Victor teen to share vaping nightmare

Photo shows teenager Giovanni Marino in a hospital bed.
Giovanni Marino, 19, of Victor, spent several days in a hospital intensive care unit because of vaping-related lung illnesses.

A  Victor teenager who nearly lost his life from vaping-related illnesses will visit Finger Lakes Community College on Thursday, Nov. 21 to share his experiences as part of the Great American Smokeout.

Giovanni Marino, 19, will give a free, public talk from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Lecture Hall 2775 on the second floor of the main campus at 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua. The event is part of FLCC’s efforts to promote the Great American Smokeout, a national movement by the American Cancer Society to encourage smoking cessation.

Earlier this fall, Giovanni spent over a week at Thompson Hospital, including several days in the intensive care unit. Months of vaping that began recreationally shortly after he began his freshman year at the University of West Virginia had severely damaged his lungs.

He said doctors told him he developed pneumonia as well as a syndrome that made his lungs look like “shattered glass.”

“Essentially, it was a culmination of everything – the doctors think my lungs were weakened by the nicotine and they also think there was a potential of me having inhaled cyanide,” he said.

The cyanide and other noxious chemicals could have been contained in the vape cartridges – also called “carts” – that Giovanni was buying illegally from the black market.  

This event has been organized to coincide with the Great American Smokeout, a national cessation movement by the American Cancer Society. It embodies FLCC’s value of vitality as a means to bring awareness to a serious public health threat.

Students stage Steve Martin comedy

Picasso character pointing pencil at the chest of Einstein character
Daniel Jackson, right, cast as Picasso, challenges Juan España, who portrays Einstein, in the Finger Lakes Community College production of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”

Picasso and Einstein walk into a bar …

This classic setup is the basis for comedian Steve Martin’s play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” which Finger Lakes Community College students will stage on Nov. 15 and 16 at the main campus in Canandaigua.

This long-running off-Broadway absurdist comedy is set at a bar in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris in 1904, a year before Einstein publishes his theory of relativity and Picasso transitions into cubism. Einstein and Picasso have a lengthy discussion about genius and inspiration at the bar, which is named the Lapin Agile, French for nimble rabbit.

Performances will be held in the Student Center Auditorium, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. General admission is $8; entry for students and seniors is $5. This show is recommended for mature audiences.

Headshot of Juan España
Juan España

Student Juan España II of Penn Yan, cast in the part of Einstein, said he particularly enjoys the moment when the two characters, who begin by squabbling, discover their kinship.

“Einstein doesn’t see art as smart, and Picasso doesn’t see science as beautiful,” he said. “They are both geniuses, but of two different kinds, and they have this moment of recognition.”

“The play is asking if there is a difference between genius and talent,” added Daniel Jackson, of Naples, who plays Picasso.

España said learning to research characters in his acting classes helped him with the conundrum of playing a historical figure at a point in his life when we was still an obscure patent office worker.

Theatre productions are great opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in class. The college’s strategic plan emphasizes the importance of applied learning, particularly as a way to experience FLCC values.

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Veterans Day event spotlights ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip

Ella Sickles, a high school student from Midlakes, is shown hugging a fellow participant on the Soaring Valor trip.
Midlakes high school student Ella Sickles was among the Soaring Valor trip participants.

Josiane Amidon never got to ask her great-grandfathers about their military service in World War II. Her knowledge of the war has come from her high school teachers, her parents, and movies.

A recent trip provided insight none of those sources could offer. Josiane, a high school senior, went to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, La. with a veteran who endured the war. She was among a group of over 100 Midlakes students, veterans and caretakers to make the expenses-paid trip with the Soaring Valor program.

“It opened my mind a lot more to what it was like to not only be in the war but also to be living during that time period with everything that was going on all over the world,” said Josiane.  “My veteran, Frank, told me that so many people he knew also went to war. It was on everyone’s mind; they wanted to support their country.”

Several of Josiane’s classmates and veterans who made the trip will share reflections at the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Finger Lakes Community College. The free, public event will be held in the Student Center Auditorium at the FLCC main campus, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early for parking; handicap spots are available in the lot closest to the main entrance.

“These students and their veteran travel companions have just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and we’re honored they will join our ceremony to share their experiences,” said Jennie Erdle, director of student life at FLCC. “This is truly a wonderful opportunity to bring our communities together and recognize our veterans.”

The Soaring Valor trip was made possible through a charitable effort by the Gary Sinise Foundation and American Airlines. Sinise played the role of Lt. Dan in the popular “Forrest Gump” movie. The actor started the foundation after meeting an American serviceman severely injured during a bomb blast in Iraq.

This event highlights one of FLCC’s primary values, interconnectedness: It brings together community members with diverse life perspectives for a common goal – to celebrate those who served.

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