Archive for the ‘Midtown’ Category


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.”

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.”


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.


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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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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UnknownSt. Petersburg College today announced that it will name its campuses in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg in honor of two community leaders who spent their careers working for educational opportunities throughout the city and the state.

Construction will begin soon on the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center, at 22nd Street and 13th Avenue S. The 45,000-square-foot facility will include classrooms, labs and community space.

The current St. Petersburg College facility at 1048 22nd St S will be renamed the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center.

The names were approved by the Board of Trustees Tuesday morning.

Luke Williams, assistant chief of the St. Petersburg Police Department, served on the committee that made the naming recommendations.

Old-MT_SPC_CBK_final“It is only fitting to have these two individuals honored who are from Midtown, who worked for Midtown,” he said. “I knew them both personally. Being a person who grew up in Midtown, I know how important the college and education were to both of them, seeing them and their interactions and engaged actions throughout the community. The community has been made better because of their voices.”

Kevin Gordon, provost of the St. Petersburg College Downtown and Midtown campuses, called both men community icons.

“Each made significant contributions to education, St. Petersburg College and the community,” he said. “This is the perfect way to continue their legacy and uphold the vision they held for Midtown.”

Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr.

Unknown-1Mr. Jamerson grew up in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg. He was the first black graduate of Bishop Barry (now St. Petersburg Catholic) High School. He graduated from then St. Petersburg Junior College, the St. Petersburg College Police Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of South Florida.

As a state legislator representing his native St. Petersburg for 11 years, Mr. Jamerson championed education reforms. He later served as state Secretary of Labor and as state Education Commissioner.

He won a national award for his efforts to help heal tensions in his hometown following racial unrest in 1996. Though he lived in Tallahassee when he died in 2001 at age 53, Mr. Jamerson was still advocating for schools and communities in Pinellas County.

Myrtle Williams, retired associate provost at St. Petersburg College, said that when she thinks about Doug Jamerson, she thinks of his service to the community.

“What a role model he was for our young men, our African-American men and all men,” she said. “He worked tirelessly for his community.”

An elementary school in North Pinellas bears Mr. Jamerson’s name. Luke Williams said it is appropriate that his name now will appear on a college facility.

“Not only did he want to make sure our younger students had access to education, but he wanted to see that through to all stages in education.”

Board of Trustees chairman Deveron Gibbons said, “Doug Jamerson gave every bit of his heart and soul to the community. He was a real teacher. He took every teachable moment and made it a good moment for everyone else.”

Cecil B. Keene, Sr.

Unknown-2Mr. Keene also was a native of Pinellas County, who grew up in Clearwater.  dedicated his life to education, serving students in Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida.

He advocated for those who needed help and encouragement to reach their potential and inspired those who thought an education was beyond their reach.

Mr. Keene began his education career in segregated Pinellas County schools, serving as dean of students at Gibbs Junior College from 1958 to 1965, then principal of Pinellas High until 1968 and of Gibbs High until 1971, the year Pinellas County schools integrated.

From 1971 to 1992, he worked as a counselor and special projects coordinator at then St. Petersburg Junior College, focusing on efforts to help expand opportunities for students.

Gov. Bob Martinez appointed Mr. Keene to the Board of Regents of the Florida University System in 1987, where he served until 1993. From 2001 until shortly before his death in 2008 at 84, Mr. Keene was a member of the St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees.

Bernice Keene, Mr. Keene’s wife, said, “There are no words to express how thrilled and honored I am that this honor will be bestowed on my husband, Cecil Keene. It leaves me speechless.

“Education was his passion, not only for his children but for all young people with whom he came in contact,” she said. “He used to call his children’s playmates in from the street to ask them if they had read this book or that book. My entire family is grateful to the college for this remembrance.”

Luke Williams said he was one of those young people who used to play in Mr. Keene’s yard. “Mr. Keene understood that education was a means to an end for all of the children in the neighborhood and beyond,” he said.

Gibbons said he admired Mr. Keene’s dedication. “He was as committed to St. Petersburg College and junior colleges as any individual I’ve ever met.”

Myrtle Williams said Mr. Keene became her mentor at St. Petersburg College. “He really taught me what the value of community college was,” she said. “He instilled in me the desire to stay community focused and to work for all students, particularly our minority students who needed so much. “

The process

The recommendation to name college facilities is made by a committee appointed by the college president. The committee considers contributions to the college and the community.

The committee that recommended these names was:

·        Robert Fine, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
·        Tonjua Williams, Senior Vice President
·        Kevin Gordon, Provost
·        Sharon Williams, Faculty
·        Luke Williams, St. Petersburg Police Department
·        Candice Billingsley, Student Government Association Representative – Midtown
·        Dwayne McCray, Student Government Association Representative – Midtown
·        Ulysses Burden, Student Government Association Representative – Midtown
·        Deborah Boyle, Chief of Staff

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LumaStream CEO Eric Higgs address Advisory Committee members during a recent breakfast meeting.

LumaStream CEO Eric Higgs address Advisory Committee members during a recent breakfast meeting.

