained me.”

During his time at the Collegian, Jantz recalled when Ken Olcott was the journalism instructor in his time as a student in the 80’s. Jantz was responsible for an array of assignments, not just focusing on just one subject such as strictly sports. Jantz recalled when he reported a story regarding Vincent Price who visited campus once. At the time, there was an event called the great American lecture series at the Stocker Center. These events would bring high profile speakers, such as Coretta Scott King, including Vincent Price. Jantz said during Price’s visit, he was at a high popularity due to the newly released Thriller song by Michael Jackson.

“It was cool for an eighteen year old kid to talk to Vincent Price who happened to be in the hottest song right now. I got to do stuff like that,” said Jantz. He added he did not just big events happening, but also smaller ones as well. “Other stuff would be just typical stuff you know? Is the lunch room food any good? Where were students going for spring break, little stuff like that.”

Jantz has also worked at Cleveland’s Channel 43’s 10:00 news. He worked seven years at Channel 43 from 1987-1994, and seven years at Channel 3 after that.

Working at those stations, Jantz went to be a sports reporter. Doing so right after college at the age of 22.

“It was everything. I got to cover sports at my home town in a time where all three teams [the Browns, the Cavaliers, and the Indians] were relevant. They were all playing with big steaks and it was a lot of fun. I had a front row seat,” said Jantz.

Jantz graduating from LCCC with my Associate of Arts degree in May of 1985. Submitted Photo

Digital vs Physical Media

With everything going digital today, Jantz gave his opinion about it.

“Digital makes things more immediate,” said Jantz. “You could tweet something, or Instagram something right now,” said Jantz who added he is still very old school about receiving his news. “I still love having in my hands a physical paper in the morning to start my day.”

He went on to say the pluses and minuses to digital and physical media. “The pluses are the immediacy of it, but it’s also negative because people report stuff before they check their facts, and then they backtrack a lot, and trust is lost,” said Jantz. He went on to add, “There’s this great chase to be first with whatever and I think with journalists today, they get caught up in the thirst to be fist and sometimes it bites them in the butt. They release a story that’s not ready to go.”

“Thirst to be first”

“Make sure you’re right, and then make sure you’re right again. Don’t be first, be right,” said Jantz emphasizing the importance of taking time to fact check. “Everybody’s thirst to be first has caused them to make a lot of mistakes. Be the tortoise, not the hare. But if you can both then you got something.”

Jantz gave advice for anyone going for journalism/broadcasting. 

“Be inquisitive about everything. Be a good listener. Learn how to be a good writer. Those are the top three,” said Jantz. He then added, “Walk through life with your eyes wide open, and your head up. You’ll see things differently. You’ll notice things you’ve never noticed before.”

Jantz is currently working at the campus as a full time coordinator of the media department where he is responsible for visual marketing.

“We tell stories visually on students, professors, and programs of LCCC. Anything you see visually regarding LCCC would’ve come from my area, such as billboards down the street. Anything directly college related, like a nurse smiling in a hospital setting. Those are real LCCC graduates, and I will take their photo and I will tell their story.”

Words from Tracy Green

LCCC Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green had a few words to describe Jantz.

“He is our most passionate story teller. Not only for this college, but for the community. He is able to inspire others by drawing out the story of the people he meets. Many of those happen right here through his work at LCCC. That is truly a gift. We’ve been very very fortunate to have him part of this team,” said Green. She added, Dr. Ballinger was the one who hired him. “She certainly saw that talent and I think Jantz has created such an awareness of the impact this institution has on people by that gift of storytelling. He is a people person. He finds the story in just about anything. He is able to walk across this campus and genuinely wants to sit down and talk with people and understand who they are, why they are here, and what their hopes and dreams are. He’s touched a lot of folks in that way. He has a way of earning people’s trust, and they open up and share.”

Enjoyed every moment

When asked about his experience as a whole at LCCC, Jantz said he enjoyed every moment of it.

“I loved it,” said Jantz. He went on to say, “It’s a beautiful campus, it’s always been beautiful and it gets more and more beautiful as it matures. I loved my time here at LCCC.”

Leena Boone named one of top 20 community college students

Special to The Collegian

Leéna Boone, who enrolled in her first class at Lorain County Community College when she was just 12 years old, has just been named one of the top 20 community college students in the country and the number one community college student in Ohio.

