Former Triton Faculty Member Becomes Award Winning Author

Nicholas Kokonis

Contributor: Jeramie L Bizzle     @jeramiebizzle87

Award winning author and former faculty member Nicholas Kokonis revisits memories of his childhood and move to America to students and staff during a panel speech Dec. 11.

Kokonis, 72, who authored books including Arcadia, My Arcadia and Out of Arcadia: The American Odyssey of Angelo Vlahos spoke of his tales growing up in Arcadia to arriving in Chicago under a forged bank certificate.

“I came in as an orphan here and this country adopted me.” Kokonis said. “It’s been good to me and many immigrants.”

The book which chronicles his experiences growing up in his way of reflecting on his past.

“Through literature I was able to identify struggles and the pain, all my life I’ve been through that.” Kokonis said.

Through his story from the book Out of Arcadia, he hopes it will motivate students to have ambition no matter who you are.

“Don’t set goals to high but high enough to serve as motivation. Do it with dignity, have values as long as you don’t set out to hurt no one.”

Student Roberto Hernandez, 23, said that to listen to the words of Kokonis gave him insight to his goals.

“He mentioned that taking rejection as a challenge not as failure. The guy who gave him $150 instead of the $115 he needed and said to do unto others stuck to me.” Hernandez said.

Kokonis began as a psychology instructor at Triton College in the 1980’s and work at the institution for 25 years before retiring in 2011. Since then, his book Arcadia, My Arcadia has been awarded a special honorary prize by the prestigious Academy of Athens

“I retired two years ago, and honestly I regret it. One thing as a teacher is you can never tell where the inspiration stops.” Kokonis said.


Follet Book Store Celebrates Grand Re-opening

Step right up and get your Triton swag!


Open House CakeBy Jeramie L Bizzle    @jeramiebizzle87

Employees of the Follett books store located in the C building welcomed students and staff to the grand reopening of the store Dec. 6th.

The ribbon cutting ceremony featured managers and staff of Follett who welcomed students to come and enjoy the new decor, cake and beverages and what everyone was excited about, the discounts. President Patricia Granados of Triton College recalls the earlier days of the book store when students used to have to leave your backpacks out in the hallway and go through a turn style.

“It is very inviting and when I look around I also see the different products that I think are important to our students. We look forward to our continued partnership as we move beyond to the future.” Granados said.

Students and guest weren’t the only ones excited about the renovations of the store, Ken Pegram, 43, who is the regional manager of Follett along with store manager Heath Warren, said that this is not just their store but it’s the students store as well.

“We are very open to feedback, we want to be a campus store where we offer other things to students such as electronics, supplies; we are open ears to the faculty and staff and we are working on other initiatives.” Pegram said.

With the discounts being offered to the students during the reopen, when asked how the new and improved store competes with the discounted book store located on 5th Avenue, Pegram responded that they are sensitive to students concerns and they offer cheaper alternatives and inform students of the cost that will result in savings for students.

“We also offer rentals including digital content such as e-books and other down-loadable content for students and now that it is buy back season, students will receive a code and can enter to win $500 in a giveaway.”

Follett bookstore began its partnership with Triton College in 2002 and has be a part of the college’s mission to provide students with excellence and the tools needed to excel in their academics.

The Paparazzi – When is Enough, Enough?

By Sandra Neri

Ben Affleck








Halle BerryIn March of this year, actor Ben Affleck was photographed with daughter Seraphina, and appeared to be trying to kick the photographer. However, an insider reported that actually Affleck was trying to maintain his personal space.

In June, actress Halle Berry appeared before the Assembly Committee on Public Safety at the California Capitol to support a bill which will limit paparazzi from taking photographs of public figures’ children. At the hearing, Berry told the committee about her 5-year-old daughter Nahla; “My daughter doesn’t want to go to school because she knows ‘the men’ are watching for her. They jump out of the bushes and from behind cars and who knows where else, besieging these children just to get a photo”.  Berry gave further example of unfair treatment, and harassment when recently traveling through LAX with her fiancé; “They were trying to start a fight with my fiancé because if they get a photo of that it’s more money.” Adding that the incident terrified her daughter. “She asked ‘Mommy, are they going to kill us?’ She didn’t get to sleep until 3 A.M. because she can’t get this out of her mind and she doesn’t understand what just happened to her”.

