Vanguard University Student Victoria Fry Receives Heart of the Teacher Award

Britney Barnes

Daily Pilot

Victoria Fry is turning her school struggles into inspiration for the next generation of students who feel they are failures too.

The 21-year-old Costa Mesa resident’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

Dixie Arnold, chairwoman of Vanguard University’s Liberal Studies Department, presented Fry, who recently finished her bachelor’s degree there, earlier this month with the school’s Heart of the Teacher award. The award was created almost a decade ago and describes the love a future teacher has for people, Arnold said.

“She just shines,” Arnold said. “There is just this excitement for working with children.”

Fry said her “passion for teaching is rooted in the experiences I’ve had with other teachers, and also the experiences I’m having in the classroom rooting on those kids, encouraging them, saying, ‘This feels like an uphill battle, but trust me, you can do it.'”

Fry is staying at Vanguard to get her teaching credential and then a master’s in education.

Miguel Alaniz said in an email that Fry volunteers in his sixth-grade class at College Park Elementary School. She not only tutors the students, but also mediates group discussion with girls about social issues and helps resolve urgent problems while he teaches, he said.

She is a shining beacon of demonstrating that knowledge is power, Alaniz said.

“Victoria is a smart, kind and energetic volunteer who is willing to jump right in, be it teaching a science lesson, photocopying or helping a student one on one,” said College Park first- and second-grade teacher Susan McGuire in an email. “Miss Torrie, as she is called by my students, is a natural teacher.”

Fry’s decision to become an educator wasn’t a straightforward one.In elementary school, she felt incapable and inadequate. She would go home and cry.

She spelled words backward. Reading was a challenge, but she didn’t understand why.

“For me it was just like so discouraging, and it was such an uphill battle that I felt like a failure,” Fry said.

It wasn’t until high school that her problems were given a name: dyslexia. She was also diagnosed with a processing disorder.

But Fry overcame her struggles, graduating from Monte Vista High School at 16.

At Orange Coast College, though, she didn’t know which path to follow.

“I kept bouncing back and forth between a major in psychology and a major in education, because truthfully, all I really wanted to do was help people. That was it,” she said. “Whatever career I went into, I just wanted to do the most good.”

It wasn’t until she went to Vanguard — after turning down a scholarship from Chapman University — and met Arnold that she knew teaching was her calling.

Yet despite a nagging voice that questioned whether someone with learning disabilities should teach, she discovered that was the very reason she needed to.

“Within my time at Vanguard University, I really felt that that is why I should be an educator,” she said. “Because I know what it is like to fail miserably. Because there are so many kids in our school systems today that are failing and they need that hope, need that light to say, ‘No, no, no. You can get through this. You can climb this mountain.’

“I did it. I’ve been there.”

Read this article and other stories on The Daily Pilot’s website.

Journey of Faith: CBS 8 News Chief Meteorologist Ashley McDonald’s Mission Trip to Uganda

Daniel Okabe is currently studying Radio broadcasting at Vanguard University so he can return to Uganda to improve the quality of Faith Radio.  Impact Ministries started a Christian radio station in 2006 named Faith Radio. The radio broadcasts on 90.5 FM and covers Eastern Uganda in 16 districts, reaching over 10 million people with the gospel message. The radio broadcasts in English and all the local languages of Eastern Uganda namely Luganda, Swahili, Lumasaba, Ateso, Lunyole and Lugwere. It has a development program addressing problems like HIV/AIDS and poverty and the listening community is educated by experts hosted weekly.

CBS 8 News Chief Meteorologist Ashley McDonald embarked on a journey of a lifetime — a mission trip to Uganda.  Ashley spent two weeks in the African country, bringing food, clothes and hope to everyone she met.  She set a goal to feed the 700 orphans during her two-week visit where she was serving at Impact Ministries and Faith Radio. Following is an example of a typical day for Ashley on her trip.  Starting early, 8AM, with the opening assembly at the orphanage, Ashley would share a message with them and encourage them that even in their youth, they can set an example.  She taught them songs and they treated her to some praise songs in Luganda (the Language of Uganda). The children are taught in English and encouraged to speak English, so communication was not a problem and the headmaster had children recite memory verses.

After morning assembly, Ashley spent time at Faith Radio from 10AM-mid-day.  At noon, she went back to the orphanage where she spent about 20 minutes, each, with 3 different classes sharing the story of Christ with them. Pulling out her iPad Ashley played some worship songs for the children and encouraged them to sing along.  They were very aware of who Jesus is and what he did on earth. They were very bright children, but the work’s focus is to have these children turn head knowledge into heart knowledge. The night would wrap up with a women’s Bible study where Ashley was able to share messages and her testimony.  Ashley had someone with her at all times, because there is a lot of spiritual warfare and the Muslims have been pretty bold in attacking Christians.  She says she returned to Alabama with much more in return.  To view her story click here.

Broadcasting the Gospel through radio is one of the most effective tools for Evangelism and church planting.  Radio has helped reach villages and communities that could never have been reached with the Gospel. Through the Radio, the Gospel is heard in Military barracks and by Muslims and all kinds of people.

