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Seeing double on the football field

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Coming in hot from Arizona are twins Peyton Pelletier and Parker Pelletier who are eager to get on the field and show their rivals how much explosive energy they’ve got.

Born and raised in Tucson, Ariz., the Pelletiers were inspired by their father, a former Pierce football player and alumnus. 

“Since we were little, our dad introduced us to various sports. But football was really something that hit me and Parker hard,” Peyton Pelletier said. “It was a passion for us. Our dad said that if this is what you guys want, then I’m going to coach and train both of you. It’s been that way since I can remember and that’s how we got into football.” 

Since the age of 6, the identical twins have been nearly inseparable. The duo played football together until their junior year at Salpointe Catholic, when Peyton Pelletier transferred to a different school district to gain more playing time as the quarterback at Ironwood Ridge. 

However, in his senior year, COVID-19 was on the rise and restrictions kept him from playing a full season at his new school.

“[During] my senior year, the pandemic hit, but I was lucky enough to play two full games,” Peyton Pelletier said. “It would have been nice to have a full season and playoffs to see what our team could’ve done and what I could’ve done.” 

Parker Pelletier contemplated leaving Salpointe Catholic to join Peyton Pelletier at Ironwood Ridge but decided against it. 

“I decided to stick it out and it paid off because I was able to play a full junior and senior season,” Parker Pelletier said. “I got to play with some of the best players in the country,”

Parker Pelletier said the coaching staff is one of the best he’s worked with.

“It’s not just all about football, they’re making sure that we have proper housing, transportation and food,” Parker Pelletier said. “The coaching staff is going above and beyond what people see and I think they deserve all the credit and we’re grateful for them.” 

The move from their hometown to Woodland Hills, Calif., has been a welcoming one. Both are grateful for the opportunity to represent the Brahmas and to be united on the field once again. 

“My expectations as quarterback are to make every player at any level better,” Peyton Pelletier said. “We have good team chemistry and in order to get better we need to do it together as a unit. We have a great team with an amazing coaching staff. Every week we’re getting better and that’s the goal.”

Interim head football coach Anthony Harris gave his analysis on the newcomers.

“The twins look alike but they are certainly different. Peyton is the quarterback, and Parker a wide receiver for us. Parker is a versatile player, who can play on defense and offense. Peyton is very athletic and has all the tools to be successful right away, and did some good things during the scrimmage against Bakersfield. Sky’s the limit for him and I’m pretty excited about him,” Harris said.

Harris expects the team to give it their all and to see games through the fourth quarter. 

“My expectations are to give it everything this season to help and develop our young players individually and as a team unit having the ability to execute every play,” Harris said. “I think that if we can do that we can take control of the game and have an opportunity to be successful in the fourth quarter.”

 

Roster issues for Pierce football

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Sports have finally come back to Pierce College.

Coming out of a canceled season, however, the football team found itself in a hole early to begin their schedule.

The team had to cancel a game against Bakersfield College due to many of their players being listed as ineligible.

In fact, only 14 out of 42 players were deemed eligible come game time on Saturday, Sept. 4.

Interim head coach Anthony Harris said that this happened due to some complications with eligibility forms. 

However, the team has learned from this and is now determined to move forward.

“We’re learning from that process,” Harris said. “Now really trying to make sure that on a weekly basis that we’re staying on top of our guys so that we can have as many guys eligible when the week comes around.”

Two seasons ago Pierce had a full roster, but in 2021 the football roster is smaller than previous years.

Harris explained that this is a product of multiple factors.

“I think it’s for a couple of reasons,” Harris said. “COVID number one, there’s a lot of kids who decided not to play football, we graduated a ton of sophomores from the ‘19 program.”

Like all the sports programs at Pierce, in some way, the football team was impacted by the pandemic. 

Harris said the pandemic affected his team in many ways but most importantly their preparation for games.

“You have to practice football to be good at football,” Harris said. “You have some schools that were able to participate in the spring, we had zero, we couldn’t even be out here.”

Sophomore quarterback Andrew Young said that there were some minor difficulties getting back into the swing of things.

“It took a little while to get back into it,” Young said. “But I think everything is coming together and it just feels like we’re starting right back off where we left at the end of last season.”

After a 47-0 loss in their season opener, the team’s mood isn’t expected to be pleasant.

Young, however, said that despite the feeling of a blowout loss, the team is on the right path moving forward.

