College of the Mainland students will present a living history museum as they portray influential African-Americans from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the COM Student Center, 1200 Amburn Road, in Texas City.

Jalen Jefferson will play singer Ella Fitzgerald; Destiné Moore will be Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician recently depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures;” Kristeona Nelson will portray track-and-field athlete Florence Griffith Joyner; Jamarcus Johnican will be poet Langston Hughes; and Madeline Sayers will play astronaut Mae Jemison.

“Students in the Organization of African-American Culture selected the person they wanted to present,” said Kelli Frederick, one of the event organizers. “Each student chose to play someone they look up to.”

Refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.

COM hosts events each year to showcase the Gulf Coast’s rich history and diversity.

For more information, contact Frederick, or 409-933-8462.

Darkroom class shows how to develop a photo

In world of transient digital photos and 24-hour Snapchats, students in Kristy Peet’s photography class are discovering the power of permanence.

Snapping photographs is easy — developing and printing them requires an intricate, four-step process.

The darkroom is where the Photoshop tool ideas came from, she explains. Most things that photographers can do in the darkroom they can do in Photoshop or vice versa. Students can alter exposure, adjust contrast or burn and dodge, a technique that changes the exposure of only a part of the photograph.

Some students take the course as art credit; others want to become better at recording events.

Peet’s photography has been displayed in many shows including at BOX 13 Artspace in Houston, Houston Center for Photography and ATP in New York City.

For more information on photography classes face-to-face and online, contact Peet, 409-933-8424 or

Second eight-week classes open

It’s not too late to start classes this semester. Apply to the college at New students can call an adviser to learn more about signing up for classes at 409-933-8379.

COM graduate makes welding a career

As a combo welder for 3-J Ryan Inc. in Pasadena, Marissa Cantu works to turn 8-foot sheets of metal into pipes every day. She welds on 36-inch or 72-inch pipe. Each type of metal — chrome, stainless, iron — requires a different type of preparation and weld, so it’s diverse and precise work.

“The pay is great,” said Cantu. “At 20, I’m making $32 an hour. I didn’t imagine this for myself in high school. You can make great money using your hands and I think that’s rewarding as well.”

She earned the COM welding certificate, which prepares students to work as a pipe welder.

“If I hadn’t taken these classes, I wouldn’t be prepared to be in this field,” said Cantu.

Employment of welders in the Gulf Coast from 2011 to 2020 is projected to grow 26.7 percent, according to Workforce Solutions. The average hourly wage for welders in Texas is $20.95, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In COM’s Welding Program, students can earn a degree or certificate to prepare them to enter the field or to upgrade their current skills. All former professionals, instructors guide hands-on practice in the welding lab and provide instruction in blueprint reading, welding principles, structural steel codes and welding inspection. Classes begin regularly throughout the year.

For more information, call 409-933-8380 or visit

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