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Archive for the ‘Clearwater’ Category

St. Petersburg College will celebrate the academic success of Latino students who have a grade point average of 3.0 and higher during the Vilma Fernandez-Zalupski Academic Excellence Awards ceremony. The ceremony will be:

6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
Arts Auditorium
Clearwater Campus

About 150 high school students from Tarpon Springs and Clearwater are expected to attend the event, which honors Fernandez-Zalupski, the first woman in Florida to serve as a community college provost. A native of Ybor City, she worked as provost of the Clearwater Campus for 16 years before retiring in 1995.

As provost, Fernandez-Zalupski helped develop the first International Center and Women on the Way, a program that guides women through the college experience. The Tampa Hispanic Heritage Foundation for outstanding service to education has honored her.

The Master of Ceremonies for the event will be Robin Gomez, auditor and Hispanic-Latino Liaison for the City of Clearwater. Saby E. Guidicelli, Workforce Manager/Human Resources, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County will give the keynote address.

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Civics education and engagement are a top priority at St. Petersburg College.

On Oct. 10-11, the Civics Club at the Clearwater Campus will host the Second Annual Florida Model Legislature event, which gives students hands-on experience in creating and passing legislation. So far, students have drafted 16 bills dealing with public policy issues that will move through their lawmaking process.

“The goal of the Model Legislature is to bring students together for civic dialogue and learning,” said Suzanne Preston, Social Sciences Professor and Civics Club Advisor on the Clearwater Campus.

The event is open to all SPC students to help them develop civic leadership and awareness of local and state issues, Preston said. They can then become better informed citizens and stronger participants in their communities, she added.model-lex

More than 80 students from several campuses participated in the inaugural event last year. Preston said the event let students put on their “legislative hats,” roll up their sleeves, and debate, negotiate and compromise on Florida’s public policy dilemmas, learning more about themselves and their community.

“This event teaches students how government operates, and creates an excitement in them when they see what is actually going on in the legislature and how it effects them in real life,” said Andrew Malyj, former president of the SGA at the campus.

Civics Club members led the initiative to bring this event to the college after members of the Clearwater Student Government Association traveled to Tallahassee in Spring 2013 to participate in a Model Legislature. The students were inspired by the event and proposed bringing a similar experience home to their campus so more SPC students could benefit from the experience.

“Student leadership on the Clearwater Campus brought this initiative to the Clearwater Campus and the Clearwater SGA funded it both years,” Preston said.

Workshops were held this week leading up to the two-day event to encourage students from across the college’s 11 learning sites to participate. The workshops teach students how to draft legislation, participate in the formal debate processes and improve civic dialogue through collaboration.

Civics Club members, as well as past Model Legislature participants, will play leadership roles in this year’s event. Social and Behavioral Science faculty will also lend their support.

“Students are left with a lifelong understanding of the legislative process and how to engage as a citizen leader,” said Tara Newsom, Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Visit the SPC Model Legislature website for more information about the event.

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The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College will present the final forum in a three-part series on Pinellas County’s transit sales tax referendum, this time in the North County area. The forum, titled “Dealing with Gridlock: Is there a Light Rail in Pinellas County’s Future,” will be held:

6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30
SPC Clearwater Campus ES 104
2465 Drew St.

As have the two previous programs on this issue, held at SPC’s Midtown Center and Seminole Campus, this forum will examine the pros and cons of a referendum on the November ballot that would raise the sales tax rate by one cent per dollar of spending, from 7 to 8 cents, to finance improvements to the Pinellas County public transportation system.

The transit tax proposal, if approved by more than 50 percent of voters, would affect every Pinellas County taxpayer whenever they purchase goods subject to the sales tax. It has become one of the most hotly debated local issues of the 2014 election season, perhaps second only to a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The forum will open with pro-con presentations on the proposal by advocates for and against passage. Speaking for the amendment will be Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala. Speaking against will be Barbara Haselden, campaign manager and spokesperson for No Tax for Tracks, a citizens group which opposes the proposal.

The final portion of the program will be devoted to answering questions from the audience. Moderating the debate will Dr. Nicholas Manias, Professor of Applied Ethics at SPC.

The proposed tax increase would authorize a one-cent sales tax increase for 30 years, which would raise a projected $130 million per year. The tax hike would be partially offset by eliminating the current .75-mill property tax for transit that brings in $32 million. For that revenue stream, PSTA promises a 65 percent increase in bus service, a Bus Rapid Transit line, that is, dedicated bus lanes, on major corridors; and, eventually, a 24-mile light rail line that would roughly follow the I-275 corridor north to the Gateway area, then head west along Ulmerton/Roosevelt Road/East and West Bay Blvd. to downtown Clearwater.

Advance registration is requested.

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Bridgette Bello

Bridgette Bello

St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees member Bridgette Bello will address SPC Women on the Way meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 24, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Clearwater Campus, ES-104.

Publisher of the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Bello was named Business Woman of the Year in 2011 by the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. Bello will introduce Bizwomen.com, a subsidiary of the Tampa Bay Business Journal that provides women with information and inspiration.

The meeting is open to SPC students, faculty, staff and the community.

