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Voices from CCSF’s past


By Gina Scialabba

The Guardsman

City College is everywhere. Our schools. Our military. Our police force. Our radios. Our televisions. Our newspapers.  Even our gardens have been affected. We all know someone with a connection to this school.  It is a place where dreams are realized.

There’s hardly a corner of San Francisco (and sometimes well beyond), that hasn’t felt the imprint of our alumni.For one brief moment, let’s forget the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Put aside the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team report, dueling faculty, staff and administration and a looming March 15th deadline.  It’s common knowledge our school is facing the battle of a lifetime. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake.

Let’s step back and see what’s right with City College.  In this series, we seek to highlight all the positive contributions this school makes to our community and our lives.  We asked the question, “What impact has City College had on your life?” These were just some of the overwhelming responses we have received.

Kay Ann Recede

Photo courtesy of Kay Ann Recede

I began attending CCSF in 2009 while I was working as a full time Executive Assistant (just another fancy term for a Receptionist). By the time I realized I wanted to become a Broadcast Journalist, I had already received my Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley.

A little research unveiled what it would take for me to achieve my goals. Hence my enrollment at City College in order to pursue my Certificates in Broadcast Journalism and Video Editing and Production.City College allowed me to seek out an alternative education. Before I enrolled in classes, I believed I was on the graduate school track. The classes at City College gave me the education I needed at a price I could afford.

I got hooked up with some of the best people in the business thanks to City College and I’m not paying off exorbitant student loans thanks either.It’s very daunting to think that closing the school would be a fathomable concept. Without City College where will people like me, or even people figuring out their lives get their education?

Stan Burford

Photo by Thomas Lawn/Etc. Magazine

I entered City College on a path that led to a career in architecture. Within my first six months I discovered the campus radio station, KCSF, and met the most influential instructor in my college career, Henry Leff.

The broadcasting department in 1960 was one studio and one instructor, all located in the science building. During my two years at City College the department grew to include new radio studios, a TV studio and a complete move into the then new creative arts building.

At 18 it was the opportunity that opened my mind and heart to the potential of a life in the media. For me it was the perfect combination of people, place and time. The program introduced me to a real industry with real responsibilities and real expectations. It was time to “grow up” and I did.

Bernie Corace

Photo courtesy of Bernie Corace

City College not only gave me the skills and knowledge to transition from one profession to another. It gave me the connections I needed to find a job in my profession here in San Francisco.

It further empowered me to start a business in that profession, which has provided a livelihood for me and my employees for the past eight years.  And it has given me a network of like-minded professionals that have become friends as well as colleagues.Closing City College would deprive our community of a continuous flow of committed and knowledgeable professionals that has served San Francisco for over 60 years in both the public and private forums.

Keith Kerr

Photo by Margo Brichkova/Etc. Magazine

I had a wonderful career teaching at City College and living in the City by the Bay. Many dedicated colleagues make CCSF a great San Francisco treasure. The College will survive new challenges and remain a great beacon of learning and inspiration.

Justin Mazzola


Photo courtesy of Justin Mazzola


I originally enrolled at City College to take a night class in literature to complete my Masters in Education (from out-of-state). Impressed with the professor and her respect for students juggling full-time jobs and other responsibilities, I chose to take classes the following two semesters (short story writing and Etc. Magazine).

Thanks to City College I secured my Masters and now teach first grade in San Francisco. In addition, I have since rediscovered my passion for writing, perhaps paving the way for my next career.

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