A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

LCCC goes virtual for 2020 graduation ceremony

Special to the Collegian The coronavirus-related restrictions didn’t stop Lorain County Community College from celebrating the accomplishments of its largest graduating class in the college’s 57 year history on May 16. The college honored the Class of 2020 via social…

Issue 17 levy passes regardless of covid-19 quarantine

Oscar Rosado Editor-in-Chief 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…

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…

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

College switches many classes to online as precaution

The second level of the iLoft building deserted.                                            Oscar Rosado | The Collegian

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 classes will resume on March 25 using alternate formats.

“As you are aware, the situation regarding Ohio’s response to COVID-19 is rapidly evolving,” said Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs & University Partnership Jonathan Dryden, Ph.D. via an email. “The governor just concluded a press conference at which he announced recommendations requesting that colleges and universities transition college course instruction to alternative forms of delivery using either distance learning technology or established protocols for social distancing recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).”

Though face-to-face classes have been suspended, classes will remain running online as scheduled. By adopting CDC social distance protocols, it may still be possible to have classes of cases of very small gatherings, as long as social distancing is put into place.

Not only has this impacted LCCC, but other universities in North-East Ohio due to the coronavirus outbreak as well. Some of the other colleges participating in the shutdown of in-person classes are: Cleveland State, Ohio State University, Kent, John Carroll University, and the University of Findlay.

Harry Kestler, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, said that the U.S. has another month of coronavirus cases before things start to calm down.

“If you stay up to date on the coronavirus, you will notice that Wuhan, China is done.  What I mean by that is there are no more hosts for the virus to infect.  Things will start to get better over there now. Here in the U.S. however, we are where they were a month ago,” Kestler said.

Kestler believes that society needs to start preparing for future virus outbreaks today.  “There are 400 different coronavirus strains, and this is just one of them we are dealing with right now.  You know, people don’t take the flu seriously until something like this happens. I believe that we need a universal flu vaccine.  We need to focus more on that because these kinds of viruses have been living in animals for years before they eventually make their way to us,” Kestler urged.

Nurse Practitioner Dawn Gibson-Owens, has an office at Mercy Health in the city of Lorain. Owens wants her patients to be aware of the outbreak, but to also note that the most at risk are the elderly, or people with compromised immune systems.

“I understand the scare running through the communities right now, but people don’t realize the coronavirus has been around for a very long time.  The one we are dealing with right now is a mutated strain that originally only affected dogs and cats,” said Owens.

Owens said that the best prevention for the coronavirus is to use standard precautions you would normally use for the seasonal flu.  “This is the same panic that occurred during the H1N1 outbreak.  The people highest at risk are the very young, the elderly, or people who have a compromised immune system.  If an average adult with a healthy immune system is infected with the virus, it would most likely present itself as a bad cold that your body would then fight off,” Owens said.


The parking lot outside the University Center.                                          Oscar Rosado | The Collegian

According to Dryden’s statement in his email regarding the matter, the CDC defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”

Dryden went to say, “Both governor DeWine and chancellor Gardner have encouraged colleges to demonstrate flexibility and creativity as we work to protect the welfare of those in our community.”

To maintain social distance protocols, operations of the testing center have also been suspended until March 25.

Alternative approaches to delivering midterm exams or assignments are to be considered that do not require a proctored testing environment in order for students to not fall behind in their respective courses, Dryden said.

“While we recognize this situation is far from ideal, we are relying on [the staff’s] creativity and ingenuity to devise reasonable substitutes,” said Dryden.

This act of suspension will also impact eight week in-person courses that conclude this week, and Dryden stated, “For that reason, final grades for in-person 8A courses will not be due until Friday, March 27.”

Dryden assures his office will provide additional information and guidance as more information is gathered.

“I appreciate the disruption these changes are creating but all must work together in the interest of our community’s welfare,” said Dryden.

Visit www.lorainccc.edu/coronavirus for updates.


Oscar Rosado contributed to the story.











African American entrepreneurs showcase works

Entrepreneur Cydney Jones at her table representing her graphic design company.
                       Quentin Pardon | The Collegian

Quentin Pardon
Assistant Editor

African American entrepreneurs across the entirety of Lorain County had made their voices heard at the NEO LaunchNET’s first ever African American Entrepreneur Pop Up Shop on Feb. 10; here at the Patsie C. and Dolores Jenée Campana Center for Ideation Invention.

Adopt a Grandparent program

“This is pretty big. We are trying to get the word out there. We are trying to get more people aware of the Adopt a Grandparent program right now and the job financial literacy classes,” said Bridjette Greer, current intern for the Ahava Foundation. Greer is currently pursuing an Associate of Applied Science and Justice System and Corrections. “This is a new non-profit organization. We have plenty here around Lorain County. We are here to just help the people.”

