Baytown Concert Band to host concert April 21 at PAC

The Baytown Concert Band will present its Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, at the Lee College Performing Arts Center.

Ken Booker, conductor of the Baytown Concert Band and Director of Instrumental Music at Lee College, said the theme of the evening’s free performance is “Vesuvius,” which is also one of the pieces being performed.

“It’s a community band that has a few students in it, but most of the people in it are from the community,” he said.

Booker said most of the music is classical, though he does introduce some newer selections as well. The Concert Band mainly differs from an orchestra in that it has no string instruments.

In addition to conducting and teaching, Booker is a composer, and the performance will feature one of his compositions titled “Black Water Scenes.”

“It’s really about East Texas,” Booker said. “One of the movements is called “Red Clay.” He said the title “Black Water Scenes” is meant to evoke the feel of the woods of that region.

“You see that still water that is black because of the shadows. The cypress trees and stuff like that make it look kind of (black),” he 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.

Jazz @ Lee College Friday, April 13

The Thursday Night Band will present a free concert under the direction of Ken Booker at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, in the Performing Arts Center.

Featured performers will be trombone instructor Carl Woodall and vocalist Kevin Lewis.

Lewis is a former Lee College music student who now teaches in Goose Creek CISD. He will be performing “Route 66,” “Kissing a Fool,” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.”

Booker said the night’s program will include many big-band favorites.

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 presents comedy night April 13, 14

Lee College Theatre presents 30 short comedy plays in just one hour. The performance is in the Black Box Theatre of the Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $10; $5 for Lee College students, faculty, and staff.

The Friday performance is at 9:30 p.m., following the Jazz@Lee College concert in the adjacent main hall. The Saturday performance is at 7:30 p.m.

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.

Honors students named Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship semifinalists

Lee College has the distinction of having two of its honors students selected as semifinalists for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. Cilah Ndofor from Cameroon, West Africa and Emily Blumentritt from Baytown, Texas are both currently enrolled in Lee College’s Honors Program. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has selected 534 high-achieving community college students from across the U.S. as semifinalists to compete for its Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, from a pool of nearly 2,500 applicants. This highly competitive scholarship will offer selected finalists as much as $40,000 per year for up to three years to complete their bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year colleges and universities.

Cilah Ndofor,  a General Studies student tracked to transfer to a four-year institution as a pre-medicine major has her sights set on eventually becoming a neurosurgeon.

“Words can’t express how overjoyed I was when I received the email stating I had been selected as a semifinalist.” Says Ndofor.  “I really wasn’t confident about myself because I know this scholarship selection is highly competitive but I just kept my fingers crossed and I’m still keeping them crossed!”

Noting what a boost it was to her confidence, Ndofor says of the nomination, “I now believe I can succeed in anything I do in life.”

She continues by saying that she would,  “characterize the significance of being selected a semifinalist as beneficial. Mentioning in my transfer applications that I am a semifinalist for this prestigious scholarship will definitely improve my chances of getting accepted and getting scholarships as well. I am very honored for making it this far in the competition.”

Ndofor is currently pursuing applications to Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University and the University of Houston – Main Campus. She plans on pursuing a major in Biology with a minor in Mathematics prior to applying to medical school.

Emily Blumentritt, from Baytown, Texas is a General Studies major with plans to transfer into a Wildlife Biology or related program.

“I’m very passionate about nature, wildlife, and giving back to my community, so I hope to pursue a career in which I can contribute to scientific knowledge, help preserve nature and wildlife for future generations, and connect others to the natural world in a way that brings value and meaning to their lives. I’m considering applying to various universities, including Cornell, Texas A&M, and UCLA.”

As with Ndofor, Emily was surprised and excited to be chosen as a semifinalist.

“Being considered for this prestigious scholarship has really opened things up for me. As a Jack Kent Cooke semifinalist, I’ve already been invited to apply at an ivy league school, something I had never truly thought of as a possibility before. Being selected as a semifinalist is a recognition of the hard work and talent that a student displays in their community college years. It’s truly an honor to be selected.”

