Skippers Esports looks to continue its success in the fall

The St. Clair County Community College Esports team found tremendous success in its inaugural season, claiming three top-four finishes this past April in the National Junior College Athletic Association Rocket League and Super Smash Bros. tournaments.

Skippers Jarod Graham and Mitchell Lumpford finished second in the country in the doubles for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Graham finished fourth in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate single player tournament. Kylar Marinez, David Roy and Philip Winterbauer finished fourth in the country in Rocket League.

The teams were launched in the fall, and through their first season continued to grow under the direction of coach James “Jimmer” Jordan. When COVID-19 closed campuses throughout the country cancelling other sports, SC4 Esports team members were fortunate enough to have their own systems at home so they could continue the season.

Each of the players began Esports at different ages, some using the Nintendo 64 console when they were younger than 10 years old, while other team members picked up on video games in junior high school. Most stated they really began taking Esports seriously late into high school, and one just a few months before when they joined the Esports team.

“I never really took competing in games seriously or thought that I had a chance. When some of my friends talked to me about playing for SC4, I decided to give it a try,” Winterbauer said. “It was a cool opportunity to get involved with Esports through my college, with a professional-level coach to mentor us and really step our game up to the next level.”

Winterbauer said he began the season at a low rank in Rocket League and in the past four months has climbed three ranks while competing for the Skippers.

“Anybody is capable if you put your mind to it,” he said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, why not give it your all? Maybe you’ll find your calling.”

Being on the team and competing together helps with real-world skills.

“(Esports) helped me improve and grow relationships and learning abilities. It teaches you diligence – to do things the right way, every time, even if it is harder that way when you first start,” Marinez said. “Things like that are really going to help me in the future and transfer over to job training.”

Added Graham: “It gives you the feeling of always wanting to do your best, not just for you but for the college, too.”

With a stay-at-home order in place, playing at home for the remainder of the playoffs wasn’t quite the same as the team atmosphere they have in the facilities at the college. The team had formed a family-like bond over the last few months.

“Competing with this team, and for the college, really gives it purpose for me,” Roy said. “It’s different than playing alone.”

Most of the team plans to come back next season, except for sophomore Mitch Lumpford, who completed his Associate of Arts degree at SC4 and will be continuing his education at Oakland University in the fall.

Jarod Graham, Mitch Lumpford, Kylar Marinez, David Roy and Phil Winterbauer
Jarod Graham, Mitch Lumpford, Kylar Marinez, David Roy and Phil Winterbauer

SC4 names women’s soccer and Esports coaches

St. Clair County Community College is pleased to announce the addition of two coaches to lead Skippers Athletics teams in women’s soccer and Esports. Todd Stank will serve as the women’s soccer coach and James Jordan will be the Esports coach.

Todd Stank Soccer Coach
Todd Stank
Jim Jordan E-Sports
James Jordan

Both women’s soccer and Esports were added to the college’s growing list of athletic offerings this fall. In doing so, SC4 became just the sixth community college in Michigan to offer women’s soccer and was among the first 50 of 520 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) member institutions nationwide to field an Esports team.

The women’s soccer team will begin its play in 2020-21 and will be recruiting players over the coming year. The Esports team will begin NJCAA Esports competition this semester, potentially competing in Rocket League (PC), FIFA 20 (PS4), Overwatch (PC) and Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo Switch).

“We’re thrilled to welcome Todd and James to our Athletics program,” SC4 Athletic Director Dale Vos said. “They both bring tremendous experience and expertise to the college, along with the energy level needed to get these programs off the ground and help them reach their potential.”

A graduate of Siena Heights University, Stank has extensive experience coaching soccer. He has served as head coach at Rochester University (women’s), Waterford Kettering High School (women’s) and Capac High School (men’s and women’s). He has also served as head trainer at Romeo High School and as a staff coach and president with an array of metro Detroit soccer clubs, including the Blue Water Soccer Club.

A former Michigan Olympic Development Program evaluator, Stank holds licenses from both the United States Soccer Coaches Association and the United States Soccer Federation. He was named NAIA WHAC Conference Champions of Character Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2018, and his teams continuously experience both athletic and academic success.

“I am grateful to be chosen to start the soccer program at SC4,” Stank said. “I have had the privilege of helping to build teams, clubs and programs at many competitive levels throughout my coaching career. It is a rare honor, and I look forward to the challenge and opportunity of creating and establishing a high standard and competitive culture for the SC4 women’s soccer program. Our program should always represent the college, our athletes and our community in a positive manner.”

Jordan brings six years of Esports coaching and managing experience to the college. He has coached and competed at various skill levels from minor events to premier competitions against top talent from around the world. In 2018 he led Splyce’s Rocket League team to a first-place finish in RLRS, earning a berth into RLCS, Rocket League’s World Championship Circuit. In 2019 Jordan coached and competed in various international competitions against top teams from Europe, South America and Oceania.

