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midtowngrandopening3More than 1,500 people joined the celebration on Saturday, Aug. 1 for St. Petersburg College’s grand opening of the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center at 1300 22nd St. S.

The new 49,000-square-foot, state-of-the art center is named in honor of the late Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., a longtime legislator and a Florida Commissioner of Education. Jamerson, a graduate of St. Petersburg College, was one of the most prominent politicians in the state of Florida and a fierce advocate for education. He passed away in 2001.

View pictures of today’s event on our Facebook Gallery.

“What a wonderful way to honor the work and life of Douglas Jamerson,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

In honor of their contributions to the community SPC President William D. Law, Jr., and the Board of Trustees, presented six honorary Bachelor of Arts in College and Community Services degrees to:

  • Goliath Davis III, former Deputy Mayor of Midtown Economic Development, City of St. Petersburg
  • Bruce Grimes, Real Estate and Property Management Director, City of St. Petersburg
  • Joseph H. Lang, President of Baynard, McLeod and Lang, PA, and SPC’s Board of Trustees Attorney
  • The Rev. Louis M. Murphy, Sr., Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church
  • The Rev. Wayne G. Thompson, First Baptist Institutional Church
  •  The Rev. Clarence A. Williams, Greater Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church.

SPC Trustee Deveron M. Gibbons spoke of how Jamerson mentored him over the years, recalling that he still carries with him Jamerson’s advice: “It’s not how powerful you can become – it’s how many people you can empower.”

Jamerson’s family received a standing ovation from the packed audience.

Rev. Murphy, who gave the invocation, said the new center brings “hope” and “opportunity” to the community.

Niki Johnson, President of the Midtown Center Student Government Association (SGA) and Alexis Clavizzao, President of the Downtown SGA, shared with the crowd their joy over the new center and how they believed it would have a profound impact on the community.

“I encourage everyone today to take advantage of the opportunities available to you and spread the name of SPC across the world,” Johnson said.

The event included presentations by prominent local officials and community activists, and a block party. Attendees toured the facility, built by locally owned LEMA Construction, and were able to take advantage of a slate of college services, such as academic and career advising, and assistance with registration and financial aid. The event – which was sponsored by Duke Energy and supported by LEMA Construction – also included complimentary lunch, multiple vendors, a “Kids Zone,” and live entertainment.

Guest speakers included:

  • Rick Kriseman, Mayor, City of St. Petersburg
  • Alex Glenn, President, Duke Energy, Florida
  • Trustee Gibbons
  • President Law, Jr.
  • SGA leaders Johnson and Clavizzao
  • Kevin Gordon, Provost, Midtown Center, St. Petersburg College
  • The Rev. Thompson, The Rev. Murphy and The Rev. Williams

Multiple other civic and community leaders were in attendance, including but not limited to: St. Petersburg Council Members Wengay Newton and Karl Nurse; Pinellas County Commissioners Kenneth T. Welch and Pat Gerard; St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway; Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter; and former St. Petersburg Mayor Bob Ulrich.

The new center includes graphic art installations that tell the story of the rich history of Midtown, and 22nd Street – affectionately nicknamed “The Deuces.” Community members walked the halls and shared their memories of eating at Geech’s BBQ, working at the old Mercy Hospital, and dancing nights away at the old Manhattan Casino.

St. Petersburg College has long been dedicated to providing educational opportunities in Midtown. The original 10,000-square-foot Midtown Center at 1048 22nd St. So., opened in 2003 as part of a $2 million St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s HOPE VI project. It has been renamed the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center, in honor of the late educator and SPC Board of Trustees member, who died in 2008.

In 2012, as demand for classes and community involvement grew, SPC’s Board of Trustees approved a $14 million expenditure to build the new three-story building on land leased from the City of St. Petersburg. The new center includes multiple classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a book store, a community room, and a career center.

The center is already being used by students and the community, and is open for classes for the Fall 2015 term, which begins Aug. 17.

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001 SPC MIDTOWN CENTER Day

St. Petersburg College will host a ribbon cutting and block party to celebrate the grand opening of the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at the center at 1300 22nd St. S. The event is free and open to the public.

The new 45,000-square-foot, state-of-the art center will serve as the college’s flagship campus and community center for south St. Petersburg and will open for classes for the Fall 2015 term, which begins Aug. 17. The new campus is named in honor of the late Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., a longtime legislator and a Florida Commissioner of Education. Jamerson, a graduate of St. Petersburg College, was one of the most prominent politicians in the state of Florida and a fierce advocate for education.

