Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; Faith is the courage to dance to it today.

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, Sep 24, 2016, my mom’s birthday and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.  

September is also the month of the Kern County Fair.  For more information check out http://www.kerncountyfair.com/.  Thank you David Torris for helping us secure a table for Measure J at the fair.

Here are some photos from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 at the fair.

Day 1: Thank you Paul Beckworth for taking the lead to staff Day 1, September 21, 2016 with volunteers. I was so excited to see Mallory Moran at the fair with her dad Tom Moran and her brother Donovan Moran.  This family is beloved to Bakersfield College.  Friends, many of you along with me have been following Mallory’s precious life story.  Tom and Israel have set up with a Mallory Miracles page.  Check it out http://tinyurl.com/hb6dsgg

 

Thank you Paul Beckworth, Sandi Beckworth, Matt Garrett, and Zav Dadabhoy for being the first team to get this started.

Day 2, Sep 22, 2016: Zav Dadabhoy was the lead.

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Here are the volunteers who staffed measure J on Day 2 — Steve Watkin and Kim Watkin, Michele Pena and her son, Jackie Lau and her son, Peggy Gonzales, Grace Commiso, Terri Goldstein, and of course Zav Dadabhoy.  Thank you all!

Day 3, Friday, Sep 23, 2016

Jerry Ludeke took the lead on the morning shift from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Jennifer Marden took the lead for the afternoon shift from 3:00 to 11:00.  Thank you Bob Allison, Liz Keranen, Heidi Allison.  Thank you Faith Counts (Chief Count’s daughter), Becky Dargatz, Cynthia Munoz, Steve Waller, and Jennifer Marden.

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Steve Waller, Sonya Christian, Vickie Edden, Sandi Taylor, Tom Gelder

Here are the volunteers who staffed Measure J on Day 3 — Zav Dadabhoy, Jerry Ludeke, June Charles, Prince Charles, Steve Watkin, Kim Watkin, Tracy Hall, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Jim Heitzeberg, Jennifer Marden, Cynthis Munoz, Becky Dargatz, Chris Counts, Faith Counts, Reese Weltman and his wife, Steve Waller, Manny Mourtzanos, Sandi Taylor, Vickie Edden, and Tom Gelder.  Thank you all!  Thank you Jay Rosenlieb, who was staffing the Boy Scouts booth for coming over and helping the Measure J table.

One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern

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onebook-1This week, Bakersfield College and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities presented an academic discussion panel entitled “Water Use, Challenges, and Solutions in Kern County” as part of the “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” program. The panel was composed of Dr. Joe Saldivar, Professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Bakersfield College, Laraine Rosema, BC’s Writing Center Department Liaison, and Jeffrey Eagan, a former BC student who is the current Writing Center & Tutor Coordinator at CSU-Bakersfield. The night was organized and moderated by Jessica Wojtysiak, Associate Professor of Academic Development at BC.

The seats inside the Levan Center were packed as Dr. Joe Saldivar presented first. He invited six year old daughter of BC Student Alma Cortez to join him in a colorful experiment. By blowing through a straw, they were able to send carbon dioxide into the beaker, changing the liquid from pink to clear. Dr. Saldivar then discussed the importance of innovation in solving our water crisis.

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Laraine Rosema, the next speaker, discussed water regulation and use restrictions. She concluded her presentation by telling the audience members how they could learn about restrictions and how to apply them to their own homes. Next up, Jeffrey Eagan explored how literature serves to illuminate the challenging relationship between humanity and water. Following these fabulous speakers, guests participated in a lively Q&A session with the panel. And finally, three BC students won a free copy of The Big Thirst: Enrique, and Alma Cortez.

The One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern project encourages the entire community to share experiences related to a single book through discussions, educational programming, and entertainment. The read is meant to pull a community together, cross cultural divides, and enhance understanding of our diversity, all while supporting literacy. First organized as a grass roots effort by Jillian Stump-Fritch, an elementary school teacher, she was inspired to support a community reading program after reading about similar projects with large cities like Chicago and Seattle.

onebook-2This year’s One Book selection is The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman. Published in 2011, the book seeks to challenge our too often casual relationship with water.  For the past 100 years, the developed world has enjoyed a cheap, safe, and abundant water supply, but The Big Thirst warns that everything about water is going to change – how we use it, how we share it, and how we value it.

This is certainly a timely selection for Bakersfield – In 2014, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported “An average of nearly 90% of Bakersfield, California, has been in a state of exceptional drought over the first seven months of 2014, more than any other large city.” In 2016, Governor Brown relaxed water use restrictions, but water availability continues to be a significant concern, particularly for those working in agriculture. For those interested, the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern program will end this year with a visit by Charles Fishman to CSU-Bakersfield on October 27th, 2016 for a visit and book signing.

Kern Ag Foundation

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Chris McCraw, Sonya Christian, JP Lake, Greg Cluff, Bill Barnes

I cherish any opportunity to be involved with organizations that prioritize education and advancement within our region. This week, I presented about Measure J with JP Lake at the Kern Agriculture Foundation. The Kern Ag Foundation was founded in 1986 as a non-profit organization by leaders in agriculture centered business and education to serve as an industry advisory committee. The Foundation assists with agriculture curriculum development, as well as soliciting and distributing funds and specialized assets to promote agricultural education, training, student activities, and scholarships. For a list of scholarships, visit kernagfoundation.com/scholarships.htm.

Special thank you to the Board of Directors: Doug Starr, President; Peter Belluomini, VP; Jared Britschgi, Secretary; Joel Bock, Treasurer; Bianca Ramirez; Roger Riley; Dr. Aaron Hegde; Ralph Mendes; and Lindsey Ono.  We received the unanimous endorsement of the Kern Ag Foundation for Measure J.  THANK YOU!

BC’s Ag faculty are the best! Bill Kelly, Lindsey Ono, Billy Barnes, Greg Cluff, Chris McCraw.  Thank you.

And a very special thank you to my co-presenter, JP Lake. It is always a joy working with him – his undeniable enthusiasm for education, the community of Bakersfield, and BC continues to inspire and amaze me. JP is also one of the many who have given their support and endorsement of Measure J. To learn more about what JP is doing in the community or about his business, Rain for Rent, check out http://jplake.com/ and http://www.rainforrent.com/.

Chamber Singers and their fabulous Director

The BC Chamber Singers men performed for 800 high school and junior high boys at Real Men Sing this morning at Harvey Auditorium.

I found this on Jen Garrett’s Facebook page.  Just loved it.  Enjoy:

The district brings together the men and they work with a guest conductor each year. This year their guest conductor is Travis Rogers. We had the opportunity to start off their day. Some of our men also spoke about what singing in choir means to them and about people that have mentored them. I appreciated that our men donated their time to such a good cause.

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Gloria Urner

sonya-christian-gloria-urner-sep-22-2016I was at the Double Tree hotel heading in to do a presentation to the Hispanic Chamber and a woman stopped by to share with me that we, at BC are solving the world’s problems. We stuck up a lovely, but short conversation and it turns out that she is Gloria Urner, a retired PIO of KCCD who worked alongside Ed Simonsen when he was the Chancellor.

