Category Archives: Spring 2012

Spring 2012 President’s List

The following Centralia College full-time students earned a 3.9-4.0 GPA during spring quarter, 2012. The students listed completed a minimum of 10 college credits.

Aberdeen:  Dustin Hudson  Centralia:  Mark Allen,  Miriam Ash,  Manuel Barrios,  Shandeigh Berry,   Terrence Brasher, Cal Bray,  Tamara Bronson,  Krystal Brooks,  Aaron Brown,  Katie Bustos,  Lok Chan,   Stanley Craig, Benjamin Denton,  Jonathan Dietz,  Jonathan  Elwonger,  Timothy Elwonger,  Rachelle Geringer,  Ross Gleason,  Michael Gregg,  Morgan Harris,  Barry Hayes,  Lucas Heck,  Rachel Hudson,   Jeff Hurst,  Brett Johnson,  Kristina Knutson,  Christian Lardie,  Judd Lee,  Daniel Lopez-Cuevas,  Clayton Maines,  Samantha Martin,  Philip Mawamba,  Janice McCormick,  Amanda Musgrove,  Robyn Musial,   Enoch Newkirk,  Ruth Newkirk,  Elizabeth Nugent,  Amanda Perdue,  Parker Pocklington,  Anthony Richie,  Stacy Ridgley, Rolland Roberts, Rachel  Santino,  Stephanie Schiele,  Benjamin Shilman,  Erin Strasheim,  Amber Straub,  Andrew Vonrotz,  Mozeek Waggener,  Wellington Waggener,  Zachary Wiley,   Sean Wills,  Malisa Winebrenner  Chehalis:   Jacob Berry,  James Brewer,  Aric Catron,  Erin Cox,   Matthew Damian,  Matt Dean,  Stephanie Deboer,  Heather Dickenson,  Erica Engle,  Jason Evans,   Annabelle Fox,  Jeanie Gardner,  Cassie Hamilton,  Jacqueline Hammond,  Anastasia Hansen,  Mary Harris,  Kathy Howard,  John Hynes,  Jason Jaber,  Richard Jimenez,  Ramonda Johnson,   Jonathan Judd,   Golshid Koloushani,  Vasily Kovzun,  Eric Kristenson,  Mary Lewis,  Joseph Long,  Robert Lund,  Samantha May,  Eli Mazariegos,  Ann Medford,  Colleen Murray,  Modesto Ojeda,  Darrin Oxford,  Andrea Ozretich,   Rebecca Painter,  Lauren Phillips,  Derek Reynolds,  Donna Robbins,  Stacie Savunen,  Lindsay Schmitt,   Lindsey Smith,  Chelsea Sonnenberg,  Jennifer  Spaid,  Kelsey Stemkoski,  Jason Wallace,  Sheri Watson,   Bethany Weaver,  Isaac Wulff,  Patrick Zandecki  Cinebar:  Aaron Brower,  Elizabeth Chapman  Coleville: Craig Linn  Doty:  Janee Tavares  Ferndale:  Kylie Garrison  Glenoma:  Chad Hagland  Kettle Falls:   Jason Lindquist  Lacey:  Latonya Manigault  Metaline:  Kirk Johnson  Morton:  Baily Anderson,  Derick Gilk  Mossyrock:  Maria DeGoede,  Angela Hadaller,  Odie Hadaller,  Taffy King  Napavine:  Heather Cook,  Damon Garnas  Oakville:   Andrew Knotts  Olympia:  Abigail Brooks,  Trista Burkhart,  Tamsyn Dunlap, Trisha Gross,   Dyann Nelson,  Paul Pullman,  Sarahann Swain,  Delanie Willows  Onalaska:  Judy Brooks,  Kimberly Gaylor,   Corinna Lyon,  Andrew Randall  PeEll:  Ashley Alden  Rainier:  Monica Reaves  Randle:   William Patton  Rochester:  Daniel Baker,   Marianne Beltjens,  Jericho Hatch,  Arianne Johnston,  Dawins Kemp,  Lisa Lancaster,  Gabriel Lopossa,   Michael Meske, Keith Morgan,  Steve Nickel,  Allicia Peterson,  Elizabeth Sanchez,  Brent Strong,  Keith Winterowd,  Lisa Wiss  Salkum: Danielle Belongia,  Jamie Clay, Tiffany Irwin  Shelton:  Michael Fiola Tacoma: David Anderson,   Daniil Burdeynyy  Tenino:  Conrad  Hoffstater,  Robin Joy,  Michael Larsen  Toledo:  Travis Chambers,  Victoria Ericson,   Jacob King,  Angela Reed,  Jeremy Veigel  Tumwater:  David Haynie  Walla Walla:  Jaci Hoppen  Winlock:   Nathan Campbell,  David Hoogkamer,  Dayna Hurtado,  Alisha Miller,  Deborah Pennington,  Ginger Petrie,  Robert Schmidt,   Linda Stoeckel,  Gerard Thurlow  Yelm:  Angela Clifford,  Anna Clifford,  Alexandria Miller,  Jason Ward

