Written by: Crystal Olmedo
The smiling faces of the Riverside City College community lined Magnolia Avenue awaiting the Centennial Parade procession that began at the Riverside County Courthouse and ended at RCC. Many were cheering and yelling, “Go RCC, Go RCC!”
Students sat on the islands between the lanes of Magnolia Avenue to catch a glimpse of the parade. International students Amanda Gao and Christina Yang, both from China and pursuing a degree in accounting, shared their thoughts about RCC and its Centennial Celebration.
“We want to see the fireworks, that’s going to be great,” Yang said.
“RCC is a bigger campus than we have gone to. Our previous school only had one building and RCC has so many, sometimes we get lost.” Gao continued. “We came at the perfect time when RCC was getting ready for their 100 year celebration.”
The parade featured various RCC organizations, clubs and departments includingThe Associated Students of Riverside City College, RCC Marching Tigers, Cheer and Dance team, School of Nursing, Sport Hall of Fame, The Center for International students and programs, Tiger Backers, which are sponsors of RCC, and many more.
“It was exciting walking in the parade. I like seeing our club and the float that they built,” said Sedtavut Nilaad, winner of homecoming king for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Art Alcaraz, who served as director of Diversity & Human Resources for Riverside Community College District from July 2006 – April 2014, introduced the parade participants near the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Terracina Drive.
“I worked for (RCCD) for about eight years and they asked me to announce so, of course I said yes,” Alcaraz said.
Students from Moreno Valley College also designed a float for the parade, being that the school is coming up on its 25 year mark.
“I think as a college (RCC) is growing and it shows it’s support for the community,” said Frankie Moore, coordinator of Student Activities. “With RCC turning 100 and Moreno Valley College turning 25 it’s nice to just be apart of that historical moment. We have members of student government here with us today as well as the homecoming court.”
Several members of Performing Arts Riverside and RCC Fine and Performing Arts walked in the parade dressed as the cult classic Frankenstein creation, representing their production “Young Frankenstein.”
“The best part of the parade was hanging out with all of the student volunteers. It’s nice to be around the youthful exuberance of students of all ages,” Jennifer Lawson, theater box office coordinator said. “I love supporting the students … RCC is such an iconic institution. I’ve only been here for 18 years, but I don’t think people really realize where it all began.”
The Centennial events were a collaborative effort of past and present RCC students, faculty staff and members of the community that support RCC.
Media recording for the event was handled by Tony Rizo, multimedia graphic artist who is a former student and graduate of RCC.
“They’re going to have to drag me out kicking and screaming,” Rizo said. “I love the inclusiveness of RCC.”
“I remember working on a project with Bud Tedesco and thinking, ‘oh my gosh I did this with you 20 years ago,’” Rizo added.
There were also dignitaries such as RCC President Wolde-Ab Isaac, Mayor Rusty Bailey, and RCCD Chancellor Michael Burke, in the parade.
“I think it went well, it was nice to see people coming out to celebrate. Looking at the citizens who are proud of their home college,” Isaac said. “It was a very good way to thank the people and show them what they mean to us and show them that our celebration was their celebration.”
Assemblyman Jose Medina served as the grand marshal for the parade. He formerly served three terms as an RCCD Board of Trustee member.
The celebrity grand marshal was Jimmy Espinoza from the band Thee Midniters. The band wrote a song about Cesar Chavez, an American farm worker, union labor leader and civil rights activist who RCC’s Admissions and Counseling building is named after.
“It was a wonderful day in Riverside. There’s nothing bigger than having a 100 year birthday party and anniversary. Riverside is so proud of the contributions that RCC had made to the community,” said Rusty Bailey, mayor of Riverside.“My grandpa and wife graduated from RCC … there’s no better reason to be apart of it than celebrating and thanking the institution that has impacted my life.”