Lee College Athletics reaches goal of donating 20,000 canned goods to community

Student-athletes joined by Lee High School Interact Club for latest donation of 1,300 items

The Lee College Athletics Department recently partnered with students from the Robert E. Lee High School Interact Club in Baytown to donate 1,300 canned goods to St. Paul Lutheran’s Church in an effort to help fight hunger in the local community. This latest donation allowed the athletic department to reach its goal of donating a total of 20,000 canned goods to the community since the “I Can, You Can, We Can” collection drive was started in 2009.

BAYTOWN, TX — With Thanksgiving approaching and many local families in need of help to fill their cabinets and pantries, Lee College basketball and volleyball student-athletes partnered with the Robert E. Lee High School Interact Club last week to donate 1,300 canned goods to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Baytown.

This latest donation allowed the Lee College Athletic Department to reach an ambitious goal set when then-Athletics Director and Head Basketball Coach Roy Champagne launched the “I Can, You Can, We Can” initiative in 2009: to collect 20,000 canned goods to help feed the hungry in the community.

After collecting 1,600 canned goods in the first year of the project, the athletic department has collected and donated 6,100 canned goods this year alone. Even more canned goods are still awaiting delivery to churches, charities and food banks all over town.

“It is a simple act that many of us take for granted — having food to eat,” Champagne said. “Our athletes do a tremendous job connecting to the individuals and families that receive these items within our Baytown community. I, myself, am overwhelmed at the amount of help that is needed just within our own city limits.”

Both Champagne and Head Volleyball Coach Paige Sorge believe Rebel and Lady Rebel athletes have a responsibility to volunteer their personal time and give back to the community in any way possible. Members of the basketball and volleyball teams regularly visit local elementary schools to speak out against bullying and encourage kids to be stellar students and avid readers; spend time with, mentor and cheer on high-school athletes at their games and practices; and help cook and serve free dinners to neighbors in need.

“It’s a good way to show the community they’re thankful and appreciative for all the support and resources they’ve been given,” Sorge 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 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Senior adults to receive free entry & food Sept. 12 at volleyball game

Special invitation extended to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, helping with recovery

Senior Adult Night at Lee College Volleyball
Volunteers with the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program have collected and washed loads of clothes, donated money, provided meals and offered a helping hand to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The program invites all senior adults in the community to enjoy a night away from the rigors of the recovery process Tuesday, Sept. 12, with free entry and food at the Lady Rebel Volleyball home game against San Jacinto College. From left: John James, Carolyn James, Karen Knight, and Carolyn Buntin.

BAYTOWN, TX — The Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program invites senior adults — particularly those impacted by Hurricane Harvey or hard at work helping their affected neighbors – to enjoy a night away from the rigors of the recovery process next week when Lee College Volleyball takes on conference rival San Jacinto College.

The Lady Rebels will hit the court at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the Sports Arena on campus. Seniors will get free entry to the game and free pizza, popcorn and drinks with a photo ID.

“The senior adult program each year offers this fun night in partnership with Lee College Athletics,” said Lynne Foley, program manager. “This year we would like to invite as special guests all senior adults impacted by the storm, and also the great senior adults volunteering in our community to join us.”

The program will also be collecting canned goods to support the Lee College Food Bank, which helps students in need — and the Lady Rebels have designated the game “First Responders Appreciation Night” in recognition of the first responders across the community who helped to rescue and assist those in need during the storm.

For more information about Senior Adult Night at the Lee College Volleyball game against San Jacinto College, contact the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 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.

Registration open for Rebel Golf Tournament to benefit Lee College student athletes

Annual event in June also includes award ceremony for outstanding community member

BAYTOWN, TX — The Lee College Athletic Department invites local golfers to hit the links and help raise money to support Runnin’ Rebel and Lady Rebel student athletes at its annual golf tournament, which will also include a special award ceremony honoring an outstanding community member.

