Puente in Pasadena – "Fly" – Kay & Mal Bruce – We Heart

Some of the most meaningful gifts are not those wrapped in pretty bows and packaging, but are instead experiences to be shared together. These are impactful gifts – ones that leave us with memories and new insights.

Thanks to the selflessly spirited generosity of one extraordinary couple, Kay and Mal Bruce, our Cypress Puente students were gifted an intangible: an experiential escape out on the town, a sophisticated night of dinner and historical theater in Downtown Pasadena.


Puente Co-Director Dr. Therese Mosqueda Ponce with husband (left); Puente Co-Director Kathryn Sonne (Center); Kay and Mal Bruce (right).

The evening began indulgently at Bucca di Beppo, with multiple entrees, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts – all on the house courtesy of Kay and Mal.

Finished, our happy, yet overly satiated familia of 50+ students and staff made way to the Pasadena Playhouse for a special viewing of the theater hit “Fly.” This was a cultural experience to remember, one that allowed our primarily Latino students to better understand and connect with the African American experience in the US at the mid-point of the twentieth century – collective minority struggles for civil rights and basic human dignities.

Puente students at "Fly" - Pasadena Playhouse, February 2016.

Puente students at “Fly” – Pasadena Playhouse, February 2016.

Fly is a beautifully rendered artistic representation of one story in this period of time, that of the Tuskegee airmen, the first African-American aviators in the United States military. The play is set in 1943, a moment in dead-heat of world war, and also a time at which the U.S. military is segregated. A small cadre of brave pioneering pilots, the Tuskegee airmen, must fight two battles – with fascists abroad and bigots at home. Using just eight actors on one small stage the three-hour performance was impactful in its telling – incorporating interpretive dance and plays on light, song and sound to detail the pilots’ struggles, sacrifices and heroism. This was a gift to our students that will keep giving, an enriching experience of new knowledge gained and a compassion for struggle and respect shared.

Following the performance, students participated in an intimate Q&A with Fly’s cast and crew – all quite young, dynamic and inspirational.

Thank you again to our generous Cypress College Puente and Foundation benefactors Kay and Mal Bruce for such an impactful, extraordinary, intangible gift (and for the many years of laptops, supplies, donations and other quite tangible ones made to our deserving programs and students!).


Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

#17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/GYN); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#CypressCollege #Puente #PasadenaPlayhouse #Fly

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