The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Like a true sensei

Keith Muraki, a counselor and RISE program director, embodies RISE's spirit. Photo by ||Kimberly Washington|| [email protected]

In Japan there are different titles attached to the end of people’s names, called honorifics. One who teaches is respected, and the honorific attached to a teacher’s name is “sensei.” The literal translation is “lives before others.”

When one thinks sensei, the description is usually a wise, philosophical soul who teaches honor and respect, but there is so much more. Sensei is someone to look up to, who inspires others, who not only teaches respect and honor, but shows it. One who mentors. One who counsels.

Like a true sensei, Keith Muraki, 50, is a counselor and program director for the RISE (an acronym of Respect, Integrity, Self-determination, and Education) program at City College. Muraki inspires others with his non-judgmental and encouraging aura that allows students to come in, sit down and just talk about what they truly want in life. He listens.

“He embodies RISE’s spirit,” says Joseph Guiliano, 29, a student teacher at RISE. “He believes in wanting students to succeed.”

The hustle and bustle of college can become overwhelming and disconnecting with blurs of other students passing by. New surroundings can be nerve-wracking, but a friendly smile can wash the nerves away. Take a step out of the blur and into, in Muraki’s words, a “home away from home” in a place called RISE.

RISE gives a relationship to students, with a connecting obtainable education. Muraki is that connection.

“He is the heartbeat of RISE,” says Valerie Moore, 29, a RISE office student personnel assistant.
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His methods of teaching and guiding differ from the traditional way of just simply telling students what to do. He references and relates to life. That makes his advice more than just words but meaningful. Muraki uses words like “homie” and “hook students up with the right resources,” which opens up a new lifeline for a student to depend on. He’s a new modernized sensei.

In the true sense of the word, Muraki has “lived before others.” He experienced the failures of high education when attending UC Berkeley as an electric engineering and computer science student. He dropped out only to find his true calling and joy working with Bay Area youth.

He went through a crazy thing called “life” to find passion; a passion that drove him to a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from San Francisco State.

As much as he inspires students, Muraki is inspired by them, too.

“I love the students,” Muraki says with pride. “They inspire me every single day. To see what they go through, to see the struggle in how they achieve, what they overcome. To see their stories.”

This mutual respect encourages and strengthens the relationship between Muraki and his students for him to guide, mentor and counsel them in the right direction.

All that needs to be said is: “Arigato, Sensei Muraki.”

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