Registration for the 2017 Rebel Golf Tournament will begin at 7 a.m., Friday, June 23, at the Eagle Pointe Golf Club in Mont Belvieu. Participants will have breakfast provided by tournament sponsor Chick-fil-A of Baytown before an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start, then return to the clubhouse for a catered lunch courtesy of sponsor Follett Corporation. Golfers can also compete in “Closest to the Pin” and “Longest Drive” contests on the course and enjoy door prizes and a silent auction.

The Lee College Legends Award will be presented to Taylor Henckel, a graduate of Nederland High School and Lamar University who owns and operates Chick-fil-A of Baytown. Established in 2008, the award recognizes an individual who has had a positive impact on Lee College and the Rebel Athletic Department.

“Taylor has been a great friend and contributor to the advancement of Lee College Athletics,” said Roy Champagne, head coach of the Runnin’ Rebel Basketball Team. “The tournament is a wonderful opportunity for our community to recognize one of our local leaders as we have fun and raise money for student-athletes. I encourage all golfers to join us.”

The entry fee of $100 per player or $400 per team includes greens fees, a golf cart, range balls, all meals and a team photo. Super tickets for mulligans and a pay-or-pick hole will be available for purchase in advance or at the door.

For more information about the 2017 Rebel Golf Tournament or to register, contact Champagne at 281.425.6594 or rchampagne@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.

More than 900 ‘Pack The House,’ ‘Rock The Red’ for Runnin’ Rebels

"Pack the House," "Rock the Red" game at Lee College
Rooty the Rebel runs along the sideline to pep up the crowd as the Runnin’ Rebels take on the Angelina College Roadrunners in the “Pack The House, Rock The Red” game held Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Lee College Sports Arena. More than 900 fans turned out for the game, which was promoted as a joint effort between the college and city of Baytown. (Photo: Sheree Cardwell, Baytown Tourism)

BAYTOWN, TX — What started as a joint effort between Lee College and the city of Baytown to pack the house for Runnin’ Rebels Basketball ended last weekend with more than 900 fans rocking their red and filling the Sports Arena to cheer on the team against a conference opponent.

Along with the action on the court between the Runnin’ Rebels and the Angelina College Roadrunners, fans at the first-ever “Pack The House, Rock The Red” game enjoyed a lively atmosphere that included games, contests, music, raffle giveaways and the chance to sink a half-court shot for a $500 prize. All attendees aged 18 and under received free entry into the game, as did anyone who brought two canned goods to contribute to the team’s ongoing drive to feed the hungry in the local community. Attendees aged 19 and older received discounted $2 entry for wearing red.

Head Coach Roy Champagne thanked Kevin Troller, assistant city manager for the city of Baytown, for envisioning and promoting the campaign to sell out the Sports Arena in support of Lee College basketball.

“He simply was a fan that felt we had a good product in a great venue,” said Champagne, who has coached the Runnin’ Rebels for more than two decades and made it a priority for his athletes to give back to and connect with the community. The team has completed more than 530 hours of community service since August 2016 and donated thousands of canned goods to local food pantries.

“Our fan base has grown over the last four years,” Champagne said. “Hopefully, many of the fans that came out to ‘Rock The Red’ will decide to attend more frequently.”

Next up, the Runnin’ Rebels will hit the road for an away game against Jacksonville College before returning to the Sports Arena Wednesday, Feb. 8, to take on Blinn College. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

A full schedule for the 2016-17 basketball season and a team roster are available online at www.lee.edu/athletics/basketball.

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.

Runnin’ Rebels hometown duo hopes to play basketball at NCAA Division I level

BAYTOWN, TX – As Baytown natives who grew up playing in local youth basketball leagues and thrilling fans on the court as Goose Creek Memorial High School Patriots, Lee College Runnin’ Rebel Basketball teammates Javonte Cooper and Julian Powell can easily find common ground with the children they meet and mentor in the community.