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nat-large
One by one, audience members stood up as their country was called. By the time the 34 countries were announced, 100 people were standing in the Fine Arts Auditorium at SPC’s Clearwater Campus, ready to take the Oath of Allegiance to become American citizens.

Wednesday’s naturalization ceremony held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was a first for the college. Since January, SPC has worked with USCIS to host free workshops for those interested in becoming United States citizens.

SPC student Vlora Neziri

SPC student Vlora Neziri

“It’s amazing that SPC helped organize this,” said SPC student Vlora Neziri, who addressed the audience and has been a Student Citizenship Ambassador since the program began. “Not only are they celebrating but we are celebrating with them. It shows that the college is there for the community.”

During the workshops, potential citizens learn about U.S. history and government through conversations with SPC professors and students. SPC students lead lessons plans provided by USCIS covering 100 questions that could be asked on the citizenship exam.

“We are a community institution and we thought this would be a wonderful place to hold this event,” said Joseph Smiley, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences at SPC. “The very essence of our society is based on the Constitution. It’s the most important document to any person becoming a citizen.”

The USCIS ceremony helped commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, held every Sept. 17 in honor of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. This year marks the 227th anniversary of the Constitution. Celebrations are usually held the entire week and this year, USCIS will welcome more than 27,000 new citizens during 160 naturalization ceremonies from Sept. 17-23.

Along with fulfilling class requirements for service, students are getting an opportunity to give back to their community, a focus of ongoing efforts by the college and its Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions (ISPS) to strengthen civics education and engagement.

“Our students are meeting people from all over the world and seeing America through their eyes,” said Professor Suzanne Preston, who has helped spearhead the citizenship project. “It is a privilege for our students to be a part of this life-changing process.”

After issuing the formal oath, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich congratulated the group on their accomplishment and noted the responsibility that comes with it.

U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich

U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich

“By becoming a citizen, you’ve made a contract with every other person in this room and in the country,” said Kovachevich, herself an SPC graduate. “We are the people and we make this country what it is. Remember this date, Sept. 17, because it is your new birthday.”

The 100 new citizens came from the following countries: Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

“What struck me about the ceremony was the sheer happiness of it,” said Neziri, who went through the naturalization process when she was 20. She will graduate in December with her A.A. degree and plans to pursue her bachelor’s at SPC. “I’m so honored to do this, because it’s important me to inspire people and give them hope. That’s the least I can do.”

USCIS invites new citizens, their families and friends to share their experiences from the ceremonies via social media using the hashtag #newUScitizen.

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To honor Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Sept. 17, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will hold a naturalization ceremony for 100 new American citizens at St. Petersburg College, a first for the college.

The ceremony will be:
1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17
Fine Arts Auditorium
Clearawater Campus
2465 Drew Street
Clearwater, FL 33765

The ceremony helps commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, held every Sept. 17 to honor the signing of the U.S. Constitution. This year marks the 227th anniversary of the Constitution. Celebrations are usually held the entire week and this year, USCIS will welcome more than 27,000 new citizens during 160 naturalization ceremonies from Sept. 17 to Sept. 23.

“We are a community institution and we thought this would be a wonderful place to hold this event, to kick off Constitution Week,” said Joseph Smiley, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences at SPC. “The very essence of our society is based on the Constitution. It’s the most important document to any person becoming a citizen.”

Since January, SPC has worked with USCIS to host free workshops for those interested in becoming United States citizens. During these two-hour sessions, citizen candidates learn about U.S. history and government through conversations with SPC professors and student citizenship ambassadors. SPC students lead lessons plans provided by USCIS covering 100 questions that could be asked on the citizenship exam.

“Our students are meeting people from all over the world and seeing America through their eyes,” said Preston, who has helped spearhead the citizenship project. “It is a privilege for our students to be a part of this life-changing process.”

Through the workshops, students have an opportunity to give back to their community, a focus of ongoing efforts by the college and its Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions (ISPS) to strengthen civics education and engagement.

Last fall, the college and ISPS hosted a statewide forum for academic and administrative officers from the Florida College System (FCS) to find ways to close the civics education gap that many American leaders see as a national crisis. The forum was co-sponsored by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida, the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida, the Education Commission of the States and the FCS Council of Presidents.

During the naturalization ceremony, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich will administer the Oath of Allegiance to America’s newest citizens, which originate from 35 different countries, including: Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

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In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, SPC’s International Programs, Clearwater Campus and the Mexican Consulate in Orlando will kick off a year-long International Film Series by screening FRIDA: naturaleza viva, a film biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

The screening will take place at:
6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18
SPC Clearwater Campus Arts Auditorium
Free and open to the public

The film portrays how Kahlo creatively channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work. The free event includes free refreshments and door prizes. Film contains mature subject matter. Viewer discretion advised.

Prior to the film, SPC will host a Hispanic food and Information Fair from 5-6:30 p.m. in front of the Auditorium. Information from community organizations and food from local Hispanic restaurants will be available as well as campus tours.

Other international film screenings during the 2014-15 year will take place on St. Petersburg/Gibbs, Tarpon Springs and Seminole campuses.

Learn more:
SPC’s International Programs
Frida Kahlo and her work
Hispanic Heritage Month

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