Group photo of Cipher and Guardian Scholars GraduatesThe CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community and Guardian Scholars Program (GSP) celebrated their second Annual Graduation Celebration on May 15, 2018. We had the opportunity to honor and acknowledge the achievements of twelve dynamic and resilient students who had to overcome obstacles and hardships along the way.  Their stories aligned with the theme based on Nas and Lauryn Hill’s classic song, “If I Ruled The World” highlighting their voices and lived experiences.  Despite all that they faced, students will recieve degrees and are transferring to colleges and universities such as San Jose State University, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Hawaii-Manoa.

In true CIPHER and GSP fashion, the graduates, families, friends, faculty, and staff were treated to a full program of live performances and student speakers.  We got to hear powerful and inspiring words from graduating students, Herri Sundiam and Mercedes Henry about the journey at Skyline College and the impact that programs have had in their educational experience.

A huge thank you to April Crawford and Angie Alvarez for their procession song; Cassandra Bermillo and PeeJay for their soulful grooves, and David “The GQ Specialist” Garon for energizing the crowd with his song, “Soul Bounce.”  Also, a special shout out to Roger Marcelo for providing the beats and musical ambience throughout the evening.

We would also like to thank Delisle Warden and Lasana Hotep for providing the welcome remarks and halftime speech for our graduates.  Making connections to the evening’s theme, they were able to provide thought-provoking wisdom and advice around persistence, resiliency, and resourcefulness as our students enter their next chapters of their educational journeys.

This graduation would not have been a huge success without the help of these amazing people.  Thank you Soledad McCarthy, Webster Cruz, CeeCee Kelly, and Cinque Curry for transforming the space into a beautiful venue, Kevin Chak for refreshments, and Annie Trinh and Amory Cariadus for room reservations.  A big thanks goes to Tia Holiday, Linda Allen, RJ Quiton, and Anna Nguyen for all of the behind the scenes work to make this event possible.

The success of the CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community and Guardian Scholars Program is largely depended on the belief that access and advocacy that is rooted in equity and social justice is absolutely necessary for our students to succeed and to see themselves as members who belong in higher education.  For this to be possible, we would like to give gratitude to our fierce, supportive, and unapologetic Skyline College Leadership team for their unwavering support – Dr. Regina Stanback-Stroud, Dr. Angelica Garcia, Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Dr. Tammy Robinson, Eliosa Briones, Dr. Luis Escobar, Lasana Hotep, Delisle Warden, Christine Roumbanis, Regina Morrison, and Board of Trustee member, Maurice Goodman.


Article by Nate Nevado | Photo by MCPR

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