Archive for the ‘african american history month’ Category


Gov. Scott and First Lady Scott with Michaela Polmann and family the governor’s mansion.

Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott recently honored SPC Early College Program student Michaela Polmann as the high school winner of the 2016 Black History Month Student and Teacher Contest.

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade submitted art and essays around the 2016 theme “Honoring African American Heroes.”

Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott’s encouraged contest participants to honor past or present heroes who have helped make Florida a safe place to live, work and raise a family.

Polmann, a senior at Dunedin High School, submitted an essay honoring Valdez (Val) Demings, the first female chief of police in the Orlando Police Department.  The quote, from Demings, that resonated the most was “I can break up the fight and never put my hands on anybody because I am using my best weapon . . . The most important weapon that we have, we bring to the job, and that’s the good mind and brain that we have. That’s what makes you a great law enforcement officer.”

“She is a truly admirable woman and was the perfect topic for my essay,” said Polmann.

Polmann – headed for success

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the honorary essay winner was invited to the governor’s mansion and received a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Senior Photo High Res 1

Michaela Polmann

This May Polmann will be graduating from SPC with an Associate in Arts, then from Dunedin High School in June. After graduation, she plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and then attend medical school

“Early College has prepared me to enter a 4-year university and has inspired me to apply for scholarships such as Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott’s Black History Month Essay Contest,” said Polmann. “My Early College counselor, Ms. Hall, and Dunedin High School counselor, Ms. LaMondra, have encouraged me to work hard to reach my goals.”

“After working as a counselor/educator for the past 33 years, I would say that Michaela is in the top 2 percent of all students I have worked with in my career,” said Early College Academic Counselor Alice Hall. “She is exemplary in all ways. She is brilliant academically but has impeccable character as well. She has a wisdom, strength and competence concerning life that is far beyond her years.”

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GradPhotoMore than 1,200 graduates of St. Petersburg College crossed the stage during the 127th Commencement Ceremony at Tropicana Field on Saturday, May 16.

A total of 2,922 students earned 3,307 degrees from SPC this term, President Bill Law told the crowd of well-wishers. Graduates ranged in age from 16 to 76, with 31 graduates over the age of 60. Thirteen of the graduates received their diplomas on their birthdays. Check out all the graduation stats.

The Class of 2015 also includes the youngest student ever to receive a bachelor’s degree from St. Petersburg College, 18-year-old Richard Ramdohr, of St. Petersburg.

With this graduating class, the college has awarded 147,381 degrees since the college was founded in 1927.

Among other milestones, SPC celebrated the following:

  • 10,000th student to earn an Associate in Science degree in nursing
  • 8,000th baccalaureate graduate
  • 2,000th baccalaureate nursing graduate
  • 1,000th baccalaureate elementary education teacher graduate
  • The largest group ever of A.A. and A.S. degree students in one term, with 2,286

Inside and out, hundreds of tweets, photos and videos were shared on social media.

Before diplomas were handed out, the college’s Apollo and Alumni Achievement award winners addressed fellow students and guests.

Clearwater Campus student Amy Bhatt received the Apollo Award, the highest honor a two-year graduate can achieve. Seminole Campus student James Stanley Lenas was named the Alumni Achievement Award winner, bringing home the highest honor for a four-year SPC graduate.

Bhatt was a member of the Early College Program and graduated with her A.A. degree and a 4.0 GPA.

“In my two years at SPC, I found that this is a great place to learn and develop our ‘academic intelligence.’ But even beyond that, the interaction with faculty and students is phenomenal for developing our ‘practical intelligence’ in dealing with people and working as a team. And I quickly realized that in order to succeed, we need both – academic and practical intelligence. In just two years, I got so much from SPC, that I feel I will never be able to pay it back.”

Bhatt plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies at SPC and would like to attend Stetson University’s College of Law and pursue her ultimate dream of serving on the Supreme Court. Professors at St. Petersburg College inspired students “to succeed every single day,” Bhatt said.

Lenas graduates with a B.S. degree in biology with a 3.65 GPA and is one of six students in the country to be accepted into Bayfront Health’s School of Medical Technology Laboratory Science program. During his time at SPC, Lenas presented research in microbiology at the American Society of Microbiology Summit in 2014 and was named a Biological Research Nominee, an award given to biology program students who complete outstanding research in the field.

“My experience tells me that my education as an SPC student, as well as yours, make us stand out,” Lenas said. “SPC is doing something right because it is producing competitive applicants for a number of careers.”

Lenas touted the college’s “small class sizes, where every instructor knew my name,”

Also honored at the ceremony was SPC’s 2015 Outstanding Alumnus, St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway. Chief Holloway attended St. Petersburg Junior College in 1996 before transferring to Eckerd College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business management in 1999 and his master’s degree in business administration in 2001.

