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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Re-Emerging Scholars honors formerly incarcerated students seeking a better life through education

Daniel H. Bean Jr. proudly displays his certificate of completion and advancement at the celebration ceremony held on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at City College for students that finished the Re-Emerging Scholars program. Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

Daniel H. Bean Jr., who had been incarcerated for 22 years, gives credit to Re-Emerging Scholars and his faith in God for where he is today.

Bean was one of four students honored on May 23 at the RES celebration with a certificate of completion and advancement for completing the scholars program at City College.

RES, which started in 2016 in the Los Rios Community College District, supports incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted students with re-entry and transition support services. Students are officially welcomed into Re-Emerging Scholars when they are released and can attend campus-based classes.

After Bean received his certificate, he spoke to the audience about how he had to be honest with everyone and how when he got out of prison he felt like a stranger at home. 

“Everyone I had loved most was gone because I had been in prison so long, and because of that, I didn’t feel like I fit in,” Bean said. 

At first, Bean tried to find a way to go back to prison because there, everyone knew him from all the years he had done time. 

Then Bean found RES. Bean said he was reluctant to join the program at first, and thought RES was “a bunch of crap” until he started to apply himself to it.

He realized that all the people running the program were “genuine and they genuinely care about another human being.” 

Bean said he was in dire need, sleeping in his truck and then the program reached out to him – because even though he was out of prison, he had a hard time being out of prison. 

He appreciated that the program was “not about what you were, but about what you can be in the future.”

“It’s not today, it’s tomorrow I got, and they all look out for each other’s best interest, like a family,” Bean said. 

Brandon Dale Fellows speaks to the audience about his own experience in the program and his continued education at UC Berkeley after graduating from City College. Fellow was one of the first students to complete the Re-Emerging Scholars program at Los Rios. Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

Nicholas Miller, a professor at City College as well as the co-coordinator for RES, said “RES was born out of this promise for a space that was not just a program, but a promise of a future that is more stable, where people can have community, get their certificate and degree, and grow in a positive efficient way in their community.”

Veronica Lopez, Rising Scholars faculty coordinator at American River College, said that the three other campuses have similar programs with similar names. Students can take classes while in prison, and when they get out of prison their units are recognized by all of the four campuses just like any other student’s units. 

Lopez said the campus programs support those students through their education process and career path with tools that will help them be successful.

Some of the support given are: scholarships; emergency funding; mentoring and counseling support; school supplies; and study help, in addition to a strong sense of community within the program.

Miller said that Los Rios has a large Prison and Reentry Education Projects program (PREP), and Re-Emerging Scholars fits under this districtwide umbrella.

Around 140 students receive services from RES. Miller said some students are very active in the program and participate in the cohort-based academic learning community while others may attend a workshop here and there. He said that they are here for the students in whatever they need.

Daniel H. Bean Jr., one of four Re-Emerging Scholars to receive his certificate of completion and advancement on Tuesday, May 23 2023, tearfully accepts the honor as he reminisces on how proud his mother would be of him at that moment. Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

Bean graduated from City College in the spring semester of 2023 as a psychology major, the second of two degrees with the first degree being one he received at City College in 2022 in sociology. 

He plans to transfer to Sacramento State in the fall for his bachelor’s degree in both sociology and psychology. His goal is to become a youth behavior counselor. 

Bean attributes his career choice to understanding what the youth are thinking and wanting to counsel them. He said he used to be one of those kids who was rebellious and wouldn’t listen to what anyone would say because he only cared about what he thought and felt.

What Bean learned overall from the program was to not allow yourself to look back at the circumstances in your past that could negatively discourage you from moving forward in your life. That’s something he continues to remind himself everyday since he came back home in 2017 and was welcomed into the program.

“There was a time you would have never seen me in tears,” Bean said, but when he was up receiving his certificate he thought of his mom and how proud she would be right now and what an honor it was, and that’s why he stood up and received his certificate in tears.

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About the Contributor
Ellie Appleby
Ellie Appleby, Assistant Photo Editor
Ellie grew up around photography in upstate New York. Both her father and grandfather were photographers themselves. Her first experience taking a photo was in a vegetable garden taking a portrait of them arm-in-arm together.
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