Category Archives: Profiles

Spotlights on students, faculty, staff, and alumni of SC4.

John Lusk

John Lusk


John Lusk is in his twenty-seventh year of teaching at SC4, and has been reading newspapers since he could. In his fifteenth year as adviser to the Erie Square Gazette, Lusk hopes to continue working with the best students on campus for a few more years.

Liz Whittemore

Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor

Liz Whittemore is a SC4 student pursuing a degree in journalism. Whittemore is the Photo Editor for the ESG and is actively involved with other clubs on campus. She is a fiery redhead who loves Thai food and road trips. Also, she is terrible at bowling and rather clumsy. Insert Kanye shrug here.

Carol Szparaga

Carol Szparaga

Staff Writer

Carol Szparaga, of Columbus Township, is a pre-nursing major that loves: cooking, camping, and home improvement projects. Szparaga joined the school newspaper because she likes that is student involved. It also gives her the opportunity to meet students and staff.

Danielle Kennedy

Danielle Kennedy

Copy Editor

A returning SC4 alumnus, Danielle Kennedy is the current Copy Editor for the Erie Square Gazette. Kennedy graduated with a degree in Communications Media back in 2009 and has returned to SC4 to pursue a degree in the field of corrections. Interests include: reading, writing, and the game.

Hayley Myron

Hayley Myron


This is Hayley Myron, the new Webmaster for the Erie Square Gazette. Myron is a freshman this year, and aspires to be on the honor roll. In her spare time she loves getting involved in photography and listening to alternative rock.

Erick Fredendall

Erick Fredendall

Business Editor

2010 graduate of Imlay City High School, Erick Fredendall is now a sophomore at SC4 studying to become a professional journalist and media specialist. A student of philosophy and a history nerd, Fredendall spends much of his time reading, and doesn’t see the sunlight very much. He is a junior assistant at a Japanese martial arts dojo and is a dedicated big brother of five younger siblings. After completing his college experience, he plans to use his education to keep local news publications across the country relevant to the times.

Coast 2 coast: SC4 philosopher aims to build department

Michael Scott

Staff Writer

This past July, St. Clair County Community College found itself facing the daunting task of finding a replacement for long time professor, Thomas Obee, and his 43 years of experience.

The man SC4 chose to fill that void is Oregon native James Soto.

“When I first moved here, I felt like I had the biggest shoes in the city to fill,” said the 43 year-old Carnegie Mellon University graduate.

Very quickly, Soto had the notion that he was replacing a man who was very well respected within the city of Port Huron. Excited to build upon the legacy left by Obee, he intends to further develop the SC4 Philosophy department along the lines of his own interests and research.

“I’m just another community college student trying to give back to other community college students,” said Soto.

If students are interested in Soto and philosophy, they can take his new course: PHL 213 Ethics. The class is three credits and requires no prerequisite.

New instructor, James Soto, during a lecture on Feb. 7, 2012.  Photo Credit: Liz Whittemore
New instructor, James Soto, during a lecture on Feb. 7, 2012. Photo Credit: Liz Whittemore

The enthusiastic Soto said that he is most interested in researching the ways in which people learn. He uses his previous knowledge of child language acquisition and translates that into how students respond and learn through negative evidence.

“I’m still trying to figure out how to teach. I find it the most fascinating puzzle, when it comes to philosophy and intellectual inquiry. What’s great about it is in a sense I’m just a big student in front of the class. Because as I watch my students develop, as I go through the process of teaching I am constantly learning how to do my craft better, and that’s my favorite thing,” declared Soto.

But James Soto is more than just a college instructor.

The student amongst students is an avid baseball nut!

Spending his summers pitching for a men’s team in Detroit, he enjoys following his two favorite teams: The Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates.

He is an avid reader and investigator. Also, he enjoys taking his three dogs for walks along Lighthouse Beach daily, especially his pride and joy, a three year old pit bull, Sipo.

He is married to a wonderful Russian woman named Oanasuditu (pronounced Wan-na).

Soto’s educational roots extend from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, across the country to Pittsburgh where he finished graduate school and worked part time teaching for a few years.

With Michigan being the third coast he has hit, he added that he is excited, and is surrounded by a wonderful group of colleagues and dedicated students.

With admiration for the city in his heart, Soto says, “It is really spectacular. I like the architecture downtown. When I first came and saw the bridges it reminded me of a miniature Chicago.”

Hoping to achieve tenure while contributing to the community, Soto offered that he plans to remain in Port Huron and eventually retire in the city like Obee, working well into his 60’s, “I plan on working till my body breaks!”

Students and colleagues mourn loss of beloved instructor

Students and colleagues, along with the cast and crew of the SC4 production of “Fool for Love,” grieve the loss of Adjunct Theatre Discipline Instructor, Lisa Sturtridge.

Lisa Sturtridge, Adjunct Theatre Discipline Instructor. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey
Lisa Sturtridge, Adjunct Theatre Discipline Instructor. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey

Sturtridge was doing what she loved best, helping her students perfect the craft of stage makeup and preparing for a show when she died on Oct. 10, 2011.

Sturtridge lived in Port Huron and was an adjunct faculty member of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at SC4, where she taught Fundamentals of Stage Makeup and Fundamentals of Theatre at SC4.

She had been the costume designer working on numerous Theatre Discipline productions at SC4 since 2004. She had worked in professional and academic theatre for more than 30 years.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in technical theatre with a costume and lighting design emphasis from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in costume design and dramatic literature from Emerson College in Boston. She also had designed costumes for Port Huron Civic Theatre.

As news of Sturtridge’s passing spread, students, faculty and colleagues paused to remember Sturtridge.

Shawn Starkey, Executive Director of SC4 Publics Relations, said grief counselors were made available to students, colleagues and faculty.

