CSU Super Sunday Events
February 18, 2008 3:49 PM
CSU Chancellor speaks in Hayward to ensure middle and high school students are prepared for college
HAYWARD—California State University Chancellor Charles Reed visited Glad Tiding Church of God in Christ Sunday, urging its members to work alongside the 23-campus system to make college more accessible to students of color and to increase the number of black students who attend and earn degrees from state schools.
Reed was among several CSU executives and faculty members spread across churches all over Northern California for the third annual “Super Sunday,” an event the Chancellor’s Office said has already made an impact, citing a 6.5 percent increase of the black student population at CSUs last fall.
The chancellor encouraged church members to mentor high school students and to write letters to state officials, pressuring them to cease spending on state prisons and to refrain from cutting funds to education.
“If they get enough of those letters they will wake up,” Reed said.
“I worry that this state (will have) world class prisons and second class universities. We have to send a message.”
The chancellor stressed that preparing for college begins in the sixth grade and that parents need to fight to guarantee their children are placed in Algebra classes by the eighth or ninth grades so they do not fall behind.
“Ask them over and over again, ‘Why can’t I take Algebra?’” he said.
Earlier in the day, Reed told the congregation, “I know we all have a dream. My dream is that every underserved family, every student of color, will have a chance to go to a state university. We all deserve no less.”
Bishop J.W. Macklin, who originally met Reed at a meeting at Allen Baptist Church in Oakland a few years ago, assured his church members that the CSU is committed to working with the church and its community.
“For us this was great,” Macklin said. “It puts a face on opportunity.”
Reed promised the crowd that a representative from the CSU will meet with church members once a month and volunteers from the congregation came forward to sign up to work as mentors and tutors for local high school students.
Christopher Thomas, a 16-year-old Moreau Catholic High School junior, said he is looking for a college that “fits” him and said he was thankful for the opportunity to hear from Chancellor Reed.
“If you’ve never been shown a door, how can you open it and walk through it?” Thomas, a resident of Hayward, said.
Thomas was one of a handful of potential CSU students who shook hands with Reed after first service. Reed fielded questions from the audience and received a standing ovation from the crowd at the end of his speech.
Graduates from Cal State East Bay assembled in the foyer of the church, with information about applying for college and financial aid.
Beverly Dancy, a 2007 graduate of CSUEB, re-entered college after taking 47 years off. The 65-year-old, who grew up in Oakland and graduated from San Francisco City College in 1960, took time off to raise a family before returning to college in her 60s.
Dancy signed up to volunteer as a mentor on Sunday and said she has been helping her granddaughter, who attends Laney College in Oakland, plan to transfer to a four-year university.
“I told her, ‘Continue on with what you are doing. Don’t wait like I did. It took me too long,’” Dancy said.
Reed left the afternoon service early, ending his speech by saying, “Let me be able to sign their diploma when they graduate.”
--David DeBolt, editor-in-chief
Cal State Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani speaks in SF on higher education
Speaking to his congregation that had gathered early Sunday morning at the Third Baptist Church, Pastor Amos Brown called on his fellow worshipers to celebrate Heritage Month by stressing the value of education to children and asked parents to be the catalyst for change in the community.
“Many of our traditional black colleges were founded in the basements of churches," he said during the spirited sermon, briefly pausing to insure that his point resonated among those in attendance. “They became institutions that were to teach us and prepare us for the realities of life.”
“Today’s young people must be able to realize the value that an education has and that this education is within reach,” he added.
In an attempt to help do just that, the California State University’s “Super Sunday” program took place at five churches in San Francisco, including the Third Baptist Church where Cal State Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani spoke.
“Education is the cornerstone of society,” he said during the speech that detailed steps about applying to a CSU. “I am here today to inform those students who don’t know about the opportunity for high learning that exists.”
The event is a product of CSU Chancellor Charles Reed in which representatives of the educational system engage in grassroots recruiting by speaking at 30 churches throughout the Bay Area. It is in its third year and aims to target parents of students who may not be aware of the opportunities for higher education and financial aid that they are within reach of.
Yet despite recent efforts to increase racial diversity at CSU campuses, the ratio of black students to non-minorities remains stagnant at 6 percent, according to a CSU study released in January.