During his 22-year career with the Clearwater Police Department, Holloway became the city’s first black police captain and eventually its chief in 2010. He was named chief of the St. Petersburg Police Department in 2014.

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All St. Petersburg College campuses will celebrate African-American History Month with events and awards ceremonies throughout February.


Angie Shaghaghi

Among the highlights will be an appearance by Tarpon Springs native Angie Shaghaghi, a successful entrepreneur who has appeared on a number of Food Network shows, including Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Hey, Can You Cook?

She will be the keynote speaker at the north county Mac J. Williams Excellence Awards at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Clearwater Campus Arts Auditorium. The Mac J. Williams awards honor outstanding high school students.

Shaghaghi runs a business called Creative Cooks, which teaches cooking classes to children in public/private after-school programs, community centers, nursing facilities and homes.

Other highlights include:

  • African-American History Month Quad Event, all day, Feb. 13, St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus
  • Jump Start Your African-American Genealogy, 1 p.m. Feb. 13, Clearwater Campus
  • Munch & Learn: Race & Ethnicity: Perceptions, Prejudice 7 Power, 12:30 p.m., Feb. 18, Seminole Campus
  • Taste of Soul, noon, Feb. 19, Tarpon Springs Campus
  • The Rhetoric of Dr. Martin Luther King, 12:30 p.m., Feb. 19, Clearwater Campus
  • Poetry Slam, 5:30 p.m., Feb. 19, Clearwater Campus
  • South county Mac J. Williams Excellence Awards, 7 p.m., Feb. 24, Palladium
  • Soul Food Festival, noon, Feb. 25, SPC Midtown
  • Black Trivia Competition, 6 p.m. Feb. 25, Clearwater Campus
  • Soul Food Festival, noon and 4 p.m., Feb. 26, SPC Downtown

For complete listings, see www.spcollege.edu/aahm.

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African-American History Month celebration at SPC’s Allstate Center

SPC’s campuses and centers have been busy throughout February hosting a variety of events marking African-American History Month, from art exhibits to musical events and competitions.

Earlier this month, the Allstate Center held a celebration featuring a drum circle, music and food. Events at other campuses have included a session with civil rights guest speaker Lonnie C. King Jr. at SPC Downtown as well as food festivals throughout the college. This week the Black History Trivia Competition is being hosted at the Clearwater Campus. Scholarships will be awarded to first, second and third-place winners.

More photos from the Allstate Center celebration are on SPC’s Facebook page.

See African-American History Month events at SPC on the college’s event calendar.

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Guest speaker Lonnie C. King Jr., who was active in the 1960s civil rights movement, met with students at SPC Downtown earlier this month.

The event is one of several being held this month at SPC’s campuses and centers as part of African-American History Month.

King sat down and spoke with SPC students before giving a speech to about 85 people at the American Stage Theater at the Downtown Campus on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

A founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, King and others authored “An Appeal for Human Rights.” Published in various Atlanta area newspapers in the 1960s, it helped launch the Atlanta Student Movement and nonviolent sit-ins and boycotts around the city.

Former president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, King has been honored numerous times for his role in the civil rights movement, according to an article from the University of Georgia. A Morehouse College graduate in 1969, he later earned a masters degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore and has held teaching positions throughout the education system from the elementary to the collegiate level.

See more photos from the event on the college’s Facebook page.

Check for more African-American History Month events on the college’s website.

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The college’s campuses and centers are holding a variety of events throughout February to celebrate African-American History Month.

On Feb. 12, the Clearwater Campus Library will feature Eric Deggans, TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times. The discussion will focus on “how the media wields dangerous words to divide a nation.”

On Feb. 13, SPC Downtown will host guest speaker Lonnie King, a civil rights activist who worked next to Martin Luther King Jr. He is the current president of the National Organization for Civil and Human Rights. King will be at the campus at 1 p.m.

The Clearwater Campus will host a poetry slam on Feb. 20 starting at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature SPC’s Hip Hop Ensemble and readings of poetry written by African-American historical figures.

See all the African-American History Month events at SPC on the college’s event calendar.

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Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg TIMES makes a point during an African-American History Month debate at St. Petersburg College's Clearwater Campus

     Eight panelists gathered at Clearwater’s Arts Auditorium Wednesday (Feb. 17, 2010) to consider this question: is it better to simply pursue success, or is it better to pause in your pursuit and lend a hand to others?
     The program, “Success and Obligation: Whose Dream Is It Anyway?” was offered as part of African-American History Month.
     The question for the panel, which was framed by Communications Professor Dr. Greg Byrd, was based on an ongoing debate that took place in the late 19th Century between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. Washington believed in hard work and self-help; DuBois was more of a believer in organizing and petitioning for change.
     Taking part in the debate were: 

      The debate was moderated by Dr. Bonnie Jefferis, Communications Department Committee Coordinator for African-American History Month.

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