Thank you Gloria for the kind words, and THANK YOU Jay Tamsi and the Hispanic Chamber for your endorsement of Measure J! And thank you Jay Rosenlieb for co-presenting with me.  What an incredible afternoon!

Earlier in June, I made my first presentation to the Hispanic Chamber and this is included in my June 19th blog.  Check it out

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/19/we-are-bakersfield-and-we-are-bc/

Bakersfield Malayalee Association Onam Celebration

 

The Bakersfield Malayalee Association (BAMA) is a local Kerala based cultural association and a wonderful warm and friendly group that provides opportunities for our local Malayalees within the Bakersfield area to gather, communicate, interact, and celebrate with one another. It has grown incredibly over the past 20 years, as our city has flourished.

Onam was celebrated on September 13th and this special Harvest Festival is celebrated by the people of Kerala. The day, based on the Solar Calendar, is an ancient festival that still survives in modern times. It is one of the rarest festivals that is celebrated by a complete state, irrespective of religion, class, or creed. Wikipedia notes that

Kerala’s rice harvest festival and the Festival of Rain Flowers, which fall in the month of Chingam, celebrates the Asura King Mahabali’s annual visit from Patala (the underworld). Onam is unique since Mahabali (locally known as Maveli) has been revered by the people of Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily. It is in honour of King Mahabali that Onam is celebrated.

At our local celebration hosted by Bakersfield’s Malayalee Association, we shared traditional foods, dancing, and entertainment.  Bill Thomas was there to promote Measure J with this community.   Thank you to Congressman Bill Thomas, Zav Dadabhoy, and Kushnur Dadabhoy for attending this unique, special, and festive evening.  And thank you Shirley, President of BAMA for the invitation.

Prison University Project received the National Humanities Medal

On Thursday morning, President Obama awarded the 2015 National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal to distinguished recipients in the East Room of the White House. Jody Lewen, who is a strong advocate for the BC inmate education program, was on hand in person to accept the award presented to the Prison University Project by President Barack Obama. Jody previously sent an email recognizing this award includes everyone involved with this and similar efforts.

She said, “This award honors the extraordinary work of PUP faculty, students, friends, donors, staff, and everyone else who has worked tirelessly to make our work possible.  It also recognizes the entire community of people working throughout the country, to advance the cause of higher education in prison.  We are grateful for all of you.”

Check out these pictures, and for a video of President Obama’s comments, check out https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/president-obama-awards-2015-national-medals-arts-and-humanities

Congratulations to The Prison University Project! BC is proud to have such wonderful partners in education. We are grateful for you.

And thank you Rich McCrow, Brian Hirayama and others for your work on this!

Local Treasure: Coconut Joes

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Sonya Christian, Jermale Turner at Coconut Joes

So, on friday, I had lunch at Coconut Joes for the very first time.  Just a wonderful place.  Beach setting and great music.  I found myself humming to the various tunes.  I also enjoyed talked to the owner Joseph (Joe) Coughlin the owner of the restaurant who was having a great time doing what it takes to make his customers happy.  Greeting them on one hand and then wiping down tables on the other.  He is a community volunteer who works with Dr. Paula Parks on the ASTEP program at BC.  He spoke passionately about how they were trying to get bus passes for students who could not afford them.

I was so delighted when he took me to the office at the back and introduced me to a BC student Jermale Turner who works at Coconut Joes.  Here is a selfie with Jermale.

I love seeing the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in Bakersfield.  And I love seeing how much our community cares about Bakersfield College.  Of course, Joe Coughlin promptly endorsed Measure J and the list of endorsees is above 400 and growing everyday.  #WeAreBC and #WeAreBakersfield.

For more on Coconut Joes check out: http://www.coconutjoes.com/home

BC Athletics this week:

Women’s soccer led by Coach Scott Dameron moves to 4-2-2 with a 3-1 road win over Glendale College.  Odalys Espinoza scored her 5th goal over the last three matches. Next match at home Tuesday Sept. 27th v. West LA.

Led by Alyssa Morales, BC women finished first at the BC invitational held at Kern County Soccer Park. You can catch more action on Friday September 30th when Coach Kelley and her teams compete in the Western State Conference prelims also held at the soccer park.

sep-2016Wrestling led by Coach Clark & Coach Austin had a good showing at the Mt. SAC Duals beating Santa Ana and Sierra College before dropping their last of match of the day to Palomar College.  Sophomore wrestler Andrew Binger from North High was the male athlete of the week on the Renegade Report this week for his strong performances this past week.

Coach Carl Ferreira with the road warrior Women’s Volleyball 7-7 are steadily making progress while competing with the best teams in Southern California. Let’s welcome them home on Friday September 30th when they take on Moorpark College.

September 30th will be a busy day in BC Athletics hosting Cross Country Prelims, Women’s Volleyball and Womens’ Soccer.  Come join us in supporting these tremendous student athletes.  Be sure to check out www.gogades.com for updates.

Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; Faith is the courage to dance to it today.

I came across a posting on Facebook by  BC Astronomy professor Nick Strobel, who said, “Sign in men’s restroom at a Thai food restaurant in Grants Pass, Oregon: ‘Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; Faith is the courage to dance to it today.’ The food was good too.”

The quote stood out to me and I was intrigued to check it out more and to find out its author. A few websites credited it to Peter Kuzmic, a Croatian pastor who tweeted the statement on his Twitter accountothers cited no author. Whoever the author may be has inspired me to be brave and seize the day. Today, let’s dance!

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest College President ever.

(dressed for the Onam celebration with the Bakersfield Malayalee Association)

On remembrance, and making memories

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Sharon Baker, Sandi Taylor, Vickie Edden, Leonard Cravens, Sonya Christian, Peter Reyes

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Sunday, September 18th…I started this blog yesterday, but since the day was packed with events that ended with driving to Riverside to watch Renegade football on the road I could not finish my blog.  It was great to see the Bakersfield Community come out to support an away game.

Here is a gang of regulars at the games.  Sharon Baker and Bill Baker (The Renegade Football doc) come to all the games.  It always warms my heart to see both Dr. Baker and Dr. Tivnon out there with our student athletes.  Here is a picture of Dr. Baker with Terence Young, one of our star football players last year who got seriously injured.

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Terence is now a student at BC although he does not play football.  I want to recognize the kindness and generosity of the Bakers.  Both Sharon and Bill have given their time, money, and unwavering commitment to BC. This is what makes the community of Bakersfield unique.  And this is what makes Bakersfield College so successful.
We are BC!

the-moon-sep-18-2016The entire week was just like Saturday, a lot of travel — Wisconsin (Tuesday-Wednesday), Sacramento (Friday), and then Riverside (Saturday).  Quite tired this Sunday morning and enjoying the calm and quiet with a cup of coffee and the beautiful early morning moon through the window in my bedroom.  Life is good!

The many highlights from the week started with our first football home game on September 10th at BC against Chaffey! Even ESPN was buzzing with excitement! Really, check out the video on the GoGades Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/p/BKMmC1hAgP6/

Saturday, Sep 10th: New Faculty Reception

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Photo by Cara Jackson

Before the first home game of the season, we celebrated with the new members of the BC family in the Fireside Room at the New Faulty Reception on September 10, 2016. BC hired a total of 39 new faculty for the 2016-2017 academic year.  The college has been growing in the number of students we serve over the last three years.

Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Trustee Dennis Beebe for attending.  We really appreciate our trustees coming out the college campuses.  If you check out the picture carefully you will be able to spot both trustees.

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Photo by Cara Jackson

A special thank you and shout out to our new cook Nicole Sizemore who prepared an elegant dinner and dessert menu for faulty and guests! My favorite was the watermelon salad with flavorful ingredients including feta cheese. Come to think of it, I loved the tri-tip, the couscous salad and everything on the menu.

After dinner, we headed to the first football game of the year!  And what a game it was.

Join me in welcoming… Teresa McAllister, ACDV; Heather Baltis, Agriculture; Jaclyn Krause, ASL; Ronnie Wrest and Jeff Huston, Art; Katie Ganster, Biology; Ximena Da Silva, Chemistry; Melissa Ysais, Child Development; Talita Pruett and Neeley Hatridge, Communication; Maximo Pena, Construction Management; Catherine Ryan and Elvira Martinez, DSPS; Cynthia Quintanilla, Counseling; Vanessa Bell, EOP&S; Keri Kennedy and Mark Osea, SSSP; Thomas Rush and Kelvin Albaa, Engineering; Isaac Sanchez and Savanna Andrasian, English; Don Brady, Fire Tech; Ayan Hill, Allied Health; Catherine Jones, Industrial Safety; Eddie Rangel, Information Technology; Timothy Heasley, Performing Arts; Dillon Giblin and Jonathan Brown, Math; Nichole Hernandez and Shae Johnson, Medical Surgical; Noelia Citialin, Mental Health; Kathryn Kuby, Music; Christine Harker, Allied Health; Jacelyn Hill, Rad Tech; David Riess and Eleanora Hicks, Sociology; Sara Palasch, Spanish; Brian Sivesind, Theatre; Ronnie Knabe, Sim Lab; Milena Lilles, Biology; John Kelleher, History; Alba Romero, Math; Cari Meyer, Geology; Mark Kay and Yuki Takeuchi, Foreign Language; Jeanne Young, Nursing; Heidi Forsythe, Communication; Kristin Mercer, Denise Canning, Tanna Rozar, Sara Wallace, and Justin Bell, English.

If you get the chance, visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/employees/new-faculty-staff to see the new faculty photos!

Running of the Renegades & BC Football

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Photo by Cara Jackson

The evening started off with the annual Running of the Renegades event that welcomes the Football team back to the Stadium for their first home game. This event offers the BC Community the chance to run across Memorial Stadium behind the Renegade Mascots and alongside the BC Cheerleaders before the BC Renegade Football players take the field. This year, 30 students, staff, and faculty members dashed onto the field at 5:55pm sporting their Red and White Spirit. Starting with Renegade pride is always a fantastic way to kick-off a great game and a great week!

BC beat Chaffey College by 45-35 in their home opener at Memorial Stadium on the strength of an offensive explosion led by Derrick Vickers’ three touchdowns and 289 multi-purpose yards. Check out the game summary by Francis Mayor at GoGades.com.

It was wonderful having so many from the community come out to support Renegade Football.

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Sonya Christian, Karen Goh, Romeo Agbalog, JP Lake

A huge thank you to JP Lake for not only attending but also being involved as the halftime guest on Vince Palms show. Francis has made the video available on YouTube – definitely check it out to see JP Lake and your BC Renegades!

JP is the co-chair of the Measure J campaign committee along with Sue Benham, Michael Bowers, Norma Rojas Mora, Jay Rosenlieb, and Karen Thompson. Mayor Harvey Hall is the chair.  Here are a some of the many community leaders on the committee: Michael O’Doherty, Mayor Milt Stowe from Porterville, Justin O’Neill (from Cerro Coso), Jay Tamsi, David Torres, Ed Davis, Fran Flores, Ken Byrum, Rick Kreiser, Cheryl Scott, Chad Hathaway, Janet Rabanal, Reyna Olaguez.

And huge thanks also to Karen Goh for regularly attending our football games and showing your Renegade spirit in the stands! Karen has posted the most fantastic photos on her Facebook – check them out here!  Also much appreciate the connection with other parts of the campus like our Student Government Association.

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And special thank you to Cara Jackson for these great photos from the game:

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Cara also sent an email to share a story of how she was able to capture these great images:

“A moment before I walked onto the football field to capture the Running of the Renegades, I saw another photographer heading that way for the game. I casually asked, “Sir you wouldn’t happen to have an extra lens I could borrow?”

Nick contemplated respectively for a short moment and replied, ” Yes, I might just have one for you.”  I was surprised and excited, and when he pulled out his extra Canon 70-200 mm f2.8L telephoto lens, I was jumping for joy!

It turned out my wish came true and he loaned it to me for the entire game! Not only did he do this, but helped me improve my settings on my camera so I could get these great shots!

It’s wonderful that there are still positive and amazing people out there wishing the best for you and helping you succeed in life, even if you meet them for the first time!

A huge shout out to Nick Ellis from the Bakersfield Californian. Thanks Nick!”

We truly are the community’s college.

Sunday, Sep 11th: World Trade Center Memorial on 9/11

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I had the honor of attending the World Trade Center Memorial in Southwest Bakersfield. The sun was shining bright when the breathtaking memorial featuring a structural girder from the North Tower of the World Trade Center was unveiled. This national artifact is one of many sent throughout the nation for 9/11 memorials. Thank you to Fire Chief, Doug Greener, who petitioned for Bakersfield to get one of the last remaining pieces. Our community was approved to receive the piece because of where the memorial is situated – on Buena Vista in the southwest directly between a fire station and police station. I encourage you to stop by and pay respects and remember the brave men and women in New York that day.

I was so proud to see one of our BC music students Linda Snotty lead the color guard with her bagpipe. BC has the best music program!  And then hear from Mayor Harvey Hall who was the first speaker of the morning.

 

I asked Jennifer to email Heather Pruitt and get the mayor’s written remarks.  Here they are.  I love the way he wrapped up his speech by saying “thank you for your hearts.”

As we gather today let us not forget the 4,377 souls who perished as a result of the deadliest terrorist attack in our history. Let us not forget the husbands, wives, sons and daughters who lost their lives. Let us not forget the devastation felt by many Americans on this dreadful day.

For fifteen years now we have given our heartfelt condolences, sympathy and caring contributions to the survivor’s families, first responders, police officers and rescue workers. Today is a day of honor and recognition for the Bakersfield City Fire Department and the many volunteers and sponsors who have made this 911 World Trade Center Memorial possible.

What an everlasting tribute our city will have for reflections on each September 11th in our future.

Let us not forget to give prayer and thanks to our wonderful country, fireman, police officers and first responder ambulance paramedics for the daily contributions they make to keep us safe and healthy.

Your presence here today is another example of how Bakersfield cares, a thought I have carried with me for the past sixteen years as our city’s Mayor.

Let us remember and never forget September 11, 2001. Thank you for your hearts today.