About the Ahava Foundation 

The Ahava Foundation was formed to encourage and empower the underserved community at the most critical points of their lives. The Ahava Foundation is to provide teens with a sense of culture and history, by connecting them with the elderly that have been neglected in nursing home facilities as well as provide the community with financial literacy, resume building and career development. We also provide opportunities for participants to engage in academic, behavioral, etiquette and life skills training. Ashley Brewer co-founded The Ahava Foundation with the vision and drive to improve our community, and focused on developing the organization with experience and integrity. As a co-founder of the organization, Tyler Williams is dedicated to making sure that goals are met and success is achievable. Tyler Williams also runs his very own bakery called Treats By Ty.

Treats by Ty

“He started baking cookies because when he was younger he baked all the time with my grandma. He really loves doing this. This is something he really enjoys doing,” stated Imain Williams, wife of Tyler Williams. Williams began his business at the end of 2016 naming it “Treats By Ty.” “He used to give cookies and cakes out for free before but he decided to make a change.” The main attraction that brings customers in are his tea cakes. “His signature item is his tea cakes. It’s a recipe his grandma came up with. It’s the treat that definitely started it.” When there is a business, you will always need help and that’s where Mrs. Williams comes in. “I just help him when he needs help. I tried to learn how to make the cookies with the recipes and I’m always there to support him with everything.”

“No matter where you are”

Ann “Tiny” Austin is a traveling beautician. She has been doing this for an occupation for over 21 years. “No matter where you are at, I will come to you. As long as you are a willing participant, we can get anything and everything done from head to toe.” Austin specializes in hair, nails, feet and much more. She began at a young age as a way for extra money but ever since, she had taken full advantage of the opportunity. “I have family members who used to do my hair and I always wanted to do my own. Beauty goes a long way. There are people out here who couldn’t afford to get their hair done so I would get on my bike and ride to different shelters or different houses. ”

Graphic design freelancer

Cydney Jones is a student here at LC who is off on a head start. “I run a freelance graphic design company. Personally designs graphics for, print, web clothing. Whatever the client needs I work mostly in the Northeast Ohio area.” Jones is already familiar with marketing as she works for the LC marketing team. “I actually work with the marketing team here at LC so you probably saw my work around here.” Jones efforts are displayed on college credit plus flyers, the Rave app and the domestic violence awareness month. Jones always had a knack for art. “Well I started off doing traditional fine art, such as portraits and landscapes. Then I just furthered my artistic skills on the computer to work better for marketing.” Jones one day hopes to do even bigger projects for her city. “Makes me feel like I’m more involved with the community. Giving back. I like when things look good so when the community looks good it makes me feel better. It gets me connected with the community.”


LaSontia L.Sharlow of Morph Arts at her display
                     Quentin Pardon | The Collegian

Morph Arts 

LaSontia L.Sharlow is the full time owner of Morph Arts. “Making these are therapeutic for me. I am most passionate about ceramics.” Sharlow earned a degree in ceramics from Ohio State university.  “I make jewelry. Everything here is one of a kind.” Sharlow developed the True  Hope collection where every piece includes a heart, dove, cross or butterfly. “ I donate a portion to people who might be contemplating suicide and or addicted to opioids.” Once established, Sharlow plans on opening her own center. “I wanna open up a center for the arts here. A place for art and therapy for the community.”

“Art is everythng around you”

Earl Smith Jr.  has been a Lorain County Community College art instructor since 2009. Instructs students in drawing, sketching, and perspective by learning special techniques in dimensional shading.  At the age of 12 years old he discovered he had talent in art. “It’s a passion. It’s just part of me growing up. It’s relaxing. It eases your mind. Art is everything around you. It’s part of the universe,” said Smith. He started out working in group projects in school with other talented young artists creating murals and lettering. He then began to start exhibiting his art and winning awards. “I display art all around Cleveland, some parts of Oberlin.” Smith still has many ambitions he wants to conquer. “I’m thinking about opening up my own business and hosting my own classes.”

Giving than receiving

“I’ve been cooking for my whole life but I have been in business for a year,” said Chef Shontae Jackson, owner of the Steel Magnolia Food Truck and Catering. “We do internationally inspired cuisines as well as southern comfort food.” Jackson took classes here a year ago and now has her own business. “I learned a lot from being a student in the Culinary program so we took a lot of things that I learned and created a fun and festive menu.” To run a business it takes a lot of help and that’s where her mother comes in. “My mother is the biggest supporter on my journey. She’s 76 years old and whenever the key turns in the ignition she’s always there. She calls me in the morning just to say a prayer as well at the end of the day just to make sure our focus is together.” 

