Math success soars with new Emporium

Leesburg campus's new Math Emporium had its first trial run this summer. Many math courses have been redesigned to help students learn, and even more changes are coming.

STEM club to conduct live experiments on LSSC campuses

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) club is asking students to submit ideas for science experiments, which will be conducted in the quad on the Leesburg and South-Lake campuses once a month.

Florida's ban on texting and driving seems to be all bark and no bite

On Oct. 1, 2013, Florida enacted a ban on texting while driving, but it seems as if the new law has done little to help cut down on the issue of distracted driving.

Connections Week gets LSSC students involved across campuses

Clubs and programs from all over Lake-Sumter State College gathered during Connections Week to boost student participation.

Student Nurses Association runs bake sale

The Student Nurses Association ran a bake sale on Sept. 22 at the Leesburg Campus Quad to support the future nurses in their club.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Horror Nights 24 set to scare for a few more days

Story by: Jeremy VanCise, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Universal Studios Orlando

Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Studios Orlando offers scares for just a few more nights.
For those who love a good jump scare, this year’s Halloween Horror Nights is worth the trip.
On Sept.  19, Universal Studios unleashed Halloween Horror Nights 24. For those unfamiliar with the event, on select nights in September and October, Universal Studios is transformed into a hellish place that hosts eight haunted houses and four “scare zones.” The event attracts hundreds of thousands of horror aficionados each year.
This year’s offerings are diverse, with a variety of haunted houses to tour. Some take their themes from familiar horror brands such as “Halloween,” “Aliens vs. Predators” and “The Walking Dead.” Other film-oriented houses are “Dracula Untold” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.” There are also four houses based on original Halloween Horror Nights concepts, including the living-doll-themed Dollhouse of the Damned, cannibal-themed Roanoke, and the clown-centered Giggles & Gore Inc.
The Halloween and Dollhouse of the Damned houses are the best of this year’s event. Houses that are based on intellectual property are hit or miss, but most often misses. Halloween’s house this year beat the odds, recreating numerous scenes from the original film while including small bits from other films in the series as winks to dedicated fans. Dollhouse of the Damned works because it cleverly plays off of childhood fears of fanged teddy bears and the odd faces of baby dolls. There are a few clever scares, but what brings it to life is that the “scare-actors” are actively committed to their jobs.
Not all the houses are hits, with From Dusk Till Dawn and Dracula Untold being especially underwhelming. While it was obvious that a lot of thought and time went into the creation of the Dracula Untold set, the scares are severely lacking. The scare-actors seem bored and sparse. From Dusk Till Dawn contains a few good scares and a good set but as a whole feels very disjointed.  Even The Walking Dead house, which is double the size of all the other houses, is just mediocre, not bad or good, with scares that are too sparse for its large size.

"The Purge" has its owns scare zone this year, and is one of the most effective of the street experiences.
However, the houses aren’t the only attractions. Halloween Horror Nights also has four street experiences that set the stage before visitors even set foot in a haunted house. The four scare zones are mostly original concepts, with one scare zone built around the horror film “The Purge.”  This scare zone places participants in the middle of an annual Purge event, with masked killers roaming the streets ready to “unleash the beast within.” Other scare zones include the decadent MASKerade: Unstitched, Bayou of Blood and Face Off – In the Flesh.
The Purge “scare zone” is by far the largest and most effective of the scare zones, and includes masked girls giggling and frolicking about with machetes. The highlight of this “scare zone” is the leader of the “Purge,” who is in the crowd of people with a microphone, pointing out who specifically should be targeted for “purging.” The “scare zone” works well, and is one of the best parts of the event as a whole.
The other “scare zones” are well decorated, but lack the scares of past years. MASKerade: Unstitched is the most beautiful, with amazing ball gowns and ornate masked faces. However, this feels more like a photo-op zone than a “scare zone.” Bayou of Blood is interesting, but a major aspect of the “scare zone” was removed after the first week of attendance. Originally there was a ritual sacrifice that scared guests so much that Universal was pressured to remove it. There is now an obvious sense of something missing, and it feels like the heart of the scare is gone.
As a whole, the better attractions make up for the lacking ones, and Halloween Horror Nights 24 delivers what it promises: a night of good scares. oHor

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SGA hosts LSSC’s traditional pumpkin bowling to relieve mid-term stress

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Photos by: Katie McKay

SGA member Gerard Cruz sends his pumpkin toward the pins, which were set up in the Leesburg campus quad at LSSC.
On Oct. 15, around 240 people attended Lake-Sumter State College’s annual tradition of pumpkin bowling on the Leesburg campus. The event was hosted by the Student Government Association, and participants included faculty, staff and students from all over campus.