“We are in shock, she was a well respected and cared about instructor,” said Starkey. “Our prayers and sympathies go out to her family, friends and students during this difficult time.”

Adjunct Instructor for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Drama Club Adviser, Tom Kephart, shared an office with Sturtridge and was working with her on the SC4 production of “Fool for Love” at the time of her death.

Kephart first met Sturtridge when he did the SC4 show, “Christmas Belles” three years ago. He said they spent a lot of time together since they shared an office.

“It’s just really weird to know she is not going to walk through the door anymore,” said Kephart. “The thing I admired most about Lisa is how she cared, really cared about the students at SC4.”

Kephart said former students have been calling and stopping in since her death, asking what they can do to help. Kephart felt this was a testimony to how students past and present felt about Sturtridge.

“Fool for Love” cast member Christian Jones, from St. Clair, SC4 sophomore and liberal arts major, shared his fondest memory of Sturtridge from the SC4 Drama Club production of “Welcome to the Moon.”

Jones’ character was a poet.

Sturtridge looked at him and wondered what to do for a costume. As a joke, Jones asked her for a Mozart wig and vest from that time period. According to Jones, she said she could do that and left coming back with a Mozart wig and period vest.

“She (Sturtridge) said I didn’t think anyone would ever ask for this in a million years,” shared Jones while laughing. “And of course she had it.”

Sound crew member from “Fool for Love,” SC4 student Alyssa Ferri, a veterinary major from Cass City, shared how Sturtridge loved her job and was always there for her students.

“She impacted everyone she knew,” said Ferri. “She had a way of touching everyone’s heart and she never forgot about her students.”

Kephart expressed similar sentiments. “It was her (Sturtridge) only constant, coming in here and working with the students is what made it worthwhile for her.”

There will be a memorial service honoring Lisa Oct.28th, at 3p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

Twana Pinskey


Goodbye Korff

Korff Photo credit Jenny Walker
Korff Photo credit Jenny Walker

For 30 years, David Korff walked the halls of St. Clair County Community College’s Fine Arts building as a dedicated professor and chair for the visual and performing arts department.

Korff’s style of teaching was like an art form. His classrooms came alive, showing students that art has a place in whatever field they go into. He wanted students to experience art in a way that could impact their lives.

He loved teaching and never took his job for granted.

David Korff, or as so many of his students referred to him as, “Mr. Korff,” retired from teaching at SC4 this spring. Honored by the school and his colleagues, he leaves with pride.

Teaching hadn’t always been Korff’s first choice.

Even though he was born in Indianapolis, his parents moved a lot.

“I grew up in a lot of different kinds of places,” said Korff, “it wasn’t just one place.”

In his parent household, education was number one priority.

“We had to save every nickel to go to college,” commented Korff. Originally interested in architecture, Korff studied the field in high school and planned to pursue it in college. Once he entered college he found that he hated architecture, but loved art.

Korff told his parents’ that he wanted to change his major to art, which they were okay with, but worried on how he would make a living at it. They recommended teaching. Korff reluctantly said he would look into it. Education became his minor in college.

With his parent approval he transferred to the University of Buffalo in New York. After completing his degrees in Art and Education, Korff became a certified teacher in New York. Able to teach grades K-12. He started student teaching at a high school level and hated it.

“Everything about it was wrong. I didn’t like it at all,” said Korff. “The art room was set up in rows of desks. Who does art like that?”

Korff went on to graduate school with a fellowship in painting. A semester into second term, he asked his professor if he could trade his fellowship for a teaching assistance-ship.

Korff found his calling with teaching at a college level.

Upon finishing his education, Korff taught part time at the University of Ohio while searching for a full time job. He found a job in Sarnia, Canada, where they were building a new Lambton College and in need of professors to start an Art Department. Korff talked it over with his wife Katherine, who was also a teacher and accomplished artist, her specialty was metalsmithing, painting and figure drawing.

Together they expanded the faculty. In those days, about 30 years ago, Lambton College and SC4 had a good relationship; collaborating their English and Art Departments on exhibits.

Katherine Korff was the first to transfer to SC4, teaching a class on metalsmithing. David Korff followed at a later date, when a spot opened. He came over to teach visual arts, and later became chair for both the visual and performing arts departments.

Korff’s goals when coming to SC4 was to open the eyes and minds of a small community whose boundaries were often the county lines. A lot of the students that attended and still do came with a limited background in art. Korff wanted to get them ready to see what was out there in the world through art and Art History.

Korff loved working with beginner student in his foundation classes. Seeing where they started and how much they progressed in 16 weeks, it was like magic.

”This college I believe is an excellent beginning or stepping stone into something much bigger, no matter what area they are going into,” said Korff.

No challenge was too much for Korff. He would adapt to the needs of students, no matter how difficult they may be.

In Art History, students that had little knowledge, or interest, in art found themselves challenged.

“They thought it was a horrible class, but it was required. Or they thought it was going to be an easy class, but they didn’t pay attention to the history part,” Korff commented.

By teaching them to understand art, he opened students’ eyes to the reality of art. And by taking them to see it, opened up new worlds for many.

As he retires, Korff hopes the college will continue their great support for the art department.

“The department would be healthier by having more full time faculty, there would be mentors and an opportunity for somebody to be a spokes person for the arts,” commented Korff. “I believe it is not like any other department. The adjunct professors are here because they love what they are doing and they continue to give and give, and they don’t leave when class is over. They stay because it is their life.”

Korff believes that this community is very fortunate to have a building that says “Fine Arts” on it. It’s a beautiful facility for the theater, and has wonderful studios and gallery spaces.

As David Korff says good bye to SC4 and goes into retirement, he is looking forward to spending time in his studio, and more time with his family.

Jenny Walker

Guest Writer