In August, actress Jennifer Garner joined Halle Berry to take a stand against the paparazzi in defending a bill aimed at protecting children and public officials. Senate Bill 606 would change the legal definition of harassment to include anything that “alarms,annoys torments or terrorizes” while photographing or recording minors without parental consent. While testifying, Garner cried as she described what her family had gone through. One troubling example was a threatening stalker who followed her with a group of photographers and hid behind her daughter’s school. “I chose a public life…but my three children are private citizens.” Stated Garner.

On September 15, actress Jennifer Garner stopped by a farmer’s market in Los Angeles with her children – Violet,7; Seraphina,4; and Samuel,17 months. Paparazzi followed actress and began snapping pictures of her and her children as they shopped for fresh produce. While in the parking lot, Garner confronted a paparazzo who was filming the family with a handheld video camera. Garner walked up to the photographer and took a photo of him with her camera phone.

The reported on September 27th that the new legislation which will limit the paparazzi’s ability to photograph stars’ children has become law in the state of California. Bill 606 sets out to protect the children of those in the public eye. It would be “the beginning of the end,” Berry said, for “aggressive paparazzi”.  The bill was signed into Califrornia law by state governor Jerry Brown.

The law comes into effect in January. Those breaking it could receive between 10 days and one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

“Kids shouldn’t be tabloid fodder.” Said Senator Kevin de Leon, who put forward the bill, adding that the new law “will give children, no matter who their parents are, protection from harassers who go to extremes to turn a buck”.

Organizations opposing the bill are the Motion Picture Association of America, who says it infringes upon free speech protections, the National Press Photographers Association and the California Broadcasters Association.

During an interview with Playboy magazine in December, actor Ben Affleck commented on the reasons he has been active about getting Bill 606 passed. “My kids aren’t celebrities. They never made that bargin… As their father it’s my job to protect them from that stuff…I try my very best, and sometimes I’m successful. The tragic thing is, people who see those pictures naturally think it’s sweet. They don’t see the gigantic former gang member with a huge lens standing over a four-year-old and screaming to get the kid’s attention”. Affleck continues, “You can say what you want about me. You can yell at me with a video camera and be TMZ. You can follow me around and take pictures all you want. I don’t care. There are a couple of guys outside right now. Terrific. That’s part of the deal. But it’s wrong and disgusting to follow children around and take their picture and sell it for money,” he tells Playboy. “It makes the kids less safe. They used to take pictures of our children coming out of preschool, and so this stalker who had threatened to kill me, my wife and our kids showed up at the school and got arrested. I mean, there are real practical dangers to this.”

Personally, I have been a firm believer that paparazzi should have limitations ever since I read an interview, years ago in Premiere magazine. For those who may not remember, Premiere magazine was a magazine published from 1987-2007, and dedicated to the filmmaking industry. I really enjoyed the behind-the-scene articles which also consisted of interviews with writers, directors, camera crew, costume designers, set designers, etc. This certain article interviewed actor Bruce Willis, and I cannot remember the year exactly although he was still married to his ex-wife, actress Demi Moore. Willis described being on the set of a movie, and having a small break during which he took a short walk with his (then pregnant) wife Moore. Their walk was at night, near some shrubs when someone jumped out and pointed something at them. Willis was terrified for the safety of his pregnant wife, as he did not realize right away that it was a photographer with a camera. Reading about Willis’s experience, I mentally put myself in his shoes, and have since always felt the actions of that photographer were wrong. What if he scared Moore so badly she tried to run and tripped? So many dangerous scenarios could of happened that day. I know there are many who will cry about how much money these celebrities make, but I cannot ever agree that anyone should be allowed to be consistently followed, stalked, and chased just for a photograph. It’s ten times more wrong to target their children. I say, Hooray for Bill 606…

Facts gathered from:


Gone Too Soon

the crash sceneBy Sandra Neri:

In the afternoon on November 30, 2013 near Santa Clarita, California, a speeding red Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree. The car, having just left a charity event up the same road burst into flames, killing the two occupants upon impact and fire. The passenger of that Porsche was actor Paul Walker, of ‘The Fast and Furious’ movie franchise, he was 40.

