This morning, I had just started BTS 161 class when some people started filing in through the door: Linda Walker with some balloons, my boss Suzanne, and a few others I knew…
At first, I thought some people needed to make an announcement, but then I saw BC President Dave Rule, and I thought I might be in serious trouble. But then there were cameras and microphones and a whole bunch of people I DIDN’T know, and then I thought, well, it’s definitely a long shot, but maybe I’ve won the Margin of Excellence Award?
Sure enough, Linda walked up to me and gave me the balloons and hugged me, and the president walked up to me and shook my hand, and then started reading this long document saying how great I was and all that.
The room was *packed* with people– so many of my great friends from all over the college and many more people I don’t know, including someone from the BC either Board of Trustees or the BC Foundation. (I thought her name was “Lisa” something, but there is nobody named Lisa in either the Trustees or Foundation, as far as their current websites say– so I’m sorry to the nice lady who was there with me and Dr. Rule at the front of the class!)
I was completely surprised and flattered, and embarrassed a bit, with all those people watching me and all those cameras pointing at me. I can definitely see where celebrities may get over-inflated egos with all that attention being paid to them!
I need to give a little speech in June at the award ceremony– supposed to keep it to two minutes, and it’s only supposedly for saying “thank you’s”… However, I have been encouraged by mentors to use the opportunity as a platform to make a statement about education, Bellevue College, students, etc. So, for the “thank you’s,” I will mention as many of my mentors as I can; among them…
Marika Reinke, Eric Nacke, Suzanne Marks, Lisa Harris, Tonya Estes, Elaine Nutter, Rashmi Koushik, Linda Walker, Mary Corcoran, Zorica Wacker, Bill Iverson (Marika and he hired me!), Louis Watanabe, Louis Katz, Barbra Riley (Barbra gave me my first foot-in-the-teaching-door at TAMUCC), Robb and Vanessa Jackson, Veronica Guerra, my MOTHER Jo Anne Rowley and my sister Melodee Whitt, Melva Lou Sebesta, Linda Mulder, Alicia Dean, Gene McKinley, Norman Weinberg, David Mead, Greg Reuter, Leo Carrillo, Sam Logsdon … and I’m sure I’ll think of MORE!!!
And, regarding education, students, and Bellevue College, I do have a couple concerns– about the president’s and the board’s push for independence from the SBCTC and university-status, and about the college’s (and BTS’s) push online: I don’t want Bellevue College to forget its strengths and its most-vulnerable populations. I mean, online classes are good for many students, but not for all– we HAVE buildings and classrooms and excellent teachers; the University of Phoenix and Western Governor’s University DON’T. Well, they may have excellent teachers, but no matter how excellent they are, they’re still not HERE, NEXT to the students, twice a week, in the same physical space as students are. I’m cool with pushing into new modes/delivery methods, but they should be EXPANSIONS, not REPLACEMENTS for on-ground offerings. Especially with many of BTS’s students– ESL, ABE, Worker Retraining, etc., who need EXTRA support, not LESS support.
So… that’s kinda what I’m thinking about saying at the ceremony. I believe in Bellevue College, and its mission and its value to the community we serve. I want it to continue to be the assets that it is, and to become better at its mission and its constituents. I really don’t think it should be that hard…
See all five photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yugen/sets/72157651309600715/