Learn about our innovative academic programs, successful business initiatives, award-winning faculty and our hard-working students.
Long Island City, NY—December 4, 2013—LaGuardia Community Colleges Supporting Adults through Vocational EMT Training (S.A.V.E. EMT Program) has won the Continuing Education Association of New Yorks (CEANY) 2013 Exemplary Non- Credit Program Development Award. CEANY bestows the annual awards in recognition of outstanding contributions made by continuing education professionals as well as exemplary programs, students and educational partners across an array of domains.The S.A.V.E. EMT Program prepares students to become certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who will provide basic emergency care to victims of traumatic and/or medical emergencies and transport them to the appropriate medical facility. The program is designed especially for non-traditional adult students who face educational, economic and other disadvantages that can impede or prevent the completion of this rigorous professional course of study. The program entails a comprehensive intake process; team-taught classes that include an EMT faculty member and an adult educator with expertise in teaching developing adult learners; content-based/contextualized basic skills instruction that allows students to deepen their mastery of EMT training materials while developing and reinforcing solid study strategies as well as academic skills in math and literacy; and job-readiness counseling and resources for family and economic support.
Over the past 26 years, LaGuardias traditional EMT Program has served many students who are academically prepared to handle a rigorous healthcare training curriculum. However, many other prospective students could not gain admission to or keep pace with the course as designed. The S.A.V.E. EMT Program is a gateway for low income and low skilled adults into the high demand profession of emergency medical services. The focus on math and literacy skills in the context of vocational training (called the NYBEST model, based on Washington State's Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) initiative) has proven successful. In the past four years, approximately 240 students have been enrolled in the training, and 85% completed and passed the NY State EMT certification exam. Eighty percent of those were able to find employment with ambulance companies, the FDNY, and hospitals in the metro area. Now more New Yorkers have access to this career pathway, are realizing their career goals, and are serving New York City in providing pre-hospital emergency care.
By redesigning our workforce training programs to better serve the needs of adult learners and out-of-school young adults, LaGuardia Community College is providing low skilled and underemployed New Yorkers with the opportunity to train for new and meaningful careers as First Responders while simultaneously helping to meet the demand for highly skilled and qualified health care workers in our region, said Amy Dalsimer, Director of LaGuardias Pre-College Academic Programming.
This model of integrating adult basic education with technical education, which has been so successful with EMT training, can be replicated with other allied health programs to allow students access to employment and career opportunitiesopportunities that will change their lives and benefit their families for the long term, said Christine Alvarez, Director of LaGuardias Prehospital Care Programs.
The award was presented at CEANYs annual conference, which recently took place in Ellenville, New York.
LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.
The LaGuardia Red Hawks the Colleges new women and mens basketball teamsare landing on the home court on December 5 to play their seasons first home games.
The teams will be greeted with great fanfare at the colleges first-ever Homecoming. Before the teams go out on the court to face the Bronx Community College Broncos, the LaGuardia cheerleaders will perform and the fans will learn a cheer.
The teams are off to a promising start. The men are undefeated and in first place in the CUNY Athletic Conference with a record of 3-1 and 4-3 in overall play. The women are 2-1 in the CUNY Conference competition and 2-4 overall.Come cheer with us as our teams play at home for the first time.
When: Thursday, December 5 Homecoming event - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Lady Red Hawks - 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Men Red Hawks - 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.Where: LaGuardia Community College Sports Gymnasium 31-10 Thomson Avenue Long Island City, NY 11101
LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at twice the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.
Long Island City, NY—October 21, 2013—LaGuardia Community College on October 28 is hosting a town hall meeting on China-Latin American and China-U.S. relations that will include a live webcast and Q&A with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright.Also featured will be Dr. Evan Ellis, an analyst of Latin American economic, political and security issues, with a research focus on Latin America’s relationship with China.The event will take place in the college’s Little Theater at 31-10 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. It is free and open to the public.Dr. Ellis, a leading expert of China-Latin American relations who teaches political science at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., will give a presentation titled: “China Engages Latin America and the Caribbean--Implications for the Region, its Relationship with China, and the U.S.,” from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.Secretary Albright’s webcast will begin at 7:00 p.m. She will begin the webcast with a 15-minute talk on the current state of U.S.-China relations, followed by a 30-minute Q&A session where she will respond to questions e-mailed from audience members throughout the country.The China Town Hall is a national day of programming on China involving over 60 cities throughout the U.S. Also sponsoring the event is the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.For more information, please contact Professor Robin Kietlinski at firstname.lastname@example.org
LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.
