Do you have what it takes to help save a life?

By Whit Cole SMCC Veteran Club President,Blood Drive PSA

Do you or have you known someone who has needed blood? Have you ever asked what happens if the blood reserve is depleted and you are in need of blood? Would you have what it takes to do something to keep this from happening?

If you said yes to any of these questions and would love to help those that need blood please join the President of Southern Maine Community College Veterans Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Red Cross, and Rite Aid on Friday the 31st of March at VFW post 6859 on Woodfords corner starting at 12pm and going till 5pm for a blood drive to save lives.

Rite Aid will be providing a wellness clinic for all those recovering after giving blood, or are interested in bettering their health. Snacks and drinks will be provided, please come down and meet veterans that have served this amazing country and continue to serve for the benefit of others in need.


ACE: The Final Frontier

Artist’s impression of the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 and
This artist’s impression shows an imagined view of the three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and may be the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star. In this view one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.

The weekend of Feb. 18, 2017 is one that will go down in history as a major milestone in space exploration. NASA discovered seven previously unknown, potentially Earthlike planets, and SpaceX successfully launched an unmanned Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A lesser-known exploration into the world beyond the stars took place this historic weekend, too: SMCC’s Association of Cosmic Explorers (ACE) went on its annual overnight trip to the Boston Museum of Science.

A trip to the nearest star takes roughly 17,900 years, but the Amtrak Downeaster only takes about an hour and 20 minutes to transport ACE from Portland to the Planetarium in Boston.

The Planetarium is one of the most popular exhibits at the Boston Museum of Science. Leaning back in a comfortable chair, staring at a peacefully lit projection of the night sky, it’s not hard to see why. Surrounded by a peripheral dome of stars and solar systems, throughout the presentation ACE members were treated to a beautifully gigantic display illustrating just how small we are in the universe.

Even the most rudimentary space mission requires immense amounts of planning, and an ACE trip to Boston is no different. Luckily, ACE leader Ivan Del Mar knows just how to planet (space-pun alert!). Hotel arrangements were kept far more spacious than the lodging offered on most NASA space explorations. It was less like floating in a tin can and more like relaxing in a studio apartment, with a fantastic view of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. And with a sufficient food stipend and plenty of free time to explore some of the great restaurants in Harvard Square and Chinatown, there was nothing dehydrated about this journey’s meal plan.

Fun Fact! Did you know that if you vertically piled all the astronaut ice cream available at the Planetarium gift shop in a straight line between Earth and the moon, it would still taste stale?

What’s next for ACE? The sky’s the limit! That is, until spaceships become more affordable. Though such cost may be out of the club’s current budget, ACE is planning a collaborative fundraiser at the Portland Art Walk in May, to raise money for a deserving science organization.

With NASA’s new planet discoveries and amateur astronomers on the hunt for interstellar oddities, it’s entirely possible that ACE could potentially contribute to someday contacting other lifeforms. If we come in contact with extraterrestrial life, it’d be wise not to alienate them, but rather to treat them with the kind of acceptance and community found among the members of ACE throughout their trip to Boston. If there’s one thing that ACE can show us, it’s that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to explore space.

By Jack Gentempo

What Can Tutoring Do for You?

Let me start with a story:

Dave was a practical young man. He’d known he was going to be a machinist ever since, at the age of eight, he saw “The Machinist,” that film where Christian Bale falls in love with a prostitute. Dave was now in his second semester of SMCC’s Precision Machining & Manufacturing program, and so far college had been going like a well-oiled bore-head into a block of brass.

That is, until he stepped into Professor Nagle’s Intro to Lit class. Suddenly he was being asked to write a 12-page analysis of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

The only thing Dave hated more than poetry was writing essays about it. An all-American kid of good character and blue-collar values, he had a healthy disdain for the liberal arts, artists, and liberals. But he knew he couldn’t afford to fail this course.

He just had no earthly idea how he’d tackle Prufrock. He’d already spent three hours on the lousy essay, and all he had to show for it was a page of disorganized garbage. In desperation, Dave swallowed his pride and showed up one day at the Writing Center in the SMCC Learning Commons (second-floor Campus Center, South Portland campus).

He was assigned a writing tutor named Yasmin. And he was skeptical at first: she was his age, and English wasn’t even her first language; how could she help him? But sure enough, thirty minutes later, she had. He emerged from that first session with a solid outline, a spring in his step, and — could it be? — the first smoldering of love in his heart.

Professor Nagle ended up awarding Dave’s Prufrock essay a B-, but what SMCC’s tutoring services ultimately gave Dave was priceless: in Yasmin, he found both the love of his life (they recently had their second child, Abdul Rashid) and a path to salvation in Allah.

This story is completely made up; Dave, Yasmin and Professor Nagle are all fictional. But SMCC tutoring services are the real deal.

