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Shasta College will launch its new Community Speaker Series on Wednesday. This joint effort between the Shasta College Foundation and the McConnell Foundation is designed to inspire, educate and challenge participants with fresh ideas / perspectives on education, our community and our environment.
The first event features author, teacher and workshop leader Ms. Ninive Calegari. She is also co-founder of 826 National, a San Francisco-based non-profit writing and tutoring center that focuses on providing under-resourced students ages 6-18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills through after-school tutoring, field trips, in-school projects, a young authors book project and workshops.
“It’s a tutoring center for kids in the inner city,” said Scott Thompson, Executive Director of the Shasta College Foundation. “It’s all about writing (and) imagination,” he said.
Ms. Calegari says that as a public school teacher, she sometimes forgot that learning was joyful.
“We figured out at 826 that you could have a great time while your working hard and bring a lot of joy to learning.”
Also, she said, 826 is creating a bridge of volunteers in the community who actually want to help.
“One of the most important things in education,” she said, “is to bring community into the classroom, into the workshops and bring the kids out to the professional.”
Calegari says she focuses on two things: community-based work and having people understand that elevating the teaching profession and paying teachers a liveable wage is really a valuable, patriotic, important, critical thing to do.
Calegari holds a Master’s degree from the Harvard School of Education. She spent ten years as a teacher at Drake High School in San Anselmo and at San Francisco’s first charter school, Leadership High School.
As the series’ first speaker, Calegari will lead a student writers workshop from 12 noon to 1:30pm on the Student Center Stage in the college cafeteria. That evening, she’ll give an interactive lecture at the Shasta College Theatre titled “Building a New Movement for Learning.” The program starts at 7pm. Both events are open to the public.
For fun, Calegari will have a pop-up pirate store for sale to the event. Proceeds from sales will help benefit the 826 stores nationwide.
Thompson says when he attended the College there was a speakers series that brought in such noted people as Rod Serling, Jesse Owens and Art Hoppe (a satirist /columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle).
He’s wanted to do a series like that ever since – something inspirational to the community and to the students.
The Speaker Series will include three events, the 2nd of which features an environmental activist. The third speaker is still in the works.
This event is free and open to the public, something Thompson is very proud of.
“If people think it’s worthwhile, we might do this next year too,” he said.
“This event is about inspiration, said Thompson. “This community needs that,” he said.