Author Archives: Cari Craven

Columbia College Receives New Self Contained Breathing Apparatus

Columbia College is proud to announce that we have just received new Scott Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for the Fire Technology Program. This personal protective gear will be used by Columbia College Fire Academy students in live fire training that is required by the State Fire Marshall’s Office to receive their Firefighter 1 certificate. This specialized gear is used in firefighting when firefighters enter into IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health) conditions so they have compressed air to breathe that is provided by the SCBA.

 The Columbia College Fire Academy purchased 30 new SCBA packs along with 30 spare bottles to enhance the fire program at Columbia College. According to our vendor, AllStar Fire Equipment, these brand new SCBA packs are the first to be  purchased by a community college in California. They are X3 Pro SCBA packs, approved by National Fire Protection Association 1981/1982, 2018 edition, manufactured by Scott Safety. Columbia College purchased the packs at a discounted rate provided by Scott Safety to state agencies in accordance with a state contract. Fire academy students and instructors will use the new SCBA packs for manipulative training, skills testing, and live fire training.

The Columbia College Fire Academy goes through extensive training in a modular format that is broken up to include academic and manipulative training in three areas: Structure, Hazmat, and Wildland. Each module must be successfully completed with passing scores in order to complete the first part of the California Firefighter 1 Certification. After completing the Fire Academy, students are required to complete six months of full-time or one year of part-time field experience before applying to the state for Firefighter 1 Certification.

For further information contact Fire Academy Chief Shane Warner at 588-5308 or Captain Andy Van Hoogmoed at 588-5153.

Columbia College Fall 2019 President’s List

Columbia College has named 231 students to the fall 2019 semester President’s List.

This honor is reserved for students completing twelve or more units of coursework in a single semester at Columbia College and earning a cumulative grade point average between 3.5 and 4.0, with no grade lower than “C.”

The fall 2019 President’s List honorees are listed below by hometown. We are pleased to formally recognize their exceptional academic achievement.

