When 400-plus members of the Class of 2014 paraded through Gateway Plaza on Friday, May 23, it represented the largest number of participants in a Cypress College graduation ceremony that anyone involved could recollect. The Orange County Register also found excitement in the 47th Commencement. Reporter Anders Howmann filed a report that opens this way:
CYPRESS – Blue and gold lights were shown on the Cypress College tower as more than 400 graduates moved their tassels from right to left at the 47th commencement ceremony last week.
Students, 1,083 of them, earned associate degrees this spring; 600-plus additional students earned occupational certificates.
More than 4,000 parents, friends and family cheered on the graduates.
A total of 1,083 Cypress College students associate’s degrees during the College’s 47th Commencement on Friday, May 23, 2014 in the campus Gateway Plaza. An additional 649 students earned occupational certificates. More than 400 students participated in the commencement ceremony, along with approximately 100 faculty staff and administrators taking part in the celebration.
The 1,225 associate’s degrees awarded by Cypress College this academic year include 858 transfer degrees. The Associate in Arts Transfer and Associates in Science Transfer degrees are the result of 2010 legislations streamlining the California State University admissions process for California Community College students. Students are given guaranteed admission into the California State University system with junior-year standing, and further are given priority consideration when applying to a particular program that is similar to the student’s community college major.
Cypress College has scheduled a live broadcast of its 47th Commencement, which will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 23, 2014, in Gateway Plaza. The broadcast, via the campus USTREAM channel, will begin at approximately 5:45 p.m.
In addition to the live broadcast, the footage will be archived for later viewing.
After a decade-long break between high school and college, the single father with a 3.97 GPA is headed to Cal Berkeley in the fall.
The path from under-employed construction worker to undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley is a remarkable one. James Johnson, Cypress College’s 2014 Outstanding Graduate, did not take the traditional road to higher education that most students take. His journey includes being a single father to his 11-year-old son, and the loss of his home to foreclosure during the recent economic downturn. After deciding it was time to make a change, Johnson turned to Cypress College to pursue his interest in Engineering. Cypress College offered a flexible class schedule which allowed him to take classes in the evenings, work and care for his son. Today, he is graduating with an Associate’s of Science Transfer degree in Physics.
After nearly a decade-long break from education, Johnson enrolled here at Cypress College in 2010 and worked his way through classes while maintaining a 3.97 GPA — that’s A grades in 29 of his 30 classes. He received the Kathy Godshalk Memorial Scholarship and earned acceptance to California State University campuses in Long Beach and Fullerton, and University of California campuses in Irvine, Riverside, Berkeley and Los Angeles. Ultimately, he decided on UC Berkeley, where he will major in Mechanical Engineering.
The field of mechanical engineering utilizes his passion for building and creating, but is more cognitive — and less physical — than the construction industry he left behind.
Johnson worked his way through the entire sequence of Cypress College math courses — starting at Math 20 and completing Math 250B — an unusual and impressive accomplishment. Mathematics Professor Christina Plett notes that Johnson “demonstrates a willingness and an aptitude for learning new and sometimes difficult concepts.”
Physics and Engineering Professor Brinda Subramaniam also offered praise for Johnson. “He is always full of energy and innovative ideas.”
It was his intense interest in discovering how things work that brought him to this major. “As a child, I built my own toys because I enjoyed the process of building the toy more than actually playing with it,” he said. “This love of learning and passion for figuring out how things work still inspires me today.”
Three faculty have been selected by the Cypress College Academic Senate for annual awards. The faculty will serve in honorary roles at commencement on May 23, and will be recognized during the ceremony.
Becky Floyd of the Anthropology Department, is the recipient of the Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Award.
The Charger Award — for significant contributions to the educational community outside the classroom — was presented to Professor Randy Martinez, of the Psychology Department.
Finally, the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member Award was presented to Claudia Garcia, who also teaches in the Psychology Department.
Reyna Rosas ended up at Cypress College because that’s what she told a Los Angeles Superior Court judge was her intention. Her statement — and, the way Rosas tells the story, it was more declaration than promise — became reality thanks to the intervention of a stranger, who paid Rosas’ tuition. In 1980, Rosas took a job working overnight in a fast food restaurant as employment and a safe haven for shelter, and showered in the campus locker room before morning classes. To supplement her income and help pay for classes, she also worked on campus.
That was her humble introduction to higher education.
Rosas continued her education since earning her associate’s degree here at Cypress College in 1982. Four years later, she earned her bachelor of arts in Physical Education and Kinesiology at California State University, Long Beach. In 1998, she earned her master of arts in the same field, with an emphasis on Sports Management. She also earned a single-subject teaching credential in physical education from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Today, Rosas is a decorated middle-school teacher with over 20 years of experience as a mentor, and coach of multiple sports for boys and girls teams at Jessie Elwin Nelson Academy, in Signal Hill. She is a four-term union board of director for the Teachers Association of Long Beach. She has also coached community college basketball and worked as an adjunct faculty member at Southern California community colleges, including Cypress College.
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva is a school teacher who was elected to the California State Assembly in 2012 to represent California’s 65th Assembly District. Prior to her election to the California Legislature, she was elected to the Fullerton City Council in November 2004, where she was selected by her peers in 2007 to serve as mayor for two terms.
Regionally, Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva has been active in organizations serving the entire 65th District, which includes Cypress, Stanton, La Palma, Buena Park, West Anaheim, and Fullerton. She has hosted service events in Cypress discussing Senior Scams at the Senior Center and a town hall meeting discussing legislation at the Cypress Community Center. She has participated in city events such as being a panellist at the Cypress Women’s Conference and attended the League of Women Voters of North Orange County Luncheon.
In the Assembly, Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva is currently Chair of the California Committee on Veterans affairs; additionally she sits on the Transportation, Higher Education, Accountability and Administrative Review, and Housing and Community Development committees.
The Cypress College Theater and Dance Department’s Triple Threat Week begins on Monday, May 12. All performances take place in the Theater Building, and admission is $5 per person. In theater vernacular, a triple threat is a person who can sing, dance, and act.
Here are the events:
Monday, May 12th, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Musical Theater Revue:
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Acting Class Recital:
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.