Sac State Administrators visit Super Sunday to share importance of education

Camille Anglo

Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez emphasized the importance of a college education to a packed congregation for Super Sunday at St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday.

Super Sunday is a system-wide initiative in February when California State University administrators will visit more than 100 predominantly African-American churches to educate students and their families about how to prepare for college.

The event, which began in 2005, is a part of the CSU African-American initiative created by CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and Bishop Charles Blake to help educate young children and teenagers by teaching them the importance of a college degree.

Gonzalez said he has attended Super Sunday since it began and he hopes the events will raise awareness about college preparation and will strive to increase college attendance within the African-American community.

“This has been going on for many years and it was aimed at recruiting African American students across the state,” Gonzalez said. “The universities in the area will go to certain churches to let students and families know about the CSU, about what we do, how they get financial aid and the importance of learning how.”

Gonzalez said he not only hoped to reach out to students, but also to the rest of the congregation to share the idea that college is possible, and it is never too early to prepare.

“There were a lot of young people today and they were right in front,” Gonzalez said. “There are grandparents and parents who have children or grandchildren. They need to help them and motivate them.”

Cher’rond Henderson, a Sac State credential student working to get her master’s degree, said she thought Gonzalez attending the Super Sunday event left a good impression because he addressed everyone during the service.

“I thought it was good and I liked how he talked about how he came early to listen to the message that was spoken as well,” Henderson said. “So it’s good to see that he wants to get his message across to everyone that comes early to listen to what our pastor has to say.”

Henderson said this type of outreach is a great way to connect with teens and their families to show them their options when it comes to college and financial aid.

“I’m in the process of doing FAFSA right now, so it’s good to let younger people know that there are a lot of options out there if they’re thinking about going to school and they’re not sure if they have the right amount of money to go,” Henderson said. “It’s good to go check it out to see what Sac State can do to help them get into school.”

The point of Super Sunday was not only to help lay the foundation for college planning, but to also continue having a diverse community at Sac State, Gonzalez said.

“(We hope to continue) the relations that we have at St. Paul and with the African-American community in Sacramento. More importantly, to reinforce the fact that we can provide quality education right here in Sacramento for new students,” Gonzalez said.

Chris Brown, a student from Yuba City College who plans to transfer to Sac State to study business marketing, said the event is a chance to show that everyone can go to college.

“It shows a lot of the kids that they have the opportunity to get into a school,” Brown said. “It also shows that African-Americans can have a way to go to and pay for college. It was really nice.”

Gonzalez said it is events like Super Sunday and many others that help cultivate a diverse community at Sac State.

“This is addition to (open events on campus) and that’s aimed specifically at one group. (At Sac State), we have Latino students come in and a lot of the students are involved and they come to the campus,” Gonzalez said. “We have an open house here and everyone comes to the same place. About three weeks ago, the Mexican consulate had one just for Hispanic students of the valley that came up. So, there’s lots of different efforts and this is just one of them.”

Teresa Green, a member of St. Paul’s and mother of two daughters, said raising awareness to African-American communities about college creates more diversity with school and not just culture.

“I think outreach when you really are trying to reach out to get more diversity, not just cultural, but just diverse levels of learning and interest in different course studies and curriculum studies,” Green said. “You have to get out there in the communities.”

In its seventh year, Super Sunday continues to create a motivation to begin planning ahead for higher education and to make people think about what they truly want to do with their lives.

“Coming to our African-American communities to make sure they’re aware that the college in the state or the city they live in is really important, so that we can encourage more interests to start attending or even when they’re young and give them a thought process when they’re young and thinking about what they need to be doing to prepare themselves,” Green said. “They need to know now to pave the way to build their own path.”

Camille Anglo can be reached at [email protected].