I also texted Tim Capehart, Director of BC’s Fire Tech program and asked him if Tyler Hartley, Deputy Fire Chief, could be willing to share his brief comments.  Here are the powerful words by our Deputy Fire Chief:

The attacks on September 11th have been documented as the most destructive acts of terrorism on American soil.  On that unforgettable morning, 19 terrorist associated with the extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners enroute to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington D.C. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center, a third plane hit the Pentagon, and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania – this series of events changed our lives forever.

Although fifteen years have passed since that fateful day, it is important that we do not allow time and distance to cloud our memory of that tragic event. The Bakersfield Fire Department World Trade Center Memorial shall serve a reminder to future generations of what September 11th means to our Nation.

We Shall Never Forget

 

 

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Following the event, I was inspired to take some quiet time for reflection and to read poetry written after 9/11. I truly believe that words hold immense power to comfort, express, console, and heal. A collection of poems can be found here and one really caught my attention titled, Firefighter’s Prayer. It reminded me of how courageous and brave each of our men and women in all first responder roles prove themselves to be each and every day. The immense physical and mental training requires strength and dedication, but the role these individuals fulfill requires a bravery that can’t be taught.  And I am proud of the BC fire tech program.

This year’s fire season, including the recent Erskine fire, serves as a true testament of the challenges faced by our Kern County and Bakersfield fire departments. A post on BFD’s Facebook page this past Tuesday, announced that over the past 48-hour period, BFD responded to 13 fire related incidents; 145 medical/rescue emergencies, and 79 public service related calls. We are lucky to have both Fire Chief, Brian Marshall of Kern County FD and Fire Chief Doug Greener of Bakersfield FD leading our local firefighters. A shout out to both of these incredible departments for all you do!

Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BakersfieldFire/ and https://www.facebook.com/kerncountyfire/

September 12th: College Night

Any opportunity to expose young people to the endless opportunities of higher education is one to celebrate. On Monday evening over 80 BC staff, faculty, administrators, and students represented the college at the 17th Annual Kern County College Night at the Rabobank Convention Center.  Representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities were in attendance answering questions about their campuses and providing information about admissions requirements and financial aid to high school students and parents. Approximately 1,200 students submitted an interest card requesting further information about Bakersfield College.

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Fellow KCCD Campus, Cerro Coso was also in attendance and it was fanatic to see Pam Campbell, CC’s Director, Outreach and Student Life and Lisa Stephens, CC’s Director of East Kern and Kern River Valley.

pamcampbell_lisastephensBC even had multiple groups and tables at the event. Tom Gelder and Kathy Rosellini hosted the BC Alumni table and Sue Vaughn, Gustavo Enriquez, and Mary Jo Pasek hosted the BC facilities needs booth.

Events like this reinforce what we do at Bakersfield College! Our student body continues to grow and grow each year and the need for higher education in Kern County is expanding.

Thank you Steven Watkin, Director of Outreach, and the Outreach Team (Josie, Debi, Ashlea, Chris, Manuel, Claudio) for making it happen. And a special thank you to Matt Boone of Bakersfieldnow.com for the great media coverage and video. Check out the article here! And various pictures are on our photo gallery located here! We Are BC!

Remembering Dr. Thomas Larwood

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Sonya Christian, Pauline Larwood, Tom Larwood

On Sunday, Sep 11th, afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend Dr. Thomas Larwood’s memorial. Dr. Larwood was dedicated man who led groundbreaking research to find a cure for Valley Fever and together with his wife Pauline –one of Bakersfield’s power couples – always willing to get involved, put in the work, and find solutions.

In his obituary, he was described as a devoted physician, caring deeply for a wide range of patients. It goes on to describe how as a missionary, Tom contracted polio and was inspired by his friend and partner, Dr. Hans Einstein to study Valley Fever. He was an active member in the community alongside his wife, and an active member of the East Bakersfield Rotary.

“Affectionately known as “Doctor Tom” or just plain Tom, he was a man of the people. He chose a life of service very early, active in church leadership in his teens. At 18, talking with his father, Tom worked out that he liked “science and people.” He explored pre-med. After two years, he was drafted in 1944 and became a Navy Pharmacist’s Mate. Shortly before Navy discharge, he was deeply inspired by a talk by Dr. Day at a Methodist Youth Conference meeting. Dr. Day asked “Are you going to invest your life or just spend it?” That very night he felt he had been called to develop and share this gift, and he indeed gave and gave his entire life.” Check out the full obituary by clicking here.

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It was great to see fellow BC friends and family at the memorial, including Nick Strobel and Jerry Ludeke singing in the choir. I particularly liked the rendition of Amazing Grace and the Nick and Jerry section of the piece. It also spotted Trustee Kay Meek, Karen Goh and Bob Allison, and briefly connected with Steve Schilling, and John Fallgatter.  We do have a great community in Bakersfield.

The picture with Tom and Pauline was from March 31, 2016 at the Sterling Silver Dinner.

john-boydstun-sep-15-2016Remembering John Boydstun:

 

Just like on September 11th the community came out to support Tom Larwood, on September 15th, they came out to support John Boydstun.  At the football game against Riverside at Riverside, Leonard Cravens, an avid BC football fan, mentioned that he had traveled from his home in Indigo to Bakersfield just to attend Boydstun’s funeral. Becki Whitson and the BC Cheer Team were to show their respect to a longtime Renegade fan.

 

I searched my blog site for previous blogs where I mention John Boydstun and found the following:

April 23, 2016 blog: http://tinyurl.com/hfcpe8g

December 19th blog:  http://tinyurl.com/hozrypd

 

John Boydstun and BC Cheer team Aug 2016

September 15th: Renegade Football at Rotary

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Jeff Chudy, Sonya Christian, Garro Ellis at Rotary. Sep 15, 2016

It was wonderful having Coach Jeff Chudy at Rotary this Thursday, Sep 15th.  This is an annual event where coach shares the “state of Renegade Football” with the club.  He talked about a new approach he took with his student athletes by having them read together “The Training Camp” by Jon Gordon and do a book report.

 

The book is about an un-drafted rookie trying to make it in the NFL, trying to prove that a small guy with a big heart can make it.  “The life lessons in this book are invaluable in teaching our students how to become better students, better teammates and better men.”

Stig Jantz, BC’s advisor to our student athletes led a team discussion with  coaches and players and asked the hard questions of each. Relationship are being built to make us better.

Just wonderful!

The meeting as a whole was great.  Jay Rosenlieb led the song and at the cost of being fined $30 promoted Measure J among club members.

We are BC!

Follow BC Wrestling

BC Wrestling is off to a strong start. The newest blog post by Brett Clark says,

Well it was a good weekend for the guys on the mat. Bakersfield College went 3-1 this weekend with strong performances against East Los Angeles College, Victor Valley College, and Santa Ana College, the lone loss came against a very good Cerritos College Team. Top performers this weekend were Pedro Sarabia going 3-1, and Julio Fuentes who went 2-1 along with Andrew Binger going 2-1. Overall this young group has a lot of work but the future is bright for them as a team. Next home match is October 26, 2016 Wednesday night at 7pm we will be wrestling Cuesta College in a conference dual come out and support.

To stay up-to-date on BC Wrestling, follow the BC Wrestling Blog at https://bakersfieldcollegewrestling.wordpress.com/.  Well done Brett!