An SC4 alumnus, Capac, Mich., native and current St. Clair resident, Jordan also works as a unit operator for DTE Energy at St. Clair Power Plant.

“I’m excited to be here,” Jordan said. “The opportunity to foster a culture of hard work, critical thinking and excellence at SC4 is something that I don’t take lightly. I have been fortunate enough to compete with and against some of the world’s best, and I am thrilled to share that knowledge and experience with those right here in my hometown community.”

SC4 announces free winter concerts, continues fall series

St. Clair County Community College is pleased to release its winter concert calendar for the upcoming semester. Similar to fall 2019 concerts, all winter 2020 concerts are free admission.

Stone Sound Collective 2The winter concert calendar kicks off Thursday, Jan. 16, as the Stone Sound Collective (pictured at right) heads to campus to perform celebrated world percussion traditions of Africa and India with the lyricism of cello and saxophone. The series also features performances on Thursday, April 9, by Detroit’s Queen of the Blues Thornetta Davis (pictured above), a highly celebrated, award-winning performer who has headlined countless shows and opened for legendary blues and R&B greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James and many more.

In addition, the winter concert schedule also showcases evening performances by the college’s Symphonic and Jazz Bands and the SC4 Choir. Check out the full schedule of performances below and find complete details at sc4.edu/arts.

Those interested in reserving free seats must call 810-989-5789. Seats are reserved by ticket until 15 minutes prior to showtime at which time all individuals are admitted until the theatre is full.

The below list includes remaining fall 2019 concerts as well as the winter 2020 offerings. All performances take place on campus in the SC4 Fine Arts Theatre.

Thursday, Nov. 7
Smokin’ 45s Rock & Blues Review
Noon and 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23
SC4 Choir
7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 5
Michigan Opera Theatre
Noon and 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 13
SC4 Symphonic and Jazz bands
7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 16
Stone Sound Collective
Noon and 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 6
Kanola Band
Noon and 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 15
SC4 Symphonic and Jazz bands
7 p.m.

Thursday, March 5
Finvarra’s Wren (music)
Shannon Irish Dancers (dancers)
Noon and 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 9
Thornetta Davis
Noon and 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 18
SC4 Symphonic and Jazz bands
7 p.m.

Saturday, April 25
SC4 Choir
7 p.m.

 

 

 

SC4 sets fall schedule for Free Thursday Concert Series, band and choir performances

St. Clair County Community College has released its fall concert calendar for the upcoming semester, which includes the return of the popular Free Thursday Concert Series.

The concert series kicks off Thursday, Sept. 12, as the Lexington Bach String Quartet returns to campus. The series also features a performance by Devin Scillian & Arizona Son on Thursday, Oct. 10. The popular country and western band, led by the WDIV-TV newscaster, will perform at noon and 7 p.m. in SC4’s newly renovated Fine Arts Theatre.

In addition, the fall concert schedule also showcases evening performances by the college’s Symphonic and Jazz Bands and the SC4 Community Choir. Check out the full schedule of performances below and find complete details at sc4.edu/arts.

Please note: All concerts are free admission in the fall. Tickets are required to reserve seats. Seats are reserved by ticket until 15 minutes prior to showtime at which time all individuals are admitted until the theatre is full. Call 810-989-5789 to reserve tickets.

All performances take place on campus in the SC4 Fine Arts Theatre.

Thursday, Sept. 12
Lexington Bach String Quartet
Noon and 7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 10
Devin Scillian & Arizona Son
Noon and 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 12
SC4 Symphonic and Jazz bands
7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 7
Smokin’ 45s Rock & Blues Review
Noon and 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23
SC4 Community Choir
7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 5
Michigan Opera Theatre
Noon and 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 13
SC4 Symphonic and Jazz Band
7 p.m.

SC4 brings local athletes to campus for high school all-star competitions

St. Clair County Community College will host some of the area’s best high school athletes in the coming weeks as part of its annual SC4 Blue Water Area Senior All-Star Games.

Graduating high school seniors from St. Clair County and the surrounding region will compete in cross country, golf, baseball, softball, volleyball and basketball. The festivities will kick off with a cross country invitational on Wednesday, June 12, at the Goodells County Park, where girls will run at 6 p.m., followed by the boys.

All-Star Boys Basketball18An 18-hole, coed golf invitational keeps the all-star excitement going at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at Port Huron Golf Club. The action then moves to the diamond as area baseball standouts take part in a nine-inning game at 7 p.m. Monday, June 17, at Sanborn Park, followed by the all-star softball game at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at Pine Grove Park.