 Boone, of Grafton, is now 17 years old and a senior at Lorain County Early College High School, a combined high school and college experience on the LCCC campus.  The Lorain County Early College High School is a partnership between LCCC, Elyria City Schools and Lorain City Schools. In May, Boone will graduate with two LCCC associate degrees, a high school diploma, and a world of opportunity.

One of twenty

 Boone is one of just 20 students to be named to the All-USA Academic Team nationwide and will receive a $5,000 scholarship. The All-USA program is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending associate degree-granting institutions. All-USA Academic Team members were selected for their outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership, and community and campus engagement.

 Boone placed first in Ohio and was also named a 2020 New Century Transfer Scholar and will receive an additional $2,250 scholarship. Over 2,000 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Transfer Scholar is selected from each state.

 “Leéna is a stand-out student at LCCC and we are thrilled to see her recognized at the national level,” LCCC President Marcia J.  Ballinger, Ph.D., said. “In addition to her impressive academic achievements, Leéna is a leader on campus and has taken full advantage of every opportunity at LCCC and Early College. We are so proud of her and can’t wait to see what she will accomplish in the future.”

Boone                                 Submitted photo

 Boone, who first enrolled in LCCC classes through the College Credit Plus program at the age of 12, has served as president of the LCCC’s student chapter of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). She has also presented her research on the mechanisms of resistance to HIV infection at national, statewide and local conferences. At the ASM conference in 2017, she was one of the youngest presenters, and she won first place at the Microscopy Society of Northeast Ohio conference in Oberlin last year.

“Leéna Boone is an amazing individual. She has presented her work at two national conferences and has amazed scientists from Harvard to Stanford with her maturity sophistication and impressive drive,” said LCCC microbiology professor Harry Kestler, Ph.D. “She will accomplish great things. I am extremely proud of her.”

 Boone is also a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, an elite scholarship program for students transferring from community colleges to top-ranked or Ivy League colleges and universities. Boone is in the process of interviewing with Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, among other institutions.

 A car accident when she was 10 years old left Boone with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare disease that causes chronic pain. Boone aims to earn a Ph.D. and become a medical researcher, to help find relief for people who suffer from conditions like hers.

 The All-USA Academic Team is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group, with additional support provided by Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

 LCCC student Dulce Cintron also received a national ranking in the competition, earning the Coca Cola Silver Academic Team Award. Cintron is a senior in Lorain County Early College High School. She will receive a $1,250 scholarship and be recognized at the Phi Theta Kappa conference in April.

 “We congratulate Leéna and Dulce for receiving these prestigious and highly competitive scholarships that recognize outstanding achievements both inside and outside the classroom,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Scholarship programs like these not only recognize student achievement, but also create meaningful pathways for college students to succeed by putting completion within financial reach.

 The New Century Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and AACC. The New Century Transfer Scholars and All-USA Academic Team will be recognized at Phi Theta Kappa’s Presidents Breakfast in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 30 during the AACC Convention.

 Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges.

 For more about Leena, visit https://www.lorainccc.edu/stories/scientific-superstar/

New Career Closet opens opportunities for thrifting

Josefa Collazo
JRNM 151

It can be a challenge for students to take college classes and look fashionable at the same time. Valerie Luciano, student resource advocate in AmeriCorps and cooperator of the Lorain County Community College Career Closet, has recognized this issue and feels a passion for students to want to feel their best even with their low budgets. 

Luciano became the manager of the LCCC Career Closet because, “as an AmeriCorps, I took it on myself to be a part of it. Anything that can benefit the students,” said Luciano

About the Career Closet

The LCCC Career Closet is an association where clothing from other stores is donated and re-used by students and alumni of the school to provide appropriate clothing for job interviews.

Luciano believes that, “It’s great for LCCC because there’s a need here. It’s definitely something a college should do.” Students can call in and make an appointment with Luciano. She assists them at the Career Closet where they can take two outfits for free and keep them for the whole semester. Although the business has not opened yet, Luciano said, “since I’ve started the collections it’s been very successful. I get calls from stores that say they want to donate clothes already.”