Generations of Leaders at BC!

Don’t you love this picture?  I do!

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SGA Prez Clayton Fowler, Dr. Nicky Damania, SGA Prez Matthew Frazer, SGA Prez Alex Dominguez

Last week, the current Bakersfield College Students Government Association (BCGSA) president, Matthew Frazer, rallied together with two former BCSGA presidents to chat over some delicious breakfast at Pappy’s Cafe down on Rosedale along with the BCSGA Advisor, Dr. Nicky Damania.

During the meal, they wished Clayton Fowler, president FY16, happy journeys as he begins a new journey at UC Davis to start this Bachelor’s degree in Political Science next week. Clayton started as an EMT student at BC, but found his passion for civic leadership through this career with BCSGA. You can follow Clayton’s blog at https://claytonjfowler.wordpress.com/

Alex Dominguez, BCSGA President FY15, is now the President of the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) at CSUB and this guy is one to watch out for as he’s already a great community leader within the city of Bakersfield.

Matthew Frazer, our current SGA prez, is putting BC on the map with all of his efforts.  I suspect 2016-2017 will be a historic year for SGA under his leadership.

Of course, these four men couldn’t help but talk about their love for Bakersfield College. Dr. Damania shared with me they were discussing and developing strategies on how to engage their peers on the need of better facilities and technologies at Bakersfield College for the years to come. Alex invited current officers to CSUB this week to chat with their ASI Officers on how the two groups would be able to educate their peers at CSUB regarding Measure J.

If you haven’t already seen, Matthew Frazer, current BCSGA Present, stars in this week’s Renegade Reveal. The Renegade Reveal is a weekly webisode published by the Office of Student Life every Monday at Noon in efforts to increase and encapsulate student life at Bakersfield College. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZXJUQqb9hk

September 14th: AACU Event

 

I was invited to speak at the AAC&U Leap State Summit this week at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I enjoy opportunities to engage in conversations about learning, quality, and equity.  And this was definitely one of those.

The AACU is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,350 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

It was a lot of fun presenting with Michael Crafton from the University System of Georgia and Joe DeFilippo from Higher Education for Virginia.  Debra Humphrey moderated the panel.  Here is an excerpt from my remarks from the section on “Learning.”  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it the night before the presentation.

Biologically speaking, learning is making new neural pathways, physically creating new networks that make meaning, and pruning the pathways and networks that are not meaningful. As they say, neurons that “fire together wire together”. Thinking reinforces thinking. I was thinking how the academy can become distracted by the profusion of information, but not enough thinking. This is a fundamental shift in education. Our brains evolved to nurture, gather, mine, imagine, and make meaning, based on environmental clues and scant information – now we must learn to cope with and prune a flood of “information”.

That shift is visible in the transition of learning from oral tradition, to literacy, to digital literacy, to the re-merging oral digital literacy of Siri and Watson, to the promise of Kurzweil’s artificial intelligence singularity. The wonder of it all is that our brains are able to adapt to this changing landscape, that our ancient evolutionary skills to learn are up to the task.

In fact, Randy Bass and Bret Eynon in “Open and Integrative, discuss how can and must use this new digital ecosystem as a tremendous opportunity to recast, they call it “design” Liberal Education.  I was inspired by Carol Geary Snider’s comment in her Foreword to Open and Integrative: Designing Liberal Education for the new Digital Ecosystem.

“Within the digital learning ecosystem, higher education is ideally a site focused around engagement, community and mentorship, and integration, in which the disparate and “unbundled” learning opportunities endemic to our constantly networked modern life can be “rebundled” to support an integrative vision of learning.”

Thank you to Ken O’Donnell and Debra Humphrey for inviting and welcoming me.

Check out my selfie with Lynn Pascarella, President of AAC&U.

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Sonya Christian, Lynn Pascarella

Movie Night in the AM!

img_7036-x2If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a great fan of movies – so when I heard the film “McFarland, USA” would be shown on campus, I was immediately excited. What made this event even better was that we’d have the chance to welcome young people from rural migrant program high schools on the BC campus and into our beautiful Indoor Theater.

On Friday, September 16, approximately 300 students from the Kern High School District’s Migrant Education program gathered at Bakersfield College’s Indoor Performing Arts Theater to watch a screening of the movie McFarland, USA. Participating high schools included Arvin, Golden Valley, McFarland, Taft, Wasco, South, East, Shafter, Foothill, Mira Monte, Ridgeview, and Highland.

img_7028The film chronicles the achievements of the McFarland cross-country team in the 1980s. Led by coach Jim White, McFarland’s runners overcame tremendous obstacles in order to succeed in athletics, education, and ultimately life. The story is significant because it symbolizes the challenges faced by our rural migrant student population in Kern County and how hard work and discipline, both within and beyond the classroom, so clearly evident in the lives of the runners, can uplift entire communities.

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Kate Pluta

Bakersfield College alumni Vanessa Renteria, currently Assistant Vice Principal at McFarland High School and former employee of the BC Delano Campus, moderated the event. Following the film, a panel discussion with some of the main characters portrayed in the film, including Coach Jim White, as well as former runners Danny Diaz, David Diaz, Johnny Samaniego, Thomas Valles, and Victor Puentes addressed a variety of important issues raised in the film including the importance of perseverance and education.

Dean of Instruction Kate Pluta also honored Danny Diaz as a BC alumni and for his longtime service at the McFarland campus. Here’s an excerpt of Kate’s comments:

“Danny Diaz has been a pillar of the McFarland community for two decades. Following his achievements as a McFarland runner Danny went on to graduate Bakersfield College and work as a counselor at McFarland high school, guiding and impacting the lives of countless students.

He is incredibly humble, modest, and is committed to advancing opportunities for our rural youth, particularly those most at risk and vulnerable. Bakersfield College is proud to recognize him for his accomplishments, not only for his life story being highlighted in the movie McFarland, USA, but for his continued work for our students. Bakersfield College is proud to donate $1,000.00 to McFarland high school’s cross-country team in honor of Danny Diaz. Thank you Danny for your service in making Kern County a better place for us all.”

Following the panel discussion, the students took a brief campus tour with SGA officers, student volunteers from the Office of Student Life and the Delano Campus WECOMM club. From there, a special lunch was served by the wonderful Eric Sabella and BC Campus Food Services.

img_7057Thank you so much to Oliver Rosales, Steve Watkin, Nicky Damania, Kristen Rabe, Mary Jo Pasek, Ramon Puga, Shannon Musser, Jennifer Marden, Arisve Pimentel, Anhelica Perez, Alexa Rivera, and the many volunteers from BCSGA, Office of Student Life, and the WECOMM club who volunteered their Friday morning to spend time with these wonderful students and make them feel welcomed. A huge thank you also to the good folks over at PacWest for running our lighting and soundboard. Finally, a very special thanks to Sal Avalos and Jose Morales from the Kern High School District Migrant Education Office for co-sponsoring this event.

Thank you Oliver Rosales for leading this effort.  Thank you Kate Pluta for recognizing Danny Diaz.  And thank you Arnoldo Avalos, member of the Board of Governors, for giving me the idea.  Sorry you were not able to make it.