The event will include a grand opening ceremony, with presentations by prominent local officials and community activists, and a daylong block party, with:

  • Tours of the new facility
  • Live entertainment, including performances by the Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Choir, the Lakewood High School Jazz Band and Saxophonist Shawn Brown
  • Free barbeque and refreshments
  • A “Kids Zone” sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation Department
  • An appearance by Raymond, the mascot of the Tampa Bay Rays
  • Full registration services
  • Free vouchers for SPC’s “Learn to Earn” career development courses
  • Complimentary career and academic advising
  • Assistance with financial aid services
  • Roughly three dozen vendors and community organizations

The college application fee will be waived during the event, a $40 savings.

Guest speakers will include:

  • Rick Kriseman, Mayor, City of St. Petersburg
  • Alex Glenn, President, Duke Energy, Florida
  • William D. Law, Jr., President, St. Petersburg College
  • Kevin Gordon, Provost, Midtown Center, St. Petersburg College
  • Niki Johnson, Vice President of the Midtown Center Student Government Association
  • Alexis Clavizzao, President of the Downtown Center Student Government Association

In honor of their outstanding service to the community, St. Petersburg College will award six honorary Bachelor of Arts in College and Community Services degrees to distinguished members of the community during the grand opening event.

St. Petersburg College has long been dedicated to providing educational opportunities in Midtown. The original 10,000-square-foot Midtown Center at 1048 22nd St. So., opened in 2003 as part of a $2 million St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s HOPE VI project. It has been renamed the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center, in honor of the late educator and SPC Board of Trustees member, who died in 2008.

In 2012, as demand for classes and community involvement grew, SPC’s Board of Trustees approved a $14 million expenditure to build the new three-story building on land leased from the City of St. Petersburg. The new center includes multiple classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a book store, a community room, and a career center.

Beginning this fall, programs will be offered in:

  • Advanced Manufacturing (Certificate)
  • Clinical Medical Assisting (Certificate)
  • Computer Support CompTIA A+ (Certificate)
  • Early Childhood Education (Certificate)
  • Entrepreneurship (Associate in Science & Certificate)
  • Human Services (Associate in Science & Certificate)
  • Associate in Arts transfer degree

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luma-ukraine

The unique partnership between St. Petersburg College and LumaStream is drawing international interest. On Nov. 21, a group of five distinguished guests representing Ukraine’s government, business, academia, media, arts and non-governmental organizations toured the local LED lighting manufacturer’s plant in Midtown.

The Ukrainian guests were selected by the American Embassy in their country and the U.S. Department of State for the express purpose of finding out about:

  • public-private partnerships in economic development
  • ensuring quality in higher education, youth engagement, community outreach and engagement and
  • the role of public sector organizations in holding government accountable.

The trip was organized by World Partnerships, the official State Department partner for hosting global leaders in the Tampa Bay area. The organization creates professional programs, cultural activities and social networking for international leaders with their Tampa Bay counterparts.

Jill Flansburg, program coordinator for Florida TRADE and Claire Underhill, marketing assistant for LumaStream, hosted the group. Last month, a dozen University of South Florida St. Petersburg journalism students and their professor, Rob Hooker, visited LumaStream to learn how the company teamed up with the college last year to begin providing job training.

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PrintSt. Petersburg College has been named Good ’Burger’s People’s Choice winner in education by the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. The award, which recognizes SPC for making a positive impact in the community, was presented at a ceremony at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Aug. 28.

“This award solidly aligns with our mission of helping to transform communities,” said SPC Downtown Center Provost Kevin Gordon, who accepted the award Thursday on behalf of the college. “We look forward to continued partnerships in all facets of the community and are honored by this recognition.”

A committee of 10 volunteers selected SPC from more than 70 entrees nominated by St. Petersburg Chamber members.

Right: Kevin Gordon, Provost of the SPC Downtown Center, accepts the Good 'Burger award on behalf of St. Petersburg College.

Right: Kevin Gordon, Provost of the SPC Downtown Center, accepts the Good ‘Burger award on behalf of St. Petersburg College.

The Good’ ’Burger Awards were created last year with a name that honored a former mayor of St. Petersburg who often referred to city citizens as “burgers,” short for St. Petersburgers. The awards themselves were established last year to honor city Chamber members who contribute to making the community stand out.