Student Resource Advocate in AmeriCorps and Cooperator of the LCCC Career Closet Valerie Luciano inspecting an outfit at the Career Closet located in the Commodore Cupboard.
                                    Oscar Rosado | The Collegian

When it will be ready

Luciano plans to officially open the Career Closet on Apr. 8 at the Commodore Cupboard, BU113. It will be linked with Career Services. In one’s visit to the Career Closet, the individual will have a Linked In Profile created for them for the purpose of, as she puts it, “boosting these college students’ confidence.” 

Luciano is also a thrifter at heart and loves purchasing clothes at the most affordable price. “I even have a few of my mom’s friend’s clothes,” she said. Luciano believes that re-using clothing, “sparks creativity. If we can re-use clothes, what other things can we re-use to help?”

Words from students

 Although the closet has not officially opened yet, students Peyton Kellick and Rylie Spillman responded to this idea with positivity. 

“I like it. It’s really cool. It’s beneficial because appearance is a big part of a first impression,” Kellick said. Kellick also believes that with this new outlet, “it’ll promote confidence in them. I think it will go a long way.” 

 “I think that’s smart actually. There are a few students who have to dress in work apparel but do not have what is required,” said Spillman.

Both believe that this is a great idea and could help many students and, as Spillman said, “it’s recycling.” 

Lorain resident scales down her big wedding, posts on Facebook

Josefa Collazo
JRNM 151

Braving the COVID-19 pandemic scare, two Lorain love birds said “I do” at a scaled down wedding from 100 guests to 15, and beamed the exchange of rings on Mar. 21 on Facebook so their friends and relatives could witness the ceremony.

Six months before the word “coronavirus” began to appear in the news, Priscila Collazo began preparing for her dream wedding with her sweetheart Abdiel Perez, also a Lorain resident, in Florida.

Collazo, 22, hoped for a large wedding with music and dance. But, when the risks of coronavirus pandemic set in, Collazo’s wedding plan skidded downhill. One by one, families from all around the country cancelled their flights. Perez’s family members from Puerto Rico were not allowed to fly in to the U.S.  Priscila goes from 100 plus guests to 15 which includes the wedding party.

The bride with her father.         Submitted Photo

To add to her woes, the videographer, wedding coordinator, the musicians and the makeup artist had cancelled their appointments.

“There were definitely a lot of prayers, and finding peace in Christ. In chaos like that, you can have a lot of stress and anxiety,” Collazo said.

While all seems at a loss, these setbacks didn’t stop the couple from pushing through to make their special day a memorable one. They decided on a small wedding near the pool of the condo where Collazo had moved in, thanks to her grandfather who came up with the idea.

As the number of guests dwindled, Collazo had to cancel one of the two wedding cakes, cut down the quantity of flowers, rental items and had to haggle to get her deposit back.

Without a wedding coordinator, Collazo and Perez had to reorganize their wedding within seven days.

The groom.                         Submitted Photo

It is now Saturday morning and Priscila schedules a morning hair appointment, does her own makeup and keeps her dress. Family and friends are graciously willing to do all they can to make this day as special as possible for her. From friends of the condo attending and providing snacks, to individuals volunteering to take the place of the videographer and the broadcasting of Facebook Live for family and friends who cannot make it.

But their challenges didn’t end there. Their honey moon to Disneyworld hits a snafu. It was shut down forcing the newlyweds to rent a cozy cabin in Georgia for their honey moon.

“Interesting way to start a life-long commitment, even before getting married, we are already going through a period of trusting God and putting everything in his hands,” Perez said.

(Priscila is the author’s sister.)

Issue 17 levy passes regardless of covid-19 quarantine

Oscar Rosado

Despite social distancing and other covid-19-related restrictions, LCCC’s Issue 17 levy passed by 27,650 (59.5 percent) to 18,809 (40.5 percent) votes, according to unofficial results released by Lorain County Board of Elections on April 28.

The goal of renewing the existing 1.8 millage as well as adding a 0.5 millage won by 8,841 votes.

LCCC will receive an estimated $15.6 million per year with the passing of the levy. This levy amount will run until the next decade, lasting until 2030.

“We all won, together!”

“We all won, together,” exclaimed Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green.“We are humbled by the results and by the confidence this community has and what LCCC means to the lives of the people here. Issue 17 has passed at about 60 percent and that is a phenomenal testament to how this community values higher education and the impact that LCCC is making on our community and our future.”