Long Island City, NY—September 3rd, 2013—Jesus Benitz knew he wanted to make a change in his life. The 21-year old had dropped out of high school in his senior year when he became a father at 17 and for the past four years was working full-time as a cashier.“I didn’t want to keep working for a $200 check,” said the Bronx resident who is raising his son on his own, “and I wanted more for my son.”Upon researching GED and college prep programs, he decided last March to enroll in the CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia Community College, a free 16-week program funded by New York’s Young Men’s Initiative and the Open Society Foundations to help young fathers gain academic and parenting skills. Offered are classes in GED preparation, college discovery and parenting, along with work experience through part-time jobs or internships.Jesus earned his GED in June, enrolled in the college’s College Discovery program in the summer and this September will be a full-time LaGuardia student pursuing a degree in computer programming and systems. “It has changed everything,” said a grateful Jesus who extended a thank you to Mayor Bloomberg for initiating the program. “The support and encouragement that the faculty and staff gave me helped to boost my confidence and to show me I can make a better life for me and my son.” With a touch a pride, he added, “I also received a parenting diploma.” The Fatherhood Academy has changed everything for many of 113 young fathers who have gone through the program since it was launched in 2012. And this September, some 40 young fathers will be starting the program.Over CFA’s first year, 65% of graduates have been placed in jobs or internships, and 43% have either enrolled in college or earned their GED. Program retention has also improved dramatically, increasing from 68% last year to 88%. Among the 60 graduates who enrolled in the last two classes in the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013, two are already enrolled in LaGuardia and three more will be attending in the fall. In addition, 23 passed the G.E.D. exam and 23 obtained employment.“It’s incredible to see the transformation that many of our young men go through during the four months as they become who they aspire to be as men and as fathers,” said Raheem Brooks, the program coordinator. Mr. Brooks added that having the program based in LaGuardia is an enormous benefit to the fathers. “As they sit in our classrooms, walk through the hallways and share elevators with college students who look like them, they discover that higher education is not out of reach,” he said.Seron Douglas, another recent grad who is a single dad of a four-year old, said, “The program has helped me become a man. I grew up without a father so I had no one to look up to or to learn from. The academy taught me what a father teaches his son--how to speak to people and how to present myself. It changed my life.”Seron, who is waiting for his test results on his GED exam, said the program not only focuses on academics, it also takes an interest in the students’ personal life. In his case, the program helped him apply for public assistance, food stamps, childcare and custody of his child.And to get a job. Through the program, he landed a job as a bartender at the U.S. Open and after this stint he is hoping to find a part-time job with the help of the program. “I am thinking about my future and my son’s future,” said Seron, “I will go to college and get a good job. I never talked like this before.”
LaGuardia Community College Celebrates its Annual 41st Commencement Exercises on June 6
New York City, NY—June 6, 2012— Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the College gathered in the Jacob K. Javits Center North at 10 a.m. on June 6, 2013 to celebrate the conferring of degrees on LaGuardia Community College’s 41st graduating class, the Class of 2013. This year, the College graduated over 1,000 students.To view photos of the ceremony, visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/laguardiaccollege/sets/72157633973718590/Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein gave the Keynote Address at the ceremony.
Dr. Paul Arcario, the College’s provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs welcomed the family and friends of the Class of 2013 to the ceremony, congratulated the graduates and introduced the Presidential Platform Party, comprised of Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College; Freda Raitelu, Class of 2013 Representative; Shah Amanat, the president of the Student Government Association; founding faculty of the College; faculty representatives from each department and certificate program at LaGuardia; as well as Foundation Board members and other honored guests.
