Terryon Desso

 Terryon Desso grew up in Arkansas, and said wide open fields gave him the creative mind he now has today.

“My mother and my grandparents let me go far from home as long as I was back before dark and with that kind of freedom my imagination just expanded,” he said.

Desso, now 22, moved to Texas shortly after graduating high school and lived with family friends in Grapevine. He is an aspiring writer. He’s worked for the Star-Telegram and he started five of his own novels. He has even published one of them.

“It’s a story about a girl growing up in the ’20s, so I had to do a lot of research,” he said. “She gets pregnant and runs away from home and is put in a life-threatening situation with seven strangers.”

This is his last semester at TR. After graduating, Desso plans to attend theological seminary school. He is a licensed minister, and he doesn’t consider that a job but a spiritual calling.

“I’ve been preaching a little over two years, and the only thing I regret is that I didn’t do it sooner,” he said.

Ashley Johnson

Kevin Price

With his brimming smile and upbeat personality, it would be hard to believe that TR student Kevin Price was a gang member in Compton, Calif.

During his freshman year of high school, Price said he was unknowingly initiated into the gang after being jumped by several gang members. He chose to remain in the gang so someone could have his back.

“When I moved to California, we literally had to fight every day,” he said.”I had a fight on my first day of school, and I didn’t even know anyone. I felt like I didn’t want to deal with that by myself.”

Price didn’t graduate from high school, but he moved back to Fort Worth and received his high school diploma from Job Corps. He decided to get serious about life when his son K.J. was born.

“Gang-banging is for little kids, and I stopped a lot of it because I have a son. I didn’t have a choice. I had to do something with my life,” he said. “I have five brothers, and I’m the oldest. I feel like I have to set an example and show them that’s not the life they have to live.”

Price began attending TCC in spring 2011. He plans to major in radio and television broadcasting and eventually do sports broadcasting.

“I want to have my own show like Flavor Flav,” he said.

 —Ashley Johnson

Fernando Orozco

Film and creativity are two of many passions that drive TR student Fernando Orozco.  At age 19, his enthusiasm for movies landed him a job as one of Movie Taverns youngest projectionists.

“I started out working as a host, and the managers noticed I liked film, and I kept moving up to bigger positions until I became a projectionist,” he said. “The main part of my job is setting everything up for the next week. I pick the titles, trailers and advertisements that come before the movie.”

As an aspiring scriptwriter, Orozco has written four of his own movie ideas. He believes that writers have something to say, and it’s for more than just entertainment.

“A line can mean anything. It can be taken different ways. Every artist has a goal to be understood no matter what they are doing,” he said.

Orozco was recently accepted to the University of North Texas but is keeping his options open to pursue his love for music as well.

“UNT has a classical music major, but I play electric guitar. I thought about auditioning at Berkeley and possibly going there, so that’s another option for me,” he said.

Orozco hopes to one day have his movies on the big screen and believes his affiliation with Movie Tavern can help him get there one day.

“I know the president of Movie Tavern has connections with Paramount, so hopefully I can keep moving up and show him my scripts one day,” he said.

Ashley Johnson 

Hayden Johnson

NW student Hayden Johnson says he uses his Internet access to its fullest potential.

A die-hard nerd and proud of it, Johnson says his passion for the Internet, video games, books, movies and music might appear normal for a man his age, but that is because you haven’t seen him in action.

“The first step would be admitting I had a problem…but I’m not going to,” he said. “I love surfing the Internet and playing video games, and I will not apologize for that…I might still be in denial.”

Johnson says he plans to make the hours he has spent with his PlayStation mean something by entering the field of video game design.

“I am still undecided, but to work with video games in any way whether it be voice-acting, design, or writing, would be amazing,” he said. “I know I would be thrilled to go to work, and I truly believe that most games serve as intellectual stimulation.”

Johnson says that students today are lucky to have access to resources that provide the information they need so quickly.

“I think a lot of students would agree with me when I say that I owe a lot to Google, and I can’t imagine living without it,” he said. “It saves lives.”

Johnson said he could not continue the interview because Mass Effect 3 was coming out, and he had to mentally prepare.

 –Taylor Jensen

Dianne Espejel

NW student Dianne Espejel’s love for helping others and her curiosity of the human body continues to drive her forward in her medical career.

Straight out of high school Espejel started working in nursing homes, and it was there she discovered her love of medicine.

“My experience there made me realize that I loved to make a difference in the lives of the people I helped,” she said. “Working around the nurses, I would learn things, and I was intrigued.”

Espejel then went to the High Tech Institute in Dallas, where she became a certified surgical technician. From there, Espejel started working in hospitals and operating rooms but found that her quest for knowledge was not yet complete.

“Being in the operating room every day, I would encounter more and more things about the body, and it made me want to go back to school to have more knowledge on how to help others and climb the career ladder as well,” she said.

Espejel discovered TCC to be the most convenient option and is currently working on her associate degree. She does, however, dream of the day she reaches the top of her career ladder, which for her, means a job as a coroner.

“People usually think I’m a weirdo, but I have always been fascinated with the body,” she said. “Becoming a medical examiner is just another way I can help others…just a different one.”

Taylor Jensen

Rodney Thompson

Adjunct Instructor Rodney Thompson says that technology is not just important, it’s taking over.