If you’ve stepped into a Yogurtology in Tampa or strolled outside the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, you’ve seen the work of Eric Higgs in the lights. As CEO of local LED light manufacturer LumaStream, Higgs tossed aside the 130-year old technology of incandescent bulbs to develop what he calls intelligent lighting systems.

The low-voltage, highly efficient systems save money and the planet, a notion that Higgs says, “is just the right thing to do.”

To accommodate his booming business, Higgs recently moved his manufacturing base from Canada to Midtown St. Petersburg. He hopes to eventually employ hundreds of people, who will be trained by St. Petersburg College through a partnership and a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Labor.

“The target audience is hungry for this,” Higgs told a recent breakfast gathering of St. Petersburg College Advisory Committee members. “Midtown is an ideal location for a light manufacturing hub.”

What Higgs needs are skilled, trained workers. He expects to directly hire about half of those who complete the 20-week training program. SPC provides the instructors and courses and LumaStream provides the space, currently a 23,000 square-foot building on First Avenue South.

Graduates will earn nationally recognized industry certifications that count toward an associate of science degree, meaning they can literally go anywhere. Initial training will focus on CNC machining, a technique that requires technical and sophisticated computer know-how.

The other credential will be for MSSC Certified Production Technician. Participants also will gain business sense.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for students,” Higgs said. “They will not only learn their specific job but how their job impacts the organization. For instance, if a $5 part gets returned, it can quickly become a $500 part. It’s important that students and everyone in the organization understand that.”

So far, out of more than 120 applicants, 12 will begin training this month.

“They feel they are being honored and this gives them a special opportunity for their career,” Higgs said. “We are promoting the excellence of St. Pete College in our partnership. The college has moved at an astounding pace to make this happen.”

Workforce Director Jason Krupp added: “They are doing amazing things. We are very excited about this partnership. The training is designed to give people jobs quickly.”

Anne Cooper, Senior Vice President for Instruction and Academic Programs, also noted, “Our partnerships allow us to keep our programs on the cutting edge. When we come together, we improve our community.”

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Explore a high-tech career in manufacturingSt. Petersburg College kicks off its advanced manufacturing training programs July 16 with the first of 10 information sessions. The training is part of SPC’s new partnership with local manufacturing company LumaStream that will bring high-tech job opportunities and hands-on manufacturing training to the Midtown area of St. Petersburg.

LumaStream, which manufactures innovative Intelligent LED lighting systems, is moving a production facility to the Midtown area. SPC, as the lead institution in the Florida TRADE Consortium, will use the LumaStream facilities to offer training that can lead to an entry-level job with the company or with another advanced manufacturing institution. Read related news stories.

Prospective students will attend an information session to learn about:

  • Manufacturing careers
  • Training program overview and requirements
  • Training program start dates
  • Florida TRADE

Information Session Schedule

Register online for any of the upcoming information sessions:

  • Tuesday, July 16, 5-7 p.m., SPC Downtown, DC 124
  • Thursday, July 18, 2-4 p.m., SPC Midtown, MT 102
  • Tuesday, July 23, 5-7 p.m., St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, TE 128
  • Thursday, July 25, 2-4 p.m., SPC Downtown, DC 124
  • Tuesday, July 30, 5-7 p.m., SPC Midtown, MT 102
  • Thursday, Aug. 1, 5-7 p.m., Clearwater Campus, ES 111
  • Tuesday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m.-noon, SPC Downtown, DC 124
  • Thursday, Aug. 8, 5-7 p.m., Seminole Campus, UP 176
  • Tuesday, Aug. 13, 10 a.m.-noon, SPC Midtown, MT 102
  • Thursday, Aug. 15, 5-7 p.m., Tarpon Springs Campus, FA 132

Program Qualifications

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or trust territories (If not a citizen, documentation that shows you have the legal right to work in the U.S.)
  • Pass the Florida Ready to Work Assessment


For more information, contact Marta Przyborowski at 727-341-7973 or Dr. Gary Graham at 727-791-2478 or visit the Florida TRADE website at www.fltrade.org.

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Last month’s Start Your Own Business Workshop at St. Petersburg College’s Midtown Center provided valuable insights and encouragement to future business entrepreneurs.

The workshop, led by SPC’s Associate Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship Amy Sauers, included a keynote address by local entrepreneur Lou Brown, who owns a Midtown real estate business. The event was held June 18.

Brown told attendees, “In entrepreneurship, the rewards are worth the risk.” Attendees were encouraged to have faith and not doubt themselves or their abilities. “Nobody else can be you. It’s up to you to make the experience as positive as you can. You have to be organized to get from point A to point B. Entrepreneurship can be easier if you prepare yourself for getting from point A to point B and follow through,” he said.

Reuben Pressman, a local south St. Petersburg tech entrepreneur who operates several area tech startup companies, shared key insights to his motivation, drive and journey via an engaging Q&A session. Key resources pertaining to business planning and marketing were also examined and discussed.

Nicolle Panuthos, Academic Department Chair for the College of Business & Entrepreneurship Program, provided information pertaining to SPC’s Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, which launched in fall 2010.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

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