Webb Society hosts free book fair for Lamar Elementary fourth-graders

Fourth-graders at Lamar Elementary School in Baytown browse through 650 books.
Fourth-graders at Lamar Elementary School in Baytown browse through 650 books from all genres at a free book fair held Friday, March 10, 2017, inside the Lee College Mobile Go Center. Hosted by the Lee College chapter of the Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society, the fair gave every fourth-grade student at Lamar the opportunity to select four books to take home in the hopes they would become lifelong readers.
Students in Ms. Valerio’s fourth-grade class at Lamar Elementary School
Students in Ms. Valerio’s fourth-grade class at Lamar Elementary School in Baytown gather outside the Lee College Mobile Go Center on Friday, March 10, 2017, after selecting books to take home from a free fair hosted by the college’s chapter of the Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society. Every fourth-grader at Lamar had the opportunity to get four free books in exchange for drawing pictures of things they learned about Texas history and what Texas represents to them.

BAYTOWN, TX — Fourth-graders at Lamar Elementary School in Baytown climbed aboard the Lee College Mobile Go Center this month and found a treasure trove of nearly 650 books, all arranged by genre and ready to take home for free in an effort to set them on the path to lifelong readership.

The book fair was sponsored by the Lee College chapter of the Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society, which works through the Texas State Historical Association and college and university history departments to encourage students to discover, research, write and publish the history of Texas as they find it where they live. As payment for the four books they were allowed to take, students in each of the six fourth-grade classes at Lamar drew scenes depicting things they have learned this year about Texas history and what Texas represents to them.

“Their artwork was awesome,” said Dr. Portia Hopkins, a full-time faculty member who also serves as chairwoman of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division and adviser to the Webb Society. She developed the idea for the fair and secured a grant from the Elkins Foundation to help Webb members purchase some of the books given away. Additional books were donated by community organizations.

Students high-fived Rooty the Rebel and spoke with local historian and retired Lee College instructor John Britt before entering the Mobile Go Center for their turn to browse. Their eyes lit up when they saw the desks inside covered with everything from biographies and history books to classics, comics, fantasies, humor, science fiction, books about sports and animals, and well-known series by popular authors. Webb members and Lee College faculty and Student Ambassadors were available to help the fourth-graders comb the stacks to find their favorites.

After making their final selections, students were given pencils and bookmarks featuring Texas history facts. Hopkins said the Webb Society hopes to expand the fair next year to include more elementary schools and even more books.

“Children need to read early and often so they will continue reading throughout their lifetime,” she said.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Health Fair set for March 28 with more than 70 vendors, free screenings

A woman sits while inserting her face into a machine for an eye test
The ninth annual Lee College Health Fair is set for Tuesday, March 28, 2017, with free and open admission for the entire community. Participants can receive screenings and information from more than 70 local vendors about improving overall health and wellness.

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College invites the community to attend next week the ninth annual Health Fair, where participants can receive free screenings and wellness information from more than 70 local businesses about creating a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families.

The Lee College Health Fair is set for 1-4 p.m., Tuesday, March 28, in the Sports Arena on campus. The event is free and open to the public, and regularly draws hundreds of attendees who come away with expert guidance and advice about improving their physical and mental well-being.

Vendors scheduled to attend the Health Fair include a wide range of medical facilities and clinics, vision and dental offices, fitness and recreation centers, and community and government organizations. Blood pressure readings, blood typing, body fat percentage measurement, chiropractic evaluation and dental checks are among the free screenings that will be available to all participants.

“Lee College is reaching out to our students, employees and community members to increase personal and family health and wellness,” said Jason Summers, wellness coordinator. “We are trying to connect people with local businesses to educate and raise awareness, and we hope everyone takes advantage of this great opportunity to come to campus and see how the college is positively impacting the community.”

For more information about the ninth annual Lee College Health Fair, contact Summers at 281.425.6439 or jsummers@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

‘Sam Houston’ documentary producer Florian to speak at Lee College

Denton Florian
Denton Florian

Denton Florian, producer of a celebrated documentary on legendary American statesman, soldier and pioneer Sam Houston that won five EMMY awards, will deliver a guest presentation Tuesday, March 21, at Lee College. Both the talk and a reception to follow are free and open to the public.

A native Texan known for his storytelling, Florian will speak on “Sam Houston and Ethics” at 6 p.m., in Tucker Hall on campus. At the reception after his presentation, guests will have the opportunity to meet Florian and purchase the “Sam Houston” film.

