All posts by Mike Guido

A seventh semester journalism student at Suffolk County Community College. Former Managing Editor of Compass News. Former writer/reporter for aXcess Baseball. NBA Draft Lead Writer for otgbasketball.com. Current sports talk radio host for Sports On The Go 1; Monday-Friday, 8:00-10:00pm, “Home Stretch.”

SCCC holds appreciation luncheon for student workers and interns

Every academic year, SCCC celebrates the accomplishments of student workers and interns on campus. On April 25, an annual Career Services Appreciation Luncheon was held in the Eaton’s Neck Room of the Babylon Student Center. SCCC had 99 students that were collectively recognized and accounted for at this year’s event.

The front page of the pamphlet given to every student and faculty member who attended the event.

The inside of the pamphlet giving the itinerary for the event.

The back side of the pamphlet listing executives involved in the Career Services department.

Students and faculty members joining in bunches to celebrate the accomplishments of student interns and workers with food and conversation.

College Director, Tania Velazquez, addressing the attendees about the event and speaking of her pride in what SCCC has been able to do to help students in finding career before giving out awards.

Student worker, Doris Arias, receiving the “Most Responsible” award for a Federal Work Study Student

Jonathan Pierre,

Student intern, Jonathan Pierre, receiving the “Best Team Player” award for a Federal Work Study Student.

Career Services executives conversing with students about their experiences and accomplishments.

After awards are given out, students receiving them laugh and enjoy themselves in the celebration of their achievements.

Student worker, Doris Arias, listening on as her peer speaks of his experiences.

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SCCC makes strides to help veterans with new program

College and elected officials, along with school veterans, celebrate SCCC being granted a “VetsSuccess on Campus” designation by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Photo by Mike Guiido. (April 4, 2018)

SCCC has become one of 99 colleges in the country to offer vocational counseling to student veterans, officials announced at a press conference in the William J. Lindsay building on April 4.

By being granted a “VetsSuccess on Campus” designation by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs,  the college can provide veteran students with access to programs to help them transition into civilian life and the workforce.

To assist with these efforts, the college has added a VA vocational rehabilitation counselor.

“In the Veteran’s Association, regular VRCs normally only deal with veterans with service connect disabilities and employment handicaps and what we do is we train them if need be and help them find employment,” said Christopher Holder, SCCC’s new vocational counselor. “That re-training can be anything from trade school to a certificate to graduate school. I got a master’s degree through vocational rehab.”

SCCC is one of the few schools in the country that offers this service to veterans and it has been a hike to get there. College Director of Student Affairs Shannon O’Neill said the school has been working for years to make this happen.

“The college has been working with local elected officials since early 2015 to advocate for inclusion in this program,” O’Neill said. “There has not been any additional funding at the federal level since 2012 so there have not been any new schools added.”

O’Neill worked directly with the Veteran’s Association in Washington, D.C., as well as with U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who attended the press conference, to advocate for this position. Syracuse University is the only other college in New York that offers vocational counseling.

Prior to having the VA counselor on campus, veterans would have needed to travel to Northport or Manhattan for the same services.

Olivia McMahon, a student veteran studying Spanish, said the program is crucial to veterans on campus in comparison to other schools.

“The program definitely reaches out to a lot of the students and it brings them here,” McMahon said. “I’ve been to other schools where you had to climb walls and mountains just to get your paperwork through and it was still another phone call. They brought the program to us. It was easy.”

Suffolk fails to make necessary advances to prevent mass shootings

Students at SCCC should be frightened. Not by exams, meal plans, or general college-induced stress, but by something much more severe. After recent high school shootings throughout the nation, including the one in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed, the fear of an active shooter has never been greater. It does not help with SCCC’s minimal effort to prevent such an occurrence.

SCCC is an open campus, which indicates that anyone, student or not, can set foot on campus without prior warning or security check-in. All of the buildings on the Ammerman Campus are kept unlocked as well, without central security through electronic locks. The school’s public safety officers are not armed and primarily hold the responsibility of calling the police in such an occurrence. In other words, public safety’s active shooter prevention protocol is not enough.

Shortly after the Parkland shooting, the president of SCCC, Shaun McKay, sent out an email on Feb. 26 to the student body addressing the issue.

“We have secured full staffing for our Public Safety force, we have purchased additional equipment, and we have provided strong leadership for our officers inclusive of adding an Assistant Director of Patrol Operations and leadership at the Captain level on each campus,” the email stated.

Regarding whether professors should carry firearms, McKay said, “personally, I do not see any reason to arm teachers — or professors– within an institution for higher learning.”

The public safety page of the SCCC website contains the basic run, hide, fight policy as its lone protocol in taking action for an active shooter. The policy advises students to call 911, and also provides instructions on what to do when police arrive.

In response to one of the most deadly mass shootings in American history, all SCCC did was supply additional unarmed security guards and strong leadership. Former police officer John Cerato says that just is not enough for a school that is open and withholds that many students.

“The amount of security they have at Suffolk is making me rethink sending my kids there,” Cerato says. “As a former cop, my job was to defend people and seeing that an entire institution can feel comfortable with the process they have right now is really disheartening.”

According to Newsday, school districts across Long Island have been progressively making additional security efforts after the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012. Schools have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on things like highly trained security guards, security cameras, building monitoring services, and visitor restriction technologies.

SCCC has not taken the same steps as other schools across Long Island to protect staff and students in the event of a mass shooting. They have fallen behind on necessary technological advances and security efforts to avoid another heartbreaking story. As the upper executives pass it off as if they are taking the necessary steps, the school remains woefully unprepared.

Despite success, SCCC’s baseball team lacks coverage

After winning the district championship in 2016 and coming in second last year, the Suffolk County Community College baseball program is moving into the new season with nothing but confidence.

The Sharks had an overall record of 26-11-1 in 2017, finishing the season with a conference-best 20 wins and only two losses. However, most people on campus, let alone the region, aren’t aware of the team’s success.

It’s about time for that to change, according to the current and past coach, as well as observers.

“Our boys deserve more recognition from both the college and the local news networks,” said former head coach Eric Brown, the longest-tenured coach in the college’s history who retired last year. “These boys have talent and have proven it. There is not a good reason why they do not get more coverage.”

New head coach Brian Klammer, who started at the conclusion of last season, says he has confidence in the program and players, and that news outlets should give the team the attention it deserves. Without the press, players can get overlooked for future possibilities, he said.

“I know in the past watching these guys perform, they’ve had guys that have wanted to transfer to higher-level programs and even go pro, and they haven’t been given a fair shot,” Klammer said. “It isn’t even just this school or even Long Island. Truthfully, it’s the entire Northeast. None of these players get the same respect as some down South who get to play year-round.”

The team’s season opened on March 1. It has a 3-2 record.

Vinny Messana , who started aXcess Baseball, an online publication specifically dialed in on covering local high school and college baseball on Long Island, is one who believes there’s a real demand for coverage of Suffolk and other schools.

“People don’t realize that Long Island wants baseball,” Messana said, whose publication has grown to the point where he now holds an awards banquet at the end of every season.  “I created this outlet because of the lack of coverage these players were getting and I never expected the results to look like this.”

The next time the Sharks will see the field is March 11 in a double-header against Orange County.