Late Summer 2023 Newsletter
Letter from our Director
Rachelle José de Mattos-Saldate
It has been an exciting summer at Amador College Connect! Our student enrollment is higher than ever, and we have welcomed a new student intern, Emilee Cunningham, as a work-experience assistant (WEX) from Mother Lode Job Training. We are also very excited to welcome our new Program Assistant, Sarina Castle, to our center! See below for more details about them. Debra Bergman-Donnell continues as our Academic Transition Specialist, focusing primarily on the Dual Enrollment program. This program, in partnership with Amador County Unified School District, is for high school students in grades 9-12. Students in our county are able to enroll in online classes, pay no tuition, and upon successful completion of the courses receive both high school and college credits.

Back in July, we hosted an ice cream float and picture night for our dual enrollment students. Additionally, our staff also attended the Ione Police Department’s 2023 National Night Out. See below for pictures of both events!

Amador College Connect continues to collaborate with several local organizations that offer scholarship programs:
  • First 5 Amador provides cash incentives for completion of Early Childhood Education courses and degrees.
  • Amador County Behavioral Health provides funding for qualified individuals who wish to pursue Human Services certificates and degrees through the MHSA Scholarship program.
  • The Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort continues to provide scholarships for its employees.
  • The Sutter Creek Woman’s Club provides annual scholarships for currently enrolled Amador College Connect students. 

Amador College Connect services remain free to the community and include one-on-one assistance for all enrollment steps--from completing the college application, registering for classes, and learning the course management systems, to applying for financial aid. While the fall term has recently started, there is still time to enroll in late-start classes. Please call our center for an appointment to get started! 

Don't forget to follow us on social media to learn more!  

Buzz on By!

Monday 12 PM - 8 PM
Tuesday 12 PM - 8 PM
Wednesday 9 AM - 3 PM
Thursday 12 PM - 8 PM
Friday 9 AM - 3 PM
Winter and Spring enrollments will open soon!

Give us a call!
Meet Our New People!
Articles written by Debra Bergman-Donnell
Sarina Castle, Program Assistant
We are excited to introduce our new Program Assistant, Sarina Castle!
As a previous MHSA scholarship student and former ACC intern, Sarina joins us with a broad spectrum of talent and experience. Having worked the past two years with Motherlode Job Training as a case manager and career counselor, Sarina is savvy in working with people from all walks of life. She has also overseen grant management for people with disabilities and has worked with youth ages 10-18 with the Friday Night Live program. FUN FACTS: Sarina is a
"HUGE mental health advocate" who enjoys playing video games. She is a "rockhound", collecting "way too many rocks", and she especially loves going to renaissance faires.
Emilee Cunningham,
Work Experience Assistant
Mother Lode Job Training has gifted us with Emilee Cunningham, a very talented and ambitious work experience assistant (WEX). Emilee graduated from Independence High School this past June and will be starting her first semester at Foothill College this fall, aspiring to major in digital media arts. Emilee has been assisting us with general office tasks, but her forte is in creating useful and aesthetically appealing graphic designs, charts, and documents. FUN FACTS: Emilee likes to paint in her free time. She plans to use her future Film and Media degree to continue her interests in the game development industry.
On August 8, students from Argonaut, Amador, and North Star showed up for a refreshing root beer float photoshoot. While many of our dual enrollment students were not able to attend due to vacations and sports practices, those who did were excited to share their online college experiences with each other and enjoy a few moments of laughter and camaraderie. These students are learning that a little sacrifice goes a long way as they buckle down for eight weeks of condensed college material that will replace an entire year of that particular class. As we continue our supportive partnership with ACUSD, our dual enrollment numbers, which have surpassed 100 students so far, will be able to continue gaining the college and career readiness they need. It's a win-win situation!
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Offering Middle School and High School Scholarships!
The VFW is "dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation". If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $35,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you!

The deadline to apply is by midnight, Oct. 31.