Centralia College Spring Quarter Vice-President’s List

The following students earned at least a 3.75 GPA during spring quarter and completed a minimum of 10 credits.

Centralia:  Sharon  Allen,  Andy  Baker,  Kayleen  Carl, Benjamin  Caviness, Ashleigh  Colford, Joe  Echols, Tanya  Homer, David  Howard, Waylon  Huestis, Cheuk  Leung, Maranda  Lovato, Cora  Macy, Shannon  Magennis, Gayle  Meister, Abigail  Messegee, Anthony  Miller, James  Milton, Alecia  Mitchem, Keith  Morgan, Karen  Paguaga, Scott  Pethel, Kristi  Sloan, Malachi  Tracy, Greg  Traw, Sandra  Trent, Josie  Tuckfield, GA  Yu

Chehalis:  Steven  Barnett, Katie  Blankinship, Antawn  Cooper, Jeremy  Coronel, Shane  Dangel, Joshua  Debusk, Benjamin  Erskine, Heather  Faul, Amanda  Forbes, Dodi  Forgione, Nolan  Fraley, Cassandra Graves, Bow  Hall, Jessica  Hart, Kara  Klein, Brad  Lucht, Tonya  Mackey, Kyle  Markham, Connor  McCoy-Mickelson, Andrea  Morgan,  Michael  Morgan, Wade  Phillips, Jacob  Ramacher,  Jonathan  Rambo, Christopher Richardson,  Aimee  Rohr, Jayln  Schmitt, Marshall  Schultz, Sara  Simmons, Daniel  Smith, Theresa  Smith, Victoria  Valley, Priscilla  Watson, Brandy  Weaver, Justine  White, Steven  Willis, Zora  Willson, Alison  Workman, Nickolas  Wright, Spencer  Zucati

Cinebar:  Amanda Coleman, George Kort

Colville:  Josh Baker

Curtis:  Kelly Lyon

Doty: Courtney Pace

Eatonville:  Jacob Kinsman

Glenoma:  Bradley Flathers, Penny Kelly

Lacey:  Josephine Dario, Jeremy Vanallen

Mineral:  Tyson Ingalsbe

Morton:  Caroline Chapman, Naomi Gross, Jennifer Mau

Mossyrock:  Molly Cushman, Megan Panuska

Napavine:  Teresa Ashley, R Kaut

Oakville:  Nicole Meyers, Paul Orth

Olympia:  Melissa Bryant, Kelsea  Rothaus

Onalaska:  Eva Bhagwandin, John Cain, Erika Morgan, Cody Nutt

Packwood:  Angela Kiehn

Rainier:  Alex Proffitt

Randle:  Tammy Cole

Rochester:  Tammy  Adams, Bradley  Andersen, Alicia  Gonzalez, Mariah  Gregory, Ryan  Heimbuch, Christina  Johnson, Chris  Leon, Julie  Lind, Hayley  McGinnis, Gabriel  Mitchell, Hannah  Norwood, Michael  Ready, Katye  Rus

Salkum:  Tyrus Taylor

Silvercreek:  Bobbi Murphy

Tenino:  Cassidy Bywater, Candis Fisher, Jordan Howell, Samantha Journey, Whitney Perkins, Helen Warheit-Niemi