Real pumpkins were used in place of bowling balls, which made any score far more impressive, as the gourds tended to veer left or right depending on their shapes. Any busted pumpkins were promptly wrapped with orange duct tape and reused.

Faculty and staff ended up taking all the medals. First place went to the Facilities team, second place went to the Learning Center team, and the Athletics team scored third.

Chase Rowe relaxes with his phone on the sidelines of the pumpkin bowling games.
According to Student Government member Amy Gandy, the pumpkin bowling event is so popular because “it doesn’t make any sense and its fun and you get to throw pumpkins! Why not?” She adds that “it’s a great stress reliever,” especially since the event occurs around mid-term exams.

Cindy Lackey, Assistant Director of Student Life, estimates a turnout of around 240 who showed up for free food and bowling.

Rob Estes, a supervisor in the Facilities department, believes pumpkin bowling to have been started about nine years ago by Heather Elmatti, an assistant professor of speech and journalism at LSSC, and continued ever since.

Representatives for SGA’s Paint Night and SAFIRE’s Humans Versus Zombies game were both present at the event to gather signatures and participants.

Paint Night will be on Nov. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. A canvas will be provided to participants, along with paint and brushes for those who cannot supply their own. Tickets are $8 until Oct. 28. From Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, they are $10. From Nov. 5 to Nov. 12, they are $12. Tickets are $14 the day of the event.

Student David Knoras launches his pumpkin bowling ball down an improvised lane.
LSSC math professor Nicole Osborn gets ready for a shot while fellow team member and math professor Judith Hayes watches. The Math Department team won first place in last year's pumpkin bowling competition, but was beat out this year by the Facilities team.
Around 240 students attended the event over the course of the day for free food and pumpkin bowling.
The prize medals were displayed during the event. First, second and third place went to the Facilities team, the Learning Center team and the Athletics team respectively.
Rob Estes chooses to use one of the larger pumpkins for his turn.
Estes makes a shot.
After one more shot, Estes gets a spare.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Net neutrality depends on us

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Comic by: Katie McKay

"Hey, let's race. Winner takes all."

Net neutrality has become a hot topic as of late. College students are getting especially involved in the debate and for good reason: internet usage is higher among young adults between 18 and 29 than in any other age group, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Results of the debate over net neutrality will affect the lives of college-age users more than any other group, so it makes sense that we should have a stake in what happens.

Large Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon are pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for rules that allow them to create fast and slow lanes on the Internet and charge a fee for the faster ones. An article in Smithsonian Magazine explains that these companies “complain that their pipelines are getting choked as more Americans stream more bandwidth-hungry media, like TV, online. To upgrade their hardware, the cable and phone companies say, it’s only fair to charge extra fees to the websites and services that send out these floods of data, like Netflix or Google’s YouTube.”

This doesn’t sound like such a bad idea at first. If big websites coughed up a few extra dollars, college students could watch cat videos—sorry, I mean academic tutorials a little bit faster.

The problem is what would happen to smaller websites as a result. Video streaming sites wouldn’t be the only ones paying for faster internet; every company that can afford it will invest in quicker speeds for the simple fact that consumers choose faster sites.

According to New York Times journalist Steve Lohr, a study by Google engineers found that “people will visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds.” That’s almost twice as fast as the blink of an eye.

Even if the new Internet fast lanes only speed up service by 250 milliseconds, paying websites already have a distinct advantage over smaller ones that cannot afford the speed, such as blogs or smaller websites like Etsy or non-profits like Wikipedia. Small businesses and startups will also be in this category, and that includes the sites that college graduates create as they become entrepreneurs and try to break into the business world.

