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LaWeen Salvo (center)

It’s the beginning of a new school year, an always exciting time for Community Ed as it brings in new students, new classes, new dynamics. We hear over and over from students how our program has uncovered new talents, stimulated minds and bodies, opened up new possibilities – even changed lives.

And so, because we are in a celebratory mood as the academic year begins, we decided to hold a Short Essay Contest on “Why I Love SMC Community Education.”

The results thrilled us, and we picked four winners, each with his or her unique perspective. The winners come from as far away as Palmdale and as near as Santa Monica. They come from all ethnic backgrounds and all walks of life.

Each of the contestants will receive a special Community Education gift basket – as well as a credit voucher of $20, good until June 30, 2017, to use for Community Education classes.

Please enjoy the following Short Essay Contest winning entries.

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Amy Sasaki

Amy Sasaki, Culver City

I am originally from Japan and one thing that I liked about living in the U.S. is that there are so many opportunities to learn at ANY age. I took classes from both Santa Monica College and its Community Education program. The classes are offered in many different areas, and I particularly enjoyed studying subjects such as Graphic Design, Computer Programming, Hawaiian Dancing, Sewing and Sushi Making (the instructor was a Caucasian woman who learned how to make sushi in Japan, and I was the only Japanese student in my class. Cool, right?). SMC consistently keeps adding new, exciting classes and it’s always fun to check what’s new. Thank you SMC!

Amy, a former project manager currently studying to become a CPA, has taken classes at SMC Community Ed since 1999. She says, “I believe education is the most powerful tool. Taking one class won’t change your life instantly but ‘lifelong learning’ does.”

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Mark Watson

Mark Watson, Palmdale

I love the SMC Community Education program because the classes have instant impact. Back in July, I went to Tourist for A Day: Cellphone Photography, taught by Brian Leng. He gave us tricks and techniques for maximizing our cellphone camera capabilities when taking photographs, like using the self-timer and burst mode to get a better picture. Two weeks later I went on my summer vacation to the New England area. Immediately I could apply my newfound knowledge, and snapped some awesome memories. I can’t wait to take my next class from SMC Community Education.

Mark, a manager at an IT company, says he is a budding photographer approaching his retirement years. He’s looking forward to traveling more, so he is learning how to capture those trip moments with his camera and phone.

LaWeen Salvo, Santa Monica

Shortly after retiring, I was fortunate to discover SMC Community Education with all its possibilities – indulge in the arts, become a notary, dabble in writing, for starters. I signed up for Carmelo Fiannaca’s Mosaic Class, and from day one I was hooked. An artist himself, Carmelo knows his stuff – design, material, technique – and he shares generously of that knowledge. He encourages each of us to tap into our own creative well, and he creates a supportive atmosphere for doing so, for getting lost in the process. I’ll branch out one day and take other SMC Community Ed classes, once I manage to unhook myself from mosaic art!

LaWeen, a retired elementary school teacher, took her first class at SMC Community Ed in January 2014. She enjoys gardening, camping in the Sierras, walking/sitting at the beach, reading, learning languages (at the moment, Italian), and doing mosaic work.

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Tyrone Dyse

Tyrone Dyse, Venice

I love SMC Community Education because it has the highest ethical, conscious, intelligent worldview of education in the world. The reason it has these qualities is because SMC Community Education hires great teachers, and our whole community surrounding the college is of a very high level philosophically. Our college and community take a real-world view of our community, which is filled with people from all walks of life from all over the world and cultures. As a result, the college and community together have created a very intellectual environment that is without bias or prejudging.

Our beach community and SMC education community are dedicated to intelligence, the sharing of ideas, cultures and disciplines, and we strive to keep an open-minded approach to education. Education in its best form is here with some of the best teachers you can find in the world.

Tyrone works as a manager in standards compliance in industry and commerce. He attended SMC and received a B.A. cum laude in Philosophy from Lincoln University of Missouri and did graduate work at the University of Kansas. He also teaches Chen style tai chi, Lan su Kung Fu and Yoga.

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