Santa Maria Times

Guided by faith, Valley Christian Academy graduates 13

Twelve students from Valley Christian Academy — and one from First Baptist Christian School’s independent study program — graduated Friday night, prepared for tests of faith and devotion by their Christ-centered education. … Structured similarly to other graduations, Friday night’s ceremonies included speeches by the class valedictorian and salutatorian — Christopher Bracero and Marcos Cardenas, respectively — and testimonies by Smith and Dominic Porpiglia. … Bracero, who will enroll at Westmont College this fall, told graduates to serve God — and others — with the talents and skills he has bestowed on them. more

Hancock College working to update emergency response procedures; bond decision expected next month

The Hancock College board of trustees on Tuesday received a report on the state of their emergency response protocols and update on the consideration of a bond measure for the November 2018 election. … With the Thomas fire and 1/9 Debris Flow still at the forefront of the county’s collective consciousness, Underwood said she reached out to faculty and staff at Westmont College — who were not only affected by the fire and mudslides but, also, successfully addressed and mitigated impacts from the Tea fire in 2008 — for advice. “This last graduating class from Westmont College was evacuated five times,” she said. “[They] have all types of experience dealing with this.” more

Carlos Zepeda masters the hurdles of higher education

Carlos Zepeda was a track superstar at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, a stand-out in the 300- and 400-meter hurdles. His skill, hard work and determination on the track may be what prepared him for what was to come next in his young life… But when Westmont College offered him a significant track scholarship, he enrolled there instead, supplementing the athletic scholarship with one from SFSB. more

Celebrate Earth Day with poetry at Sedgwick Reserve

The Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society and the Sedgwick Reserve invite the public to a poetry reading in recognition of Earth Day featuring Paul Willis, former poet laureate of Santa Barbara. The free event happens April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Tipton Meeting House on the reserve. …Willis is a professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara where he teaches creative writing and British Renaissance literature. more

‘Qualities of Mercy’ gets stage reading at Solvang Festival Theater

The DramaDogs theater company is giving a stage reading of a new play by Jinny Webber from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 17 at the Solvang Festival Theater. …Santa Barbara Reads is an annual community reading program started by the Santa Barbara Public Library System in 2002 and now includes UCSB, Santa Barbara City College and Westmont College. more

To protect the U.S., vet refugees

Matt Kokkonen, a legal immigrant from Finland, lives in San Luis Obispo, is a graduate of Westmont College and did graduate studies in philosophy in Finland. He has been a financial planner on the Central Coast for 40 years. Kokkonen was the Republican candidate for Congress in 2008. more

Westmont College choir and orchestra to perform in Solvang

The 60-voice choir from Santa Barbara’s Westmont College will participate in both worship services on Sunday at the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church in Solvang, under the direction of Dr. Michael Shasberger. more

National Chemistry Week poetry contest

The California Los Padres Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is celebrating National Chemistry Week by sponsoring an illustrated poem contest for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. … To enter, email a scanned copy of the illustrated poem, along with the attached entry form and release form to poetry@lospadresacs.org. Paper copies will also be accepted at the following mailing address: Kristi Cantrell, Westmont College Department of Chemistry, 955 La Paz Road, Santa Barbara CA 93108. more

Students pack program in SB

The tenets of international leadership took on local significance when 20 Cabrillo High School juniors and five Lompoc High students attended the Global Leadership Connection Conference on Feb. 7 at the University of California, Santa Barbara and March 2 at Westmont College. more

WHAT’S DOING: EVENTS, PERFORMANCES, SHOWS, MEETINGS, CONCERTS, FUN

Walking in the Spirit — The Westmont Ridgely-Tree Museum of Art features a unique collection of folk art from all over the United States, showcasing the artists’ spiritual conviction Feb. 20-March 29. more

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