Without net neutrality, it may become impossible for smaller sites to compete with the quicker, sleeker, richer ones, especially if Internet service providers are also allowed to block or slow the applications and content that they choose, which is another aspect of the fight., run by, is a website devoted to protecting net neutrality. It explains that a lack of net neutrality not only hinders small businesses, but also poses a threat to freedom of expression on the Web. In an ironic twist, Internet service providers claim that the First Amendment’s protection of editorial rights for those who transmit the speech of others gives them the right to determine what websites consumers can access. compares the methods that will be used to control content to the methods currently used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor the actions of Web users. A lack of true privacy, they say, will also follow the absence of net neutrality.

Altogether, the Internet could become like cable TV: who and how much we pay determines what we can access. The Internet would be faster, yes, but amateurs and startups could be choked out by businesses that can pay for better service, or they could be blocked out entirely if they compete with a paying website. Taken to the extreme, the Internet could end up with relatively few large websites and no smaller ones., through, provides tools and help for becoming informed, contacting members of the FCC, writing to members of Congress and writing in to local newspaper editors to support net neutrality.

As college students and members of a generation that relies on and uses the Internet more than any other, we need to have a voice in this debate. Everything can change in the blink of an eye (or even 250 milliseconds) if we’re not careful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

LSSC intramural sports struggle for participation

Story by: Jake Sikkema, Staff Writer
Photo by: Katie McKay

Recent ping pong games on both the Leesburg and South Lake campuses were cancelled due to lack of participation.
One benefit of being involved with Lake-Sumter State College, whether as a student, faculty or staff member, is the opportunity to participate in intramurals. However, Jill Semento, the head of intramurals at the college and also the head softball coach, has had trouble this year with people showing up to participate.

For instance, the intramural department made plans to host a ping pong tournament. However, it did not happen at the Leesburg Campus or the South Lake Campus because no one showed up.

Flag football has only had one person show up so far to a game, so pick-up games are the only way to participate. Coach Semento’s vision is for flag football to eventually have a tournament, but currently there is not enough interest to have full team sign-ups.

Intramurals are, and have been, a part of the Lake-Sumter college experience. With available sports that range from basketball, football and even cornhole, there is a wide variety from which students can choose.

Additionally, students are able and are encouraged to request other sports that they wish to play alongside other students, faculty and staff. These intramurals are played on both the Leesburg and South Lake Campuses.

Students are eligible to participate in the same sport on different campuses in the same year, and times can be changed based on the schedules of those interested.

Fall intramurals include ping pong, flag football, cornhole, and soccer. Basketball, volleyball and dodgeball will be offered in the Spring.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LSSC Foundation raises funds for scholarships with Spirit Night

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photos by: David Renna

Meghan Waller, an employee of Chick-Fil-A, runs the prize wheel at the LSSC Foundation Spirit Night.
On Sept. 22, the Lake-Sumter State College Foundation hosted a Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A in Mount Dora. Students who ordered a meal that night directly helped fund the organization, with Chick-Fil-A promising 15 percent of the proceeds. The LSSC Foundation also had information about upcoming scholarships that would become available starting Oct. 1. Chick-Fil-A was also running an activity booth where students could earn prizes, such as gift cards.

The LSSC Foundation is a direct support organization formed in 1980 to assist the college in providing excellence in education, servicing the community and assisting students with financial aid. Through the LSSC Foundation, 143 scholarships totaling $112,000 will be available to students throughout the month of October. The LSSC Foundation raises funds through events and by garnering support from the community.

Spirit Night is one such event that the LSSC Foundation runs annually. They have previously run the event at Ruby Tuesday and Chili’s Bar & Grill. “We see a rise in students needing money, so we try and do more events like this to help support our program,” said Claudia Morris, the Alumni Scholarship Coordinator. Last semester, the LSSC Foundation had 487 applicants—the most they have ever had for a semester.