Other winners of the 2014 Good ’Burgers Awards include:

  • Arts and Culture: The Dali Museum
  • Eats & Treats: Chick-fil-A 4th Street
  • Community Service & Non-Profits: Community Action Stops Violence (CASA)
  • Hotspots & Hangouts: Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill
  • Sports: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Cool Companies (Large): Crown Automotive
  • Cool Companies (Medium): Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater
  • Cool Companies (Small): The Bicycle Store of St. Petersburg
  • Most Valuable Burger: Dr. Jonathan M. Ellen – All Children’s Hospital

The awards replaced the formal dinner banquet programs that were offered in previous years as a fun and engaging way to honor and recognize members.

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drum6The drumbeats were steady and deliberate, echoing through the halls of SPC’s Midtown Campus. Within minutes, students who had never seen a West African Djembe or Ashiko drum were enthralled, captivated by the rhythm they were creating in the room.

“It’s going to get loud in here,” said facilitator and drum circle leader Steve Turner as he welcomed students to Meg Delgato’s Biological Issues class earlier this semester.

It got so loud, in fact, that they were soon asked to drum outside, where students who had not participated much in class came alive.

“I’m not really a science person, but I love music,” said Antonio Williams, who is studying business. “To be able to combine something I don’t like with something I do like was great.”

YOU’RE INVITED:
See what the students in Meg Delgato’s Biological Issues class learned by combining music and science.
May 1
11 a.m.to 1:30 p.m.
Royal Theater, 1011 22nd St. S
across from the Midtown campus

“This was one science class I knew I couldn’t do without,” said Devin Plant, who graduates this semester and plans to study psychology. “We’re making it scientific and finding out it’s fun.”

Those words are, ahem, music to Delgato’s ears.

With the help of a $3,500 Innovation Grant from the St. Petersburg College Foundation, Delgato created the semester-long class project called Instrumental Change: Using Drum Circles to Teach the Art of Science. Through the grant, students in her Midtown and Tarpon Springs classes partnered with staff from Giving Tree Music to research and investigate connections between art, music and science.


On May 1, from 11 a.m.to 1:30 p.m., her Midtown students will host a school-community drum circle event at the Royal Theater to unveil what they learned.

“Drumming helps people heal physically, boosts their immune system, creates a feeling of well-being and releases emotional trauma,” said student Lashondala Teagle, who plans on becoming a teacher. “It’s great for stress release and anxiety, which is why we’re holding our event around finals week.”

Teagle has worked with Turner before, when he visited the YMCA where she works.

“The kids love it,” she said. “It brings out the kid in all of us.”

Through Giving Tree Music, Turner sells his hand-made drums and leads “drum circles for human empowerment” for businesses, schools, at-risk youth, special needs groups, festivals and corporate team building seminars. He finds the energy incomparable.

“People make such powerful connections when they drum together,” said Turner, a graduate of SPC. “This really shows the power of teamwork and what it can do.”

drum1

Making science accessible

Ultimately, Delgato wants to make her Biological Issues class mean something more than checking a box to fulfill a life science requirement. She wants her students to make strong connections with science so they are prepared for a world that is flooded with information.

“The one thing I want to give my students is scientific literacy so they can make sense of the information they are bombarded with on a daily basis,” said Delgato, who has received Innovation Grants the past three years for various learning projects. “They need to be able to know what’s going on and be equipped to analyze the source of the information, not just accept things at face value.”

As voters and citizens, students continually make decisions about their communities and issues that affect them, like hurricane threats, air pollution, land usage, endangered species, flooding, waste, genetically altered food and pesticides, among others, Delgato said.

“I wanted to find innovative ways to make learning relevant and meaningful to them. Most of them won’t go to work in the sciences, and they have not had positive experiences in other science classes. But at the end of the day there are some very basic skills that we all need because the information that comes out of the sciences drives all that we know and do.”

What students discovered

In their research, students found studies that say drumming is a valuable treatment for chronic conditions such as stress, fatigue, anxiety, hypertension, asthma, chronic pain, arthritis, mental illness, migraines, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, paralysis, emotional disorders and a wide range of physical disabilities.

As for relieving stress, medical researchers have found that drumming increases the production and release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones like melatonin, norepinephrine, serotonin and prolactin into the bloodstream, which may contribute to patients’ relaxed and calm mood.

Students will present these findings, along with the cultural and historical aspects of drumming at their event.