The honors program at Lee College has cultivated a national reputation for the rigor of its coursework and the high caliber student it produces. It’s impact on the lives of its honors students is evident.

“I sent in my application expecting to be disappointed,” says Blumentritt. “I am incredibly grateful to the wonderful professors here at Lee who helped me apply for the scholarship and who have supported me and my work throughout my time here.”

Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will be selected in April, based on their academic performance, leadership, perseverance, and service to others. “Community colleges hold many of the nation’s most gifted students,” said Harold O. Levy, Executive Director of the Cooke Foundation. “Yet too often these students are denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential due to lack of adequate resources and support. Our scholarships help to remove these barriers so that talented students with financial need have a chance to complete their college education and pursue their goals and dreams.”

Cooke Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus intensive academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad opportunities, and the ability to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni. After earning a bachelor’s degree, these Cooke Scholars will also be eligible to apply for a scholarship for graduate school worth up to a total of $75,000.

The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded $175 million in scholarships to more than 2,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also provided over $97 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. www.jkcf.org

Lee named a Bellwether Award finalist

Weekend College Recognized

Lee College received notification in late December that it was one of ten national finalists selected for the prestigious Bellwether Award on the merit of its Weekend College program. The Bellwether Awards are conferred by The Bellwether College Consortium housed within The University of Florida’s College of Education.

The Bellwether Awards are given annually to community colleges that have implemented innovatively outstanding programs with demonstrated success. Winners were announced at the end of January 2018. While Lee College was not among the winners this year it was, nonetheless a significant achievement to have been named a finalist as it was also the college’s first time to participate in the competition.

The Bellwether Awards identify and promote effective post-secondary programs for replication at higher education institutions across the nation and consequently positions colleges to pursue various funding opportunities. The consortium also provides a platform for its members to collaborate on potential joint ventures while having access to educational thought leaders.

“This is the first time Lee College has been recognized for this prestigious, national distinction,” says Lee College President, Dr. Dennis Brown. “It’s especially fitting given the significance of the college’s Weekend College and its impact on the futures of our students. This program is literally changing lives by providing access to education in a format that speaks to real-life scenarios. People have families – they have to go to work. The Weekend College format at Lee College makes it possible. It truly is transformative for our students. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved in the Weekend College – especially our students.”

Lee College’s Weekend College is targeted to adult learners and working students. Funded through a $2.7 million First in the World Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Weekend College gives students the opportunity to earn associate degrees in less than 2 years by attending classes only on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Five majors are currently offered: Transfer in Allied Health, General Studies – Social Science Concentration, Business Administration and Management, Industrial Welding Technology and Computer and Network Maintenance Technology. The Weekend College recently graduated its first class in May of this year less than 24 months of the program’s first start.   Lee is the only community college district in Texas — and one of only four community colleges in the entire country — selected to receive First in the World grant funds.

Of the first cohort of students to enroll in the Weekend College in Fall 2015, fully 70 percent completed their associate degree programs in less than 24 months – significantly more than the state average of 12 percent that measures out to three years. Much of that success is attributed to the program’s unique design, which keeps the same groups of students together from enrollment to graduation or transfer; offers courses at multiple campus locations, with many delivered in a hybrid format that blends online and classroom instruction; provides block scheduling that enables students to know exactly which courses to take and when they will be held; and ensures Weekend College courses are never dropped or filled to capacity. Students also work with a completion coach who helps them apply and enroll, secure financial aid and conquer any challenges that arise during the program or after graduation.

Speaking to the success of the program, Dr. Veronique Tran, Vice President of Instruction for Lee College says, “The power of the relationships being built between the students, staff and faculty cannot be understated. Those connections are powerful. It’s certainly one of the primary reasons we are seeing so many students stay in the program and graduate.” Tran goes on to echo Brown’s comment regarding the way the Weekend College is structured. “By developing a program built to suit the needs of working families, we empower those students. All the commitment in the world falls by the wayside if the schedule doesn’t work for the student. But when we are able to meet people where they are and making access possible, they flourish. Lee College’s Weekend College is proof of that.”