Every fall, the LSSC Foundation renews its efforts to raise funds in anticipation for the next school year. In 2013, the LSSC Foundation aimed to raise $235,000 from September to the end of December. They exceeded the target goal at $261,380. In total, the LSSC Foundation raised $3,647,417 in 2013. This, in turn, directly supported scholarships and school programs, such as the college library, the nursing program, instructional equipment, the bachelor’s degree program and the support of faculty.

Dr. Charles Mojock,  president of LSSC, and Claudia Morris, Alumni and Scholarship coordinator, support the Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A.
On Oct. 25 the LSSC Foundation will be hosting their second annual “5K Fun Run Monster Dash” starting at Silver Lake at the back of the college. The event had a turnout of 125 runners last year and the LSSC Foundation is hopeful to have more runners this year. Students receive a discount for signing up at $15, whereas the fee is $25 for all other runners. Runners receive T-shirts and goodie bags for participating and are encouraged to dress up. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. the day of the race, which will begin at 8 a.m.

The LSSC Foundation will also be hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni & LSSC Hall of Fame Awards on Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. The Foundation will award alumni, distinguished members of the community, faculty and staff for the roles they have played in the community. Ticket prices are $35 per person, which includes a gourmet dinner. Students are welcome to attend.

For more information about the scholarships available from the LSSC Foundation, or for more information about the 2014 Distinguished Alumni & LSSC Hall of Fame Award ceremony, contact Claudia Morris at or at (352) 365-3539.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Success rates soar to new heights with Math Emporium at LSSC Leesburg Campus

Story by: Kristen Binning, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Beth Skipper

Math Emporium instructors and assistants are continuously
available to help student excel in their work.
After receiving a five-year $2.9 million dollar grant, Lake-Sumter State College began its plans to build a Math Emporium: a facility and learning program designed to give math students interactive and individual attention with the goal of improving mathematic skills college-wide. The summer semester of 2014 was the Math Emporium’s first test, with promising results.

The Math Emporium model consists of a computer lab in which students may follow a structured course at their own pace. Peer and instructional assistants are constantly available to answer any questions students may have on-site. Students are required to devote three hours per week to the math courses, divided between class, the Emporium, and tutoring.

Melanie Wells, a math instructor for Leesburg Campus, says, “I think we have a great mix in the MAT 1033 course. There are video lectures in the course content in MyMathLab. Students can pause and rewind to hear something again. During our lecture time each week, students can ask further questions. I try to use our class time to go over problems that students typically make mistakes on and to reiterate definitions, symbols and processes.”

The course was redesigned to provide individual attention to students. Before the redesigned courses, students would sit through three hours a week of lecture time while an instructor worked out problems on the board. “As technology has changed over the years, we felt the time was right to modify the content delivery and increase the interaction between faculty and students in the learning process,” said Thom Kieft, Associate Dean of the South Lake Campus for LSSC.

Kieft was awarded a small grant by the college to begin investigating the redesign of math courses in 2011. LSSC faculty got the chance to tour Math Emporiums at other colleges. Based on what they found, the college decided to remodel the math courses. After receiving information that the college was eligible for a Title III grant, grant writers Julie Cripe, Dr. Kristy Lisle and Kieft spent six weeks in 2013 creating the proposal. “In late September 2013, we learned that LSSC was awarded the $2.9 million Title III grant and it would begin on October 1st 2013,” says Kieft.

Sybil Brown, the Mathematics Department Chair at LSSC, notes that “Many students are commenting that the individual one-on-one time assistance they are receiving is very helpful.”

“Having to devote three hours a week to this course is difficult,” says Ryan Kelly, a student at LSSC’s Leesburg campus, “but regardless it is very helpful and has helped me through the course, especially the tutors.” 

Ryan Kelley uses MyMathLab, a self-paced math program, in the Emporium.
The Emporium’s first trial run was this summer. “Prior to the summer, our historical success rate was about 59 percent in MAT 1033,” Brown stated. “Over the summer, with three sections of MAT 1033 taught in the Emporium, the success rate was 75 percent. There are many factors that impact success rates but we believe that one of those is the new format.”