Brown, who attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and was taught by Martin Luther King, Jr. in social philosophy at the historically black school, sees the need for community assistance if the CSU recruiting programs are to be successful.
“We all have a shared responsibility,” he said. “We need to support the efforts of CSU, and through community teamwork we will all be able to succeed.”
Sharon Haynes, an SF State alum and parent of children who were educated in the CSU system, was in attendance at Sunday’s service at the Third Baptist Church. She said awareness is essential to success in the educational system.
“We welcome [CSUs] recruiting efforts because so many young people in our community don’t go to college,” she said. “If young people are aware of their options and are able to continue their education, then everyone in the community wins.”
--Doug Morino, staff writer
SF State president talks highly of S.F. Promise
SF State President Robert A. Corrigan, other faculty and student volunteers urged more than 300 black churchgoers to consider attending the California State University system Sunday morning.
The outreach effort, dubbed "Super Sunday," occurred in 30 Bay Area churches and featured guest speakers CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, Corrigan and other university presidents and esteemed faculty.
Sunday's event took place in churches because several Bay Area pastors, like Calvin Jones, Jr. of Providence Baptist Church, offered their venues to spread a message that higher education is important and needs to be better integrated into black communities.
"I believe something my daddy taught me: next to God [is] education," said Jones in his 8 a.m. service. "You put God first in your life, then the next thing you do is to train your mind.”
Corrigan spoke about how more black males between the ages of 18 and 30 are in prison than in higher education, and California's prison budget outweighed those of the CSU and University of California systems combined. Approximately 26,000 black students are enrolled in the CSU system as of Fall 2007, an increase of 6.5 percent from before, but that's "not nearly enough."
Last year, Corrigan and other school officials met with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to create the S.F. Promise: that for San Francisco sixth grade students "who do the work, who get the grades, who graduate high school...we guarantee we will provide you with a college education. Financial need will not be a factor. There will be scholarships. There will be aid," Corrigan said to booming applause.
After the speech, Corrigan said that money to fund the program would come from the City of San Francisco, the State of California via Cal Grants and the local business community.
The CSU outreach effort targets black churches not just because they offered their services, but because CSUs are trying to reach students from different places, said Kenneth Monteiro, dean of ethnic studies at SF State. "What if a student isn't doing well or has a bad relationship with his school?"
He said talking to that student in a community setting, like his church or the YMCA, might influence him where a school outreach effort would not. "You don't know how you're going to reach someone," he said.
“Churches make good forums, however, because even if a presentation doesn't sway children, their parents will make sure kids will find the information on their dinner table," Monteiro said. Though he said he does not believe last year's Super Sunday led directly to the recent influx of new black students, "it's one tool, and they all add up," he said.
Student volunteers from SF State Project Connect led by Mario Flores handed out informational packets describing CSU requirements and the S.F. Promise to churchgoers as they left. Though he was not sure how many were given out, "everybody got an envelope," Flores said. He added that several children and adults left him e-mail addresses to discuss their interests in either joining a CSU for the first time, going back to college or transferring from a community college. "This was a success," he said.
"I'll tell them all about [going to college]. It's information people don't have, so I'm glad they have it." said Felicia Johnson, a 30-year-old teacher and mother of two boys.
Edith Brown, a mother herself, agreed. "All young people have a background. We have to have hope to achieve our goals," said Brown, who added, "Children should listen to their mothers."
"The presentation was really good. So much things are going on, you don't get the information until the last minute. Black communities just seem to get the information slower," said Otis Jone, father of a daughter who he says takes computer classes at a local school.
Though Jone said he appreciated the effort and that "kids need something to do," he was not sure the S.F. Promise project would work. "You have to do what you promise. It may not work, but we have to keep doing what we're doing," he said.
Several children leaving the church said they were excited about wanting to go to college. 10-year-old Meia Hearns said she wants to go to a beauty school in Los Angeles someday, while Leomani Michael, 13, just said "I want to do hair."
Michael's older sister Jacqueline, 15, has more specific aspirations. "I want to be a pediatrician in Atlanta," she said.
--Adam Loraine, staff writer
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