DONATE ENDORSEMENTS WHY I'M RUNNING HOME

MEET CELESTE

Candidate for Santa Barbara City College Trustee District #4







SBCC: A Bridge to Life

Fifty years ago, like most of my friends, I attended the local community college: Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills. Our communities are blessed to have such institutions. Santa Barbara is especially fortunate that ours is recognized as an exceptional institution, among the top two in California and a past recipient of the Aspen Award for recognition nationally as number one.



City College is a bridge to life for so many in our community, its gateway open to all. High school graduates who plan to transfer to university. Those who seek certificated programs in Nursing, Law Enforcement, Culinary Arts, and Cosmetology. Others who want to hone their skills and enhance their chosen careers by enrolling in Computer Science or Accounting. Unique to the CC, that special care is given to those individuals who struggle mightily day to day: the single mom; the newly arrived for whom America is a strange land; those who stumbled in life and desire a hand up. SBCC has long committed to serving as the bridge for anyone who desires a better life.



I was honored to be a part of this endeavor for many years in the classroom. I will uphold the commitment as trustee.



Academic Excellence: I taught English at SBCC for twenty years (1995 - 2015). For many students, Freshman Composition would be their last English class. So every semester, I committed to a syllabus reading list that included writings noted for their profundity and eloquence. Authors whose enduring ideas elevated the human spirit. I then learned of a program developed at a Chicago community college, the Great Books Curriculum. I proposed the GBC for SBCC, and upon its approval, subsequently served as its Coordinator until my retirement. During those years, GBC expanded its outreach to include students from Middle College and Santa Barbara High School. As a trustee, I will work diligently to maintain the highest educational experience for every student, just as I did in the classroom.



Academic Freedom: In 1988, my late husband taught literature at Humboldt University, East Berlin, through a Fulbright Teaching Exchange. We lived months behind the Wall. The two classes that Frank taught each included Stasi (secret informants); we understood that Stasi were also placed within the faculty. Copies of The Norton Anthology of American Literature that Frank had purchased for the students were locked away and selectively distributed. There was no academic freedom for faculty and students.



Today, we witness the same threat to academic freedom across our nation's campuses, including here in Santa Barbara. Guest speakers are taunted. Faculty and staff are faced with the threat of losing their jobs. Course offerings are increasingly under scrutiny. Both faculty and students are silenced. The free and open exchange of ideas are under siege.


When I registered with County Elections, I signed an oath of office to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." If elected, I will defend the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. In my capacity as a trustee, I pledge that our campus will be a place for the open exchange of ideas, where every person can heard without fear of retribution.



Honors: In 2015, I was nominated by SBCC faculty as their choice for the state's Hayward Award for Excellence in Education. I was the first adjunct instructor at City College to be nominated. In 1993-94, I was honored as Santa Barbara County Woman of the Year, 4th District. For the following: Driving Force behind the opening of "Holly House," a transitional home for perinatal women in drug recovery and their children. For service as a volunteer for CASA, Santa Barbara Civil Grand Jury, and President of Lompoc Council PTA (1994-1996).


Education: Fifty years ago, I attended a California two-year college. I was a student at Pierce Junior College, Woodland Hills, working my way through those three years. Seven years later and newly divorced with a three-year old child, I enrolled as a re-entry student at UCSB. I faced many of the same fears like students today: Will I succeed? How will I pay for it? Where will we live? I understand the challenges that non-traditional students face, and the hurdles they so often face in the pursuit of their dream. However, I graduated on time and with Honors.



Today, SBCC offers exceptional programs and support services to ensure that every student succeeds, regardless of circumstances or station. As a trustee, I will work to see that those programs continue to receive our support, so that every student finds our campus open and welcoming.





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