At the Learning Commons on either campus, you can get help with everything from math homework to research-paper citations. Tutors are a mix of staff volunteers, paid students and professionals, including specialists in English as a second language. Some concentrate on a subject, like algebra, physics or accounting. The folks at the Writing Center do just what you’d expect. (No, I don’t mean fall in love with you.)

Nearly 1,000 SMCC students used tutoring services last semester, according to unpublished Learning Commons data. They made over 4,740 logged visits.

Maybe the stats don’t surprise you. But you might not know that some departments, like Microbiology and Communications–New Media, have their own tutors posted in different locations on campus; or that SMCC lets you access free tutoring online, 24/7, through Pearson SmarThinking.

Get the details on all that and more by visiting (This page can also be found under MyLearning on the school portal.)

And if you’re feeling stuck with schoolwork, don’t be shy; drop in at the Commons sometime. It’s worth it — even if your tutor doesn’t wind up being your soul mate.

By Ben Riggleman

3 Seawolves Win USCAA Division I Awards

Last Tuesday, two days before the USCAA Division I and Division II nationals officially tipped off, members of participating teams gathered for the 2016–17 USCAA basketball All-American and end-of-the-year awards. The ceremony, which was held at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Uniontown, Pa., recognized athletes from the 50-plus member schools of the USCAA.

The awards were broken into four different categories: All-Academic Team, Honorable Mention, Second Team and First Team. While the teams may not have fared as well as they would have liked, The Beacon would like to congratulate the three Seawolves who were acknowledged for their efforts on the court and in the classroom.

Vanese Barnes was selected to the All-Academic Team of the USCAA Division I squad. When asked to comment on this acknowledgment, assistant women’s basketball coach Patrick Haviland stated, “This is a great accomplishment for her; she embodies what it truly means to be a student athlete. Her success on and off the court defines what a lady Seawolf should be. Her leadership as one of our captains has grown immensely this year. This is only the beginning for a very bright, talented and gifted young lady.”

Lady Seawolf Jennifer Conrad was selected to the Honorable Mention team, joining Barnes as the two Lady Seawolf representatives. Katrina Bergeron, the Seawolves’ Head Basketball coach, summed up Conrad’s selection in these words:

“Jen being recognized is more than well deserved. Her stats on the floor speak for themselves, but Jen’s journey to those stats is what is most impressive. She is a mother of two, and to go back to school and try and get back into collegiate basketball shape is a triumph in its own right. To do it and be recognized as one of the best in the country is unbelievable. She led our team all season on the floor, and she currently has a 3.9 GPA.

“Not many would have noticed, but for the conference playoffs and the national tournament, Jen’s jersey was stitched together, as it was previous cut off her in her most recent trip to the emergency room due to an injury from a game. For Jen to go out in our first game and break two records and tie one was the cherry on top to a great last season for her. She will certainly be missed next season, but has left a wonderful legacy for future players to aspire to.”

On the men’s side of the awards, John Morgan was recognized for his effort on the court; he was named to the USCAA Division I First Team. Matt Richards, SMCC head men’s basketball coach, reflected on Morgan’s acknowledgment:

“John exemplifies what coming to SMCC and being part of our basketball program truly means. He was an overlooked high school player who had a great amount of determination and used that as motivation to develop himself in becoming one of the best players within our program over the past 14 years. His recognition as an USCAA All-American is a testament to that. I’m so proud of him.”

The Beacon would like to congratulate the above three Seawolves and both squads for the successful seasons they had.

By the Beacon Sports Staff

Spring Break: What’s Up?


As spring break rolls around, we all wonder what we are going to do. As students, we need to relax and just take a well-deserved break from school. Let’s take a look into what some students are doing for spring break.

One says he’s spending his time “up state, visiting family and training at my favorite gym up there.” Another says she’s “going to visit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame museum in Ohio.” While some students are going on planned vacations, others are playing it by ear. One student says he isn’t “doing anything productive,” and just going with the flow to see what happens.

Whether you are going somewhere or just staying home to relax, always remember to have fun, stay safe and enjoy yourself!

By Jessica Spoto



“I remember going to my grandma’s house … my grandma always did so much for us. Even when we were going through hardships or whatever it was, she would always make a meal for us and [fortify her] complete love. It [didn’t] matter if she had to skip a meal. Just that sacrifice had just always stuck with me. Knowing that someone loves me a lot more than I would ever love myself. It’s just something I always remember is just, the pureness of love that I would get every single time I’d go there.

“I cannot consider anyone my enemy because that’s … it doesn’t seem right. But, they could be someone who could bring adversary, but I could never see someone as my enemy because they are human just like me. So, I have to be able to respect them no matter what. I don’t have to speak to them, I just have to respect them. Doesn’t matter what they say or what they do, I have to respect someone for who they are … I am representing something that’s bigger than myself. Even if it’s representing Christ everywhere I go, or if it’s representing my family name everywhere I go, I just have to be mindful of people’s differences of who they are and forgetting about the things that could get me angry.”

By Breanna Penny