Won regardless of the coronavirus outbreak

Regardless of the initial setback of the election pushed from Mar. 17 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the levy has passed.

“It is absolutely remarkable, and I am so grateful for the continuation of the community’s support. It was this community that built LCCC as the first community college in Ohio in 1963,” said Green. She went on to say, “That tradition of investing in ourselves and in the best hope of our community’s future continues today. So this result just really reflects that continued commitment for our local access to affordable quality higher education and all the gratitude goes to our community. We are the community’s college and we will continue to fulfill that mission.”

Going forward with the future, Green said, “This is a ten-year renewal levy, so it keeps a foundation of support that has been part of LCCC since 1963. It is instrumental to making LCCC who we are and what we’re able to deliver to this community.”

Not a typical election

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, celebrations have been put on hold. “First and foremost is the health and safety of our community. So while prior election years when we had an issue on the ballot that has been up for renewal, we’ve had wonderful celebration times with large gatherings, but we want to protect the health and safety of our campus and our community,” said Green.

It was not a traditional celebration nor a watch-party to see results come up on April 28, according to Green. She went to say, “It was not a typical gathering, we were just watching the results come through with Lorain County Board of Elections.”

“It was a little quieter, but that doesn’t make the celebration any less enthusiastic just because we weren’t able to do it in that way. There is such sincere gratitude for the support of this community,” said Green.

Thank you to all students

Green also paid tribute to students. “Thank you to all the students. Our students are the reason why we exist and what we do every day, and it is their stories that I believe demonstrate the impact that we make,” said Green.

Green believes statistics are just half of what reflects the success of students and the college. “Certainly, percentages and numbers say one side of the story, but when you really tell the story, like the story of yourself and other students and the impact that our college was able to make on the individual lives, that is when it becomes real, and that’s when it becomes meaningful. We are grateful to our students for entrusting us with their futures and choosing us as their higher education providers.” 


A healing heart – Ohio nurse and LCCC instructor heads to New York to help in pandemic fight

Special to the Collegian

Adrienne Gray is going to New York City. 

The registered nurse, who goes by A.J., has been an emergency medical services instructor at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio for the past four years. But today she’s leaving her home – a state that’s emerged as a leader in slowing the spread of the coronavirus – and heading into the nation’s epicenter of the pandemic. She’ll spend six weeks working in a temporary hospital caring for patients suffering from COVID-19.

A.J. knows she can help. She has been an EMT and paramedic for 11 years, worked in a hospital emergency room, and is ventilator trained and A.C.L.S. certified.

Gray                        Submitted Photo


And she has her husband’s unwavering support. Jeremy Gray, a Lorain Police Department detective, spent four years in the Marine Corps and compared what A.J. is doing to his response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He told her it was an experience he’ll never forget.

“A.J. is a remarkable woman,” Jeremy said. “As I watched her prepare to leave for New York, I realized that I have never been more proud to be her husband.”

Jeremy talked about how A.J. has always served her community and now, she’ll serve from afar in New York City. He knows she’ll be a great asset for those she serves.

A.J. knows that, too. But just under a year ago, she couldn’t bring herself to be in an ambulance.

A tragic day

It was August 2019 and her stepson Gage had just turned 11. He liked baseball and basketball, art projects and family movie nights. A.J. had met Gage’s dad when Gage was four and she loved Gage with a mother’s love ever since. He was everything to her.

When A.J. landed her job teaching EMT courses at Lorain County Community College in 2016 – a welcome change from working as a full-time paramedic with 24-hour shifts – Gage was the first person she told.

A.J. remembered how happy Gage was. “He said, ‘Does this mean you’ll be able to come to all of my basketball games now?’”

But Gage’s life was cut short.

While vacationing at a lake house, Gage woke up complaining of a headache. Just ten minutes later, he was unresponsive. A.J. rode with him in the ambulance and worked with the EMTs to resuscitate him.

“But unfortunately, he didn’t wake up after that,” A.J. said.

Gage had an Arterial Venous Malformation – when an artery and vein intertwine in the brain. He was born with it and there were no symptoms until it ruptured. Gage’s was on one of the main cerebral arteries, so when it ruptured it caused a massive brain bleed.

No one could have saved Gage that tragic day. But A.J. couldn’t bear the thought that she couldn’t. 