Florian organized and led the team that produced “Sam Houston,” which assembled more than a dozen historians, biographers, professors, family descendants, Native Americans and government leaders to discuss Houston’s life and enduring legacy. The documentary has been recognized for excellence by concurrent resolutions of the Texas House and Senate and the Texas governor, and its companion website – created by Florian – is used by teachers and researchers all over the world. The film, website and assets collected in the project’s hard drives represent the largest collection of digital information about Sam Houston ever gathered.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University, Florian is a lifelong enthusiast of early American history and frequent guest speaker for historical organizations and civic groups around the state. After completing his MBA, he served as vice president of operations for a start-up company that grew into the largest distributor of medical mobility equipment in the United States. He has also worked with non-profit organizations in the areas of strategic planning, team building and organizational change, and currently lives in Spring with his wife, Mary Lou, and their two children.

For more information about Florian’s talk and reception at Lee College, contact instructor John Britt at jbritt@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee named finalist for three national awards honoring excellence

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College has been announced today as a national finalist for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Awards of Excellence in three separate categories: Advancing Diversity, Faculty Innovation and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership. It is the second consecutive year that Lee College has been named an AACC Award of Excellence triple finalist.

Nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions across the United States are members of the AACC and eligible for the Awards of Excellence each year. The winners for the 2017 awards cycle will be announced in April at the 97th annual AACC convention in New Orleans.

The AACC Advancing Diversity Award recognizes the college that has contributed significantly and over a sustained period of time to advancing diversity in community college leadership, the community and within higher education as a whole. This is the first year that Lee College has been named a finalist in the Advancing Diversity category.

Treva Brown-Askey, chairwoman of the Developmental Education Division, has been nominated to receive the AACC Faculty Innovation Award, which recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated leadership in the development and implementation of a campus program that has had positive impact on the learning experience for students. The outcome of the program must also result in the improvement of student completion numbers within a course or degree field, and nominees for the award are expected to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to student access and success. Brown-Askey was previously named a finalist in the Faculty Innovation category in 2016.

The AACC Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership Award honors local, regional and national collaboration between a college and corporate partner that has achieved demonstrable, multi-year success in advancing the mission of the institution; the economic prosperity of a community, region or the nation; and the learning excellence of students. Lee College was previously named a finalist in the Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category in 2016.

Lee College was chosen as the winner of the 2015 AACC Award of Excellence for Student Success for its work to engage the entire campus and community in creating a college-going culture that ensures a successful student experience from high school through higher education. Lee College was also a national finalist for the AACC Award of Excellence in the Exemplary Board/CEO category in both 2015 and 2016.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Production of comedy farce ‘Play On!’ opens Feb. 17

BAYTOWN, TX — An energetic cast of students and talented special guests will perform in the Lee College Theatre production of the lighthearted comedic farce “Play On!,” set to premiere this Friday, Feb. 17, at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on campus.

“Play On!” will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the PAC Black Box Theatre. Additional performances will be held at 7:30 p.m., nightly on Feb. 18, 24 and 25. Tickets for all four shows are available for purchase online at www.lee.edu/pac, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

Written by Rick Abbot, “Play On!” begins as the local community theatre rehearses for their production of a new murder mystery called “Murder Most Foul.” The anxious cast members, backstage support and director Gerry feel under siege from the meddling amateur playwright, who agreed to let the company perform the show for no charge. Gerry thought producing the play would be a good idea but had no inkling of the disasters that awaited her – namely, an overwhelmingly sloppy and slapdash murder mystery with no real murder in the plot, a disgruntled cast and a playwright who deletes the entire sound effect board and keeps changing the story and script just two days before its premiere. All of these calamities come to fruition in Act III, when the company performs the actual show with hilarious mishaps and missteps at every turn.

Directed by guest artist Marc Anthony Glover with the production guidance of Lee College theater instructor Kim Martin, the “Play On!” cast includes students Samantha Duran, Abigail Vernier, Alexis Grusecki and Beth Powell. Alumnus Triston Haq also appears, along with special guests Susan Walker, Josh Figueroa, Bryan Rivera and Bailey Smith. Alex Musgrove will make her first local appearance in the show since returning to Baytown from New York City.

Chad Arrington and Alyssa Torres will be stage managers for the production, with Amy Miller Martin and Blaine Glover-Garcia serving as assistant directors. Rounding out the technical crew are Logan Romero, Gilbert Perez, Aria Giacona, Sonia Valdovinos, Josh Gonzales, Alyssa Carter and John Arrington.

