LBCC Alumni Hall of Fame honorees

Story and Photo by Steven Matthews

The inductees stand in front of the stage with a trustee and the ASB president. Left to right- Dee Andrews, Stephen Bowles, Sunny Zia, John Fylpaa, Jon Paolo, Canteras, and Janeen Steel.

LBCC inducted four new members into its Alumni Hall of Fame on Wednesday at The Grand event center in Long Beach.

The event was put on by the Long Beach City College Foundation, and about 200 people attended.

The ASB president Jan Paolo Canteras was in attendance and he kicked off the event by giving a speech.

After the speech, Canteras seemed relieved that his speech went so well.

“I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be,” said Canteras. “But lucky for me, I was able to use my knowledge of poetry to get me through!”

Dinner was served toward the beginning of the event, and after the meal, it was time to start the ceremony.

LBCC trustee Sunny Zia and the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Kathy Scott were on stage to introduce the honorees and to give them their awards.

Dee Andrews, who serves as a city councilman for the sixth district in Long Beach, was the first inductee of the evening.

Andrews joked with the crowd during his brief acceptance speech, chiding the Viking Foundation for taking so long with his induction.

“Next time, don’t wait 30 years to get me in there!” he said to the uproarious laughter of the attendees.

The next person to be inducted was Stephen Bowles, a decorated police commander from the Seal Beach Police Department.

Bowles is well known in Seal Beach for his efforts as the public information officer and first responder after the Salon Meritage mass shooting, a role that earned him the Medal of Merit.

Bowles speech was a time of solemn reflection while he spoke of his late father, brother and best friend, and the roles they played in helping him become the person that he had become.

The third honoree, whose announcement was met with a standing ovation from the crowd, was former LBCC Dean of Student Affairs, John Fylpaa.

Fylpaa, whose contributions to LBCC and the city of Long Beach are too numerous to list here, finished his speech with an anecdote about a childhood experience with his father.

In the story, he spoke of a borrowed lawn mower from a neighbor, and how his father taught him the importance of cleaning and oiling the mower, and returning it in a better condition that he found it in.

“In that, I’ve tried to honor my father by leaving all the groups I was involved in better than I found them,” said Fylpaa.

The final inductee of the night is considered to be one of the top experts in special-education law, Janeen Steel.

Steel has worked tirelessly advocating for the rights of special needs students which led her to found the Learning Rights Law Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of students for education.

Steel’s speech reflected on her time as a student with a learning disability, and the impact that had on her to fight for students in a similar situation.

The ceremony concluded with closing remarks by Elizabeth McCann.