Dr. Arcario then introduced Dr. Mellow.“Graduates, you are just exceptional in every way. Maybe you never thought you’d be the ones to graduate from college, but you fought for it. You juggled jobs, cared for children and took multiple buses and subways. You’re here because you’re dreamers and fighters; you can see a better future for yourselves and your families, and you never let those obstacles stop you. I am proud to be your President.”“Our keynote speaker is a very successful man, and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at LaGuardia has helped over 300 businesses in our area. He believes in the power of community colleges to help improve our nation’s economy, because Goldman Sachs chose community colleges, and LaGuardia as the first, to implement 10,000 Small Businesses.” Mr. Blankfein greeted the graduates, their families and the College community. It is a great honor for me to share in your accomplishment and pride today. My advice is grounded in my own experience. And my experience, in many respects, is not that different from many of yours.” Mr. Blankfein went on to share how growing up in the Linden Houses of East New York in a working-class family and being the first in his family to go to college fueled his ambition to succeed. He told of how his love of reading, particularly biographies, opened up a world of possibilities. His initial insecurity at college life drove him to work harder, and he told the graduates their own struggles to achieve their degrees reflected their ambition. “We owe it to ourselves and our families to keep striving.”He proffered suggestions for success: confidence, finding a job they would like, being a well-rounded person, and becoming involved in their communities.“Leave yourself open to the world of possibility. You have the ambition, you have the smarts, and you have the toughness. So, turn the page on your biography – you have just started a new chapter in your lives.”LaGuardia Community College Foundation Board Chairman Paul Higbee next lauded the Class of 2013.“Good morning Class of 2013, on behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors, I congratulate you on your achievement today. This is a month for anniversaries and celebrations at LaGuardia. We have with us members of the Class of 1973, the College’s first graduating class, whose pioneering legacy you carry forward, and we also celebrate the Foundation’s tenth anniversary. We’re proud to have supported many of you, and we’re happy to help many more students reach this goal. Congratulations!” Next to offer well wishes to the graduates was the Honorable Terrence F. Martell, a Trustee of the Board of the City University of New York, and a professor of finance at Baruch College.
Mr. Martell told the Class of 2013, “It is my pleasure to bring greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York. CUNY faculty have prepared you well to achieve a strong return on your investment in your education and in yourself. You have become role models and earned the respect of your faculty and peers. I wish you success, health and happiness. Congratulations and very good luck!”Freda Raitelu, an Honors Program student who persevered to fulfill her dream of becoming a college graduate despite a kidney transplant, and was named the 2012 Student of the Year by the National Collegiate Honors Council, was the 2013 Class Representative. An electrifying speaker, Ms. Raitelu’s words of praise, encouragement and gratitude raised thunderous applause from her peers and the entire College community. “To the graduating Class of 2013: Congratulations! Today we honor every hope, every challenge and every set back we’ve had to endure to get here. Our experience at LaGuardia has enabled us to go forward in life truly understanding the notion that one should never judge a book by its cover.” After thanking the faculty of staff for helping the students make it to the finish line, she continued, “As we have been empowered to change through our experiences here at LaGuardia, it is equally important to empower those around us to believe that they too, have the potential to realize their dreams.”“Graduating Class of 2013, today is only the beginning of the rest of our lives. Explore your purpose, rise to the challenges you meet, and make the world a better place. I’ll see you on the other side. Congratulations!”Mr. Frederick P. Schaeffer, Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs for CUNY, addressed the Class of 2013 on behalf of CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
“Good morning. It is my pleasure to bring you greetings and congratulations on behalf of Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of CUNY. Let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge the opportunity CUNY has given, and all the hard work you have done. Despite obstacles, you are here today through determination and that will take you further in the wider world as well. Congratulations!” Dr. Mellow then instructed the Class of 2013 to “Stand up, turn around and cheer for their families who helped get them to this point, because you did not do this alone.” Their applause and shouts of gratitude reverberated throughout the hall.LaGuardia Alumni Association President Anthony Pappas welcomed the graduates as new alumni. “Pride is what connects members of the Alumni Association. We all have different stories about our time at the College, but what unites us is the fact that we succeeded, and we want to stay connected to this special place that gave us our start.”
The Class of 2013 is a diverse cohort: 40% are between the ages of 18-24; 33% are between 25-29 years of age; 11% are between the ages of 30-34; 13% are between the ages of 35-44; 5% are age 45 and over.Thirty-two percent of LaGuardia’s Class of 2013 is Hispanic; 21% identify themselves as Asian/Pacific Islanders; 12% are Black, non-Hispanic; 12% are White, non-Hispanic. Sixty-seven percent live in Queens; 14% live in Brooklyn; 10% live in Manhattan; 5% live in the Bronx; and 4% live elsewhere.Degrees awarded this year encompass: 26% Associate in Applied Science; 43% Associate in Sciences; 31% Associate in Arts.
Beaming with pride, Dr. Mellow addressed the graduates, “I cannot tell you how phenomenally terrific you look, I am so proud of each and every one of you, and I expect the world of you. Congratulations!”
After the conferral of degrees upon the graduates, President Mellow instructed the excited students to move their tassels from the right to the left side of their mortarboards, signifying their new status as alumni of LaGuardia Community College.A nationally recognized leader among community colleges, LaGuardia Community College was founded in 1971 as the ultimate experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. At LaGuardia, we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.