“You’re really helping yourself when you do the research,” Teagle said. “Plus you can share all this research with your family and friends. It was a lot of work but it was fun. I’m comfortable with science now.”

Why scientific literacy matters

Being able to discern fact from fiction is a crucial skill in our advancing civilization. Consider:

  • A week’s worth of the New York Times contains more information today than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.
  • In every minute of 2012 there were:
    • 72 hours of video posts
    • 347 blog posts
    • 700,000 Facebook entries
    • 30,000 tweets
    • 2 million e-mails sent
    • 12 million text messages
  • More data cross the Internet every second than were stored in the entire Internet 20 years ago.
  • There are currently 2.1 billion pages on the World Wide Web.

Sources: International Data Corporation, Harvard Business Review and MIT Technology Review

Credibility: What makes a good source

To check the credibility of sources, particularly on the Internet, Delgato recommends looking at the following.

  • Timeliness – when was the information published?
  • Authors – who wrote it? Are they clearly identified? What is their background? Do they have biases?
  • Authority – does the domain use edu, .gov, .org, or .net? (These are often more credible sources than .com.)

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1780775_10152608847838368_1191305515_nSt. Petersburg College and the Midtown community on Saturday celebrated both the past – the legacies of leaders Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. and Cecil B. Keene Sr. – and the future of education in the community.

An event at the site where the new 49,000-square-foot Midtown campus is beginning to rise honored Mr. Keene’s and Mr. Jamerson’s contributions to education locally and statewide by officially placing their names on SPC buildings.

The new facility, scheduled to open in mid-2015 at the corner of 22nd Street S and 13th Avenue S, will be called the Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Midtown Center. The three-story building will include classrooms, labs, community space, computer labs, student services areas and a library with a children’s area.

The college’s current facility at 1048 22nd St. S was renamed the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center.

1939457_10152608826423368_12299606_nIn his dedication, Board of Trustees Chairman Deveron Gibbons said he had trouble narrowing down his comments “because both of these two men had such an impact on my life.”

“When I think about Mr. Keene,” he said, “what I think about most was his commitment to people and especially to students.”

Mr. Jamerson, he said, was his uncle and his mentor, a man who worked across the state for others. “He was the best legislator of this district I’ve ever seen. He fought with everything he could for St. Petersburg to be a better community.”

The event marked the official beginning of construction on the new Douglas L. Jamerson Midtown Center.

The Rev. Wayne Thompson, before his invocation, said the new building sits next to the spot where he was born, in the former Mercy Hospital. “I was thinking this morning that maybe today I was going to be reborn,” he said. “In many ways, this community is going to be reborn because of this bold initiative by St. Petersburg College and the Board of Trustees.”

SPC President Bill Law said he has been a college president for 25 years. At the end of his career, he said, “When I’m asked what are the five best days you has as a president, this will be one.”

The day was historic, Dr. Law said. “We stand here in celebration in a location that hasn’t always had reason to celebrate.”

1891212_10152608827338368_1189107867_nThe community, he said, “has had to overcome all the constraints of a segregated society. When the legal and societal restraints were removed, Midtown had to find a new center.”

People like Mr. Jamerson, Mr. Keene and Johnnie Ruth Clarke, for whom the adjacent health center is named, always knew that the community was strong and never stopped fighting for it, Dr. Law said. “Our celebration was put in motion years ago by those who could feel the heartbeat of this community.”

Chairman Gibbons recognized past leaders from the college and the city who fought for years to make the Midtown campus a reality, including former board members Terry Brett, Ken Burke, Ken Welch and Dick Johnston; former mayors David Fischer and Rick Baker; and community activist Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter.

“You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re at,” he said. “Here we are now – we’re going to have a place of learning. We’re going to have people who can go to college right here on 22nd Street, on the Deuces.”

Mayor Rick Kriseman praised the college for its commitment to Midtown. He said his administration wants to focus on workforce training and employment in the community. “When it comes to workforce training, there’s no better partner for us than St. Petersburg College.”

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

Watch the event on SPC’s YouTube channel.

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A ceremony on Saturday, March 1, will celebrate the legacies of educators Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. and Cecil B. Keene Sr. and officially mark the beginning of construction of the new Midtown campus.

midtown

The current Midtown facility will officially become Cecil B. Keene Sr. Student Achievement Center. The new campus will be named the Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Midtown Center.

Representatives of the Keene and Jamerson families will be recognized.

The program begins at 11 a.m. at the construction site on the corner of 22nd St. South and 13th Avenue.

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