Sacramento City College will host its second annual “Rock the School Bells” daylong educational outreach event on Saturday, Oct. 18, on the college campus. Organizers expect the free conference, which uses hip-hop to get regional high school students excited about college, will attract about 250 participants this year.
Last year’s inaugural event at the college connected 135 high school and Sacramento City College students in activities such as an emcee battle, dance battle and workshops featuring local artists and nonprofits. The goal is to emphasize the importance of higher education and the value of personal development, healthy lifestyles and positive social change within the community. From its origins at Skyline Community College in San Bruno in 2007, RTSB has used the “edu-tainment” approach to touch the lives of thousands of young people along the west coast.
“This year we’re going to open the conference with a quick energizer featuring the five elements of hip-hop culture,” said RTSB organizer and SCC faculty member Ken Times. “Students will see an exhibition of hip-hop dance styles and graffiti, which will be led by an emcee and a DJ presenting their skills. The fifth element is knowledge of self, so after the energizer we’ll send them out to their workshops, which are based on hip-hop culture, higher education, social justice and self-development.”
Event co-organizer and SCC faculty member Adam Freas describes the daylong activities as a “balance of lecture, discussion, discourse, physical movement and engagement” that can be enjoyed by all.
“We want to engage the students and reframe how they approach education with the mindset that they don’t have to just sit there and be talked to – they can be part of the process,” Freas said.
Teaching students that they have the power to shape their educational experiences also instills in them a confidence that will carry over to their careers, Times said. “What we like to say to students is ‘Find your hip-hop,’” he added.