Citizen Schools Celebrates, Connects and Transforms at Annual BenefitED Gala

On Tuesday May 1, the Citizen Schools community gathered at the Computer History Museum to celebrate our community at our annual BenefitEd 2018 Gala. So many of our amazing partners had the opportunity to connect with our students, volunteers, school partners and each other, to celebrate yet another successful semester of hard work and apprenticeships at our WOW! Gallery, and to help transform the lives of our Bay Area students.

All of our campuses were represented in our WOW! Gallery, where our students shared their newfound passions for corporate exploration, audio engineering, journalism and so much more. Students presented in partnership with their Citizen Teachers from Thermo Fisher Scientific, Google, WilmerHale, Western Digital, Cisco, Nutanix, Bank of America, Comerica and Women’s Audio Mission. The sense of accomplishment and pride our students felt as they presented to our community will stay with them for a lifetime.

This year we tried something new for our benefitEd format: we let our students run the show!  7th Grader Jesus Martinez and 6th Grader Cynthia Hermosillo, both from Renaissance Academy at Fischer, opened the night, presenting awards to Google as our 2018 Corporate Honoree and to Citizen Teacher of the Year, Kelley Coyne. Ernesto Galaviz, a 7th Grader at Roots International Academy, ran a Community Panel with, James Hwang, Teaching Fellow, and Tara Bickford, Principal, both from Joseph George Middle School, discussing the reasons for success of Citizen Schools in the South Bay. Emery Camacho, a 6th Grader at Joseph George Middle School closed the evening sharing how she has been positively impacted by Citizen Schools and given the opportunity to learn about things she is passionate about.

2018 Corporate Honoree: Google

Since 2003, Google has supported Citizen Schools California with over $1M in grants to expand technology, STEM programming. Over 250 Googlers have served as volunteer Citizen Teachers, teaching 127 apprenticeships over 12,900 hours and have had a direct impact on over 1,600 students in the Bay Area.

2018 Citizen Teacher of the Year: Kelley Coyne of Women’s Audio Mission

Kelley and WAM began partnering with Citizen Schools in Spring 2013. Since then, Kelley has taught 12 apprenticeships at our Oakland sites. She teaches WAM’s signature curriculum, Girls on the Mic (GOTM), educating girls about audio technology, recording and sound engineering through music and media with goals to retain their interest in STEM and allow them to take stake in a male-dominated field.

Kelley says the most rewarding moments are when girls tell her they “want to become a sound engineer” or didn’t “realize coding wouldn’t be that hard” and often “transform from shy and timid to adventurous class leaders within a semester.” Girls walk away from GOTM having created podcasts, film tracks and original songs.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us for a memorable evening, and to all our event sponsors.