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Social Work Major Receives $30,000 Scholarship from PG&E

By Larry Peña on May 31, 2012

When PUC social work major Erica McCray went in to the PG&E office in Napa, Calif., on May 30, she thought she was interviewing for a chance at the company’s Bright Minds Scholarship. She was in for a surprise—PG&E had already selected her from a pool of 8,000 as one of ten statewide recipients of the $30,000 scholarship, renewable for four years of education.

“When I walked in, there were balloons, cake, and a giant check with my name on it!” says McCray, emotion still ringing in her voice a day after the surprise award ceremony. “I just started praising the Lord…It blows my mind, and I still can’t stop smiling.”

To McCray, the moment seems to be a turning point after many difficult years. When her husband abruptly left her six years ago, he took everything but their three children. McCray suddenly found herself without a partner, a significant income, or even access to what had been their joint bank account.

Despite the sudden, unexpected hardships, McCray never stopped trusting God to sustain her through the most difficult times. “I had just been walking on faith,” she says. “I thought that the lessons I had to learn were how

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Record Turnout for Publication Workshop; HMA Sweeps Newspaper Awards

By Larry Peña on September 22, 2011

Academy students from across the western states learned tips from design and editing professionals September 6-8 at PUC’s annual Publication Workshop. This year’s crowd was the largest in the 21-year history of the program, with 26 schools in attendance. Publication Workshop provides invaluable experience for high school yearbook, video yearbook, and newspaper publishers, and for many students is a first step into a lifelong career in publishing or journalism.

“PUC does an amazing job at providing support through the workshops and especially the opportunity to network with each other,” said Stanley Matsuda, yearbook sponsor at Redding Adventist Academy in Redding, Calif.

This year’s program instructors included professors from PUC’s communication and visual arts departments, working professionals in the public relations and student life offices, and upper division design students—some in their first teaching experiences. The program also tapped resources from off campus, including keynote speaker Donna Rooney, who has been a writer for a variety of TV shows and websites; Jesse Duarte, a reporter for the local newspaper St. Helena Star; and John Tagamolila, an assistant director with credits including The Fighter and Dear John, and an adjunct professor in PUC’s visual arts department.

“Publication Workshop was a great mix

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Young Students Experience College at PacificQuest

By Larry Peña on August 8, 2011

Twenty-four outstanding students in grades seven, eight, and nine earned advance college credits and had a preview of college life at Pacific Union College’s annual PacificQuest, July 24-29. The program recruits high-performance students from schools across the Adventist system for a well rounded and challenging academic and social experience. Students came from as close as the Bay Area and as far away as Colorado.

“All of the kids are exceptional—they are academically gifted but also many are artistic,” says PacificQuest academic director Aimee Wyrick, a PUC biology professor. “Our students are very athletic as well. Altogether, a well-rounded bunch.”

This year’s program included a core class and two electives. Every student took a class on biology emphasizing exotic animals, taught by PUC biology professor Bryan Ness. He guided the students through interactions with a variety of unconventional pets, including monitors, tarantulas, and snakes, learning about the science of how they live and what makes them unusual.

PUC business professor Wally Lighthouse introduced the students to the study of business in one of the elective options. In “Business as Usual,” students explored the impact of trade and economics on history and culture, researched the value of unexpected commodities, and practiced business

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REVO Breaks $10,000 Goal

By Larry Peña on June 7, 2011

PUC’s student-led philanthropy organization REVO officially reached its dollar goal last week, just in time to conclude its campaign with the close of the school year. This year’s goal was $10,000 to fund a self-sustaining community kitchen in Argentina’s impoverished province of Salta.

The final donation that put the fundraising over the top was a gift from a group of 15 students led by Julov’ Pierre. The group took second place at the SA talent show in April with an elaborate multimedia performance built around the theme “Heal the World.” As the REVO campaign came to a close, the group collectively decided to donate their cash prize.

“We decided to make something that people could remember,” says Pierre, a native of Haiti who feels a deep connection to the cause of international humanitarian responsibility. “REVO[’s…] project corresponded with our vision and theme. It was a great pleasure.”

Immediately after receiving the full $10,000, REVO officers performed the next step of the campaign—getting the money into the hands of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). The agency will take the lead on implementing the kitchen—building the facility, developing the attached garden and livestock supply, and training locals to run the facility

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REVO Raises $9,500 For Community Kitchen

By Larry Peña on May 11, 2011

PUC students held the college’s fourth annual REVO fundraising event on the Campus Mall, Sunday, May 8. Hundreds of students braved damp weather to turn out for the charity event, contributing about $2,500 toward feeding an impoverished population in Argentina.

The event featured performances by two student bands, as well as the San Francisco rock group I the Mighty. Students also browsed many tables of donated clothing and assorted items for sale, followed by REVO’s annual second-hand fashion show. Models in the show strode the runway in fashions inspired by African tribal dress.

A new feature at this year’s REVO event was the silent auction in which students bid for goods and services from PUC’s staff and faculty, including music lessons, athletic adventures, and homemade food.

“REVO couldn’t exist without the students at PUC, willing to come spend their time and money,” says REVO coordinator and junior Tyler McCulloch. He is one of several student organizers that plans the annual campaign.

This year’s project is a community kitchen that will serve a small indigenous village in the Argentinean province of Salta. Malnourishment is widespread in this community, and REVO has partnered with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to

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Homecoming 2011: This Mountain Brought Us Together

By Larry Peña on April 19, 2011

Pacific Union College alumni returned to the mountain as the college held its annual Homecoming Weekend under sunny skies, April 15-17. This year’s program honored the graduating classes of ’41, ’51, ’61, ’71, ’81, ’91, ’01, and ’06, plus 25-year reunion class of ‘86.

The celebration began Friday evening with the traditional Diogenes Dinner, a banquet honoring a person who has shown outstanding lifelong service to PUC. This year’s honorees were Ruth and Lyle McCoy, ’42 and ’45, two local alumni who have been intimately involved with the Angwin community and have given regularly and substantially in support of the college. President Heather J. Knight recognized the iconic PUC couple with another PUC icon—a beautiful watercolor painting of the old west wing of Irwin Hall by former art professor Vernon Nye.

Knight took the opportunity to announce her dream of restoring that historic structure, which was demolished in 1982 amid concerns of its structural integrity. The announcement drew pronounced applause from the attendees, as Irwin Hall has long been a rallying point for many of PUC’s alumni.

Following a short service honoring alumni who have passed away this year, Brigadier General Loree K. Sutton, M.D., ’81, presented the message at

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