MAT 0018, MAT 0028 and MAT 1033 have been redesigned so far. MAC 1105 will be the next course offered in the Math Emporium in the upcoming spring semester. The South Lake Campus emporium is scheduled to open in late 2015, when all four math courses will be available.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Florida’s ban on texting while driving seems to be all bark and no bite

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photos by: David Renna

Florida's texting and driving ban is a good effort, but has brought about little actual change.
On Oct. 1, 2013, Florida enacted a ban on texting while driving, but it seems as if the new law has done little to help cut down on the issue of distracted driving. According to the Tampa Bay Times, fewer than 1,800 citations have been issued since the law was passed.

Last year, Florida joined 43 other states in banning texting while driving as part of a national effort by the federal government to crack down on distracted driving. On Oct. 1, 2009, President Barack Obama passed an executive order to encourage federal leadership on reducing text messaging while driving.

Florida State Senator Nancy Detert, who led sponsorship of the bill, acknowledged that “[It] isn’t the perfect bill” in The Ledger on Feb. 6, 2013. Sen. Detert had been trying to pass the bill since 2009 but won little support. It wasn’t until the penalties were brought down that it was finally seen and passed by the Florida Legislature on Oct. 1, 2013.

Unlike other states that made it a primary offense to text while driving, Florida statutes define it as a noncriminal traffic infraction, also known as a nonmoving violation, or a violation that does not earn points on a Florida driver’s license that would lead to a license suspension. This has made it difficult for law enforcement to enforce the law, as it first requires a driver to commit a moving violation, such as speeding or running a red light, before they can issue a citation. Even then, the first offense is only a $30 ticket.

There are fewer than 1,800 citations that have been issued since the law past, which is a rather small number compared to other nonmoving violations. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 3,000 citations in 2009 for failure to dim lights. The reason it has become so difficult to issue a citation for texting while driving is that law enforcement cannot prove the offense without phone records.

The U.S. Department of Transportation stated in a 2013 research finding that, at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or are manipulating electronic devices while driving. And according to a Harris Poll in 2011, 49 percent of drivers with cell phones under the age of 35 admitted to sending or reading text messages while driving. So it seems the statistics aren’t matching up with the citations that have been issued so far.

“It’s not a problem you can get rid of,” said Johnny Trignano, a Lake-Sumter State College student at the Leesburg Campus. This seems to ring true with studies concerning the mind frame of drivers who text while driving. According to a study done by the Ad Council in 2012, 42 percent of young adult drivers were very confident or somewhat confident that they could safely text while driving.

Unless the ban on texting while driving receives harsher penalties, it seems as if this law acts more as a posted sign than as a true deterrent to a real and serious issue that affects drivers in Florida.

Student Nurses’ Association runs bake sale to support future nurses

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photos by: David Renna

SNA Treasurer Jenny Im, President Marisol Cervantes, Audrey Uson and Courtney Hamilton staff the bake sale. They raised over a hundred dollars to help nursing students.
The Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) ran a bake sale on Sept. 22 at the Leesburg Campus Quad. Brownies, muffins, cupcakes, heart-shaped cookies with an EKG pulse inscribed in frosting, pumpkin bread and even dog treats were some of the selections available. The organization raised $104 to help nursing students pay for their schooling fees.

SNA is part of the National Student Nurses’ Association, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to mentor nursing students and prepare them for initial licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) as well as to encourage professional growth, such as résumé building. There are chapter organizations at the Leesburg and South Lake Campuses.

SNA also works to be involved locally. “That’s going to be our main goal: helping our community,” said Marisol Cervantes, president of SNA at the Leesburg Campus. On Oct. 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. SNA will be running a “trunk-or-treat” event in the parking lot near the Health Science Center. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Nursing is set to become one of the biggest growth industries in the near future in America. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent by 2022. Florida is prime real estate for nurses due to the high Baby Boomer population. The Villages, the fastest-growing micropolitan area in the United States, has a median age of 66 years, making it a target for future nursing jobs.

According to the Florida Center for Nursing, there are going to be an estimated 4,100 new RN positions created in the state of Florida in 2014. It is predicted that this growth will continue at such a rate that at some point, there will be a higher demand for RNs than there are nursing students who are graduating. “We’re going to be saving your life one day,” said Cervantes. “I would hope my nurse got As and Bs in her classes.” SNA aims to help nursing students do just that.