(New York, May 16, 2013) — MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research firm, released encouraging findings today from a rigorous evaluation of a new approach to GED instruction pioneered by LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). The GED Bridge to Health and Business Program not only aims to better prepare students to pass the GED exam but also to continue on to college and training programs. One year after enrolling in the program, Bridge students were more than twice as likely to have passed the GED exam and three times as likely to have enrolled in college as students in a more traditional GED preparation class.In many large cities, high school dropout rates hover around 50 percent. And while most dropouts eventually do continue their education, too few of those who start GED programs ever pass the exam. Moreover, for those who do earn their GED, the certificate often marks the end of their education, in part because few GED programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to college or training programs. Students with only a GED face long odds of success in a labor market that increasingly prizes specialized training and college education. The need to develop stronger pathways to college for those without high school credentials is clear. And this need is only magnified by new rules eliminating federal financial aid for aspiring college students without a high school diploma or a GED and by the planned 2014 implementation of a new GED exam that emphasizes college readiness.What Is LaGuardia’s Bridge to Health and Business Program? LaGuardia’s GED Bridge to Health and Business Program offers several enhancements to the traditional GED preparation approach. Rather than focusing solely on passing the test, the program was designed explicitly as a pathway to college and careers. Students attend more hours in class over the course of a semester than is typical for GED programs and receive intensive advising from full-time Bridge staff. The foundation of the GED Bridge program is its “contextualized curriculum.” The curriculum has two broad goals: first, to build the skills that are tested on the GED exam through the use of content specific to a field of interest (health or business) and, second, to develop general academic habits and skills that prepare students to succeed in college or certification programs.What Did MDRC’s Study Find?MDRC used a random assignment design to evaluate the effects of the GED Bridge program on student achievement compared with a more traditional GED program (GED Prep). The GED Bridge program was targeted to low-income individuals in New York City who did not have a high school diploma or a GED. Over 80 percent of students were either African-American or Hispanic, about half of the students scored at a seventh- or eighth-grade reading level, over half reported receiving some form of public assistance, and close to 40 percent reported that they were employed when they began the program. MDRC’s analysis provides one-year of follow-up on three cohorts of students (fall 2010, spring 2011, and fall 2011). Key findings include:• Compared with students who went through the traditional GED Prep course, Bridge students were much more likely to complete the semester of classes. The first milestone for students in the GED Bridge program is class completion. Students in the GED Bridge group completed the class at a significantly higher rate than the Prep students (68 percent compared with 47 percent). • Bridge students were more than twice as likely to pass the GED exam as GED Prep students. Overall, 53 percent of Bridge students passed the exam within 12 months of entering the study, compared with 22 percent of Prep students. • GED Bridge students were more than three times as likely to enroll in CUNY as GED Prep students. Only 7 percent of GED Prep students enrolled compared with 24 percent of GED Bridge students, a difference of 17 percentage points.
“LaGuardia’s pioneering work with the GED Bridge program is changing the lives of students. We now have powerful evidence that we can significantly improve students’ ability to pass the GED test and successfully enroll in college. LaGuardia is committed to not only see this work grow at our own campus, but also to share our strategy and approach with educators across the nation,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College.
“With national interest growing in programs that prepare individuals for careers in high-growth industries, and with changes coming to the GED exam, these promising findings could hardly come at a better time,” said Gordon Berlin, President of MDRC. “They contribute to a growing body of evidence that sector or career-based initiatives may offer an effective route for low-income, low-skilled adult learners to complete secondary education and gain access to higher education and training.”In 2014, MDRC will publish longer-term follow-up data, which will include the fourth and final study cohort and information on persistence in college. Given that these promising findings are from only one site, it will be important to test other models that have a similar approach and goal of preparing low-income students for college and careers.The Robin Hood Foundation and MetLife Foundation supported both the development of the GED Bridge program at LaGuardia Community College and MDRC’s evaluation. A policy brief is available on MDRC’s Web site: www.mdrc.org.