“These little kids come from the same place and see themselves growing up to be us, and we can see ourselves in them,” said Cooper, who relished the challenge of playing football at Goose Creek Memorial but always had a natural talent for basketball that led him to Lee College. “I tell them to be better than me. Stay on top of your grades and sports will take care of themselves.”

Powell, who rode motorcycles and dirt bikes as a child before trading boots for basketball shoes, shares similar advice with his siblings and the other young people who look up to him: “Learn as much as you can. You can achieve your goals if you put your mind to it.”

Now in their redshirt sophomore seasons with the Runnin’ Rebels, Cooper and Powell are looking forward to reaching their own goal of advancing their basketball careers at an NCAA Division I college or university. Both have battled to earn playing time on a talented team and mastered the more complicated schemes and game plans used at the collegiate level.

Their hard work will be on display this Saturday, Jan. 28, when the Runnin’ Rebels take on Angelina College at the Sports Arena on campus. The team is hoping fans will “Pack the House” and “Rock the Red” for the game, filling the 1,500-seat arena and helping collect thousands of canned goods to feed the hungry in the local community. All fans 18 and under will receive free entry, along with anyone who brings two canned goods. Fans aged 19 and older that wear red will pay $2, while those who do not wear red will pay $5. Tip off is at 6 p.m.

Moving on to a bigger and better basketball program will likely also mean moving away from Baytown, where Cooper and Powell have been able to enjoy the comforts of home and familiar surroundings while adjusting to the rigors of life as a college student-athlete. In addition to a full slate of classes, practices and games, the Runnin’ Rebels have completed more than 530 hours of service to the local community since August. Cooper is also a founding member and president of Reaching Excellence Against Limitations (R.E.A.L.), a student organization that aims to educate and empower black males on campus.

“Playing for Lee College helps me look out for my mom and brothers,” Cooper said. “I’m not long distance so I can reach out and get to them if they need me.”

But creating a brighter future for their families is also why chasing the dream of a professional basketball career is so important.

“My family keeps me motivated,” Powell said. “I want to take care of them.”

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.

Runnin’ Rebels Basketball makes giving back to the local community a team priority

Program has notched more than 530 hours of service, donated thousands of canned goods

Players serve food at Curt's Kitchen
Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball players Roc Johnson, KaJon Brown and Javonte Cooper serve free dinners to neighbors in need at Curt’s Kitchen, a ministry of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church, during a visit in August 2016. The team has completed more than 530 hours of service to the community since then and donated more than 6,000 canned goods to local food pantries since the 2015-16 basketball season, and is now looking for fans to “Rock the Red” and bring even more canned goods to the home game set for Saturday, Jan. 28.

BAYTOWN, TX — Between the classes, practices and games that fill their busy weekly schedules, the Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team has made it their mission to roll up their sleeves and get to work helping others in Baytown and beyond — completing more than 530 hours of community service since August 2016, and donating more than 6,000 canned goods to local food pantries in the last year alone.

To Head Coach Roy Champagne, volunteering their personal time to support worthy causes is an essential responsibility of being a Lee College student-athlete.

“It’s important for our guys to be a part of the Baytown community,” said Champagne, who started the team’s “I Can, U Can, We Can” collection and donation drive for canned goods. “The Baytown community affords these players the opportunity to get scholarships and be able to attend Lee College. Our service is a small way of trying to give back.”

The Runnin’ Rebels have visited six elementary schools in Baytown and Highlands to speak out against bullying and encourage kids to be great students and avid readers. They’ve cheered for young athletes at youth basketball nights and team try-outs. They’ve pulled on aprons and plastic gloves to dish up free dinners at Curt’s Kitchen run by Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church. They’ve delivered thousands of canned goods to food pantries at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and the Missouri Street Church of Christ, among others. And they’re mentoring students at Charles R. Drew Elementary School in Barrett Station, which the college has adopted as part of its Cradle to Career Network.