Nursing students interested in becoming part of SNA may sign up for membership at or contact Assistant Professor in Nursing Nicole Tinny at for more information.

Monday, September 29, 2014

AmeriCorps NCCC looking for a few good men and women to serve as volunteers

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photos by: David Renna

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps was on the Leesburg Campus on Sept. 8. Michelle Desh and Jerry Keys, two Corps Members, were outside the Liberal Arts Building hoping to educate students about the organization. “We’re kind of like the domestic Peace Corps,” Desh said.

AmeriCorps NCCC is one of the three programs under AmeriCorps, a civil society program that was created after President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Since then, AmeriCorps has recruited volunteers to help nonprofit community organizations and public agencies in areas of education, public safety, health and environmental protection. AmeriCorps NCCC in particular offers 18-to-24-year-olds enrollment in a 10-month term of service, where they travel around the country to help communities in need.

Volunteers in AmeriCorps NCCC have most of their accommodations paid for, such as transportation, housing, healthcare and food. They are also awarded a living allowance of about $4,000. Once volunteers complete their training at one of the five facilities located around the nation, they are put into teams of about eight to ten people, where they remain for the duration of their service. “It’s nice, because you learn to be flexible and you get really comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Desh said in reference to being part of a team.

AmeriCorps NCCC also builds life and leadership skills. Volunteers are able to earn common public safety certifications that they might need if they are looking to get involved in a career in public services.

Completion of the 10-month program also allows volunteers the ability to defer qualified student loans, as well as to take advantage of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,550 to help pay for college, graduate school or to pay back qualified student loans. If a volunteer elects to do more than one term of service, he or she would be eligible for a second Education Award. “They basically prepare you for life,” Keys said. “I am more confident now than when I first started, so this program actually helped me out a lot.”

If one wishes to become involved in the AmeriCorps NCCC volunteer program, he or she may contact AmeriCorps NCCC Community Relations Associate Kevin Jones at 601-630-4048 or contact him via E-Mail at One may also visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website at

Thursday, September 25, 2014

SGA brings the scares with Movie Nights this October

Story by: Jeremy VanCise, Staff Writer
Photos by: Jeremy VanCise

The SGA uses their new, giant chalkboard wall to advertise the first of the Oct. Movie Nights.
Beginning on Oct. 1, Leesburg SGA will be hosting a horror film every Wednesday of October in celebration of Halloween. Movie nights aren’t a new concept at Lake-Sumter State College, as SGA has shown many films during past semesters. Some of the past films shown include “The Great Gatsby,” “We’re the Millers” and “World War Z.”

These movies are free to all current students of LSSC and offer a cheap alternative to a night out at the movies with fellow classmates and friends. Popcorn, drinks and assorted candy will also be available gratis throughout the film.

The first film SGA plans to show is a horror comedy called "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." The film, a spoof of B movies, is about homicidal tomatoes that revolt against humanity in a deadly and hilarious way. The film will be shown on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Magnolia Room near the gym.

Vice President of SGA Joseph Hamby says he came up with the horror angle for October “so everyone has a chance to get in touch with their inner demons and to celebrate Halloween with local freaks.”

Other films being contemplated for the movie nights in October are “Hocus Pocus,” “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “The Toxic Avenger.”

Suggestions for future movie showings can be emailed

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Connections Week gets LSSC students involved across campuses

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief and Charlotte Preston, Managing Editor
Photos by: Katie McKay and Charlotte Preston

Students surround the English Department table at Leesburg campus's Academic Fair.
Lake-Sumter State College’s Connections Week kicked off with an Academic Fair on Sept. 9 that showcased the many services LSSC offers to students, as well as the various class and degree options available.

The official flyer for the Academic Fair advertised it as an opportunity to “Find out about the Library, Learning Center, eLearning and degree offerings at LSSC,” though these were by far not the only offerings. Representatives came from every area of campus, including Degree Works, Environmental Science Technology, and Health Information Management, to name a few.