Healing her heart

A.J. kept teaching while she grieved. She had a knack for taking complex subjects and simplifying them in ways her students could understand. And now more than ever, she wanted the best EMTs in her community.

“So many of our EMT graduates go on to work in Elyria and Lorain,” A.J. said. “They could be treating my family members, a friend. I want highly trained professionals out there, so anything I can do to help that I view as an honor.”

It was easy to walk back into her classroom. But it took months until she could be in an ambulance. She was still a volunteer firefighter and paramedic in Medina County and couldn’t fathom how she was going to return to that job.

“It was really hard at first. About two months after the incident I just sat in an empty ambulance with my friend, just trying to get comfortable in it,” A.J. said.

Then she started to respond to a few emergency calls. But she always made sure there would be another EMT on the call in case she felt any anxiety. And A.J. was selective about the calls she’d respond to; she only took the calls that, at least on the surface, seemed routine.

Then she got the call that helped heal her heart.

Gray on a plane to New York                     Submitted Photo

It was December and A.J. responded to a call from a neighboring fire department. A woman had fallen and they needed one more EMT to transport the patient to the hospital. It sounded routine and the patient was in the township A.J. lived in. She knew exactly where to go and was the only paramedic on the scene.

But the woman hadn’t only fallen. She was dying.

“The patient had a heart condition and was actively dying. And I had the opportunity to save her life,” A.J. said.

A.J. did save that woman’s life. She administered medication to reverse her lethal heart arrhythmia. The woman spent Christmas with her family.

And something inside A.J. changed that day.

“That one call for me was really healing,” A.J. said. “It put me in a situation that was similar to Gage. I was in a different ambulance, working with medical professionals that I didn’t know, and I was forced to make decisions to save somebody. And that person got to live.”

A.J. couldn’t save Gage, but she could save others.

A new calling 

Today A.J. has the chance to save lives again. This time in a city whose citizens – including her own family members – are in dire need of help. She said made the choice to go rather quickly, calling it “a spur-of-the-moment decision that just took off.”

“I told my husband one day, I should go to New York City and work as a nurse. And he said, ‘You should.’”

A.J. gave herself a day to think about it and decided to apply and see what happened. She got a call with a job offer the next day.

The recruiter said the federal government is sending nurses to three locations and A.J. expects to be in Brooklyn. She has no idea what the first day will be like, but has been told to anticipate a war zone like environment.

“I’m preparing for the worst. If I do that, then I’ll be prepared or I’ll be over prepared,” she said.

She’s bringing all her own personal protective equipment, including N95 masks that are in such shortage, to cover herself for every shift in the six weeks she’ll be there.

She’s also taking with her a small sense of fear.

“I think that a little fear is a good thing. Then you’re constantly thinking about what you can do to stay safe.”

A.J. said she’s used to preparing for the unexpected and putting herself on the front line of emergencies. Every call she responded to as a firefighter and EMT has helped prepared her for this.

“Whenever you’re on a scene, you never know what you’re going to be walking into. You always need to be thinking what I can do to keep myself safe?”

But staying safe isn’t her greatest fear. What worries A.J. most is missing home.

In Ohio at heart

A big part of A.J.’s home life is her connection with students in the paramedic courses she teaches. She gradated from LCCC’s healthcare programs, earning her paramedic certificate in 2009 and her associate degree in nursing in 2015. A.J. chose LCCC because she knew it offered high quality healthcare programs. And she’s committed to doing her part to maintain the college’s reputation – now as an instructor – while she’s gone. In preparation of her journey, A.J. recorded the rest of the semester’s lectures for her students. So while she’s saving lives fighting the coronavirus in New York, she’ll still be helping to shape the next generation of paramedics.

“A.J. is a powerful role model for her students. She’s made the decision to go to the front lines of the pandemic in the U.S., and also found a way to stay connected to her students. She is a true hero,” said LCCC president Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D.

Her coworkers, who she says are more like family, are ready to support her wherever the need arises. Dawn Sgro, coordinator of LCCC’s paramedic program, will help monitor A.J.’s students’ progress. Dawn said she’s not surprised by what A.J. is doing.

“A.J. is drawn to serve in general, but I believe that she was particularly drawn to help in New York City because of her family there and it was a special vacation spot for her and Gage,” Dawn said.