The driver, Roger Rodas , a professional race car driver was Walker’s friend and financial advisor whom Walker co-owned an auto racing team with. Rodas, married with two kids was 38. In fact, the crash happened so close to the charity event Rodas’s 8-year-old son heard the crash, and jumped a fence to get to the burning wreck in the hopes of saving his father.

Walkers close friend Newton Wimer, 27, a fabricator and racing engineer also ran over to the crash site immediately and tried to get into the car. Wimer had to be dragged away by first responders who arrived just as he was almost seriously injured.

Amateur video of the crash has showed up on Youtube, before it was known who exactly was in the burning car. After the wreckage was extinguished and removed, emotional fans showed up with flowers and candles at the site. Among those that arrived was actor Tyrese Gibson, Walker’s friend and co-star in several ‘Fast and Furious’ movies. Pictures have been put up on the internet of Tyrese in tears at the crash site.

Actor Vin Diesel, another very close friend of Walker’s and ‘Fast’ co-star wrote on Facebook almost a week following the crash; “When I heard, I immediately flew back to California, and went directly from the plane to his mother’s house, I thought they needed my strength, but realized when I got there and broke down before his family, that it was I who needed theirs. His mother hugged me and said I am so sorry…I said sorry? You’re the mother who lost a son?, she said yes, but you lost your other half…

Following the news of his death, came an interview with a jewelry store clerk who witnessed a random act of kindness from Walker in 2004 in Santa Barbara, California. That clerk, Irene King, confirmed to media that she witnessed actor Paul Walker chat with a couple shopping for a wedding ring. As Walker continued to look around the store, he overheard the man, whom Walker found out is an Iraqi war vet who had just returned and was preparing to return for a second tour, tell his fiancé that he could not afford the $9,000 ring she wanted. Walker spoke to the manager in private, and instructed him to put the ring on his credit card, and mail it to the couple, but to keep it anonymous. Now that Walker has passed away, the clerk wanted to let everyone know of his act of kindness. Since this story broke, the couple named Kristen and Kyle, have come forward saying that for almost ten years they were unsure as to who actually bought them the ring.

Walker is the founder of Reach Out Worldwide charities, and is survived by his 15-year-old daughter Meadow Walker from his ex Rebecca McBrain. He also had a girlfriend of almost seven years, Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell. At the time of his death, Walker was in the midst of filming ‘Fast & Furious 7’.  Production has halted, and the future of the film is not as yet determined, but it will not be scrapped.

A memorial for Paul Walker took place on December 8,2013 was organized by social media and scheduled for 12 noon, had mourners arriving as early as 6 am to pay their respects. The memorial, which resembled a car rally as fans showed up in souped-up cars, is reported to have drawn thousands.

I truly hope that people look at this tragedy as an example of just what speed can do. If a professional race car driver, on a clear day, on a dry street can go out like this, maybe we need to remember this the next time we are in a mad hurry behind the wheel.

Facts gathered from:

TCSA Reunion

WP_20131203_011 WP_20131203_001By Jeramie L Bizzle @jeramiebizzle87

Former and current members of the Triton College Student association filled the upper room of the B building on Dec. 3rd during the second annual T.C.S.A reunion.

The two hour event featured over 100 current and former members of T.C.S.A. Attendees from as early as the 80’s came to mingle and network with past friends and current senators and e board members. It was a blast from the past as members mingled with old friends and classmates they haven’t seen in years. Angelo Alto, 32, who served as a former senator in T.C.S.A in 2002 said that this event brought back memories of dance offs with past members and friends.

“I remember dancing with Rob Flores, prior to graduating Flores served as a senator and e-board member. Flores went on to be a chair at Northeastern. I miss everyone, I miss my friends, these are the people I still keep in touch with.” Alto said.

While everyone caught up with old acquaintances, a slide show from all senators and e-boards appeared on-screen adding to the memories of what the organization meant to everyone.

President Patricia Granados, of Triton College, said the last get together was seven years ago and that these meetings give the students and alumni the opportunity to stay connected.

“These events allow attendees to come back to Triton, catch up and to network, that’s the affirmation of our mission, for students to come back and to share their stories.” Granados said.

The Triton College Student Association provides individuals leadership and team building skills that will help them in their careers. Students who are interested in becoming members of T.C.S.A can receive more information from the Office of Student Life.