EOPS to record student-written song and share statewide

SEBASTIAN HERICS and RYAN CULLOM

TATE ROMAN, Channels Staff

As the summer of 2016 came to a close, a group from the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services completed a simple project that had never been done before.

Seven students grouped up and wrote a song as their final project, and now Marsha Wright, the director of the EOPS program, wants to take it statewide.

The song is titled “We Are EOPS” and it describes the program through the eyes of the students that are involved. With the help of their mentor Armando Arriaga, a former City College student songwriter, the group was able sew together their song.

“We’re in a place that feels like family. We’re in a place that makes us smile,” the lyrics say, describing the program and it’s facilities as another home for students.

EOPS is a state-funded program designed to provide support for students who are financially disadvantaged or academically under-prepared.

It is made up of three summer programs; Running start, Transitions and Single Parents Arriving Ready for College, or SPARC. Running start is aimed to help graduating high school students and Transitions is a program that aids individuals released from a California criminal justice system.

“We immediately group up the students so that they are able to really get to know one another over the four weeks that they are in the class,” said Wright. “Then towards the end they are assigned to put something together to define what EOPS means to them.”

Previous groups had done things like making a poster or doing a short skit, but up until now writing a song is something that had never been done.

Along with many of the other mentors, Arriaga is a former student who was enrolled in EOPS himself.

“Armando came and gave us the chorus. From there we made our melody,” said DeVerre Brown, one of the members of the group. “And after that, the lyrics just flowed from all of us.

In just two sittings the song was written and ready to go.

Currently Brown is playing guitar, while Arriaga sings lead.

“The song got so much positive feedback,” Arriaga said. “All the EOPS staff wanted it to become an official song.”

From there Marsha Wright wanted to know how she could make it the program’s signature tune. The song will explain to anyone who wants to know what EOPS is all about.

Dean Alice Perez heard what was going on, and with her help the music department got involved. This allowed Arriaga to use one of their studio rooms to record.

He will sing lead for the song and currently has Brown as a guitarist and two backup singers.

They are still looking for another male back-up to give the song a more “We Are The World” type of feel to it, Arriaga said.

When the song is done being produced, Marsha intends to have it played at the statewide EOPS conference that is happening this Nov. 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, California.