New to TCC, Thompson is teaching BCIS on NW Campus and wants to help students learn basic computer skills and help them decide their goals for the future.

“I like helping kids out, and it comes naturally to me to help kids advance in their career. That’s why I wanted to be a teacher,” he said.

With three master’s degrees in science, fine arts and information technology, and 10 years experience as a teacher/counselor, Thompson is more than qualified to help students reach their own potential.

Thompson believes that whatever career students choose, it should be for the right reasons.

“Do what your heart tells you, not just because the job pays a lot,” he said. “Chances are if you choose a career for the money, you won’t end up making any.”

Thompson says he is passionate about technology and that any student looking to major in I.T. will enter a fast-paced field that is constantly changing the way we live our lives.

‘In whatever field or major you choose, you have to stay open-minded,” he said. “Be an innovator.”

Taylor Jensen

Gregory Bade

When he isn’t teaching English, adjunct instructor Gregory Bade is sometimes in the pits.

Bade captures behind-the- scenes moments at Texas Motor Speedway via photography. The thunderous, grease-ridden pastime once earned him a thirty photo art exhibit on SE Campus, where he teaches.

Teaching has reaped the photojournalist recognition as well. Last semester, Bade became the first adjunct instructor to win the Excellence In Teaching award on SE. As part of the honor, All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot was donated to the library on behalf of SE Campus in his name. Bade said it was a favorite series of his.

Some students who have taken a class from him will take an additional one, and it is not because he is easy, Bade said.

Bade thinks he received the newly established SE award because he is involved and tries to involve his students. He believes his students need to know teachers are active participants in their chosen field of study, he said.

“I teach writing, and I am a working writer who has deadlines to meet and a publisher to answer to,” he said. “I am not just an individual who got a degree in English and decided to teach.”

Bade, who freelances for the Weatherford Democrat, has been writing articles for publications since he was 20. When he talks about point of view, revision and considering an audience, he knows what he is talking about.

“It is textbook knowledge,” he said, “but it is more than that.It is what happens in the world outside of the college setting.”

— Karen Gavis

Andrew Hollinger

Author, history professor, publisher, orator and bicycle enthusiast are a few ways to describe NE Campus history professor Andrew Hollinger.

“This last weekend, I did [biked] about one hundred miles, I guess.” he said.

Hollinger owns two very cool bicycles, a Moots and a Cinelli, which allow him an elite riding experience. He is also a founding member of Team Bicycles, Inc., a club consisting of road bicycle racers.

Additionally, Hollinger publishes an e-zine, The Racing Post, which has a readership of 28,000. When Hollinger first began publishing the magazine 7 1/2 years ago, it was an 18-page magazine on newsprint. Now, it is fully glossed, has 44 pages, national advertisers and is downloadable, he said.

In addition to teaching, publishing and speaking, Hollinger officiates or competes in bicycle racing, he said.

Why do he and his bike racing friends do it?

Because we are completely focused, because we’re driven,” he said. “That’s what we do.”

Compared to those in his age group, Hollinger said he is in great physical shape, but compared to other bike racers, he does not top the list.

“I’m one of those people who make the other guys look good,” he said.

Hollinger said compared to other bicycle racers, he is old, slow and fat. And when moments go uphill, he is hurting.

“I can still put in a decent day on a bicycle,” he said.

Hollinger can also put in a decent day’s writing. He has written three novels, Changin’ Gears, Hangin’ On and Lex.

However, Hollinger’s real passion is teaching history.

“The only job I ever wanted to do is teach history,” he said.

Hollinger said he believes that the real success stories are at community colleges where students learn while experiencing real life.

“There are no silver spoons here,” he said. “I feel like it [TCC] is something I want to be part of.”

Hollinger said if he can be a small part of a success story, his job is worthwhile.

— Karen Gavis

Vivian Lu

The roots of SE Campus library assistant Vivian Lu’s culture not only run deep, but they show because Lu expresses them through art she creates and shares with others.

Originally from China, Lu learned the art of origami in kindergarten. While earning her master’s at Texas Wesleyan University, she became bored during the summers and bought a book on origami making. It was the first of many books she read on the subject. Now, Lu said she creates one hundred different kinds of animals, insects and human figures. She wants her art to be meaningful, so she also creates scenes.

“It is so much fun even though it is time-consuming,” she said.

Lu said China’s culture tends to be more symbolic and before the Tung Dynasty, a person’s intelligence was measured by their ability to write poetry.

“Well educated people tend to express their ideas in symbolic ways,” she said.
Today, a symbolic stork hangs proudly in the SE Campus library. It is one of Lu’s creations, and its mission is to deliver books. One of the books in the stork’s bundle has wings.

Lu got the idea for the stork when co-workers kept asking her to make them origami and she would make cranes. Then, she decided to make a giant crane which evolved into a stork. When Lu realized storks delivered babies, she looked around the library, saw all the books and decided the SE stork would deliver books instead.

Lu’s stork carries a bundle of tiny books with the names of each full and part-time library faculty member along with a topic they enjoy.

Lu said she had one book leftover so she equipped it with wings and added it to the creation also so it could fly into a reader’s heart.

“Whoever that reader is,” she said.

— Karen Gavis

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