City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer ProclaimsApril 19 “Day of Favors” at LaGuardia Community College
Long Island City, NY—April 17, 2013—To quash the stereotype that New Yorkers are just not nice, Priscilla Stadler, a LaGuardia Community College administrator and Queens artist, is spearheading a project challenging the people of Queens, and beyond, to defy the myth by doing FAVORS for friends, family and strangers during April. To kick off the project, City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer will be officially proclaiming that April 19 the “Day of Favors” at LaGuardia Community College’s “FAVORS Party/Party FAVORS.At the fete, members of the Queens-based community organizations partnering in the project will share their stories of favors and sign up those who wish to participate in the project. The party will be taking place at The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC) at 31-10 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.During the month of April, New Yorkers are asked to document their FAVORS through new or old media. From there, Ms. Stadler will take the FAVORS and add them to an online Map of FAVORS, which she will then transform into a large-scale sculptural installation later this year.“We are asking resident to send me the who, what, where and when of the favor,” said Ms. Stadler who explained that a favor should take three hours or under, should not involve any kind of money or coercion, and must be legal. “Every participant in this project will be a co-creator of this dynamic, interactive demonstration of positive spirit and generosity in New York City.” Ms. Stadler, through drawing, sculpture, installation and interaction, explores experiences and questions that connect us as humans. In addition to her studio work—primarily drawing and sculpture—she creates interactive situations. Her work has been featured in many exhibitions and screenings, including the Itinerant Performance Festival, the Queens International 2012 at the Queens Museum of Art, the FAVORS project 2011 at Mess Hall in Chicago and the Oracle of Random Quotes installation at Local Project in 2009.The project is being funded by a Queens Council on the Arts grant and supported by eight community organizations, which will each bring unique perspectives to the theme of doing favors. They are: LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, which integrated FAVOR events into its Rough Draft Festival, a showcase for exciting new work; The Flushing High School Drama Club, which will recognize school’s unsung heroes by doing anonymous FAVORS for them; Sunnyside Community Services Volunteer Program and Senior Programs will do FAVORS; Immigrant Movement International, which will offer a workshop for its mothers’ group and is encouraging dialogue about the meaning of favors in their community; Rockaway Waterfront Alliance is running a workshop and information event to encourage people to discuss favors in the wake of Hurricane Sandy; Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning is conducting activities related to FAVORS; Long Island City Artists is encouraging its artists to do favors creatively; and Jackson Heights Green Alliance is encouraging its members and communities to do favors. Download Favors Event Flyer.To learn more about the project or to participate, please visit: • facebook.com/FAVORS • @doingFAVORS or #doingFAVORS – Twitter, Instagram • doingfavors.tumblr.com • doingFAVORS@gmail.com • test or call the FAVORS hotline: (646) 543-4715 • write: Prescilla Studio, 44-202 23rd Street, #421, Long Island City, NY 11101 About LaGuardia Community College:LaGuardia Community College
located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold
experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we
proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students
through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs,
providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon
graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income
increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three
times the national average. Part of the City University of New York
(CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community
colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students.
At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer
programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.
Long Island City, NY—February 22, 2013—At the Kennedy Center’s American Collegiate Theater Festival, a theater showcase where over 200 theater students from colleges and graduate schools throughout the northeast were competing, the same question was being asked by amazed students and faculty: “Who are those guys who did so well and where did they come from?”These guys who received high-fives from their peers and wows from the judges were 11 LaGuardia Community College students who entered the five-day competition as underdogs and came out winners. Although the students did not secure the top prize, three out of the five acting pairs reached the semi-finals, making LaGuardia one of only two colleges with more than two students in the semis. And in the Design, Technology and Management Competition, a LaGuardia student was a runner-up.“We were the talk of the competition,” said John Cosentino, one of the students to make it to the semi-finals. “Everyone would see us in the hall and say, ‘you guys are amazing. What school do you go to and who is your professor?’ It made me proud to represent LaGuardia.” The talented troupe was invited to the national theater festival this past February after an involved nomination process that brought judges on campus to attend their performances in the “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Anna in the Tropics.” Praising their commitment and talent, the judges invited the students to participate in a whirlwind competition at Cape Cod Community College. There they would be competing against students, many of whom had years of theatrical experience, in three categories—the Irene Ryan Acting Competition, the Musical Theater Initiative and the Design, Technology and Management Award. In the Irene Ryan Acting Competition, where 220 student actors were competing for a chance to make it to the regionals, three LaGuardia students and their scene partners were among 36 semi-finalists. Reaching the semis was Daniel Feliz and his scene partner Julio Trinidad; John and his scene partner Nicole Heath; and Tiffany Scott and her scene partner Francisco Carrillo. The other acting teams were Javon Minter and his scene partner Jasmine Holloway; and Barney Villalona and his scene partner Isabel Maradiegue. Patrick Surillo was a runner-up in the Design and Technical Management Award. Jasmine and Daniel also auditioned in a Musical Theater Initiative. Stefanie Sertich, the students’ theater professor and training coach, has a theory on why her students did so well. “They have the passion, the heart, the soul, of an actor,” the proud instructor said. “I gave them the tools, the pathway, but they were the ones who really stepped it up. They dedicated themselves to it; they committed themselves.” Still excited about their triumphs and the buzz they created at the competition, all the students agreed the festival was a life-changing experience.“This is an experience that I will be able to draw from,” said Barney. “I learned a lot about myself and my future in the theater.” John, who is now convinced he will pursue a degree and career in theater, said, “I loved the experience. It is something that will stay with me forever. I am already looking forward to next year. I am definitely going to go for it.”Preparation for the competition began in earnest after the Christmas break. Each day, Ms. Sertich rehearsed with each group. “Some of the students were coming five days a week,” she said.Tiffany said that during the early rehearsal sessions with Francisco she was having problems with the timing of her three- and two-minute scenes until she discovered she was not breathing through the scenes. “Once I realized that, and we found our tempo, we were fine,” said an animated Tiffany.Daniel and Julio, during one of their rehearsal sessions of “Eye of the Hurricane,” were paid a visit by a special acting coach, Eduardo Machado, the show’s playwright. “Meeting him and performing in front of him was very scary,” admitted Julio. “But he enjoyed it and it was such a privilege receiving feedback from him.” By the time the competition rolled around, the students felt prepared for an intensive five days of early morning auditions, rehearsals, and, for some, more auditions. At the first round of the Irene Ryan audition, where he performed a scene from “Our Lady of 121st Street” by Stephen Adly Guirgis, John admitted to having pre-audition butterflies. “I was very nervous, but my scene partner calmed me down, and I decided to just have fun with it and gain from the experience,” he said. “I never thought I would make it to the semis, but when I did, I literally started jumping up and down. It was amazing.”John realized how truly amazing his accomplishment was when one of his competitors came to congratulate him and said, “This is my fourth year and I never made it past the first round, and this is your first time and you made it to the second round.”For the Design, Technology and Management Competition, Patrick, to his surprise, learned, upon his arrival, that the competition not only included an interview, but a stage management presentation. “There were students who had designed elaborate sets and play boards and I had nothing,” he said. The students banded together to help Patrick create a hand puppet of Audrey II, the man-eating plant in “The Little Shop of Horrors,” the show he stage directed. After his interview, Patrick said a professor came up to him to say the two judges wanted him to know that they wished their students had as much passion as he has.The students were not the only LaGuardians to impress the festival participants. Ms. Sertich was praised for her work with the students and asked to join the board of directors in the northeast region and to serve on the regional selection committee, which will have her travel to colleges and select students and college productions that will go to the festival.For Dr. Gail O. Mellow, the president of LaGuardia, the competition is one of the best ways to help put LaGuardia’s fledgling theater major on the map. “Participation in the festival is an incredible component to the college theater student’s experience,” she said. “And the impact our students made there will encourage future theater majors to take a serious look at our program.”
The Queens Poet Laureate to Read a Selection of His Works at LaGuardia Community College on October 26
Long Island City, NY—October 6, 2011—Paolo Javier, the poet laureate of Queens, will be delivering a poetry reading at LaGuardia Community College on October 26. The event is free and open to the public. Mr. Javier, an award-winning author of three poetry collections and four chapbooks (short books of poetry), as well as a playwright, film director and editor and publisher of 2nd Avenue Poetry, an online journal of contemporary poetry, will read a selection of works from his new book of poetry, The Feeling is Actual.The event will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the College’s E-building (room E-242) at 31-10 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City. For more information, please contact (718) 482-5672.A native of the Philippines who has resided in Sunnyside, Queens, for over 10 years, Mr. Javier was named the borough’s fifth poet laureate in June of 2010. He will assume the non-salaried position for three years.In his role as poet laureate, Mr. Javier is interested in nurturing residents’ love and appreciation for poetry through public readings such as the one to be held at LaGuardia. He has scheduled multimedia performances and interdisciplinary poetry workshops at libraries and community centers throughout Queens, as well as an international poetry festival in the borough.Outside of Queens, he has given readings, lectures and poetry performances throughout the United States and Canada. His poems have been published in journals and anthologies, including Language for a New Century: An Anthology of Arab and Asian American Poetry. Mr. Javier received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and creative writing from the University of British Columbia and a master’s in the same discipline at Bard College. He served as a visiting professor at the University of Miami. LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at twice the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.