Click on this link to access the online application and information on how to submit your entries:
Watch last year's national winner here:
Another ACC Success Story!
My name is Michael Garcia, and I am the culinary instructor at Argonaut High School. I have lived in Amador County for close to 25 years and attended Argonaut from 2005-2008 before getting my diploma from Independence High. I have been working in kitchens since I was 14 years old when I got my first job at KFC in Jackson. While I have worked in a few other industries, I was always drawn back to hospitality. I have 15 years of restaurant industry experience, 10 of which were spent at Jackson Rancheria with various job titles, from cook to restaurant chef. I was selected in 2018 by the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians to partake in their inaugural apprenticeship program through a partnership with Amador College Connect and Columbia College. I was the only one of six to complete the program and be awarded my journeyman’s card in Hospitality Management.
I have been teaching at Argonaut since 2022 and can honestly say it is amazing. I have been shown nothing but respect and support since I started and have done my best to show all of the students in the culinary program the ins and outs of working in a professional kitchen. I enjoy sharing my experiences with them, both successes as well as failures, because I feel it is important that these students understand it's not always like what they see on TV. So far, the students have blown me away with their willingness to get their hands dirty and learn the skills needed to be successful in Hospitality. We even fed the entire school a Thanksgiving lunch only one month into my being the culinary teacher.
All in all, this has been one of, if not the most, rewarding jobs I have ever been given the opportunity to pursue.
National Night Out
August 1, 2023
Debra Bergman-Donnell, Emilee Cunningham, and ECE Program Specialist Rebecca Tracy attended the Ione Police Department’s 2023 presentation of National Night Out! This annual community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories, and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August. Many young people shared their career goals at our booth, and we were able to point them to the resources available to reach those goals.
Sutter Creek's Woman's Club Awards Two $1,000 Scholarships!
Featured from left-right: Paula Osborne, Janice Davis, Rachelle Jose de Mattos-Saldate, Karen Rodriguez (scholarship recipient), Shalom Arviso (scholarship recipient), Nadine McCleary, and Teresa Ryan.
The Sutter Creek Woman's Club has again awarded two of our dedicated ACC students: Shalom Arviso and Karen Rodriguez!

Shalom, a phlebotomist at Sutter Amador, is a busy mom of 5 who is studying courses through Coastline to further her medical career goals. Karen, also a busy mom, is finishing her AA in nursing and dietetics. Both ladies are fine examples of how hard work really does pay off.

Congratulations to both of them!
We offer completely FREE services to over 200 Amador and Calaveras County residents. Our students are earning online degrees, certificates, and high school/college credits. Ranging from ages 14 to 70 and beyond, they are paving the way for the progression of our community's success!
Did you know it's been scientifically proven that giving can boost your physical and mental health? It just feels good to know we can help others.

When you choose the convenience of automatic giving, you just sign up once and you're done!

Ultimately, your regular giving lowers our fundraising costs by reducing administrative fees, therefore freeing up more support for our students.

Donations of any size are welcome, appreciated, and important!
As a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization, we depend on the generosity of our community's individuals, businesses, and organizations to help us thrive.
Important College Dates!

Late-start classes are still available! Contact us for registration deadlines and/or to make an appointment!

Our greatest needs are in Accounting, Math, English, Science, and Human Services, but if you are skilled in any academic area, we'd love to put you on our list of volunteers. All of our volunteer tutors have the desire to help out in the community. If you are interested in sharing your wisdom, please contact us!
We're Here For You!
Executive Director, Rachelle Jose de Mattos-Saldate; Program Assistant, Sarina Castle; Academic Transition Specialist, Debra Bergman-Donnell
Call us for an appointment:

MEOC Transition Specialist,
Tira Lawhorn
Specializing in financial aid services.

Available by appointment on Tuesdays:
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Keep up with the Amador Community College Foundation!
ACCF Monthly board meeting agendas, minutes, and recordings are available to view on our website!
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