Lila Jackson is the owner of Lady J’s cleaning service. They do move ins, move outs, commercial, and offices. “I’ve had this business for about a year and a half but I’ve been doing it for about 20 years. I decided to branch out on my own,” said Jackson.  “My goal is to be able to give back. I am the type of person who likes to give rather than to receive.” One thing holding her back was herself. “Fear. I learned if you do it fearfully, you’ll succeed. Just step out and do it.” 

Evangelist urges for unity at prayer breakfast

Prayer breakfast meeting at the Sage n Seed restaurant.               Photo submitted by Ron Jantz

Oscar Rosado

“Today’s confined mindset is unity. Can we unify with the one truth we all believe?,” said Adult Outreach Associative of LCCC, Kenny Santiago Marrero, regarding a prayer breakfast held at the Sage n Seed restaurant on campus in the Ben and Jane Norton Culinary Center on Mon Feb. 10. 

“It’s something I hope inspires monthly unification of pastors around the region,” said Marrero, who is also an LCCC graduate, and local actor.

Pastors from Lorain, Amherst, Bay Village, Avon Lake, Elyria, Cleveland among other places came to the breakfast.

“I got excited, I was like, ‘oh my gosh I get to use my skills’ with this. They were a gift from God. Why not a much more valuable resource to unify the body of Christ here on campus that’s what we did today, we ate breakfast we networked, we shared, but it all started first with prayer and evolved into a unity,” said Marrero. “It was a beautiful unity.”

There were at least 50 groups present at the event, according to Marrero who helped set up the event.

“Walls coming down”

“Today was special. I saw walls coming down, religious barriers being pushed to the side for the common good which is unity and the care and love for students, and the region,” said Marrero. “Our young people, our young leaders, they need prayer and support, we can’t just talk about, can’t just pray about it, we gotta be about it. So a lot of today was the unity of those boots on the grounds kind of faith inspired men and women that were all here today, it was pretty cool.”

Marrero added, “Getting the pleasure of partnering with Ms. Cindy Kushner, Ms. Liz Torres, and Kenneth Glynn, and being a part of that was pretty cool.”

Marrero, who had invited Lorain pastors to the event, also brought Evangelist, David Nico Hill to campus to the Prayer Breakfast, who had shared his background.

Story of Nico the Dragon

Hill is an evangelist, who has been for eight years. He is part of God’s Soldier Ministries where he reaches out to juvenile halls, prison walls, and neighboring churches.

Hill grew up with a family background that brought about many troubles, such as child abuse, and generational curses. After these troubles, he decided to go on his own where he eventually found martial arts.

“It became what I breathe and what I ate,” said Hill.

Hill has been a very accomplished martial artist. He’s done movies such as Bloodsport 2, Fists of Iron, A Dangerous Place, among a total of over 30 other movies throughout the world. He was involved in many fighting matches, many which were cage matches. Eventually, he became known as ‘Nico the Dragon.’ 

“To live that name out in LaLa land, especially in movies, I was always hiding I was beaten. I was using martial arts as a barrier to safety,” said Hill.

He eventually dabbled in drugs, and alcohol. His mother eventually passed due to overdose, to which Hill never got to say goodbye, to which after, he had disappeared and went into the dark. 

Eventually, he was reminded of his true identity. He couldn’t live with his current life, and had dedicated his life to Christianity. God wrote poetry in his heart, he noted. “In the tangible world, I was spiritually dead. But in the spiritual world, he was training me for ministry,” said Hill.

Now Hill has one of the most effective, transformative, disruptive, ministries for salvation and deliverance in the country and internationally. His family has rededicated to Christianity, and is in Northeast Ohio to preach. He was recently ordained a year ago.

Dedicated to Michael T. George

“This is for heart of the people here in Northeast Ohio, Lorain, Avon, Elyria, Cleveland. I just wanted to dedicate this to Michael T. George, whom God decided to take home early due to leukemia,” said Hill.

Michael T. George was the first child with Down syndrome to be enrolled in St. Edward Catholic High School. They developed a program around kids with special needs called the St. Andre’s Scholars program which seeks to make a quality catholic education available for students with cognitive disabilities at St. Edward High School.

“If that young man taking chemo could laugh and dance… What is our excuse?” said Hill. He added, “I thought I had courage with my background as an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter compared to the 16 year old young man getting treatment, waking up from an induced coma. Until the last day of his life.”

Hill has enjoyed his eight years of serving as an evangelist and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

“It’s been a real journey [being an evangelist]. I never wanted more than a roof over my head, and food in my stomach, and I was allowed to reach people holding onto unforgiveness, murderers, and young men and women in retention houses,” said Hill.

Recently, Hill was inducted into the bare knuckles underground hall of fame, at the martial arts museum at Burbank, CA.

Now, Hill sheds away the name ‘Nico the Dragon’ and now goes by his new alias, ‘David the Dragon Slayer.’