Kevin Arms, who helped staff the Library table, said he would like to think "a quest for knowledge” was what attracted students to the event, but that didn't stop the library from offering $10 McDonald’s gift cards to those who completed a scavenger hunt, as well as the chance to be included in a prize drawing. The Academic Fair resembled a trick-or-treat of sorts; many students could be seen juggling a free plate of nachos in one hand, and in the other, a free tote bag with free pencils, candy, stickers, stress balls, bookmarks and cookies. The Student Government Association added to the party-like atmosphere by providing food, a DJ and a station for creating tie-dye T-shirts.

The Science department displayed fossilized trilobites, along with other curiosities, at their table to attract students.
Some groups chose to appeal more to students’ curiosity than a simple desire for free goodies. The Science Department had a table spread with skeletons, fossilized trilobites, halved nautilus shells and dissected animals. The English Department offered word games, and the Learning Center showed off the tablets available to students by using them to offer a trivia quiz about Florida.

Student participation was highly encouraged by professors; several let their classes out early, and some offered extra credit for students who brought back proof of having visited different tables. For other classes, event attendance was mandatory, and the various department representatives were kept busy signing slips of paper for students who needed evidence of having come. 

Marion Kane, director of the Learning and Development Center, gives students Stephany Flores and Ninayra Atiles information about the Learning Center while they try out the new tablets.
Ninayra Atiles, a full-time student at LSSC, was instructed by her English professor to come to the event, and was joined by fellow student Stephany Flores. Atiles cited the Learning Center as the most interesting table she had visited so far, with Flores adding that she had enjoyed the event, and that there was “a lot of information” to be had.

South Lake clubs get ready to greet their fellow students at Club Rush.
The Club Rush, one of which was held on Sept. 11 at the Sails Pavilion on Lake-Sumter State College’s South Lake campus, gave new and current students the chance to learn about the various clubs and activities available to students. Aside from the opportunity to explore existing clubs and learn how to start a new one, students were also treated to a live DJ and a free hotdog lunch courtesy of the SGA.

Clubs present at the Club Rush ranged from the well-known Student Government Association to newer groups like the Helping Hands club. The Angler, SGA, Odyssey, STEM Club, Helping Hands and Phi Theta Kappa were just a few of the LSSC-based clubs represented at the gathering.

Also present was the Western Region Psychology Club, which is exclusive to current UCF students and those planning to transfer to UCF. “We help UCF students get volunteer opportunities, scholarships, research, network and resume opportunities,” said Nathsha Vashist, who was representing the club. 

Students swarm The Odyssey's table in the Sails Pavilion at South Lake.
Many of the clubs handed out informative flyers as well as freebies such a car chargers for mobile devices, cookies and candy. Others attracted students with activities like beanbag tosses or a raffle, hosted by the SGA, for the best parking space on South Lake campus.

More than free food and information, the Club Rush offered students an opportunity to relax and have fun between classes, as Heather Lewis, a student at the South Lake campus, explained. She said, “It just gets everyone together, especially for new students who need that.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

Local restaurants support No Kid Hungry

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photo by: David Renna

Mellow Mushroom is one of the restaurants supporting the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry campaign, which seeks to end childhood hunger in America.
All throughout September a number of restaurants are participating in a program aimed at ending childhood hunger in the United States. Participation is simple—all anyone has to do is show up at a restaurant taking part in the program and order a meal.

Share Our Strength, a nonprofit organization working to end childhood hunger in the United States, is running their Dine Out for No Kid Hungry program throughout September. The program works with select restaurants around the country that support the cause. No Kid Hungry aims to raise $10 million by the end of the month.

The program is primarily aimed to help children who are not getting three square meals a day. According to the USDA, 16.2 million children in America struggle with hunger. In many cases, children living with food insecurity only find relief through free or reduced-price school meals. However, according to the Food Research and Action Center, 10.5 million children eligible for free or reduced school breakfast are not getting the meals.

Eating breakfast before classes is an important factor in student success. “School breakfast changes lives,” reports a study from No Kid Hungry. “On average, students who eat school breakfast have shown to achieve 17.5 percent higher scores on standardized math tests and attend 1.5 more days of school per year.” Funds raised for the program will directly help such initiatives.

