Continuing Education received top honors at the MLK Parade on Sunday and our students could not be more proud! The Grand Sweepstakes Award is the grand-daddy of all awards in the Dr. Martin Luther King Day Parade. The professional judges, many who come from other parts of the state, had more than 100 parade entries to judge. Fortunately, in the end, our handmade student CE float won the top spot and received the Grand Sweepstakes Award.
Being presented with the top award this morning was thrilling and also strangely anticlimactic. There was so much effort that went on behind winning this honor. For example, the CE Diversity Committee came up with the initial float theme, “THE Dream in Action.” The idea was to show the progress that has been made since the time of Dr. King’s leadership to the present—including some key milestone events. The theme entailed three scenes: 1) the famous Rosa Parks bus, 2) a pre-Brown v Board of Education segregated classroom, and 3) President Obama.
As if working on a project for industry, welding student teams and team leaders were selected for various aspects of float construction. The entire bus and float had dozens of components that had to be managed, and just like real-life, not everything went smoothly. For example, there were false starts, and construction that didn’t go as planned, causing students to start anew. The Auto Tech program and facilities were also brought into the project to paint the bus. Children’s chairs and a pot belly stove were needed for the classroom scene, so students from the Parenting program jumped in to help. The Counselors contributed a presidential podium for “President Obama.” Signs and other graphics were needed, that the communications office put together. Finishing touches, fringe, flags, etc., all needed to be added. Even logistically moving such a float was tricky in itself, as it couldn’t be driven on the freeway, and on and on and on.
There are so many people to thank for our proud success this year – far too many to call out by name. However, I would be remiss if I did not publically thank Professor Emma Wilson (who played Rosa Parks), Professor Gwendolyn Chamberlain (who played the school teacher), and Mr. Rodney Palode II (a welding student who played President Obama). A tremendous thank you and appreciation also goes to the CE ASB, who contributed to the design, purchase, and distribution of more than 300 t-shirts.
Sunday was an amazing day for Continuing Education—in so many ways. The result of countless hours of work and details, and the heroic efforts by student and faculty could not be known or seen when you hear that we won the Grand Sweepstakes Award. The positive impact the project had on Continuing Education students, and the pride they felt in being part of something so honorable, is also unknown. So, now when you have an opportunity to see the beautiful, glistening, five-foot tall Grand Sweepstakes Award, you too will also know some of the untold story.
Thank you to all who contributed to this effort and congratulations!
Dr. Anthony E. Beebe, President
San Diego Continuing Education
San Diego Community College District
Links to related CE UT articles
- Rosa Parks' bus rides to a first-place finish
- MLK Day parade stirs pride, memories
- A tale of racism, "The ‘ol one-eyed pirate”
- Another refusal on a southern bus ride