Bailey Van Zant Altaville
Serenity Beardsley Angels Camp
Halee Davis Angels Camp
Katie Duquette Angels Camp
Halley Ellard Angels Camp
Brendan Fine Angels Camp
Isabel Hernandez Angels Camp
Isaac Jarman Angels Camp
Melanie McBride Angels Camp
Faith Mealing Angels Camp
Abigail Davis Arnold
Joseph Gantz Arnold
Ryan Miguel Arnold
Shannon Ryan Arnold
Anthony Munroe Big Oak Flat
Dominic Scipi Castro Valley
Tyler Orpurt Chinese Camp
Bradley Bourguet Columbia
Aaron David Columbia
Matthew Drake Columbia
Thomasine Lane Timmins Columbia
Marylee Nieves Columbia
Jackson Norton Columbia
Shileen Andico Copperopolis
Miranda Isaman Copperopolis
Caleb Young Copperopolis
Austin Pruitt Coulterville
Gabriel Ethier Davis
Grayson Carper Fresno
Patrick McGreevy Glencoe
Magali Alecio Groveland
Laura Hafer Groveland
Brandon Moakler Hollister
Patrick Bolger Hughson
Khouri Kling Jackson
Alyssa Darby Jamestown
Brett Dolan Jamestown
Dustin Donnelly Jamestown
Sonja Gion Jamestown
Lisa Morse Jamestown
Chelsea Nogales Jamestown
Francine Phillips Jamestown
Crystal Pombo Jamestown
Jaymie Roberts Jamestown
Sophia Stevens Jamestown
Karl Thalman Jamestown
Makayla Wheeler Jamestown
Melvin Wignall Jamestown
Isabel Harper La Grange
Greg Hardin Long Barn
Blake Osgood Manteca
Jessica Segale Mariposa
Malcolm Vincent Mariposa
Valerie Basso Merced
Suzanna Ellis Midpines
Owen Bardsley Modesto
Morgan Huston Modesto
Lena Schulke Modesto
Zoe Kelly Mountain Ranch
Carina Swann Mountain Ranch
Samuel Brauer Murphys
Shayanna Ducharme Murphys
Cole Madden Murphys
Jessica Ornelas Murphys
Katarina Riedel Murphys
Cristina Shockey Murphys
Elena Smith Murphys
Sydney Tonetti-Belton Murphys
Tyler Wieland Murphys
Zoe Devine Newport Beach
Seth Patterson North Fork
Jocelyn Burke Oakdale
Jesse Chavez Oakdale
Matthew Collier Oakdale
Kaitlyn Dickson Oakdale
Nathan Logan Oakdale
Alondra Machado Oakdale
Caden Nord Oakdale
Odalys Sanchez Silva Oakdale
Drew Warren Oakdale
Jodie Whitley Oakdale
Carly Baldwin Oakhurst
Gavin Walker Penngrove
Brennan Howard Pioneer
Rhapsody Cattedra Riverbank
Austin Hamann San Andreas
Paul Motiu San Andreas
Braden Stevens San Andreas
Sara Fisher San Jose
Joseph Accurso Sonora
Taylor Anderson Sonora
Tamara Avilla Sonora
Haley Baldwin Sonora
Elizabeth Beath Sonora
Molly Benincasa Sonora
Emilee Boese Sonora
Vincent Boyack Sonora
Daniel Burdick Sonora
Juleanne Therese Caballero Sonora
Alvin Rino Calindas Sonora
Cindy Costello Sonora
Mark Coulter Sonora
Shannon De La Maire Sonora
Ashlee Deaton Sonora
Kristina Delgadillo Sonora
Dylan Derringer Sonora
Lukas Doerzapf Sonora
Mitchel Drennan Sonora
Bailee Dutra Sonora
Alexis Elsey Sonora
Gabriel Fernandez Sonora
Aren Forster Sonora
Shelby Fosdick Sonora
Bethany Fowler Sonora
Alexia Franco Sonora
Rianyn Fraser Sonora
Brittney Gilles Sonora
Xochitl Gonzalez Sonora
Hollyann Guyer Sonora
Braden Hall Sonora
Andria Hansen Sonora
Hannah Harris Sonora
Bella Hatler Sonora
Natalie Hawks Sonora
Camryn Henley Sonora
Olivia Hunter-Mcelroy Sonora
Brendan Hurley Sonora
Ronnie Hursky Sonora
Chloe Johnson Sonora
Laura Jones Sonora
Daniel Lamendola Sonora
Dream Lange Sonora
Paul Lebourgeois Sonora
Evan Lopez Sonora
John Machado Sonora
Natasha Mayo Sonora
Jami McClenahan Sonora
Jessica McClintock Sonora
James McKeon Sonora
Julian Meza Sonora
Melissa Middlemiss Sonora
Kaitlyn Miller Sonora
Matthew Mills Sonora
Jenna Montgomery Sonora
Nathaniel Nye Sonora
Jill Oellrich Sonora
Savannah Oellrich Sonora
Virginia Oellrich Sonora
Carlo Ortiz Sonora
Emma Parola Sonora
Thomas Pietrowicz Sonora
Havilah Plaster Sonora
Eric Price Sonora
Stephany Randall Sonora
Ellana Reeves Sonora
Dominick Restivo Sonora
Karley Rojas-Vienneau Sonora
Ethan Scott Sonora
Georgia Sibley Sonora
Jaedyn Smith-Brown Sonora
Morgan St Pierre Sonora
Samantha Star Sonora
Kylie Stump Sonora
Eric Taylor Sonora
Kaylee Taylor Sonora
Kaarina Thompson Sonora
Christine Vandolah Sonora
Elizabeth Vass Sonora
Steven Von Berckefeldt Sonora
Anthony White-Ramos Sonora
Rebekah Whitley Sonora
Jada Williams Sonora
Seth Winham Sonora
Jacob Wozynski Sonora
Wyatt Wunder Sonora
Joshua Zubek Sonora
Adrianna Zuniga Sonora
Charlie Bendix Soulsbyville
Paul Bruce Soulsbyville
Levi Flores Soulsbyville
Krysta May Soulsbyville
Adam Norstrom Soulsbyville
Natalie Phillips Soulsbyville
Josiah Sponsler Soulsbyville
Madison Milligan Stockton
Alyshia Drake Sutter Creek
Bayley Maleske Sutter Creek
Sean Dyer Tracy
Brook Allen Tuolumne
William Antinetti Tuolumne
Tawnie Cox Tuolumne
Jordan Craddock Tuolumne
Grace Fulkerson Tuolumne
Sydney Grognet Tuolumne
Taylor Harrelson Tuolumne
Danika Lillie Tuolumne
Christopher Mantzouranis Tuolumne
Liam McKernan Tuolumne
Adam Sonnberger Tuolumne
David Taylor Tuolumne
Rachel Tyler Tuolumne
Calista Fields-Richardson Twain Harte
Matthew Francis Twain Harte
Russell Garcia Twain Harte
Christopher Goebel Twain Harte
Anastasia Hosek Twain Harte
Jacob Laurel Twain Harte
Americo Machado Twain Harte
Angelo Marcoccia Twain Harte
Forrest Marion Twain Harte
Joelle Ortmann Twain Harte
Ian Pinkney Twain Harte
Matthew Roberts Twain Harte
Chance Tillery Twain Harte
Jared Turner Twain Harte
Austin Walden Twain Harte
Blake Wright Twain Harte
Madeline Marshall Vallecito
Logan Arledge Valley Springs
Brittni Barrett Valley Springs
Clara Bobrycki Valley Springs
Abbie Gifford Valley Springs
Daniel Hill Valley Springs
Amy Jacobi Valley Springs
Cheyenne Lewis Valley Springs
Ahtziry Macias Valley Springs
Gregorio Montanez Valley Springs
Evan Stark Valley Springs
Trinity Walter Valley Springs
Caillou Watkins Valley Springs
Hailey Griffith Wilseyville