“Getting punched in the mouth in the first game but we’re coming together now and I think we’re really improving after that,” Young said.

While the season hasn’t gotten off to a picture perfect start, players on the team are still working hard in order to turn things around.

Dennis Jones, a sophomore running back, said the team is focused on getting better and doing it together.

“These last two games we just lost, it’s been tough,” Jones said. “We know as players, we can only control what we can control. It’s just a learning process right now. Everything is coming together and I think this next game, we’ll get a win.”

There’s a lot of areas the team feels they need to work on in order to start cranking out wins.

And Jones believes it comes down to the team’s camaraderie.

“We need everybody to buy into the process,” Jones said. “Everybody has to do their job, execute, and play as a team. Other than that, everything else will play it’s own part.”

This season is far from a lost one for the 2021 Brahmas despite all the adversity they’ve had to face in the beginning of their season. 

According to Harris, there are definitely some positive takeaways amidst all the chaos.

“We’re encouraged,” Harris said. “We know that we have a young team and we know that’s going to take us a little bit longer, that’s okay. We just look for the next contest and try to take each play and each quarter and do the best we can and hopefully we can be close in the fourth quarter to be able to win our first game this year.”

Brahmas drop the ball

After more than a year, the Pierce College women’s volleyball team hosted their first game of the season Friday evening, against Santa Monica.

After two years of absence due to the pandemic, the Brahmas are off to a rocky start. They lost in straight sets 25-14, 25-20 and 25-14.

Assistant Coach Cynthia Buggs said she is proud of how the players progressed throughout the matches.

“We did get a few aces which I was very proud of,” Buggs said. “We were able to get them out of the system, so I was happy with the serving.”

Buggs said the team needs to work on being more combative in their offensive approaches.

“I thought that our defense was pretty good but we just couldn’t turn those into points,” Buggs said. “I just want the girls to be more aggressive, whether we are tipping or roll-shotting.”

The COVID-19 pandemic had halted many indoor sports. With its return back on campus and inside gyms, indoor sports lack an audience to base spirit off of. 

Outside hitter Lana Blourtchi said that motivation was a key factor when maintaining focus during the game. 

“Nobody wants to lose, especially if it’s a home game,” Blourtchi said. “We kinda need to go off our teammates’ energy so I feel like motivation has the biggest impact on us.”

Captain and setter Emma Hammer said the lack of audience was unusual.

“It was a little quiet,” Hammer said. “Fans make it a lot more energetic in here.”

Hammer said that she ran a different offense and was able to get a block in. She said she believes running more offensive attacks would produce more side-outs. 

“I think we need to work on siding out quicker,” Hammer said. “If they have the ball, we need to get it back quicker.”

Head coach Edison Zhou said he believes the Brahmas did not win due to more defense rather than offense. 

“We started practicing on the 15th of August and we have just been working on defenses,” Zhou said. “After the defense and passes, we were not really able to hit well so we will have to improve and figure that out.”

Zhou said he believes the next game will be better.

“Everybody, in the beginning, is nervous and has so much weight on their legs, they cannot really move fast,” Zhou said. “But with each set, they played better, and they played good defense. We need to fix our setting problem but I think we should be fine next week.”

The women’s volleyball team are back on the court Wednesday against West LA. First serve is at 6 p.m.

Soccer shakes things up

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The Pierce College women’s soccer team continued their great start to the season beating LA Harbor College 2-1.

The Brahmas began trailing, but responded with goals from forward Kiara Washington and midfielder Halle Manalili.

After the game an earthquake struck in Carson.  Goalkeeper Joanna Cerda said the team was cooling down when she saw the lights move.

“All of a sudden we saw the lights flickering and we freaked out,” Cerda said. “The coach told us we were in a safe spot so we had nothing to worry about.”

Head soccer coach Adolfo Perez earned his 297th win. He is three wins away from 300.

Perez said he was pleased with the performance.

“We found a way to recover after letting a goal in the first minutes of the game,” Perez said. Halle scored which for me was goal of the year.

 Cerda said the team started slow.

“We didn’t have a great start. We conceded early, but we found a way to tie the game at the half,” Cerda said. “Second half we came back harder and we started to have more communication on the field and we did a lot better.”

Cerda praised the defense for stepping up to maintain the lead.

Defender Julianna Euyoque said she’s pleased the team is playing well.

