Celebration of Excellence and Achievement (COEA) for Students of African Descent

This culminating event recognizes students of African descent who are receiving associate degrees and certificates or transferring to four-year universities. It is sponsored by the colleges within the Los Rios Community College District (American River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College, and Sacramento City College). 

The first Celebration of Excellence and Achievement for Students of African Descent was held in May of 2006. The ceremony has been designed as a cultural and community celebration and includes elements of both African and African American culture. African dancers and drummers, gospel music, and student speakers are just a few of the things that participants enjoy. Each student is also presented with a Kente cloth. The event concludes with a reception immediately following the ceremony.

COEA Dancers

Celebration of Excellence and Achievement

COEA Highlights

History of COEA

COEA was created by the Los Rios Black Faculty and Staff Association, and the event has been occurring in the spring of each year since 2006. In the celebration, students are asked to stand before the community while their names are called and their achievements are announced. The ceremony is both serious and exciting, filled with song, drumming, dance, and speeches designed to urge the students on to greater heights.

The celebration is significant because it acknowledges the passage of the students from one phase of their educational journey to another. It honors their perseverance and their achievements in earning a community college degree, a vocational certificate, or their acceptance into a four-year institution.

The annual celebration lets students know their struggles do not go unnoticed, encourages and inspire them to aim higher and go further, and instills in them the importance of reaching out to cheer others on toward achieving their goals.

Members of the COEA planning committee work with others in the district to ensure that the celebration is held each year. Students are an integral part of the planning, and they learn valuable leadership skills in the process.

Finally, the community is invited to witness the celebration that commemorates this milestone in students’ lives. By involving the community at large, we show that the colleges within the Los Rios District are sensitive to and supportive of the needs of students of African descent and extend this support to the students’ communities. With the tradition that this celebration has established, The Black Faculty and Staff Association and the Los Rios Colleges honor the sacred place that education occupies in African American culture.

COEA Celebration

Who Can Participate

Any student of African descent who is graduating, receiving a certificate, or admitted to a four- year university from any of the Los Rios Colleges (ARC, CRC, FLC, or SCC) may participate in the ceremony. If you feel you are eligible but have not received a postcard inviting you to participate, please call or visit one of the contact persons on your campus. Students that are admitted to a four-year university but are not receiving an associate degree must provide a copy of their letter of acceptance. Additional information and instructions for student participants is available from your campus representatives.


All students are asked to pay a small, non-refundable $5.00 participation fee. Please contact your campus representative for further information on when this fee must be paid. Cash or checks made payable to COEA are acceptable.

Student Honoree Speaker Info

If you are interested in being a student speaker for the event, please review the Student Speaker Criteria and check the appropriate box on the Student Registration Card.

Honoree Registration Card

Student registration cards and participation fees are usually due to your campus contact persons by the mid-April. Contact your COEA representative for more info.

COEA Interest Form

COEA Campus Representatives

For more information or to participate in the Celebration of Excellence and Achievement for Students of African Descent, please contact any of the following ARC campus representatives. You may also complete the COEA Interest Form for further information and instructions.

Judy Mays - (916) 484-8287

Jeri Marshall - (916) 484-8095

Kim Herrell - (916) 484-8387

Frankie Johnson - (916) 484-8475