Vanguard Musician Samuel Hines Enters Prestigious Guitar Competition

OC Register

Vanguard University music student Samuel Hines has been selected as one of 15 finalists to compete against international guitarists for the prestigious Parkening International Guitar Award. Hines will play his chords in Malibu, Calif. from May 30-June 2, 2012 in hopes of winning the grand prize of more than $50,000, and the honor of being the world’s most talented guitarist in this category as a 20 year old (eligible classical guitarists range from ages 18-30).

According to Dr. James L. Melton, chair of the Department of Music at Vanguard University, “I can’t think of any of our music performance students more deserving in being a part of this international competition than Samuel Hines. He is very hard working and disciplined.”

This award was established in honor of Christopher Parkening’s lifetime commitment to fostering musical excellence in young artists and is the most prestigious classical guitar competition in the world. Each guitarist will be judged in four categories: musicianship, tone, technique and stage presence. The finalist with the highest score will receive the Gold Medal.

Vanguard’s accomplished music program has seen the concert choir perform regularly in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York.  The music faculty have advanced degrees from Juilliard, Yale and the New England Conservatory of Music.  They bring experience from the highest levels of performance.  Most are working muscicians who lend their talents to film soundtracks, television shows, jazz studio sessions, with performers such as Andrea Bocelli, Dave Koz and Barry Manilow, and in live performances at the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Concert Hall.  The director of the jazz ensemble spent eight years playing with the White House’s U.S. Marine Band.

For more information on Vanguard University’s prestigious music program, visit For more information on other academic programs offered at Vanguard University, click here.

Read the full OC Register story on their website.

Vanguard’s Nursing Director Excels in Research and is Published in Nursing Journal

Mary Wickman, B.S.N.,Ph.d is the director of Vanguard’s nursing program and has presented widely at conferences and is published in nursing journals. Mary’s most recent article published in The Journal of Advanced Nursing (JAN) is a world-leading international peer reviewed Journal.  JAN targets readers who are committed to advancing practice and professional development on the basis of new knowledge and evidence. Mary’s manuscript was published based on a research study that was completed in conjunction with her research facilitator role at St. Jude Medical Center. This paper reports the development and psychometric testing of a Behavioral Health Care Competency survey designed to measure hospital nurse perceptions of behavioral health care competency.

In nursing, there is an emphasis on ensuring that all practices are evidence-based.  The Behavioral Health study validates that nurses who work in hospital-based settings need further training in  how to care for the hospitalized behavioral health patient on their units.  This study provides validation for a tool that could be used by educators in assessing and developing education programs that target behavioral health competency areas identified by their staff as areas of training needs.

Wickman has held a wide variety of nursing positions in southern California, including at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, Saddleback Women’s Hospital in Laguna Hills, Tokos/Matria Obstetrical Clinical Services in Orange, and St. Joseph Hospital. She was chair of the department of nursing at Mount St. Mary’s College. She also served as director of nursing and health sciences at Santa Ana College for 15 years. Wickman holds her master’s degree and PhD from UCLA. She has chaired the Orange County Long Beach Consortium for Nursing and held many other industry-leading posts.

Before joining Vanguard full-time, Mary taught adjunct courses in the BSN program, and the students admired her. She adds to the tradition of Vanguard faculty — committed professionals who mentor and invest deeply in the lives of the students. Wickman says Vanguard’s approach to education is what nurses need to excel at their jobs.

Click here to read the published article.

Mary has researched a second article that was just accepted for publication and will be featured soon.

Both of these studies link back to the Vanguard Nursing program learning outcome of  Critical Thinking, Clinical Reasoning, Clinical Judgment. This outcome reinforces the importance of using a systematic approach in assessing, planning, testing, and evaluating innovative and evidence-based solutions to patient care problems across a variety of healthcare settings.

For more information on Vanguard’s Nursing Program click here.

Coast Magazine: Applauds Vanguard’s Gala Promoting Dignity of Women


By  Kedric Francis


Education is one of the pillars of philanthropy in Orange County, with fundraisers, galas and parties for public and private programs key components of the social whirl. The big guns get most of the attention, including Chapman U., UCI, OCHSA, and CSF. But community colleges and smaller schools deserve acclaim as well.

Vanguard University is a school we’re hearing more and more about, most recently when they hosted the Ensure Justice gala dinner at Santa Ana Country Club. The evening was a fundraiser to support the university’s Global Center for Women and Justice and its mission to promote the dignity of women locally and globally. The keynote speaker was author Rhonda Sciortino, and the Center’s director Sandra Morgan addressed the audience as well, passionately showing how supporters can help students learn to be a voice for the voiceless, including abused, trafficked and exploited women and girls.

Vanguard University is a private, Christian, comprehensive university of liberal arts and professional studies equipping students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Vanguard among the best baccalaureate colleges in the west in their 2011-2012 rankings of colleges and universities and The Princeton Review named VU a 2011-2012 “Best in the West” College. Vanguard is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Full Story (page 48)