Toledo:  Sierra Boivin, Glenda Clark, Gloria Hunter, Dean Lampert, Robert Smith

Tumwater:  Dane Schofield

Winlock:  Joshua Brown, Caitlyn Fasano, Thomas Petrie, Thomas Wilson

Yelm:  Grant Potter, Christopher Smith


Philip Mawamba, from Cameroon to Centralia College

Philip Mawamba

Philip Mawamba

Philip Mawamba, a second-year student and an All-Washington Academic Team member, was born in the African nation of Cameroon and, except for occasional visits to the U.S., lived the first 19 years of his life there. He is the son of an American missionary and a Cameroonian pastor. He grew up in a country known for poverty.

Mawamba was aware of the broader world around him but was able to stay focused on his educational goals. “I would say that living in America is an upgrade,” Mawamba said.

“I’ve seen first-hand how people make it on less than a dollar a day,” Mawamba said. “Now I want to impact as many people in developing countries as possible by empowering people through education and helping people develop resources that will improve their businesses and their lives,” he added.

Mawamba, who was home-schooled before attending a missionary school with an international student body, has set his sights on an advanced business degree and eventually plans to return to Africa to help create change, not only in Cameroon but in other emerging nations.

“Education unlocks a lot of doors. I want to learn as much as I can about business then go back to work to increase the educational levels of the people, set up schools, and expand people’s ability to succeed in business,” Mawamba said. “I want to be a part of change, to help raise the quality of life.” When he completes his education at Centralia College, Mawamba will transfer to a business college on the east coast to study international business.

He is fluent in English and French and is taking Chinese language classes and may travel to that country to better understand how the Chinese conduct business.

Mawamba got a taste for business while in the ninth grade in Cameroon. He set up a honey operation, bringing in raw honey from the northern part of the country, purifying it, then reselling it. He later took over a bacon and ham operation where he cured the ham before selling it. Both business ventures were successful. His mother, a missionary to Cameroon, is originally from Winlock.

When Philip completed high school, the family relocated to the Centralia area. He found Centralia College, enrolled and, as is his style, got involved. He joined the International Students and Latino Unidos clubs, serving as an ambassador for the college to students in area high schools. He joined Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society and ran for and was elected as the vice president of the Associated Students of Centralia College. He also tutors French students.

Outside of class, Mawamba is active in his church and has taken part in cleaning a city park. He volunteers with a program that prepares and serves food to needy people. By the way, he’s doing all this while carrying a 3.9 grade point average.

“Education and an awareness of diversity are important,” Mawamba said. “The diversity of the people in the missionary school broadened my horizons while the individualized attention my teachers offered was essential in giving me an intellectual edge,” Mawamba said. “I’ve learned a lot about what is important and these are things I want to share.”


Vasily Kovzun, from Moldova to Centralia College

Vasily Kovzun

Vasily Kovzun

Vasily Kovzun is a second year Centralia College student and a member of the All-Washington Community College Academic Team.

Kovzun was born in Chisinau, the capital of the Republic of Moldova, and moved with his family to Centralia when Kovzun’s father won that country’s green card lottery.

“There’s a lottery for people who want to come to America. My father went to the lottery office with a friend who urged him to apply. It was a total surprise when he won,” Vasily said. By winning, the family was given green cards (allowing foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the U.S.) and airline tickets. Vasily, who has an older brother, was 2-years old when the family moved to the U.S. and found their way to the Centralia area. Kovzun entered the public school system and while at WF West, he enrolled in the Centralia College Running Start program. He will graduate high school and receive his two-year college degree concurrently this June and transfer to a four-year university, choosing from the University of Washington, where his brother attended, Washington State University, Stanford, and Harvard.

“I found an amazing staff at Centralia College, and it has been a great learning experience,” Kovzun said. Getting involved in college and taking college classes reignited his desire for education. “I was bored in high school but have really enjoyed college. The teachers are able to meet with me and help when I have questions. I’ve never had a teacher at the college tell me he didn’t have time or couldn’t help. Centralia College has challenged me.” He has risen to that challenge, reflected in his 3.9 grade point average. He also speaks two languages fluently and “can get by” in
three other languages.