College representatives will be traveling to Florida in January to attend The Bellwether Finalist Awards presentation. The awards ceremony is part of a national policy summit sponsored jointly by the National Council for State Directors of Community Colleges and the Institute of Higher Education (IHE) at the University of Florida. The summit provides an interactive forum for higher education leaders on the topics of recruiting, retention, and success of adult learners and latest trends in adult learner policies and programs on a national, state, and institutional level.

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 College hiring for Kids at College program

BAYTOWN, TX — The Center for Workforce and Community Development at Lee College is hiring teachers for its 2018 Kids at College summer program, scheduled to run Monday, June 4, through Friday, Aug. 17, at the Lee College campus located at 200 Lee Drive in Baytown. The program was designed to keep children ages 5 to 17 active and engaged in the summer through a wide variety of hands-on, educational, creative, and athletic camps. Camps will include creative/art courses, career exploration, brain training, teen courses, sports, and more.

Qualifications for teacher positions include a high school diploma or equivalent (G.E.D), documented related work experience, certification(s) or associate eegree in the area of study, ability to work individually with diverse ages and populations, ability to act with discretion and maintain confidentiality, and ability to climb stairs/stand/walk/bend/kneel. Applicants with the appropriate credentials and qualifications are encouraged to apply; local applicants are preferred. Lee College is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national/ethnic origin.

“This is an excellent opportunity for recent graduates or students interested in pursuing a teaching degree to gain valuable work experience, network with peers, and advance their leadership skills,” said Angela Oriano, Ph.D., Vice President of Workforce & Corporate Partnerships. “We offer flexible work schedules, the ability to team-teach with a colleague, and creative classroom freedom for our teachers, allowing them to really have fun this summer and make a difference in a child’s life.” The Center for Workforce is also interested in new camp ideas from prospective teachers, and encourages anyone with an idea to visit www.lee.edu/kids and click on “Course Proposal,” or call 281.425.6311.

To view the job listing or apply, visit www.lee.edu/kids and click on the link titled “Apply for a teacher position.” For more information, call 281.425.6311.

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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee to recognize more than 500 graduates at commencement

Dr. Cody Abshier of the Liberty Independent School District will deliver keynote remarks

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College will recognize more than 500 graduates who have earned associate degrees and certificates of completion at the Fall 2017 Commencement Ceremony. Dr. Cody Abshier, superintendent of the Liberty Independent School District, will deliver keynote remarks.

Fall Commencement will be held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, in the sports arena on campus. The ceremonies will also be streamed live online via the Lee College website at www.lee.edu.

Selected by the Liberty ISD Board of Trustees to serve as superintendent of the district in 2012, Abshier holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Lamar University, where he also earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration and Bachelor of Science degree in Education with an elementary endorsement and reading specialization. His doctoral dissertation, “Superintendent Perspectives of Financial Survival Strategies in Small Schools,” was published in “The Rural Educator,” the official peer-reviewed academic journal of the National Rural Education Association.

Prior to taking the reins at Liberty ISD, Abshier served as superintendent, assistant superintendent and principal for Devers Independent School District over the course of a four-year tenure. He was the principal of Anahuac Middle School from 2002-2008, and started his educational career as a teacher at Liberty Elementary School from 1990-1999 and Devers Junior High School from 1999-2002.

A member of numerous civic organizations — including the First Baptist Church, Lions Club, Rotary Club and Fine Arts Society in Liberty and the Liberty Independent Education Foundation — Abshier was chosen to receive the Community Builder’s Award in Liberty in 2015. He was also recognized as Educator of the Year for Chambers County in 2007 and Administrator of the Year for the Anahuac Independent School District in 2005, and earned honors from the Liberty ISD school board in 1995 for going “Above the Call of Duty.”

Abshier and his wife, Kristi, are the parents of two grown children, Wil and Whitney.

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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.