Sign In

Tara Kubicka

SCC Instructor Gives and Receives Compassion

Compassion flows on the campus of Santiago Canyon College (SCC), as communications professor Tara Kubicka experienced during a family crisis seven years ago when her two-year-old daughter faced a second open-heart surgery. The Kubicka family referred to young Kaylena as their “lucky ladybug” because she loved ladybug releases in the backyard and had hurdled several serious medical procedures. The Kubicka-Millers shared her progress with friends and family on Facebook.

Image of Tara KubickaWord leaked out to her SCC family too, as Kubicka discovered one day while walking to her office. She noticed a small piece of paper with a picture of a ladybug posted on a wall. Strange, she thought, but then she came upon another and another, and another, until she reached her office, which was completely covered with ladybug pictures. When she entered her classroom, a room packed with students, and more ladybugs welcomed Kubicka!

“It was an amazing show of support for me and my family that I will never forget,” said Kubicka. “It continued through the end of the school year when everyone showed up at commencement wearing ladybug pins.”

Kaylena Miller’s surgery was a success and today she is a healthy nine-year-old. But just 18 months after that crisis, Kubicka herself was diagnosed with a deadly cancer that was eventually contained with a successful bone marrow transplant.

Today, Kubicka incorporates the lessons of hardship, compassion, and hope that she learned during those times to share with her students. She recalled one student in her gender studies class who identifies as a lesbian, and felt comfortable telling the class when she had never told anyone before. The student felt that the class was a safe place where she could be her full self.

“She received a standing ovation from the class and a hug from me. I told her that this is a place where you can be you, and that more places like this will come.”