“My beginnings and the poverty my family has known makes me understand the great gift and chance I have been given to live in America. I intend to never squander that gift. Whether in life or in my education, I plan to work hard and make the best of myself every single day,” Kovzun said.

His career goal is to enter the medical field. “I know I want to help others. It may be as a doctor or as a researcher,” Kovzun said. Already he is involved in activities to help improve people’s lives. He served as the team leader that did volunteer yard work for families who couldn’t do it themselves. “We took care of lawns and did other projects around the home,” Kovzun said. During a recent summer he undertook a mission trip to Vancouver, B.C., to assist in the operations of a children’s camp. He has been a volunteer locally with Kids’ Kloset, a program that collects and distributes clothing and shoes to children in low-income families.

Kovzun said that one of his more significant endeavors was helping to modify a motor vehicle to allow a disabled person to drive. He worked on a system to raise and lower the vehicle to help the individual get into it.

Not all of his work has been as a volunteer. “For seven years I delivered The Chronicle, earning money to pay for things I wanted,” he said. He recently gave up that job to work in the college’s science labs.

“It is work that I really enjoy,” he said. And is certainly more suited to his career goals.


Elwyn Johnston, Senator for Student Relations

Elwyn Johnston

Elwyn Johnston

Elwyn Johnston came to Centralia College as a Running Start student from Oakville High School.

After he graduated in 2011 from Oakville, Johnston received a scholarship to attend Centralia College, and is working toward his Associate in Arts degree. He is also involved in campus life having been elected to the student government where he is the senator for Student Relations.

“I have had a lot of great experiences here at the college serving on student government,” Johnston said. In addition to responsibilities with student government, Johnston enjoys snowboarding and is a member of the college’s Ski Club.

When asked why he thought a college education is important, Elwyn said, “Education is important because under the right circumstances it can give people a much better perspective on life.

“I have found the faculty and staff to be most helpful and everyone here is super friendly. I would recommend Centralia College to anyone looking to go to college. Community colleges are great at giving students their first two years of college at an affordable price. With our smaller class sizes, you can get to know your teachers more easily than at a large university,” he added.


Stacy Ridgley returns to college to face fear of math

Stacy Ridgley

Stacy Ridgley

It could be said that you can run from your dreams but you can’t hide. They will find you. That could be the reality that brought Stacy Ridgley to Centralia College.

Ridgley enrolled in classes in 2010, to major in Spanish and fulfill her dream of becoming a Spanish teacher. But coming to college wasn’t all that easy.

“For many years I avoided going back to college. I graduated from high school in Vancouver, Wash., and attended Clark College for one year. I then went to business school and took accounting classes thinking that was the area I’d like to go into.”

It looked like a straight path to success, simply needing to stay the course but then Stacy “ran away” for 10 years and joined a traveling drama group, touring the U.S. and Europe.

“It was a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun. Our group performed in churches, schools, nursing homes and prisons in the U.S., and in Europe we performed mostly in schools. We helped with English lessons by using drama in our discussions with the students and helping them to speak and learn English better.” During that time she married and had two children but after returning to the states, she found herself a single mom without a job.

“After I lost my job, I went back to school kicking and screaming! I spent 25 years avoiding going back to college because I was afraid of math. When I was in eighth grade, the school I attended skipped me forward a year in math and because of that I missed concepts that I needed. I believed that I could never again do math and I avoided going back to college because I knew I would have to take math and science,” Ridgley said.

She found her way to Centralia College, stared down her math phobia by taking pre-math classes where she acquired the concepts that she missed out on years before. Not that she’s solved all the mysteries of numbers, but she is taking college-level classes. “Not only can I now do math, but I succeed at it. I still prefer humanities, but I am no longer afraid of math.” The veil has been torn away. “Roberta Abarca (college math instructor) has a gift for making math accessible and she made me believe I could do it.”