The final Lee College Theatre production of the 2016-17 season will be William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which will debut at the PAC in late April. Open auditions for the play will be held Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 27-28. For more details about “Play On!” or the upcoming auditions, contact Martin at hmartin@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Glenn Miller Orchestra swinging into PAC in March

The Glenn Miller orchestra performs on stage. A band leader stands before brass, woodwinds, and a piano player.BAYTOWN, TX — The world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra – known for the legendary dance bandleader who founded the beloved group and dominated the Swing Era of the 1930s and 1940s with a matchless string of hit records – will bring the classic sounds of big-band music to the Lee College Performing Arts Center (PAC) next month.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform on the PAC main stage at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, March 5. Tickets are $20-40 and available for purchase online at http://www.lee.edu/pac, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

First launched by Miller in March 1938, the orchestra is now an 18-member ensemble that continues to play many of his original arrangements. The group’s repertoire also includes modern selections arranged and performed in the iconic Miller style and sound, and music from the famed Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band that entertained servicemen in live concerts and radio shows during World War II. Fan favorites like “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” are all part of the regular program, along with lesser-known tunes like “The White Cliffs of Dover,” “Rainbow Rhapsody” and “Everybody Loves My Baby.”

In true big-band fashion, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is on the road longer and more continuously than any other in the world – covering more than 100,000 miles per year and working nearly every night for 48 weeks out of the year. The orchestra performs for more than 500,000 people annually, entertaining crowds throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia and South and Central America. “Moonlight Serenade,” the beautiful theme of the orchestra in the 1940s that was composed by Miller himself, remains their signature tune today.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Weekend College gives working students time to pursue degree

Free information session on Feb. 23 will detail unique program that caters to adult learners

Two welders working on a project
Industrial Welding Technology is one of five degree program options that students can choose from in the Weekend College at Lee College, which is hosting a free information session on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on campus. Additional program options include General Studies Transfer degrees in Allied Health and Social Science Concentration, Business Administration and Management and Computer and Network Maintenance Technology.

BAYTOWN, TX — As a mother of four working full time to support her family, Raquel Velazquez didn’t think she would ever be able to go back to school and earn the college degree she always wanted. Then she learned about the Weekend College at Lee College.

Through the Weekend College, students earn associate’s degrees in less than 2 years by attending classes only on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Funded through a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the program caters to adult learners and others who want to advance their careers but have to juggle school with work and other responsibilities.

The first of several free information sessions for prospective Weekend College students will be held from 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23,  in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on campus. Participants will hear from faculty, staff and current students about the five different program options – General Studies -Transfer in Allied Health, General Studies – Social Science Concentration, Business Administration and Management, Industrial Welding Technology and Computer and Network Maintenance Technology – and learn how to enroll in the program for the Fall 2017 semester. Information will be available in both English and Spanish, and refreshments will be provided.

Additional information sessions will be held March 4, April 13, May 21, June 10, July 18 and Aug. 2.

“It sounded like it was going to work for me,” said Velazquez, who picked up a flyer about the Weekend College while helping her daughter register for classes. She entered the program just as her son and daughter were getting started at Lee College and will be the first of them to graduate, earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration and Management in May.

Of the first cohort of students to enroll in the Weekend College in Fall 2015, fully 65 percent are expected to complete their degree programs within three years or less – significantly more than the state average of 12 percent.

Grant director Victoria Marron attributes the high success rate to the unique design of the Weekend College program. The same groups of 18-25 students are kept together from enrollment to graduation or transfer. Courses are offered at multiple Lee College locations to make them more convenient, and many are delivered in a hybrid format that blends online and classroom instruction. Block scheduling ensures students know exactly which courses to take and when they will be held, and Weekend College courses are never dropped or filled to capacity. Once accepted into the program, students will always have the classes they need for their degree.

Weekend College students work with a completion coach who helps them apply for the program, secure financial aid and conquer any challenges that arise while they are enrolled in school and even after graduation. They also receive personalized advising, financial assistance and round-the-clock tutoring as needed.

Initially “terrified” to return to school and unsure how she would make time for everything on her lengthy to-do list, Velazquez said she  now encourages others to consider the Weekend College. Having guaranteed classes and a cohort of classmates with whom she has forged strong connections make completing the program easier than she expected.

“Looking back on it, it just happens; time just flies and everything ends up working out,” Velazquez said. “What I tell people is that if I can find the time, you can find the time. If I can do it, you can do it. Ask questions, contact a counselor, get all the information you can and see if it’s a good fit for you.”

For more details about the Weekend College at Lee College or the upcoming information sessions, contact Completion Coach Jessica Falla at 281.425.6421 or Outreach and Recruitment Specialist Sharon Guillory at 832.556.5776, or visit www.lee.edu/weekend.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.