Debate Wins a Trio of Championships in Baton Rouge

Debate team with awards after Baton Rouge win.Despite taking a partial squad of seven Debaters and one Individual Events competitor, the Mendoza Debate Society at Lee College emerged victorious at the Louisiana State University “Mardi Gras Invitational” as they brought home a dozen awards and honors including the Overall Sweepstakes Community College Championship. Hosted by LSU in Baton Rouge on Feb. 1-3, Lee College Debaters also won Third Place in the Team Debate Sweepstakes against a banner field including Duke University, Texas Southern University, host Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, and Bossier Parish Community College.

Members of the Mendoza Debate Society brought home individual championships as well, including closing out the JV Debate division with the naming of Aria Giacona and Pamela Johnson being named Junior Varsity Debate Co-Champions. Vanessa Rangel took home the Team Debate Speaking Championship, as she and teammate Ty Young finished as Team Debate Finalists. Young also finished in Fifth Place in Team Debate Speaking.

Lee College Debaters brought home the lion’s share of speaking trophies, with Jaden Houseman being named Third Place in Junior Varsity Debate Speaking; Johnson also won Fourth Place in Junior Varsity Debate Speaking while Giacona finished in Fifth Place in Junior Varsity Debate Speaking. Rangel also finished as a Varsity Debate Quarterfinalist. They were joined in competition by teammates Adam Naiser, Dax Ramgoolam, and Hailegh Wingo.

Debate team with awards following La. Tech eventsPrior to the New Orleans event, the Mendoza Debate Society also won 14 awards and honors at the Southern Forensics Championships at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston Jan. 25-27.

Award for Lee team members included the Overall Sweepstakes Community College Championship. Lee College Debaters also finished as the Debate Sweepstakes Community College Champions against a field of over two dozen top community colleges and universities including University of North Texas, Louisiana State University, University of Central Arkansas, University of Southern Mississippi, Drury University (Missouri), Northeastern State University (Oklahoma), and Jefferson State Community College (Alabama).

Lee College Debaters also found success as individuals with the pair of Vanessa Rangel and Dax Ramgoolam earned their Quarterfinalists awards in Team IPDA Debate. Ramgoolam also finished as an Octofinalist in Varsity IPDA Debate. Pamela Johnson finished in Fifth Place in Extemporaneous Speaking, Top Novice in Extemporaneous Speaking, and as an Octofinalist in Junior Varsity IPDA Debate; she also picked up a Fourth Place award in Junior Varsity IPDA Debate Speaking. Hailegh Wingo brought home a DeSemifinalist award in Extemporaneous Speaking and a Quarterfinalist award in Junior Varsity IPDA Debate. Miguel Lopez finished as a Novice IPDA Debate Octofinalist while Maddie Orozco, in her first tournament ever, won 4th Place in Novice IPDA Debate Speaking and was named a Double Octofinalist award in Novice IPDA Debate. They were joined in competition by Lacey Gulley, Julio Martinez, and Adam Naiser.

Lee College Debaters will return to competition on Feb. 15-17 at the BPCC “Eddy Shell Invitational” in Bossier City. The Mendoza Debate Society is led by Director of Forensics Joe Ganakos and Assistant Debate Coach Christine Courteau. For more information about the Lee College Debate Team, please contact Director of Forensics Joe Ganakos at jganakos@lee.edu or 281.425.6502.

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.

Industrial Craft program builds lives as well as industry

KeyesFor James Keyes, 30, applying for the Industrial Craft Training Program through Lee College’s Center for Workforce and Community Development was a significant step toward turning his life around. Born in Channelview, Keyes grew up alongside his older sister and was no stranger to financial challenges. His mother was a single parent who lived paycheck to paycheck to support the family throughout his younger years. “She did everything she could to keep food on the table and teach us right from wrong,” Keyes recalls about his mother, “she always supported me through my rough times. She never turned her back on me.”

Growing up, Keyes remembered both parents working long hours to financially support the family. Unfortunately, this provided Keyes with the chance to develop a troubled path. “While my mom was gone working turnarounds, I wouldn’t stay home,” Keyes admits, “I’d go out with friends and play in the streets.” His father worked as a police officer to support his own wife and step children in addition to helping support Keyes, his sister, and his mother. “I saw him every other weekend and any chance he could,” Keyes said.

By the age of 15, Keyes was introduced to drugs and would battle a drug addiction for years to come. “I dug myself into a hole,” he admitted. Keyes dropped out of high school during his junior year after becoming a father to two sons. “I got a job sacking groceries to provide for my family,” he said. His battle with drug addiction continued to spiral downward and ultimately lead to his arrest. “I believe that moment saved my life,” he said. After being arrested, and finding out that he was about to be a father to a baby girl, Keyes decided it was time to change his life.

Keyes moved from Baytown to Webster after attending a state rehabilitation Program. “I completed the rehabilitation program and never looked back,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve had to hustle. I’ve had to prove myself and dig myself out of this hole.” Keyes started working as an electrical apprentice and was looking to advance his skills in the field when he heard about the Industrial Craft Training Program. “My previous record created some setbacks, but this was a great way to get some more experience and good referrals,” Keyes said.

