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Sound Bites - Issue #23 - July 2015


  Community Education's Premiere Online Magazine

In This Month's Issue:


Don't Fall Back, Register Now!

Michelle King, Director Community and Contract Ed Michelle King, Director
Career & Contract Ed.

We’re proud of our vibrant lineup this fall of more than 190 classes, workshops and tours, and you can register for classes now. And the fall session – which begins August 31 – will include several new exciting offerings.

As an added bonus, an Early Bird Discount of 10 percent is being offered on most Arts and Photography courses through Sept. 7.

We’ve included a theme of career training and professional development because we’re strongly committed to providing a wide range of courses designed to help students advance their careers.

We’re particularly excited about our Paralegal Academy, which offers professional paralegal certification that opens the doors to high paying careers in as little as 11 months.” We launched the Paralegal Academy in June to great success.

We’re also pleased to launch a brand new Customer Service Academy, which encompasses 10 modules that are guaranteed to improve skills in a field in which job opportunities are projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022. You can register for the series or individual modules.

Of course, we also offer a wide range of wonderful enrichment classes that will guide our students to creative expression, healthy minds and bodies, language skills and much more.

Huntington LibraryHuntington Library

Among the mix of new courses are Sumi-e Painting, several jewelry making classes, Ayurveda, Night Lights @ Santa Monica Pier (Photography), On Set Production, Total Body Workout and more.

Many of these new courses are a result of student demand. Similarly, because of the great response to our tours, we have doubled the number of tours we are offering compared to last fall.

Specifically, the new tours this fall are Go Ahead, Bake My Day! L.A. Bakery Tour; Cereal Baron’s Estate Tour & Arabian Horse Show with Japanese & Rose Gardens & Buffet Lunch; Huntington Library; and Adamson House & Serra Retreat in Malibu.

We hope you’ll join us this fall. Registration is easy by calling (310) 434-3400, going to, or emailing

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career & Contract Education



Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator, Community and Contract Ed Alice Meyering,
Program Coordinator
Community & Contract Education

What's New: Photo Contest Winner an Inspiration

Last month, we introduced you to Dean Reyes, winner of our first-ever Student Photo Contest with his beautiful image of the iconic Griffith Observatory. At that time, we gave you some information about Dean but promised more in this issue of Sound Bites.

I’m glad we did – not only because we’ve been able to view more of his beautiful photography, but also to learn about his inspiring volunteer work and worldwide travels.

Dean’s photo, which will be the cover of the Fall 2015 Schedule of Classes, was one of 63 images submitted by SMC Community Ed students.

Dean’s photo places the observatory against a backdrop of a ghostly Downtown Los Angeles. Shot on a Nikon D700 with a 28-300mm lens, it was taken as part of an assignment for the "Beyond Basics" photography class.

Dean Reyes - Photo Contest WinnerDean Reyes 
Photo Contest Winner

Dean, of Del Rey, who is in his 30s, told us that he started taking photos on his many trips, teaching himself through trial and error. Then, a former coworker suggested he take Larry Jones’ “Basic Photography” class.

He bought his first digital (point-and-shoot) camera in 2004 for a fall trip to Oregon, where he captured beautiful landscapes, including brilliant autumn tree-changing colors. In 2008 he upgraded to a Digital DSLR before heading on an unforgettable trip to Israel. Planning one international and several domestic trips a year, Dean has captured landscapes and people in a wide range of cities and countries, from New York to New Zealand.

He’s also taken hundreds of pictures on his volunteer gigs – three times at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times in Idyllwild and twice on a medical mission in remote areas of The Philippines, his native country.

Dean volunteering Dean Reyes in a remote area of The Philippines on a volunteer medical mission

As a cabin counselor at Camp Ronald McDonald, which is for young people ages 8 to 18 who have been impacted by cancer, he works practically round the clock, completely unplugged from technology, for 10 days.

His two-week volunteer work as a translator on the island of Palawan as part of a medical mission team took him to remote areas where the local residents have virtually no access to medical care and medicine – even for some things as simple as aspirin to soothe aching backs and joints from hard work in the fields or other manual labor.

“We also do some surgeries on site and typically deworm the kids and treat them for malaria, dengue, asthma and other ailments which are common in these rural areas,” Dean said. “In fact, last year I was with a team that was doing field work for developing a chewing gum that could be used to detect if a person is infected with malaria.”

He has also done volunteer work through the ACE mentoring program (mentoring high school kids who want to go into the field of architecture, construction or engineering) and the CANstruction to help raise money for the L.A. Food Bank.

Dean at Camp Ronald McDonald Dean at Camp Ronald McDonald

“My volunteer work puts things in perspective,” he says. “There are bigger problems than what I have.”

Born in The Philippines, Dean moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1999, right after completing high school. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in structural engineering from UCLA, and is currently taking a leave of absence from his position with John A. Martin Associates in downtown L.A., which has done the structural design of buildings that include the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Although he enjoys his engineering career, he finds more reward in his volunteer work and photography – particularly when he blends the two.

“By shooting pictures during my volunteer work,” he says, “I can look back and see I made a difference in someone’s life.”



Au Pairs Just Love 'Basketball for the Rest of Us'

By Jasmin Quambusch and Philipp Wiedmann



Basketball for the Rest of Us class photoBasketball for the Rest of Us class photo

The class 'Basketball for the Rest of Us' has been a great experience for us, two young Germans spending time in the United States between high school and college!

We joined last year for the winter semester and our primary intentions were only to get credits as part of our visa requirements and have fun.

As au pairs, who live with a host family and take care of their children, we are involved in a cultural exchange that also requires us to attend college classes. That is why we started looking into possible courses we could attend.

Living close to SMC we also studied its schedule and we found 'Basketball for the Rest of Us.’ We thought that would be the perfect opportunity to get credits while being active and getting to know people thanks to an awesome team sport. It turned out to be definitely the right decision! We had so much fun that we agreed to come back for a second semester even though we did not need any more credits. 

Graduation Day for Jasmin and Philipp Graduation Day for Jasmin and Philipp

The title 'Basketball for the Rest of Us' already implies that everyone can join which makes it even more enjoyable. No matter how old, talented or active you are, you will fit perfectly in this class. The friendly, tolerant and non-competitive environment makes it such a unique class, and even wishes and ideas are always welcomed and taken into consideration by the instructor, Richard Hoffman.

This great setting even prompted all of us to tell our friends about the class so that there is a great mix of students, employed people and pensioners now.

So if you are looking for a class where you can work out, meet people with similar interests and also have a say in the lesson's structure - you just found it!

We are more than glad that we could be a part of this course for a year and we wish all the members best of luck!