By Augustine Ugalde
Touching tributes to the late Carol Lem, coupled with original student literary work spanning a variety of subjects, highlight the latest edition of the Milestone.
Editors Joan Gurfield and Susan Suntree, along with Stanley Oropesa, each contributed heartfelt tributes chronicling their personal experiences of the former English Department instructor who died Feb. 11.
Gurfield wrote of the incredible dedication Lem had for the students of East Los Angeles College and how she shared her best teaching method of with other faculty members.
“She was tireless in her quest for the best methods of teaching and spent many hours at her desk at ELAC, patiently working with students and many hours talking to other teachers,” Gurfield, said in writing.
Gurfield also detailed Lem’s love for poetry and her shakuhachi flute. She also shared how Lem was not only her colleague and mentor, but also her friend.
Oropesa wrote of how both he and Lem joined ELAC’s faculty 35-years ago and how both promised to retire at the same time, only to have Lem beat him by two years because “she had too much in her life to tend to,” outside the school.
The 2012 edition of Milestone is dedicated to Lem’s memory, where she is credited as editor emeritus, and much of her artwork appears in its pages.
It is also the first edition to be published in its entirety by the English department, without outside funding, according to Gurfield.
Student literary work includes a wide range of poetry, short stories and essays that vary greatly in tone, content and complexity, delivering deep-rooted messages of life’s triumphs and struggles.
“Kiss Me,” by Dario Serrano, speaks of love and relationships that challenges readers to ask themselves, “When was the last time you committed yourself truly to love?”
Michael Alexander Becerra’s, The French Press, delivers a delightful story of a coffee-maker with an attitude that provides great coffee and equally great distress to its owner.
The restless kitchen appliance manages to insult people of all races that come within ear-shot as well as being homophobic and misogynistic.
An untitled and touching piece by Berta A. Luviano has the narrator questioning her decision to come to this country at the expense of losing her native land’s tradition and culture.
She goes on to describe how alone she feels and how her sons sing songs, not of her country or culture, that are foreign to her and how much she misses her mother.
Ariana Renteria’s, Chagrin, begins with vulgar, and perhaps unnecessary, language before settling-in to detail the complexities modern relationships can involve.
It is a truly impactful piece that highlights this complexity through a women’s point-of-view.
This edition of Milestone delivers on many levels, from the light and whimsical, to the complex and cryptic pieces that are best left to greater literary minds to interpret.
The publication offers all ELAC students, not just English majors, the opportunity to submit their work for publication and is currently accepting submittals for the next edition.
Students are asked to provide three copies of their work that includes their name, phone number and email address to the selection committee to be considered for publication.