President Schilling’s Board Report for May 25, 2023

The following is a report to members of the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees

Presented by Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.

on May 23, 2023

What a wonderful few weeks it has been as we have celebrated the accomplishments of our students. Our staff, faculty, and administration have been focused on participating in the many year-end events, and our community has appreciated the love and care we provide for so many students. This year, our new event tent has been a welcome addition, and we have enjoyed having a lovely outdoor space to both show off our beautiful campus and host our events. We applaud our students’ efforts, their courage, their resilience, and most of all, we applaud each of the graduating students who have reached their academic goals at our college. Thank you to our Board of Trustees for attending so many of our events and for celebrating with us.

The Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner was a wonderful milestone moment, as we honored twelve outstanding athletes and their contributions to our 38 state championships, their respective sports and teams, and their continued success post-Cypress. All the honorees talked about how Cypress started them on their path to excellence and how their coaches pushed them to become the athletes and individuals they are today. It was a beautiful night to celebrate the power of athletics to create opportunities for students, how our faculty and coaches change lives, and how Cypress College helped provided the avenue for future success. Thank you to our amazing coaches, to Wes McCurtis for organizing the event, and to Colin Preston, Tayler Thomas, Yvonne Cota, Michelle Navarro and the Kinesiology division for their support.

Our Cypress College Foundation Scholarship Awards Ceremony was held on Friday, May 12 and we gave over $400,000 in scholarships to over 500 students, many of whom won multiple scholarships. This year we had another record number of donors, applicants and recipients. We now have the enviable challenge of figuring out how to keep this event to a manageable length, while congratulating our students, recognizing our donors, and ensuring a meaningful experience for all. It’s a good problem to have and we are already planning for new changes next year. Thank you to Howard Kummerman, Rachel Ghatikar, our wonderful Foundation Team, and all our faculty and staff who helped to make this event so special.

We are pleased to announce that our Alumnus of the Year is Betty Sarkis. Betty was born in Iran and came to this country at the age of 14 to escape religious persecution. She spoke four languages when she arrived, but none were English, so she had to learn a new culture, new language, and new educational system. After high school she attended Cypress College and graduated with a degree in French, before going on to receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CSULB. Betty has served as a K-12 teacher for 27 years, and her success story is the story of so many of our students – showing determination, courage, and tremendous hard work – all while demonstrating gratitude and a spirit of giving.  Betty and her husband, Troy Edgar, (former mayor and councilmember in Los Alamitos) continue to serve our community in ways big and small. Betty’s two sons also attended Cypress College. She is so deserving of this honor and will be a great ambassador for our college in the community. Congratulations, Betty!

Remaining End-of-Year events still coming up this week are:

Lavender End of Year Celebration LGBTQ Tent by Pond 5/22/2023 6-9 p.m.
LFSA Mixer LFSA Fullerton College 5/24/2023 4-6 p.m.
EOPS Celebration EOPS Tent by Pond 5/25/2023 6-8 p.m.
STEM2 Celebration STEM2 Tent by Pond 5/26/2023 4-9 p.m.

As of this writing, the Chargers women’s softball team are still alive in the playoffs, as they enter the Elite Eight state championships beginning May 18. Currently they are undefeated, beating Pasadena and Ventura to reach the championship round. On May 18-20, they will begin an eight-team double elimination round to, hopefully, reach the state championship on May 20 at Mt. SAC. Our Baseball Team also made the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and cruised through the first weekend, beating Cerro Coso handily, but lost in the final match against Santa Ana on May 14. We are proud of our teams and thank coaches Anthony Hutting (baseball) and Brad Pickler (softball) for an excellent season. Go Chargers!

The Chancellor’s Office and Foundation for California Community Colleges identified Cypress and Fullerton Colleges for the Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Student Achievement Program (AANHPI SAP) as one of 40 colleges to receive this AANHPI SAP funding. Cypress will receive a little over $150,000 to support of our APIDA students.

And in more good news for our APIDA students, our campus community embraced the first Asian Pacific Islander Community at the inaugural APIDA Heritage Month and Graduate/Scholarship Recognition event on May 13 with over 125 guests in attendance to celebrate our student graduates, scholarship recipients, and recognize the various cultural traditions represented at Cypress College. We look forward to embracing our students and recognizing the various rich cultures of our APIDA community with this new college tradition! Thank you to APIDA co-chairs, Jeannie Mitsch and Renay Laguana-Ferinac, as well as Paul de Dios, Mihoko Luther, Bryan Ventura, and Zoe Megginson, for their organization of this event.

We are happy to announce that Cypress theater students continue to flourish in the community. Theatre Arts students Erick Guijarro, Angie Chavez, Naomi Groleau and Capone Walker have all been cast in the musical In the Heights at Long Beach Playhouse. The show features musical direction by adjunct faculty member, Gabrielle Maldonado, and opens June 30. Tickets can be purchased at

Cypress College will be hosting the next segment of the City of Cypress Citizens Academy. This academy is in its second year and features a 6-week academy for citizens interested in learning more about the city operations. On May 31, Cypress College will be welcoming this year’s cohort for a discussion on the K-16 educational segments in the city including Cypress Schools led by Superintendent Anne Silavs, AUHSD led by Superintendent Mike Matsuda, and Cypress College led by JoAnna Schilling. Each segment will feature a 30-minute presentation about the work we do in support of our students. We look forward to a lively and engaging discussion!

Our recent CTE Career Fair has already produced great results for students who are taking positions at the following companies: Disney – offered jobs to 3 students with 2 more on a waitlist when specific jobs become available; four candidates are working to retake tests to be eligible for jobs at Disney. Jade Behavioral Consultants – hired a student who started working in the field this week to finish her training. NOCE – hired two Cypress students to be tutors for their Basic Skills Learning Centers (thank you NOCE!)  Bloom Behavioral Health – one student hired. Congratulations to our students and career center for putting on a great event and follow up!

On June 1, the Soroptomists Club of Cypress will again be hosting their annual Wine Social in our VRC. This event raises scholarship funds for thee International Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards, which support our EOPS students each year. Please join us for a wonderful evening of wine, food, jazz and a silent auction! Tickets are $25 and your donations go towards important scholarships for our students. Please contact JoAnna Schilling at if you would like to purchase tickets.

Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!

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