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Nov. 2022 News Blog

DATE: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

News briefs from the HCC campus and beyond

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Girl Scout Gold
Foundations of Health major Brienne Senez Brienne Senezwas recently featured on MassLive for earning her Girl Scout Gold Award. The Gold Award is the Girls Scouts' highest achievement and is bestowed only on those who complete a project that creates sustainable change in the world of in their communities. For her Gold Award project, Senez started an American Sign Language club at Southwick High School in January when she was a senior there, leading classes for both students and teachers in basic ASL and Deaf culture. Much of what Senez knew she had learned herself in the ASL class she took at HCC as a high school junior. "Through this project I learned that I can do absolutely anything that I put my time, mind and energy into," Senez told MassLive. "I can change lives, and I think that is truly amazing." Ultimately, the 18-year-old first-year student plans to transition into HCC's Vet Tech program.


HCC President Christina Royal holds a few tags from the college's Giving Tree.

Giving Trees Return
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the HCC's Giving Trees have returned. Each of the college's three holiday trees is decorated with bright, colorful tags, every one of them a holiday wish list for a consumer of a local nonprofit agency. This is the 21st year HCC has run its Giving Tree holiday gift-buying program after celebrating its 20thanniversary in 2019. The 416 gift tags represent consumers from four area agencies the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, Homework House, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and WestMass ElderCare. The trees are located in the third floor lobby of the Frost building, the HCC Library, and in the Student Engagement office on the second floor of the Campus Center. Representatives from each agency will be on campus Dec. 15 to pick up their gifts during a Giving Tree closing celebration. Above, President Christina Royal chooses a few gift tags go fulfill. 

Dia de los Muertos

Diá de los Muertos
Despite its resemblance to one of America's favorite celebratory occasions, Diá de los Muertos  (Mexico's Day of the Dead) has nothing to do with Halloween. "Halloween is tied to a pagan ritual," said HCC Spanish professor Raúl Gutiérrez. "Diá de los Muertos is typically a religious holiday that has to do with Catholicism and a mixture of indigenous practices - pre-Columbian, Aztec." Part of the confusion may lie in their shared use of the color orange. "Orange marks the pathway to the afterlife," Gutiérrez said. "That's the way your loved ones are able to find you." Gutiérrez made his remarks on Wed., Nov. 2, during HCC's first-ever Diá de los Muertos celebration, an event organized by El Centro and HCC's Latinx Empowerment Association, the LEA Club. During his remarks, Gutiérrez, a native of Mexico, explained the significance of the ofrenda, a kind of alter, that had been constructed outside the El Centro offices in the HCC Campus Center, on which members of the HCC community were invited to place photos of their loved ones who have passed on. "This is the way we celebrate people who are no longer here," he said, "and for just being lucky to have had them in our lives for a certain period." HCC student Mishie Serrano of Holyoke brought in a photograph or her great-grandparents - "grandpa papa and grandma mama" - Aurelio Morales Luna and Beatriz Garrigas Perez, from whom she continues to draw inspiration from in her poetry. "This is the only photo we have of them," said Serrano, co-president of the LEA Club. "I could not think of a better way to honor them than to do it like this."

Trunk or Treat at HCC 2022

Another Trunk or Treat Complete
With another successful Trunk or Treat in the books, plans are already underway for next year's pre-Halloween bash, which will be the college's sixth since 2017. Principal organizer Sheila Gould reports that this year's event welcomed about 1,000 costumed kids, plus at least that many accompanying adults. "Some families had huge groups. It's becoming quite a community event," said Gould, coordinator of HCC's early education program. "A lot of people say they look forward to it every year. We're starting to see some of the same families each year, so we're able to watch their kids growing up, and that's cool." There were 45 vehicles decked out in various themes in Lot M by the Bartley Center with awards going to seven fan favorites: Kid's Choice Award: HCC Culinary Club - Ratatouille; Most Interactive: HCC Dance Club - Happy Clowns; Energetic, Enthusiastic, Excited): HCC President's Cabinet - Decades Party. Scariest Trunk: HCC Veterinary and Animal Science program: Haunted Vet Clinic; Best Costume: Jan McLean of Jan's Flowers - Under the Sea Trunk and Ursula costume; Most Original: Lisa, Matt and Friends - Extraterrestrial Space Ship; Best Treats - HCC C.A.M.O. Club - food truck with popcorn. "Everybody had a great time," said Gould, who came with her HCC education department colleagues dressed like Crayola crayons. "Our department already knows what we're doing next year," she said. "Care Bears. We're gonna have a tent and make it look like a cloud." Gould said organizers have been talking about adding a lot full of food trucks next to the  Trunk or Treat festivities. "Because parents get hungry," she said. "They want a burger." Check out more Trunk or Treat photos in our Facebook Photo Album.



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