Some of the local restaurants participating in the initiative are Tijuana Flats, Crispers, Denny’s, Arby’s, and Mellow Mushroom. At Crispers, donating $1 or more to No Kid Hungry will yield three free cookies. Mellow Mushroom will donate $1 for every purchase of certain menu items, and those who donate $10 or more online at will be entered into a drawing to win a vacation to either the Hard Rock All-Inclusive Resort in Cancún, Mexico, or a visit to the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Those interested can also go to and enter a zip code to find participating restaurants nearby.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Time traveler

Comic by: Katie McKay

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cindy Lackey receives Bob Graham Distinguished Service award

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Photos by: Katie McKay

Cindy Lackey is well-known around campus for her helpfulness and dedication.
Cindy Lackey, the assistant director of Student Life and SGA advisor, can be seen at just about every Lake-Sumter State College function. Even when she’s not in the crowd, she is working behind the scenes to make things run smoothly, and has been doing so for the past five years.

This year, she was nominated for and received the Bob Graham Distinguished Service Award, given by the Florida College System Student Government Association. There are several categories for this award, including community supporter, community college student, community college employee, and SGA advisor. Any of 28 different colleges in the FCSSGA can nominate people for these awards. A selection committee then reviews each nomination and makes a choice.

“I’m very honored that our students here at Lake-Sumter nominated me,” Lackey says. “I feel like I just do my job every day, but I’m happy they think that I do a good job of that, enough to nominate me for an award like this. It’s very… humbling, I guess, is a good word for it.”

The plaque reads, “The Bob Graham Distinguished Service Award is presented to Cindy Lackey in honor and recognition of the outstanding dedication and service you have rendered to your community college. Through your extra efforts, the lives of those you have interacted with have been enriched. For this reason you have been selected from nominees throughout the state as an individual who truly typifies the community college spirit.”

Lackey states that receiving such a prestigious award is an honor and a humbling experience.
Though this was a prestigious award, it had a few eye-catching details that the SGA members couldn’t ignore. Namely, that the word “distinguished” was spelled “distinquished,” and “interacted” became “ineracted.”

Lackey didn’t seem too upset. “I got a good laugh in the van on the way home,” she said. “Misspelled words tend to catch my attention. Plus, the period is missing, so the whole sentence kind of reads weird, but it was still an honor to get the award. It’s just that the plaque is funny. That in no way belittles the award.” She says that she didn't want it remade; its quirks will stay with her forever.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

STEM club to conduct live experiments on LSSC campuses

Story by: Kristen Binning, Staff Writer
Photos by: Kristen Binning

Officials Jackie Spradley, Sara Corvil, Kristin Smith and Jeffrey Rivera talk science at a meeting.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) club is asking students to submit ideas for science experiments, which will be conducted in the quad on the Leesburg and South-Lake campuses once a month. These experiments can be related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics, and will be performed for entertainment and education. An officers' meeting was held Thursday Sept 4 when officials discussed the parameters of its live experiments.

The STEM club has to do with meta-majors, which are something new this year. These are broad focuses of study that allow students to explore several majors in a particular field while staying on track for their degrees, according to the Florida College Access Network. Lake-Sumter State College recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a STEM program designed as an academic resource for students with meta-majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM club’s mission statement reflects this, stating that their goal is to “foster excitement, confidence and literacy by enabling the student body and community to engage in an exploratory learning environment that advances knowledge, application and nurtures success.”

Officials of the STEM club are currently preparing for Connections Week, an academic showcase for the clubs and programs on campus which will be held on Sept 10 and 11. Members Jacqueline Spradley, Adviser Sara Corvil, Secretary Kristin Smith, and Student Government Association Representative Jeffrey Rivera have discussed topics for experiment ideas that would gain interest of those who attend LSSC.

The STEM club will be hosting its first official meeting  on Sept 18 at 5 p.m in the Student Center, Room 108, and it will be open to anyone interested. They will discuss be future plans of the club and the benefits that STEM offers to students.

To submit live experiment ideas, students can send an e-mail to