When asked why she chose Centralia College, Stacy said, “I can walk to school and it’s economical for a single mom. I have been so pleased with my experience here. I think we have great professors. I used to have the idea that faculty thought of themselves as high and lofty and unapproachable but I have not had that experience at all.”

Let’s not forget that her dream is still to become a Spanish teacher. “I have really enjoyed Laura Yocom (the college’s Spanish language professor). I appreciate her enthusiasm for the language and for how she teaches Spanish. I appreciate the patience she has with the class. Laura expects the best and she gets it.”

Ridgley recommends Centralia College as a starting point for success.

“I would absolutely recommend Centralia College to others and am hoping my two children attend Centralia College. I think attending a community college is important, this is where you learn what it’s like to go to college. You can get your feet wet.

“I don’t regret the choices I have made in my life but I do recommend getting an education before taking on the added responsibility of having a family and raising children. If you do make the choices I made, Centralia College is a great place to come back to!”


Margaret Debevec earns ‘Transforming Lives’ award

Margaret Debevec

Margaret Debevec

Margaret Debevec is a young woman with a powerful will to overcome. She is a testimony to the desire to improve life through education. After earning her transfer degree from Centralia College last June, she enrolled in WSU-Vancouver. Debevec will receive a $500 “Transforming Lives” award from the Washington state Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges.

The Transforming Lives award honors current students or graduates who have turned their lives around by pursuing higher education at a community or technical college.

“These students were told that they couldn’t make it – that they didn’t have what it takes to succeed. But against all odds, they persevered and started new lives for themselves,” Tom Malone, association president and trustee of the Seattle Community College District, said. Her story is both heartbreaking and inspirational… and a reminder that education elevates lives.

In her own words:

If you are looking for a person whose life has been dramatically changed by attending a community college, look no further.

To fully understand how drastically my life has changed, I need to start at the beginning. I was sexually and mentally abused at home, and by the age of 11, I was on the streets. Without guidance and care, I learned how to survive by any means necessary; as a result, I was often in trouble. Ultimately, I was made a ward of the state, but in all my time with counselors, cops and judges, nobody ever took the time to ask me what was going on at home. From age 11 to age 16, I was either on the streets or locked up in juvenile detention homes. During that time, I became very angry; I hated adults and I did not trust anyone. I dropped out of school after completing only the sixth grade.

By 16, I got married to become an emancipated adult. It was a disaster; my husband went to prison and left me to raise a baby alone. Dysfunction would follow me for many more years to come. I had a few more marriages, all abusive; so abusive my children ended up being taken from me. I moved constantly but never found anything to hold on to. I had no education, so the only jobs I could get were minimum wage or bartending. No employment prospects, coupled with losing my children, I turned to drugs. This only magnified my problems and for years I was in and out of jail. Interestingly, jail is where my life changed.

In 2002, I was serving time in jail when a woman came to talk to us about God. After that visit, I said my first prayer ever and my life changed forever. This woman, who I did not know, took me into her home when I was released. She showed me love, compassion and encouragement. She started me on the path of healing and I began believing in myself. In 2009, she talked me into getting my GED. I did, but it was not an easy task. School was extremely difficult for me considering I only had a sixth-grade education. While other students were refreshing their skills, I was learning things for the first time. Math was particularly difficult for me but the faculty at Centralia College was very patient and never stopped encouraging me. I also joined the TRiO program, where I got one-on-one tutoring in math, which I continue to use even now that I have graduated.

I completed my GED in 2009 and then was encouraged to go on to get my Associate of Arts degree. I did not just get my degree at Centralia College, I got a life that I can call my own. For the first time, I can stand with my head held high. Every faculty member went above and beyond for me. They encouraged me to get involved, so I became a member of Phi Theta Kappa and served as a Senator for the Associated Students of Centralia College.

I am currently attending Washington State University on the President’s Scholarship. After I receive my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, I plan to attend law school. None of this would have been possible without the community college. I would not have been able to get into a four-year college with my limited skills and I doubt they could have provided me with the personal support and guidance I needed to stay motivated. Many times I wanted to give up and drop out, but they would not let me. They cheered me on all the way through to commencement. I know I would not have gotten that at any other college. I want to thank Centralia College for their time and support.


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