THANK YOU!!

You can catch more photos from this event at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/McFarland-Movie-Panel.

Fall’s First Gadfly Cafe

gadfly01.jpgBakersfield College students debated the importance and root causes of terrorism at the first Gadfly Café of the fall semester.

A discussion forum hosted three times per semester at the Levan Center for the Humanities, the Gadfly Café encourages anyone in the community to come in and offer their opinions on a different controversial social issue every month. With the presidential election around the corner in November, moderator Reggie Williams tailored this semester’s topics toward hot-button issues on the campaign trail.

gadfly03Wednesday’s topic was titled “Terrorism, Cars and Other Threats to Americans”, and Williams opened the discussion with a few statistics for context. While there are approximately 30,000 car-related deaths every year and 20 veteran suicides every day, only 58 people have been killed by terrorism in the United States since 2002, said Williams, a philosophy professor at Bakersfield College. In light of those numbers, Williams asked the group why they believe terrorism is such a crucial issue in our political discourse.

After some spirited discussion, Gadfly participants concluded that the threat of terrorism is omnipresent enough to justify spending significant time legislating to prevent it, regardless of the amount of people it actually affects. The debate then turned to distinguishing what separates terrorist attacks like September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing from hate crimes or other acts of violence. Some argued that it was religious zealotry, but a consensus formed that the defining element of terrorism is any attempt at using violence as a tool of political coercion.

While the debate might get confrontational, Gadfly Café participants are expected to be respectful, kind and avoid personal attacks. Next month’s forum on Oct. 12 is titled “Undocumented Immigrants: Boon, Bane or Political Ruse?” and the last Gadfly Café of the semester on Nov. 9 will be about “Healthcare: A Right, Privilege or Practical Necessity?”

Celebrating Dia de la Indepencia

14322243_10153973754444352_4757304245717391097_n.jpgThe Bakersfield College chapter of M.E.Ch.A celebrated Mexican Independence Day Thursday with a fleet of classic hydraulic cars parked in front of the gym.

M.E.Ch.A, a Chicano student organization founded in the 1960s, honored the Dia de Independencia by inviting the owners of a few “lowriders”, antique muscle cars modified with hydraulics that can lower the chassis all the way down to the floor or make the front end of the car bounce. BC’s M.E.Ch.A chapter also sold horchata and pan dulce at a table in front of the gym.

On September 16th, 1810, Catholic priest and revolutionary Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla uttered the famous Cry of Dolores, symbolizing the start of the Mexican War of Independence. Many Americans falsely believe that Mexican Independence Day takes place on Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

University Transfer Day

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Photo by Cara Jackson

On September  12, over 32 colleges were in attendance to meet with prospective BC transfer students.

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Photo by Cara Jackson

This gave all in attendance a chance to inform and be informed on transcripts, advice on what each college offers and other information. The event was carefully organized by the Transfer Days College Night Intersegment Coordinating Committee. The committee has created a Northern and Southern Region California Community College circuit for Universities and Colleges throughout the country, led by Mr. Michael Burton.

 

Mr. Burton then connects with all California Community College Transfer Directors in this assigned region such as Marisa Marquez, Transfer Counselor and the Center for Student Success Office Supervisor, Bernadette Martinez to further organize the event. Mary Jo Pasek, Office of Student Life Director Dr. Nicky Damania and his energetic and always professional Student Life staff are also part of this event.

The promotions are made by team effort such as creating posters, made by Dylan Wang and Mr. Steve Watkin and his hard-working office of Outreach and School Relations also contribute. Food is catered by the sensational Chef Eric Sabella and his team , and at the end of the day students have knowledge to make a great decision about transferring.

For more information see: http://www.certicc.org/transferDayscollegeNights.aspx

BC featured on CSPAN’s “Lectures in History” Program

Bakersfield College got some national attention when Dr. Oliver Rosales, Professor of History at our Delano Campus, was featured on CSPAN’s Lectures in History series on September 3.  The program visits college and university classrooms to highlight professors lecturing on topics related to their research expertise.  Oliver’s lecture focused on “Latinos and the Civil Rights Movement.”  Here’s a synopsis of his lecture from the CSPAN website:

Latinos and the Civil Rights Movement: Professor Oliver Rosales talked about Latinos, the Delano grape strike of the mid-1960s, and their place in the larger Civil Rights movement of the period. Professor Rosales shared his personal family history and other oral histories about the National Farm Workers Association, the labor union led by Ceasar Chavez and Delores Huerta which eventually became the United Farm Workers. He also described the connection between the local history of Bakersfield, California, and the national Civil Rights movement.

You can watch the program on CSPAN’s website here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?407964-1/latinos-civil-rights-movement

Congratulations to Jack Hernandez

zolbrod_4.jpgI often sign off by saying I’m the luckiest college president in the world, and a huge part of that is all due to the fantastic faculty and staff who work with me at BC. I’m proud every time I’m able to announce something and congratulate someone, but I’m even proud silently walking the halls of our facilities because our classrooms and offices are filled with faculty and staff who take their work to heart. Jack Hernandez is one of our star faculty, now retired and still contributing, who I’m proud to spotlight today.

On Friday, I was filled in via email that Jack’s paper, “Suicide: A Personal and Philosophical Reflection” has been selected for presentation at the Central Valley Philosophy Associations annual conference. I look forward to sharing the pictures and recap from the event to come in November!

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

(in my airplane travel attire heading to the AACU conference)

Transforming Environments, Transforming Lives

Let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path.  Did that get your attention? Read to the very end for the context!

Good Morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, Sep 10th …..another great day to be a Renegade! … topping off a great week to be a Renegade.

  • It was a great week because I woke up to Nick Strobel‘s smiling face in the Californian today discussing the recently discovered exoplanet at our closest star neighbor.
  • It was a great week because Chairman Bill Thomas, Congressman Bill became Trustee Bill Thomas.  Yes, dear friends, on Thursday Bill Thomas was appointed to the Board to finish out Rick Wright’s term.
  • It was a great week because we had the community come out to the College to watch Mayor Harvey Hall cut the red ribbon to the new Aera STEM Student Success Center.
  • It was a good week because of these two community voices pieces in the Californian

Community Voices piece by Cheryl Scott, VP of Kern EDC

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/opinion/2016/09/07/yes-vote-on-measure-j-a-vote-for-economy.html

Community Voices piece by retired faculty Randy Beeman.

http://www.bakersfield.com/News/Opinion/2016/09/07/Measure-J-can-solve-BC-s-infrastructure-woes.html

  • It was the week of opening the doors to the Measure J Campaign Head Quarters on 1675 Chester Avenue.  Thank you Greg Bynum for donating this space to us.
  • It was a week of laughter and tears, exhaustion and exuberance….in other words, life, full, vibrant with all the colors of the palette visible.
  • For me it was also a week of continuing to read poetry from my high school book.  Thanks to a friend who brought poetry back to my life.  Here is an excerpt from my blog two weeks ago. You can find the blog at:https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/08/27/the-end-of-the-first-week-fall-2016/

Out of the blue, one of my friends this week quoted Rudyard Kipling. “But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew” …a line from Soldier an’ Sailor too.  That got me digging out my poetry book, Panorama, from high school and spending nostalgic evenings reading some of my favorite poems.  I thought about the late and absolutely genius Robin Williams as his role in The Dead Poets Society saying “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry… beauty, romance, love, these… are what we stay alive for.”