All-star festivities conclude in the SC4 Fieldhouse with volleyball and basketball games on back-to-back days. The volleyball match begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, followed by basketball contests Thursday, June 20, when the girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys at 7:30 p.m.

Cost to attend volleyball and basketball games is $5. All other all-star events are free.

For more information on the all-star events, contact the SC4 Athletic Department at 810-989-5670.

SC4 bands to play concerts on the water this summer

This summer, St. Clair County Community College’s symphonic and jazz bands will perform three free concerts in the Riverside Pavilion adjacent to the college’s campus along the Black River.

Led by Erick Senkmajer, the bands will play classic and contemporary songs for audiences of all ages. Families and friends are invited to join us on campus for three entertaining summer evenings.

June 21, 2019
7 p.m.

July 12, 2019
7 p.m.

Aug. 9, 2019
7 p.m.

All concerts take place at the Riverside Pavilion.

SC4 to host annual Golf Classic June 14, benefiting student-athletes

The St. Clair County Community College Athletic Department will host its annual Golf Classic on Friday, June 14, at the Port Huron Golf Club in Fort Gratiot Township. Participants will enjoy 18 holes of golf with friends to help support athletic scholarships and college athletics projects.

“We are constantly amazed by the many ways this community supports our student-athletes each year,” said SC4 Athletic Director Dale Vos. “This event is a great opportunity for us to come together and have some fun while creating impactful opportunities for these hard-working students.”

The four-person scramble is limited to the first 32 teams to register. The cost to enter is $125 per golfer or $500 per team, with payment due by Friday, May 31. Additional event details, sponsorship opportunities and registration is available online at stclair.nbsstore.net/golf-classic.

Schedule

  • 11:30 a.m. – Registration
  • 1 p.m. – Shotgun start
  • 5:30 p.m. – Hors d’ouvres, awards and prizes

For more information, contact the Athletic Department at 810-989-5671 or dvos@sc4.edu.

SC4 announces community trip to see ‘Billy Elliot’ at Stratford Festival Theatre

St. Clair County Community College has announced a community trip — open to all area residents — to the Stratford Festival Theatre for a production of “Billy Elliot” with Music by Elton John on Sunday, June 23.

For $150, participants can enjoy luxury bus travel, priority seating at the theatre, a post-show chat with cast members, dinner at the scenic Marquee Restaurant overlooking the Avon River, refreshments and prizes.

“I think these trips are a great opportunity for our college and community to come together and share in some truly special cultural experiences,” says Bonnie DiNardo, SC4’s director of community education and relations.

Located in Stratford, Ontario, the Stratford Festival Theatre is North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company, presenting a dozen or more productions across four distinct venues each year.

“Billy Elliot” is set in a mining town riven by a bitter national strike, where 11-year-old Billy lives with his bereaved family. But Billy’s discovery of his talent for dance awakens in him a passion that will transform his life and win the hearts of his whole community. With its inspirational story, moving dance numbers and music by pop legend Elton John, this gritty new take on the smash-hit show — reimagined for Stratford — really packs a punch.

Space is limited. Those interested must register by June 16. Visit sc4.edu/trips to learn more and secure their spot.

Itinerary:

  • 8:30 a.m. – Depart SC4 College Center parking lot.
    Enjoy contests, trivia and prizes on the luxury
    bus.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Enjoy downtown Stratford, take time to shop,
    explore and have lunch on your own.
  • 1 p.m. – Return to bus for five-minute ride to
    Stratford Festival Theatre. Explore the
    gardens, museum and gift shop.
  • 2 p.m. – “Billy Elliot”
  • 4:30 p.m. – Post-show chat.
  • 5:30 p.m. – Dinner at the scenic Marquee Restaurant.
  • 7:30 p.m. – Return to Port Huron.
  • 9:30 p.m. – Arrive at SC4.

For questions, contact Jessica Smith at 810-989-5789 or jasmith@sc4.edu.

SC4 to host Sturgeon Celebration April 30

What:
St. Clair County Community College will host an informational event in partnership with state and local environmental organizations to celebrate all things sturgeon, including the upcoming release of the college’s own sturgeon, which has been growing bigger since first arriving on campus in November. Representatives will be on hand to answer questions and discuss one of the largest and healthiest populations of lake sturgeon in the entire Great Lakes ecosystem, located just a few blocks away from the college’s campus. Attendees can also enter to win special contests, with prizes from SC4, Friends of the St. Clair River, Exquisite Corpse Coffee House and Jimmy John’s.

When:
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 30

Where:
St. Clair County Community College Experience Center
Clara E. Mackenzie Building

Who:
•    St. Clair County Community College faculty and staff members
•    Michigan Department of Natural Resources
•    Sturgeon for Tomorrow
•    Friends of the St. Clair River

International students find a home at SC4

Caio Rodrigues and Ada Baanrud left their homes in Brazil and Norway to find family, friendship and education thousands of miles away in Michigan’s Blue Water Area.