To offer some comfort while she’s away, A.J.’s LCCC family collected cookies for care packages that they hope will remind A.J. she has people at home thinking about her and waiting for her safe return.

Leaving home but never alone

A safe return for A.J. – a Medina high school graduate and Litchfield resident – is something her parents will be hoping for every day. A.J. said her decision to go was hard for them to accept, but they understand why she needs to go. She admitted that worrying about her is nothing new for her parents. A.J. has spent most of her adult life as a first responder – helping others by putting herself in harm’s way.

“I’m probably responsible for every gray hair on my mom’s head,” she said. “But they are proud of me.”

And A.J. said she is proud of the state she’s leaving behind for now and hopes Ohioans continue to do their part to help her get back home.

“Together we have helped slow down the virus in Ohio and our communities, and flatten that curve,” A.J. said. “Keep it up; stay at home. The quicker this virus is under control, the sooner I can come home.”

She leaves today, but in her still-healing heart, she’s not leaving alone. She doesn’t go anywhere alone.

“I think Gage will be with me. He’s with me everywhere I go.”


LCCC one of two colleges wins Achieving the Dream award

Jayne Giese
Staff Writer

Lorain County Community College is one of only two winners for this year’s Achieving the Dream Award. Achieving the Dream is the highest honor awarded to colleges, it notes the strength of the institution as well as the student success rate.

The Achieving the Dream award Jayne Giese | The Collegian

“Colleges that want to be considered for this award have to meet a certain criterion just to apply. The fact that we are one of two winners this year shows our ability to invest in our student culture. At LCCC we believe that every student’s dream matters, and we want to help them achieve their dream,” Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., said. She believes that winning this award means even greater success for the future students of LCCC.

One of the ways a college is calculated for this award is based on the number of students enrolled, and how many of those students went on to graduate. In fall 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), LCCC had 10,644 students enrolled.  Out of that number 26 percent were full time students.  As of Spring 2019, the graduation rate went up from eight percent back in 2011 to a 30 percent graduation rate.

Ballinger feels that it is the Students Accelerated in Learning Program (SAIL) that has made a big difference in the success rate of the students. “SAIL is such an important program for many students to succeed. The program provides financial and academic support to help students earn their associates within three years. Some of the ways the program financially helps students is with gap tuition scholarships, vouchers for textbooks, even gas and grocery gift cards for students who qualify. We need to make sure every student has the ability to succeed, and SAIL is a great help for students both financially and academically,” said Ballinger.


LCCC is committing to the future now more than ever by launching the 10,000 Degrees of Impact. The 10,000 degrees of Impact is a strategic plan that promises by the year 2025, 10,000 students will earn a degree or credential from LCCC. There will be five areas of focus for this plan. Student focus, success focused, future focused, work focused, and community focused.

LCCC will be helping students shape their futures. By being student focused they will prepare working age adults for the new economy. LCCC will also be working with K-12 to help more high school students graduate with college credit, encouraging future generations to achieve their goals.

LCCC Student Dulce Cintron Named Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar

Special to The Collegian

Lorain County Community College student Dulce Cintron has been named one of the top 100 community college students in the country, and one of the top 10 community college students in Ohio.

 Cintron, 17, of Lorain, is a senior at Lorain County Early College High School, a combined high school and college experience on the LCCC campus.  Cintron is enrolled in Lorain County Early College High School through a partnership between LCCC and Elyria City Schools. Lorain City Schools are also a partner with Early College. In May, Cintron will graduate with two LCCC associate degrees at the same time she graduates high school.

 Cintron has been named a 2020 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. Each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion. She has also been named to the Ohio First Team Top 10, and will receive a $1,000 scholarship and medallion.

“Dulce dedicated herself to advanced academic achievement at a very young age by making the decision to attend LCCC’s Early College High School. She has flourished in her classes, as well as taking on challenging extra-curricular opportunities, such a high-level research. There is no doubt that she will go far in life,” LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., said.

 Cintron is a member of LCCC’s chapter of the American Society of Microbiology and a leader in an on-campus research group that investigates toxic algae blooms in the Sandusky Bay of Lake Erie. She is also a supplemental instructor for biology and a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and a varsity athlete in cross country and track for Elyria High School.