Now, the team is asking the community to join their efforts at the home game against Angelina College, which is set for a 6 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Lee College Sports Arena. Fans aged 19 and older who bring two canned goods will be given free entry in exchange for helping the team reach its goal of collecting 20,000 canned goods to help feed the hungry in the local community.

The Runnin’ Rebels hope to pack the 1,500-seat arena for the game against the Roadrunners and are encouraging all fans to “Rock the Red” and show their spirit. Additional information about “Rock the Red” is available online at www.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 College adopts Drew Elementary as ‘College Bound’

Partnership expands commitment to create college-going culture throughout service area

BAYTOWN, TX – With the support and resources of Lee College and  the mentorship and involvement of dedicated residents of historic Barrett Station, every student at Charles R. Drew Elementary School in the Crosby Independent School District has set their sights on achieving a new goal for the future: attending college and earning a degree.

Rooty Rebel at Drew Elementary
Lee College brought Rooty the Rebel, the Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team, the Rebel Heat Dance Team and a host of faculty, staff and administrators to Charles R. Drew Elementary in Barrett Station for a pep rally to kick off the new “College Bound School” partnership. As part of the effort, Lee College will provide Drew with support and resources to help ensure every student goes to college and earns a degree.

Lee College has adopted Drew Elementary as a “College Bound School” as part of the Cradle to Career Network, an ongoing effort to create a college-going culture for local youth by engaging all members of the community in providing wrap-around support as students transition into college – from schools and educators to non-profit organizations, health and human services agencies, business and industry, local government and residents at large.

“Congratulations on being future college graduates! We stand together as a community committed to you, and you have to be committed to excellence in everything you do,” DeDe Griffith, Interim Vice President of Instruction, told hundreds of cheering Drew students at a recent pep rally held in their gym to kick off the new partnership between the college and elementary school.

At the rally, Rooty the Rebel, the Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team and the Rebel Heat dancers showed off dazzling dunks and delivered special performances. Crosby ISD Superintendent Keith Moore, Lee College President Dr. Dennis Brown and other administrators and faculty offered words of welcome and encouragement, and enthusiastic students – all clad in red T-shirts emblazoned with “Lee College” and “Future College Graduate” – raised their hands and voices to pledge to go to college.

“We are so very excited to have you as part of Lee College,” Brown said. “If you put forth the effort, you will be a success story. All of you can walk across that stage and receive that college degree.”

For the College Bound partnership, Lee College will provide Drew Elementary with regular programming and opportunities to help students and their families learn more about the value and importance of higher education. Students at every grade level will learn about science concepts from college faculty, and the Lee College Mobile Go Center – a 42-foot, air-conditioned trailer outfitted with high-speed Internet, satellite dishes, remote printers, laptops and LCD televisions – will visit the elementary campus each month. On board the center, students will learn about the wide variety of rewarding and interesting careers available to college graduates and have access to a library of more than 500 e-books on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Parents at Drew Elementary will also be involved in the effort, participating in a common reading program and receiving guidance and information about how best to prepare their children for college success.

“You’re part of a team and you’re part of a family,” said Drew Elementary School Principal Walter Berringer. “We have an obligation to each other to make sure we’re successful. We have to make great decisions and work as hard as we can every single day. There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to start college, and there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to finish college.”

As he looked at the sea of red tees and smiling faces at the pep rally kick-off, Jerry Bluitt realized he had come full circle. An alumnus of Drew Elementary who was instrumental in helping get the College Bound partnership in place, Bluitt retired from a 30-year career as an IBM engineer and returned to his native Barrett Station to help usher the historically African-American enclave into a brighter and better future. The program will help recreate the loving and unified family atmosphere he remembered and benefitted from as a child, he said.

“After they saw the model, the community said it was long overdue,” said Bluitt, who has helped raise support for and awareness of the College Bound School and Cradle to Career Network programs with faith-based organizations and local businesses in the area. “For our kids to be successful, we’ve got to shape them in good and positive ways. We have to walk with them.”

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.