Symphony of the Sierra Winter Concert

The Symphony of the Sierra’s 2019 Winter Concert will be held at Columbia College in the Dogwood Forum, at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. The orchestra is delighted to present works from the Late Renaissance through the Contemporary, beginning with Monteverdi’s beautiful Si hi’o vorrei morire. The repertoire will include Sousa’s The Gliding Girl, Stravinsky’s Danse Infernal and Berceuse & Finale from the Firebird Suite, Anderson’s Bugler’s Holiday, and seasonal favorites, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and more.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. The concert is family friendly and admittance is free of charge.


Columbia College’s Fire Academy will hold its graduation ceremony and presentation of Certificates of Completion to the successful students of the Fire Technology Program. The event, which is open to the general public, will be held Thursday, December 12, 2019, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Oak Pavilion.

 The certificates will be awarded based on the student’s successful completion of the academic and manipulative training as mandated for a California Firefighter 1 Certification. The students must still complete six months of full-time or one year of part-time field experience before applying to the state for Firefighter I Certification. “Some of the graduates will apply or continue with reserve, intern, and volunteer in positions at local fire departments since entering the academy” said Chief Shane Warner, Columbia College Fire Technology Program Coordinator/Instructor.  “Some of the students have already applied through a standard application process for seasonal employment with CAL Fire, Forest Service, and local fire agencies” said Instructor Andy VanHoogmoed.

 In addition to the “routine” fire training classes, specialized training was delivered involving Low Angle Rope Rescue Training, Incident Command System, Hazardous Materials Training, Seasonal Wildland Firefighting classes, Confined Space, Basic Power Saw Safety, and live fire suppression training which was conducted at the Twain Harte Fire Department’s Training Center. A special thank you goes out to Columbia College Fire Department, Columbia Fire District, Sonora City Fire Department, Twain Harte Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, CAL Fire TCU, and Sierra Conservation Center,

Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College, will deliver a welcome message, and Billy Alcorn, Chief of Merced Fire Department, will be the keynote speaker. They will be joined by Cal Fire’s Captain Cole Periera, from the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, who will deliver the closing comments.

Family and friends will view a student-produced, audiovisual presentation of their intensive 16 weeks of training. The rigorous training is designed to help serious candidates meet the requirements for demanding careers as professional firefighters, including more than 576 hours of academic and manipulative training, according to Chief Shane Warner.

For further information contact Fire Academy Chief Shane Warner at 209-588-5308 or Captain Andy VanHoogmoed at 209-588-5153.

Columbia College Foundation plans Promise Program expansion

The Columbia College Foundation is pleased to announce an exciting expansion of its Columbia College Promise for local high school seniors enrolling at Columbia College. Starting in Fall 2020, the Promise program will make it possible for every qualified local public high school graduate to attend Columbia College fulltime, tuition free, for two full years of consecutive semesters if they enroll immediately after graduation.  The program service area will also expand to include high school graduates throughout the college service area which includes Oakdale and Waterford, and to Mariposa and Calaveras, both adjacent rural high school districts.