Just four days before Keyes completed the last class, he was offered a job as a journeyman for JAM Electrical. “The course gave me the skills to get this job and the pay raise has been a significant improvement for my finances. I’m able to support my family and I’m a much better person now,” Keyes said. “I love spending time with my family, and teaching my kids how to play sports. I strive to be a positive influence on my sons and my daughter.”

For the first time this holiday season, Keyes had the opportunity to shower his children with all the gifts on their Christmas lists—something he never had the chance to do before. “I’m proud that I’m going to be around my whole family this Christmas and be praised for everything I’ve accomplished.”

Learn more about the Industrial Craft Training opportunities at www.lee.edu/workforce.

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.

Theater Festival comes to Lee College

The Lee College Performing Arts Center will host three visiting theater companies Saturday in a competition held by Texas Nonprofit Theaters.

TNT holds four regional “Quad Fests” as the first stage of its theater competition.

The three shows Saturday are “Priscilla Dreams the Answer” from The Plaza Theatre in Wharton at 2:30 p.m., “The Stranger” from Encore Arts in Katy at 4:15 p.m., and “1984” at 7 p.m.

Individual show tickets are $15.

Lee College will also host the statewide TNT competition March 13-16. The college has hosted TNT’s youth theater festival in the past, but this is the first time it has hosted the competition for shows with adult actors.

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 Players present ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)’

Lee College actors prepare for “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some).”
Lee College actors prepare for “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some).” From left are Marc Glover-Garcia, Marci Barrientos, Beth Powell, Mary Arrigo, Frankie Moncada and Mason Lauderdale.

After a while, the reindeer and elves and snowmen and Whos and all the fantastical creatures of Christmas can start to blend together like the green beans and gravy at the big feast.

The Lee College Players’ upcoming production of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” takes an over-the-top comic mix-and-match spin on the holiday stories we all grew up with.

There will be just four performances, starting Thursday night, Dec. 6, and ending Monday. All shows are in the black box theater of the Performing Arts Center. Showtimes are at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Tickets are $15 (Lee College faculty, staff and students $8). For tickets, go to www.lee.edu/pac or call 281.425.6255.

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.

BSO presents ‘Christmas in Baytown’

BSO practice session
Baytown Symphony Orchestra members rehearsing for Christmas in Baytown, directed by Pierre-Alain Chevalier.

Enjoy the sounds of the holidays this weekend as Baytown Symphony Orchestra presents Christmas in Baytown. Vocalists from the Baytown Community Chorus, high school choirs and church choirs will perform with the orchestra.

General admission tickets are $20. Students with ID are free. For tickets, go to http://www.lee.edu/pac or call 281.425.6255.

BSO conductor Pierre-Alain Chevalier will conduct the concert, with Michael Grauvogl leading chorus preparations. Lee College Voice Artist Instructor Cassandra Black will be featured soprano soloist.

Michael Grauvogl leading Baytown Community Chorus rehearsal.
Michael Grauvogl leading Baytown Community Chorus rehearsal.

Music to be performed by the symphony and chorus includes “Rejoice Greatly” and “Hallelujah” from “Messiah;” “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Rudolph” and “Bells and Holly.”

In addition to the music performed by the orchestra only or the orchestra with the chorus, there will be familiar songs the audience is invited to sing along with, including “We Three Kings,” “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “Up on the Housetop” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

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.

Posada set for Sat., Dec. 8

In celebration of the season, the Lee College Hispanic Education Access and Completion Committee is hosting a Posada Saturday in Parking Lot 13, which is on Texas Avenue near the Baytown Oak.

Marylou Ortuvia, with HEACC, said the Posada celebration is based on a traditional Mexican Christmas observance that recalls the search for shelter faced by

Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. “Posada” literally translates to “inn.”

There will be bolos (treats) for the little ones, live music, food and an art contest.

Live music will be provided by Alcanzable (10:30 a.m.-noon) and Clave 45 (12:30-2 p.m.).

Students from Goose Creek CISD high schools will take part in an art contest, with winners announced at 2 p.m.

There will also be food vendors and several community organizations with information booths.

This is a first-time event for HEACC, Ortuvia said. Christmas on Texas Avenue will be going on the same day in Town Square, and guests can easily visit both events.

Lee College shines in Christmas Tree Fantasy

Christmas tree photoThe Lee College Alliance made sure the school is well represented at Baytown Historical Museum’s Christmas Tree Fantasy for 2018 with a decorated tree titled “Navigate Your Future.”

The tree features a multicolored track winding its way through various career options and leading to a Lee College compass rose on top.

More than a dozen trees from businesses, organizations and families make up this year’s Christmas Tree Fantasy at the museum at 220 W. Defee St.

To kick off the annual event, the museum scheduled an open house for 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3.

Visitors may vote on their favorite Christmas tree through Dec. 14, when the winners of the competition will be announced.

The museum is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free.