Honor students connect at LIC college’s 40th birthday

Borough President Helen Marshall (second from r.) blows out the candles on a 40th anniversary cake for LaGuardia Community College. She was joined by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's Chief of Staff Alexis Confer (l.-r.), student Rafael Tejada, Claudia Chan of Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan's office and student Harmonie Kobanghe. Photo courtesy LaGuardia
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When the students in the honors program at LaGuardia Community College celebrated their institution’s 40th birthday last week, the soiree was far more than just a party.

While the event featured music and cake, it also doubled as a networking event, served as the launch of the LaGuardia Honors Network website and featured a special guest in Borough President Helen Marshall, who declared Oct. 5 “LaGuardia Community College Day” in Queens for the occasion.

The college also received proclamations from the offices of state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).

“For 40 years, LaGuardia has opened its doors to the people of New York City and provided them with a pathway to a promising future,” Marshall said in a statement.

LaGuardia, at 31-10 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City, was founded in 1968 and opened its doors in 1971. It now offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs and serves 40,000 students a year through its adult and continuing education classes.

“We’re celebrating 40 years of being creative and innovative and pushing boundaries,” said Eneida Rivas, associate director of college and community relations at LaGuardia.

LaGuardia’s honors students, specifically those on the Honors Student Advisory Committee, organized the event.

Rafael Tejada, 27, a member of the committee, said preparing for the event has been exciting, as was the opportunity to create a network of honors students.

“This is a way for us to share resources and information that we have,” Tejada said.

The need to build connections among the student body of a commuter college did not only include the face-to-face meetings at the party. The committee also debuted The website, which the students began working on in July, contains information about the program, about how to transfer to other schools and scholarship opportunities. It also has statements about the honors program from LaGuardia alumni.

“It was our baby all summer long,” Tejada said.

Harmonie Kobanghe, 22, another student on the committee, said she believed students were satisfied with the event, and said the website would help guide students through moving on in their education.

“I think that we all learn from one another,” Kobanghe said.

Lara Moon, member of LaGuardia’s marketing department, said the party was indicative of the events the advisory committee puts on all the time.

“They all pull together, all work together and they just push it,” Moon said.

Karlyn Koh, the faculty honors program director, said she hopes the drive of the honors students will spread to the entire student population and said the young advisory committee has already been a success.

“It’s one year old, but they’ve already been shaking things up,” Koh said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 5:44 pm, October 12, 2011
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