“Thanks to additional funding now available through the state’s California Promise program, the Foundation is very pleased to expand the program to cover a second year of college and a larger geographical area,” said Foundation President Colette Such. “We’re incredibly grateful to our private donors who helped us launch and sustain the Columbia College Promise, and to the college for continuing to invest this new state funding in this exceptionally successful program. “

In 2018, the program’s first year, 185 local high school graduates took advantage of the free tuition offer. Demonstrating the program’s success, in 2019, full time enrollment of local high school graduates expanded to 214 students.  In Tuolumne County, the response has been especially successful with more than 45% of Sonora High’s Class and 50% of Summerville and Tioga High School’s Class enrolling as fulltime students and taking advantage of the free tuition offer.

Though still in its infancy, the Columbia College Promise program is already exceeding expectations.

“We have been overwhelmed with the response to this program and are encouraged with its growing success.  It is clear that we are meeting an important need in our community,” Such said.

Columbia College President Santanu Bandyopadhyay added his support.  “We are grateful for the financial support of private donors that launched this program and are pleased that the College can support program expansion.   We are confident that the Promise program will contribute greatly to the College’s goal of building an educated work force.  When the community and the college work together, great things happen. “

The goal of the Promise program is to remove the tuition barrier that often stops promising young high school graduates from pursuing their education while connecting them to support services to help ensure success.  The intent is to increase the number of local high school graduates who attend Columbia College, thereby boosting the population of workforce-ready young adults who complete a degree, certificate or training program, or successfully transfer to a 4-year college.

Additional information on the program expansion will be posted on the Columbia College website and Facebook pages, and will be available to families in October, through their school counselors.

While state funding has allowed the Promise expansion, local donor support is still an essential element to keep the program going.  As with all programs of this nature, continuation is dependent on the availability of state funding, support from the college, and donations from generous contributors.

Contributions for the Promise Scholarship program and other Foundation projects are always welcome.

To join the effort or learn more, contact Amy Nilson, Director of Development at Columbia College at (209) 588-5055 or or visit


Columbia College Foundation, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit organization that promotes quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. The mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College students.

Columbia College Awarded $100,000 State Grant for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Students Reentry Program

Columbia College has received an Intent to Award Notification for a $100,000 grant to support the expansion and improvement of the College’s programs serving currently and formerly incarcerated students. The grant is being awarded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Division of Educational Services and has a performance period of two years, six months beginning on July 1, 2019 and ending on December 31, 2021.

Over the past four years Columbia College has worked closely with Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) to expand educational opportunities for incarcerated students. The college started with a small pilot program at SCC, providing a few face-to-face courses and academic and career counseling to 40 incarcerated students in the fall of 2015. Enrollment has since grown to approximately 300 students in the spring of 2019 at the main prison and four prison fire camps.

In addition to the fast-growing prison education program, Columbia College has also launched the Making Alternative Transformations (MAT) program, a complementary on-campus program designed to assist formerly incarcerated or justice involved students to transition to the campus and the community. The goal has been to provide high-quality higher education programs which are responsive to their unique needs, while providing additional services to support their efforts to reintegrate into their communities.

“Expanding educational opportunities to the incarcerated students is an area of focus for Columbia College. We have more than doubled the number of courses offered at Sierra Conservation Center during the last year, remarked Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College. “Although the growth is impressive, there is still a large segment of the incarcerated population who do not have access to education. Having access to education helps the students prepare for life once they are free and helps reduce recidivism rate. We are delighted to have this grant that will enable us to expand our services further.”

Dr. Brandon Price, Dean of Student Services, will oversee the implementation of the grant.  He explained “This grant will enable the college to better meet the needs of the justice involved students we currently serve, while also enabling us to serve additional students from inmate firefighting camps, local jails, and day reporting agencies.”  Activities to be funded by the grant include: providing faculty and staff access to training related to the specific needs of justice-involved students; expanding transition services, such as college and career counseling; and expanding peer tutoring and mentoring programs serving justice involved students at SCC and on the Columbia College campus.

This award will allow Columbia College to continue build upon the framework of their Justice-Involved Student Reentry Program and provide necessary supports which will increase opportunity and access to currently and formerly incarcerated students, increase retention rates, support strong academic performance by program participants, promote informed and appropriate pathway goals and objectives, and build long-term and sustainable transition programs for justice-involved students in the area.

For more information, contact Brandon Price, Dean of Student Services at 209-588-5142.