This particular blog had the most number of comments as indicated by the data analytics.

Here is Michael O’Doherty’s comment: “Both are great Kipling works but I still like Gunga Din the best.”

Here is Peter Reyes’ comment from Texas: “Hey B C. Greetings from Dallas Texas where I am visiting my daughter and family anticipating – actually counting the hours until the big game: USC vs Alabama …and thinking about the upcoming B C football season. I won’t stay away and will be at no less than 5 Renegade games. B C and the community is awesome..Go Gades Go! PeterRenegade!!”

Here is the most recent of my poetry readings

The Soldier’s Dream
by Thomas Campbell

Our bugles sung truce – for the night-cloud had lowered.
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground, overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.

When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain,
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw;
And thrice ere the cock-crow I dreamt it again.

Methought from the battlefield’s dreadful array,
Far, far I had roam’d on a desolate track;
‘Twas autumn – and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.

I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft
In life’s morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain the cornreapers sung.

Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore.
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kiss’d me a thousand times o’er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fullness of heart.

“Stay – stay with us! – rest! – thou art weary and worn;”
(And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;)
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.

Saturday, September 3rd:

Many of us headed out to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria to watch the first Renegade Football game of the season.  Although it was 64 degrees with a breeze, the Renegades were on fire.  Here is my end of the game tweet!

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For more information on the game check out the gogades website at http://www.gogades.com/sports/fball/2016-17/releases/20160903xl2eoz

Sunday, September 4th:

The week started with Mother Teresa being canonized saint. Here is the song sung by Usha Uthup at her canonization.  Beautiful!

 

My cousin Daphne, posted a picture of  my Aunt Dorothy with Mother Teresa.  Aunt Doro was my dad’s oldest sister and we used to call her Mother Teresa for her kindness and gentleness.

aunt-doro-with-mother-theresaYou may know of Mother Teresa as simply a well-known Catholic nun who dedicated her life to humanitarian work, but last Sunday, September 4th, Pope Francis declared this amazing and beloved woman Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Here are two articles in case you missed the news, from KGET  and The New York Times.

Saint Teresa, known as one of our greatest humanitarians of all time largely dedicated her life to serving the people of India – but specifically, the poor, destitute, and dying people. At a young age, she learned piety and compassion from her mother, who always taught her to give to others by saying, “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.”

But, regardless of your creed or beliefs … Saint Mother Teresa’s message was and still is universal today. She demonstrated a life worth living; one of finding deep purpose by serving those in need. She taught the world to embrace the suffering, rather than shun them. Hardships are worldwide and pain is experienced by all people. She taught that we should not compare our pains… but, instead bond and support each other because we can understand each other’s hurt. She taught us that suffering is often intensified by solitude and reaching out in kindness can have a tremendously positive effect. People have abandoned suicides, changed faiths, pursued life goals, and have done incredible things because of small acts of kindness.

Saint Mother Teresa is an inspiration of generosity, persistence, resilience, compassion, and love – love with no boundaries.

Today, Saturday, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This week our Bakersfield College Student Health and Wellness has partnered with Kern County Mental Health to continue conversation about the increasing national trend on suicide and offer depression screenings for students. There are so many ways to get involved from practicing self-care, to reaching out and checking on others, caring for friends in need, and getting involved with organizations that help.

Today is an opportunity to open up the conversation about a topic that often is neglected, ignored, and stigmatized in our world. To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit that hopes to share the message that hope and help are real. A blog entry on their website from a few years ago reads, “The more we walk through our struggles in silence, the more we deprive others of the benefit of knowing they are not alone. Knowing the truth about the issues is vital, but we can get it from a textbook or Google in just a moment. Unless it is connected with real people, it lacks the power needed to combat stigma. We have to move beyond an awareness of the issues and become truly aware of each other. Real relationships are the true antidote to the separation that stigma breeds between “healthy” and “sick.” Relationships require us to see the real person who is suffering, struggling, recovering, and healing. They are the place in which we find hope and encouragement to keep fighting, and the place where lies are defeated with truth and compassion. This is the path toward hope and healing—for ourselves and each other—and ultimately, toward a society where stigma, shame, and suicide are struggles of the past.” 

Today, it is my hope that we take some time to learn about the warning signs, talk to friends we may be worried about, take the time to love ourselves, and if needed work towards or accomplish the victory of reaching out for help. Let us not stop at being aware of the issue and really, reach out to support one another.

Tuesday, September 6th:  BC AERA STEM Success Center!

Tuesday morning kicked-off the celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony for BC’s new AERA STEM Success Center. As I begin writing about the event, I can’t help but think back to our press event when we stood inside this empty shell of a building, excited for the future possibilities this transformable learning space could offer.

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The celebration included a program of speakers and dignitaries, including Mayor Harvey Hall, trustees Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog, and AERA President and CEO, Christina Sistrunk. Thank you AERA for this worthy gift to our college, community, and students. Christina Sistrunk is am amazing leader during very difficult times.  Her calmness, fearlessness, and compassion sets her apart.

Check out KERO’s news clip on the ribbon cutting http://tinyurl.com/go4rmsz

The AERA Success Center by its very name tells a story for the students. It says that we have an industry partner dedicated to education, building a community, and one that is willing to commit its name to support this effort. And as a success center, it tells the students that this is the place to find faculty, peer mentors, advising, resources, and the inspiration they need to succeed. Our goal for this facility and our dream for the whole campus is to give students a home away from home, where learning is the focus and distractions can be set aside.

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The space where the Success Center stands today was basically a supply closet for Maintenance and Operations for decades, but it was located in a prime spot—flanked by the Math, Science, Engineering and Industrial Technology buildings, right smack in the middle of the STEM neighborhood. With AERA’s gift and the hard work of our faculty, the Success Center will help reverse Southern Kern County’s double-digit unemployment rates and low attainment rates for higher education by empowering a new generation of non-traditional students to pursue degrees in STEM.

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Klint Rogby, Lynn Carithers, Christina Sistrunk, Liz Rozell

As a token of appreciation to AERA, Klint Rigby professor of Industrial Drawing and one of our upper division Industrial Automation faculty for the Baccalaureate degree, designed and built a plaque using a laser cutter and expert woodworking skills. Attendees at the event had the opportunity to sign the letters as a reminder of this momentous day!

 

At BC, there was a team that came together to work on this project including Dean Liz Rozell, MESA director Connie Gonzales, our STEM faculty and staff, Dean for Math and Science Steve Waller, the facilities department, and our district office. Thank you all for your work and dedication to this project!

I’d also like to thank our STEM students for their interest in this project. Our students are the inspiration for everything we accomplish at Bakersfield College.  Jose Chavez, one of our STEM students and a member of the MESA program supporting diversity in math and engineering, spoke candidly about how the STEM programs at BC were an important part of his educational development. A copy of his speech is available online here. https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/17554

tweet-aera-center-opening-sep-7-2016We had a great turnout from the community.  Here are some names I remember after my first cup of coffee this Saturday morning: Richard Chapman, Bob Meadows, Vince Fong, Kristen Barnes, ….. Thank you community for coming out.  Thank you faculty, staff and students for coming out.