“After six games to know that we are playing well is obviously a good feeling. I’m sure that we will continue to pick up wins because we don’t want the second week of November to be our last,” Euyoque said.

Women’s soccer are back on the field Friday when they host Clovis. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.

COVID-19 testing requirement for all LACCD employees

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Interim Pierce College President Ara Aguiar has announced that all full time and adjunct faculty at the Los Angeles Community College District must be COVID-19 tested by October 8 at any of the approved testing locations.

LACCD has partnered with the company Biocept to provide on-campus testing for employees and students on a rotating basis at the nine colleges and District facilities.

During her president’s report, Aguiar said that Biocept is requiring all employees to take a ‘baseline’ test.

“It’s a protocol that this company has because this is now a condition of employment,” Aguiar said. “All employees, whether on campus or off campus, need a baseline, regardless of vaccination status.”

Both Los Angeles Trade-Tech College and East Los Angeles College will have testing available on Sept. 16 for LACCD employees from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Faculty will need to create an account with Biocept (also called Clear4) prior to scheduling the first COVID-19 test.

Beginning next week, regular testing will be available twice a week at Pierce from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and 10 a.m to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Testing will also be available at the other LACCD campuses.

Aside from the COVID-19 updates, the board also discussed the termination of the program Proctorio by the end of December.

Proctorio allowed professors to conduct exams while ensuring that no students were cheating. Media Arts professor Jill Connely shared her concerns about losing the Proctorio application by December. 

“We’re doing a lot of Hyflex classes in our department, and it seems like if some students are in person and the teachers are watching them [while they’re testing] and then the ones online aren’t being watched just doesn’t seem right,” Connely said. “There’s some issues to still think about in that area, and I was hoping we could look into some alternatives.”

Clay Gediman from the Distance Education and Instructional Technologies Committee said that there is a proctoring consortium that’s being offered as an alternative to Proctorio.

“There are compliance issues with [Proctorio], and that’s why the District is not interested in supporting it,” Gediman said. “Students can go to any community college campus that’s part of the consortium, and they’re going to be proctored there. It’s not a great alternative, and we understand that, but it’s what’s being offered right now.”

The Senate also discussed the new OWL devices being used for some of the hyflex classes and fake bots filling up registrations.

The next Senate meeting is scheduled for September 27 at 2:15 p.m. on Zoom.

 

Student guidebooks

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For students new to a collegial environment, the transition might feel jarring at first. 

Pierce College should help make the process easier by offering an informational guidebook/pamphlet, complete with parking information, a QR code for an interactive map and other helpful tips.

The pamphlets could be offered in both a digital and paper form, and could be placed in front of the Student Services building. They would be an effective yet inexpensive way to better inform students about the school.

For example, students might want to know where to buy parking passes, how much parking passes would cost and which parking lots are best depending where their classes are.

Another way the guidebooks could prove useful is giving students the ability to access an interactive map via a QR code. The map could include where the water bottle stations are, where they can access certain services, and the locations of the blue emergency phones.

Students might also want to know the best tips for registering for classes and counselor appointments, as well as more information about financial aid.

According to an article on the National Public Radio website, almost 200,000 fewer students transferred last year. 

If Pierce students had a small guidebook to give them information about what sorts of scholarships or financial aid are available or when and where to make counselor appointments, they might be more encouraged to make more progress in their educational careers.

Though some of this information can be found on Pierce’s website, it’s often hard to find because of the website’s design.

The tips could be student based, written by students for students, because they better understand the needs of their peers.  

Think of the pamphlet like a one stop shop. You could find all of the helpful information in one place.

 

More color on the campus

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When walking around the Pierce College campus, there is an abundance of flourishing trees, plants and other botanicals. 

But there is a noticeable shortage of color and artwork. 

This is something that can easily be remedied with the help of artistic students. 

Utility art programs are extremely popular in California, and Pierce College can join this trend. 

The college can use this opportunity to combine artwork, culture and education, and also add a bit of beauty to things that are typically mundane, such as the utility boxes. 

Murals on college campuses can be used to show support for social movements, such as the Black Lives Matter mural at Davidson College in North Carolina. 

In addition to public commentary on political and social movements, a variety of themes can be expressed through the murals. Sustainability at Colorado State University Spur, the meaning of community at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and college ideals at University of Alabama, Birmingham. 

The Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA has also initiated an art project called “Our Environment,Our Health,” which looks to use traffic signal cabinets on campus as canvases to raise awareness for three topics — climate change, health and well-being. 

