Melissa Moreno during her speech at the garden party at the Wake Campus in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. The School of Extended Learning were there to celebrate 100 years of adult education in Santa Barbara.

City College’s School of Extended Learning celebrated 100 years of adult education Sunday, September 9 at the Wake Campus.

City College started its adult education program in 1918 with the goal to help adults by providing English and citizenship classes. This fall, 100 years later, the college will be offering over 1,600 tuition-free classes for adult students to earn certificates and learn career and life skills.

The event took place in the garden of City College Wake Campus’ School of Extended Learning with approximately 150 people attending.

Larrie Wanberg, an 88-year-old former professor and a student of the program finds the program enjoyable, and was excited about the celebration of its 100-year anniversary.

“I take two classes every semester, one in art and one in music,” Wanberg said. “When you’re in assisted living you get three meals a day and you got lots of activities, so when you can learn something that’s really exciting.”

The adult education program started with English and citizenship classes and expanded to classes English as a Second Language (ESL), Career Skills, Adult High School, Parenting, Health and Safety, Fee-based Life Enhancement, and a diverse offering of classes for older adults.

“One of the first things I did my very first day was to send out a community-wide survey that asked just one question, and that question was: if you were the new president at SBCC, what would you do?” Said Anthony E. Beebe, the Superintendent/President of Santa Barbara City College. “The number one response to that question, overwhelmingly, people said that they would bring back adult education.”

Classrooms have around 35 seats with an average of 25 to 27 students attending class. With a few normal looking classrooms, the City College Wake campus also has some classrooms that are specialized labs so the students get the real lab experience.

According to Melissa V. Monero, the Interim Vice President of the School of Extended Learning, there are a wide variety of adults served in the community. There are students that never had the chance to finish high school, adults that would like to improve their English language skills, a program for older adults designed for 55 and older, the career skills institute which includes training for the workforce in the community and a parenting program.

“I would like to thank you, the people of Santa Barbara, to allow me to have been an instructor here.” said Rudy Perez, a professor for 47 years, while he got handed flowersfor his work. “Those are my students, those are our students who come and make this so much of a contribution to our community.”

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