Baha'i News -- JUDY SLY: Library's new video collection offers honest view of colleges

JUDY SLY: Library's new video collection offers honest view of colleges

July 12, 2002 Posted: 06:00:15 AM PDT

July 12, 2002 Posted: 06:00:15 AM PDT


Around the region, we're trying to get more young people to think about and prepare for college.

The Stanislaus County Library is bolstering the cause with a major new collection of videos offering students and parents a look at various campuses.

Colleges put lots of information on the Web, but it's the slick stuff, showing lush lawns, the most beautiful buildings and well-rehearsed testimonials.

What prospective students and parents want is a sense of the real place, weeds as well as ivy. That's available in the Collegiate Choice Walking Tours, videotapes made by school counselors who followed student guides around campuses and then poked their noses/cameras into dorm rooms and elsewhere.

The library has a purchased 124 of these videos, making its collection one of the largest in the country. Starting today, the videos will be available for seven-day checkout at the main Modesto branch.

The library spent $3,200 on the videos, acquiring all the ones available about West Coast campuses plus a scattering from around the country: all of the Ivy League and Big 10 schools; the private colleges that generally top the "best" lists; major colleges with religious affiliations, such as Brigham Young and Notre Dame; those with technical emphasis; military academies; traditionally black campuses, women's colleges; and those with renowned sports programs.

Families can buy the videos from the company,, but the price is $23, including shipping, for one video.

The videos aren't professional quality. Their appeal lies in unedited candor. The video about Princeton, for example, shows many historic buildings but also cluttered dorm rooms and a lot of barren trees, because it was shot in winter.

The video purchase came at the urging of Linda Walden, a library cataloger and parent who knew from experience that it's physically and financially impossible to visit every campus a teen-ager is considering. Several years ago, she and her daughter, Katherine Jacobs, spent 10 days visiting campuses before Katherine chose Colby College in Maine.

TOP OF THE WORLD: If you're serious about music, as Bob and Wendy Scott of Ceres are, then a dream destination is New York City's Carnegie Hall.

The Scotts and their 22-year-old son, Drew, performed there June 30 in The Voices of Baha'i Choir and Orchestra concert.

Bob, who teaches music in Castro Valley and at Modesto Junior College and is active with a number of local groups, played principal clarinet. He was so enthusiastic about the opportunity that during the break, he remained on stage just to appreciate the experience. "I never thought I would get there," he explained.

"I wake up thinking about it every day," says Wendy, a medical transcriptionist. "I don't know whether it was the acoustics or the spirit of the music, but I just felt like my voice got better as the concert went on."

Both are active in Modesto's Baha'i community. Ron Lyles of Stockton also performed in the concert, which featured sacred music of the faith, including premiers of two works.

TOGETHER AGAIN: Modesto Performing Arts' cast of "Oklahoma" includes three people who performed together as Modesto High students 50-plus years ago.

Barbara Emerzian Bogart, who appears as Aunt Eller, and Ray Rustigian, one of the cowboys, graduated with the Class of 1950. Jack Clark, another cowboy in the cast, graduated a year later.

Jack and Ray stayed in in touch over the years, working for the same company and appearing in community theater in Modesto and Stockton, respectively. Until returning to Modesto a few years ago, Barbara lived in the Bay Area, where she was active in theater.

DIPLOMA DELIVERY: Bert J. Abbey, a lifelong Modestan, was among the veterans scheduled to receive high school diplomas during last week's ceremony at the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

Because Bert was too ill to attend the ceremony, Superintendent Martin Petersen took the diploma to his house Tuesday morning. Bert was drafted the day after his 18th birthday, when he was only a junior at Modesto High School. He would have graduated with the Class of 1944. Longtime friend and former co-worker Marie Readd arranged for the special presentation to Bert.

A list of all the diploma recipients will appear in Sunday's Friends & Family section.

Judy Sly's column appears Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays in Local News. She can be reached at 578-2334 or

©Copyright 2002, The Modesto Bee

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