Rodrigues grew up in cities across Brazil, from Recife and Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo and Manaus, where his parents and younger brother now live. With ambition to learn the English language, he decided to come to the United States for his senior year of high school through an exchange program with CETUSA.

“My parents always wanted me to come to the U.S. — they knew what it would mean for me,” Rodrigues said.

International student Caio Rodrigues02.jpg
Caio Rodrigues

He arrived at Port Huron High School in August 2017, staying first with the Lowe family and moving in with his current host family, the Santillanos, a few months later. Adjusting to life as an American high school student in a small town came with challenges, but Rodrigues knew it was where he needed to be.

“In Brazil I always lived in big cities, so Port Huron was new for me,” he said. “I spoke very little English when I arrived. I was worried that I would never learn, but I knew I just had to wake up in the morning and get back at it.”

As his senior year at PHHS went on, Rodrigues’ English steadily improved. He even started learning Spanish at home with help from the Santillanos, complementing his native Portuguese to help him develop multilingual skills.

When the time came to think about life after high school, like many students, he sought guidance from family. Rodrigues’ mom and brother made a surprise visit to watch him receive his high school diploma. During their stay, they decided to check out St. Clair County Community College.

“My host mom talked to us about how nice it would be to stay in Port Huron, where I already had a support system and wouldn’t have to start all over again,” Rodrigues said. “Then my mom and I went to SC4, and after speaking with [international student specialist] Bonnie Romzek, I decided to stay here.”

As Rodrigues explains, the college’s new student housing was a major factor in his decision to stay in town. He started at SC4 in August 2018 as one of the first students to move in to SC4’s residence hall, The Dock.

“I love living here,” Rodrigues said. “My roommate has been so nice and helpful, and it’s given me the chance to connect with different people. Everyone wants to learn about me, my life and my background — it’s really nice. It’s also great being right downtown and just steps away from the movie theater.”

In his second semester at SC4, Rodrigues is thriving as he pursues his associate degree in general studies and settles into his first job at the college’s bookstore. “I took it slow the first semester, but now I’m trying to expand, network and put myself out there,” he said.

After earning his degree, Rodrigues hopes to further his education and start a career as a film director.

While everything about the region was new to Rodrigues, Ada Baanrud already knew it was where she wanted to be — 40 years ago, her mother was part of a Norwegian student exchange program that brought her to Croswell, Michigan.

“It was an incredible experience for her, and that always made me want to do it,” Baanrud said. “When I applied for my exchange program, I asked to be placed close to Croswell.”

International student Ada Baanrud01
Ada Baanrud

Baanrud came to the country in 2016 to complete her senior year at Port Huron Northern High School. She quickly became close with her host family, the Olsens, who live in the city and have hosted other exchange students over the years.

“I’m used to being by the water growing up by the Oslofjord in Norway, so I really love being in Port Huron,” Baanrud said. “I love hanging downtown at the restaurants and cafes, boating in the summer and just being part of this community.”

Baanrud has built lasting connections during her time in the region, traveling the country with the Olsens and even reconnecting with her mother’s host parents in Croswell, whom she affectionately refers to as “grandma and grandpa.”

After graduating from PHN, Baanrud went back to Norway for a year, only to return last summer to prepare for fall classes at SC4.

“I knew I wanted to go to college in the U.S., and my host parents were excited to welcome me back, so starting out at SC4 just made a lot of sense,” she said. “The campus is clean and beautiful, walkable and convenient. I thought when I first came here I would have a hard time adjusting, but I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Baanrud is trying to earn as many affordable credits as possible before transferring to Western Michigan University next fall, where she’s earned a scholarship to study marketing and international business. She hopes to use her multilingual skills in French, Norwegian and English to find a career in the corporate world or diplomacy.

With their different backgrounds and experiences, Rodrigues and Baanrud appreciate the support they’ve received at SC4.

“Bonnie Romzek and [SC4 registrar] Carrie Bearss have helped me navigate challenging processes like getting my license and setting up my classes,” Baanrud said. “And my instructors provide such a personalized classroom experience. They’re approachable and you know they care about your success.”

Rodrigues notes that patient professors and student support services like the Writing Center have been invaluable.

“I know I can talk to my instructors at any time. They understand the language barrier and they’re always willing to work with me,” he said. “I’ve also enjoyed the Writing Center. It’s been a great place to get help with my homework, brush up on my grammar and even get a stronger grasp on the English language.”

Students come from all walks of life to study at SC4, finding community and a sense of belonging in a unique setting — one that’s become home for two students crossing continents on their paths to success.