Cintron                                                Submitted Photo

“Dulce is truly an amazing individual,” said LCCC biology professor Kathy Durham, Ph.D., who oversees the research group. “She was only a freshman in high school when she asked to join my research group. I said yes, and it was the best decision I ever made. Dulce is reliable, enthusiastic and a very positive leader.”

 Cintron plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science or a related field. Her ultimate goal is to become a large animal veterinarian and to conduct veterinary research.

“I’m honored to be recognized with these awards,” Cintron said. “Attending Early College at LCCC, I have been inspired to work harder by my teachers and I cannot thank them enough. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve had because of the LCCC community.

 Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

 “The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”

 “We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges.

Students share tidbits on Covid-19

                           A happy quarantine birthday to me

By Jayne Giese
Staff Writer

Twenty-seven-years ago I came into this world.  It was a delightfully chaotic afternoon, or so I’m told.  Most of my family didn’t make it in time for my birth, it had been hours after I arrived before anyone else met me.  Everyone thought my mom was playing an April Fool’s prank when she called and said her water broke. Overall I’m glad these were the events that took place on the day of my birth.  I get to tell this story to people I meet, and they usually laugh when they hear it.  That makes me happy.

Fast forward to today. I get to celebrate my 27th birthday in a unique way this year.  I get to spend this special day quarantined in my house, like the rest of America right now.  I’m not complaining because I know there are many other people who will have quarantined birthdays this year as well.  Since I am not the only unfortunate birthday goer this month, I have decided not to sulk.  Instead, I will share my quarantine birthday bonanza plan.  Maybe it will inspire other April babies to make their own fun during this uncertain time.

The first part of my day will consist of me pulling an all-nighter.  My sleeping patterns have changed during quarantine, and I am fairly certain I’m not the only person this has happened to.  I now can’t fall asleep till about five in the morning, and I don’t wake up till one in the afternoon.  Since I still have online classes and a virtual meeting to attend, I don’t plan on getting much sleep today.  I am far too excited for sleep, and to pass the time until my meeting I will clean my house and drink five cups of coffee.

Once I make it past the virtual class meeting, the real fun would begin.  I’m going to get all dolled up and wear a very trendy spring outfit, like I would for any other birthday.  I will then literally pop open a bottle of champagne and facetime all of my friends.  Since it is my birthday I will make them all take a shot during the facetime chat. Once I feel tipsy enough I am going to start baking.  In my experience, baking is always more fun when you have a little buzz going. (Not recommended to try at home).  I will be baking sugar cookies, apple cinnamon muffins, and strawberry cake.  I will likely eat most of the batter and cookie dough during this preparation period.

Giese with her pet cat.                                          Jayne Giese | The Collegian

After my heart has filled up on its desire of sweet treats, it will be time for a birthday cat nap.  What cat nap would be complete without your pet cat? The answer is none.  You must take a birthday cat nap with your pet.  If you don’t have a pet, go outside and look for a bug. (I’m kidding! I hate bugs).  Once I wake from my much needed nap, I will end my birthday night with an intense game of Uno.  It will be me versus my cat.  He will probably win and his reward will be his favorite milk treats.

As midnight approaches again and it is no longer my birthday, I will be thankful for another year of life.

A quarantine birthday may not be ideal, but I am healthy and I’m safe.  What more could I ask for? Especially during such an uncertain time.


LCCC’s 56th commencement ceremony put on hold

Special to The Collegian

Lorain County Community College has decided to cancel its spring commencement ceremony originally scheduled for May 16, in light of the rapidly evolving coronavirus COVID-19 situation.

  No date has been set to reschedule the College’s 56th commencement ceremony.

            “It is with a heavy heart that I make this announcement, as I know that many students were planning to participate and celebrate their accomplishments with family and friends that day,” said LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., in a statement.

            Anyone on track to graduate is not in any way impacted by the decision to cancel the ceremony, she noted. Students will still receive their diploma by mail if all graduation requirements are successfully fulfilled. 

            “I understand how devastating this announcement is, as our students have put in an enormous amount of effort and dedication into achieving this milestone,” Ballinger said.  “Graduates, please know that your accomplishments will not go unnoticed. Your ability to persevere throughout this is simply remarkable. I admire each and every one of you and am proud that you will become part of the LCCC alumni family.” 

            For updates please visit www.lorainccc.edu/coronavirus