For the project, Pierce College administration can assign certain utility boxes or wall spaces to be painted. Pierce art students and local artists or alumni who are interested could submit designs.

The financial cost for administration would be relatively low as they would only be required to provide a stipend for additional art supplies. For reference, the Sherman Oaks Chamber Foundation provides a $350-$450 grant depending on the size of the area that will be painted. 

After a difficult period for students, Pierce should strongly consider livening the spirits of students, staff and community through art.

 

Voting in the Valley

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Pierce College held an 11 day voting center on campus for the recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom.

The center, which is held in the Faculty and Staff 600 Building on campus, opened on Sept. 4 and will close today at 7 p.m.

Pierce is one out of five Los Angeles Community College District colleges that allow eligible and registered voters to either drop off or cast ballots at the center, according to a press release from the LACCD. 

Voters from various cities and of all ages each had a different experience at the voting center.

Robert Knight, a Reseda resident, said that he loves the voting center because it was a simple process which made it a great experience. He said that having the voting center is beneficial to the community because it is close and he no longer has to go to a specific precinct. 

“When you come into the voting center they will sign you in using your ballot card or they will check your address,” Knight said. “Once that’s all verified they give you your ballot to take to the machine and make your selections.”

Knight said that the voting center is so convenient because voters can come when they want to within the dates and times provided which he said is definitely a benefit to the community. 

Maryanne Greenberg, an Encino resident, said that she had no problem with the voting center, but a problem with the machines. 

“In terms of that, that does not impact me not coming here again,” Greenberg said. “I always try to vote in person, but I would rather vote with a paper ballot than this.” 

Katayoun Kavoussi, a Reseda resident, said everyone inside was wearing masks and were provided with sanitizing wipes, but felt that the safety precautions were not overbearing. Kavoussi also said that having new voting machines felt a bit intimidating.

California State University Northridge student Kayla Hardy said the voting center did well by keeping it safe and clean for voters. She said her experience went smoothly because all safety measures were taken into account for COVID-19. 

“They got me checked in and I did have some issues because my address was not showing up at first,” Hardy said. “They figured it out really smoothly, and then I just used the casting ballot machine.”

Hardy said the casting ballot machine is very efficient and updated technology. She said the voting center was easy to navigate with all the signs which helped her figure out where to enter. 

Hardy also said that there are many neighborhoods around the voting center, which is why it is beneficial because it is a location that a lot of people know about.

BRIEF: Football drops 2021 opener

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Pierce College football’s return to the gridiron didn’t go as planned, losing to the LA Harbor College Seahawks 47-0.

A field goal from kicker Angel Zuniga gave the Seahawks a 3-0 lead to end the first quarter.

Things went downhill for the Brahmas as LA Harbor ended the half with a 24-0 lead. 

The Seahawks wrapped things up to win at home in the third quarter.

The Brahmas have a BYE week, but will return to action on Saturday, September 25 at Victor Valley. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Their first home game is against Santa Ana on October 2 at 6 p.m.

 

Lucky seven for the Brahmas

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The women’s soccer team went all offense as they beat the Victor Valley College Rams 7-0.

Forward Kiara Washington led the Brahmas by scoring a hat-trick.

Washington said she is happy for her start to the season.

“Just taking a lot of shots and being focused and being persistent,” Washington said. “The most important thing for me is to stay focused,”

Washington scored the first two goals in the game and midfielder Alexandra Meza gave Pierce a 3-0 lead at the half.

In the second half, Pierce kept going on the attack.

Washington scored to make it 4-0. 

Minutes later, defender Natalia Puccio scored a penalty and midfielder Brenda Alas got on the scoresheet as the Brahmas continued their dominance.

Meza wrapped things up to ensure head soccer coach Adolfo Perez got his 296th win.

Meza said she’s proud of the team’s performance.

“Feels great to get a win altogether. Hopefully we can get more assists, goals and help out our teammates,”  Meza said.

 Perez said he is excited that the team is still undefeated.

“I’m pleased because we are coming together. Our chemistry is improving. I wish I had more subs to play, but overall the commitment is there,” Perez said. 

Perez is pleased that they will have a week to prepare for their next game.

“We will have fresh legs and we will be ready to go,” Perez said. 

The Lady Brahmas are back in action next Friday at LA Harbor. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.