I’d also like to thank all the media who came out to support BC and share the exciting new things happening on campus. Check out the article from KGET on the AERA STEM Success Center here. Check out Harold Pierce‘s piece on the event at http://tinyurl.com/hjfgowg.  And here is my tweet on his article🙂

aeraribboncutting039

The work on this project started in March of 2013 under the leadership of Susan Hersberger and CEO Guardie Banister.  Thanks Susan and Guardie for your partnership with BC! Here is a tweet from Guardie after the ribbon cutting.

 

With the opening of the AERA STEM Success Center at Bakersfield College, we’ll be able to change the lives of more people like Jose, and this facility will be a birthplace of transformation for our entire community. Next time you come to BC or drive by on Mt. Vernon and glance over to BC, the sign that says AERA STEM Success Center will be a reminder that this industry giant believes in the transformational power of education and is willing to generously invest in our community and to the education of future generations.

Getting Connected to Service Learning Community Panel

Our Public Health Science students were also in for a treat this week when community leaders from all around town came to speak and discuss topics in the classroom. Coordinated as part of Professor Sarah Baron’s Public Health Science course PBHS21, the goal was to open the minds of students to the world of public health issues.

publichealthpanel

Thank you to Annalisa Robles, California Endowment; Mariel Mehdipour, Kern County Public Health Services; Adrienne Buckle, Kern County Mental Health; Shelley Northrop, American Lung Association; Maria Jaime, Kern Family Health Care; and Chris Romo, youth journalist with South Kern Sol.

The course focuses on community wellness and behavioral change, so Professor Baron invited leaders so they could share their role in the community as well as orient the students to providing service projects at these agencies. Topics discussed were methamphetamine use in our community, promoting tobacco free environments, changing people’s health behavior, Building healthy communities and the effects of health inequities – “a zip code shouldn’t determine how long a person lives but it does.  In fact, health has more to do with the place you live than doctor’s visits.  The odds are stacked against low-income communities and communities of color.”

After the event, Professor Sarah Baron received an email from a student saying, “I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed listening to the speakers today. This was a very interesting and informative day for all of us.”

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Bill Thomas

btThe big news that hit on Wednesday was that Bill Thomas was being recommended to be the next KCCD trustee. An article detailed this news in the Bakersfield Californian. You can check it out here.

Bill Thomas has roots with Bakersfield College from his time as a BC professor, and understands from experience the benefit of attending community college. After high school, Bill attended Santa Ana Community College before transferring to San Francisco State University, where he earned his bachelors and master’s degrees in political science in 1963 and 1965 respectively. Mr. Thomas has spoken about his appreciation for community colleges and notes that it’s where he got his foundation for higher education. He said, “Too many successful people hide the fact that they started in a junior college and only mention the university they transferred to. I have always been proud of the role community colleges have played in helping thousands of people, like me, who would not have been able to go to college at all without a tuition-free local college. Of course, there are tuitions charged now, but they are a fraction of the costs of four-year schools.”

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Do you recognize this little boy to the left?

I love this picture.

 

 

It was in 1965 that Bill moved to Bakersfield where he joined the BC Renegade family as a political science professor. In 1974, Bill was elected as California State Assemblyman and in 1978 was elected to Congress representing the 18th Congressional District. Even though he was in Washington, Bill always kept in touch with Bakersfield College and BC and the needs of the college remained on his mind.

bt_planetariumMr. Thomas secured $1 million for the remodeling of the planetarium thru bill HR3061. Here is a picture of Bill at the Planetarium unveiling in November 2006 when it was named in his honor along with his two grandsons.  I was here at BC at the time as a Dean of the STEM area when Nick Strobel and I and many others worked on the proposal for this major Planetarium upgrade. However, I was in Oregon at the completion of the work in 2006.  Also, Nov 2006 was three months after my dad Paul Christian passed away.  It is definitely a time in my life that I have vivid memories.

Bill has done great work not only for our country as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, but for our campus and the city of Bakersfield as well. We continue to see and look forward to the improvements brought on by the Thomas Roads Improvement Project and have the terminal at Meadows Field airport that shares his name. Bill, just simply …thank you!

babyThere’s a new baby Renegade in Bakersfield

It’s my joy to announce that we have a new baby Renegade as part of the BC family. Foreign Language faculty, Tom Moran forwarded an email to me earlier this week from Foreign Language adjunct, Yuki Takeuchi announcing the birth of her baby boy.

The email read, “Thank you all for being very supportive for my pregnancy. I would like to announce that my baby boy, Hiromasa Henry Chan, came to this world in the morning of September 4, just one day before due date. Hiromasa means “open hearted and going to the right path” and Henry came from my husband’s childhood English name.  He is big!! 7 lb 11 oz, 19.5 inches.”

I know that all of BC is overjoyed that both baby Hiromasa Henry Chan and Mom are healthy and doing well. I just love his name and the meaning behind it. Rest well and enjoy your time together. We can’t wait to see you both on campus!

Dual Enrollment Changing Lives

cchs-asbCatching up on my inbox this week brought a few more pictures from last week’s Renegade Signing events. Make sure you read last weeks blog to catch all the great info about these events.

Besides the pics, Gusatavo Enriquez recounted his favorite highlight of the events. He says, “The highlight of my night… When we told the students ‘you are a college student and welcome to the BC family’ a parent turned around and hugged her daughter with teary but very proud eyes.”  We are BC! And our students are the inspiration for all we do.

check-in

IBM Watson at the US Open

I have been watching the promotion of IBM Watson at the US Tennis Open that will be culminating tomorrow. An article titled, “Watson Makes its Debut in the U.S. Open Mobile App, Making Tennis Fans Smarter Than Ever” really peaked my interest. Artificial intelligence is evolving exponentially every day—self-driving cars are only a few years away from becoming a consumer reality, digital personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana get smarter with each information request, and Google designed an AI that was able to beat a Korean grandmaster at the ancient, extremely complex board game Go.

But for the first time this year, attendees at the US Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York are able to utilize the power of a supercomputer for unprecedented access to information. The US Open’s companion mobile app Guest Services is integrated with IBM Watson, a question-answering system capable of interpreting natural, conversational language. Originally designed to beat game show contestants at Jeopardy!, Watson is serving as a digital concierge for the US Open, providing audience members at Flushing Meadows with information about transportation, on-site facilities, nearby food-and-drink options and more, as well as updated, moment-to-moment statistics and advanced analytics data about every match on the court.

As artificial super-intelligences like IBM Watson become a reality and part of everyday life, human civilization will change in ways we can’t possibly conceive. On the threshold of the technological singularity, I suspect there will always be the desire to watch a few sets Grand Slam tennis.  Now, how will Watson impact education of the future!

In conclusion let’s all be Hiromasa today, tomorrow and the next day — open hearted and going to the right path”

sonya-thumbs-up-2015

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

Our BC Community is a Family

Good Morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, September 3rd….a good day to be a Renegade!

Growing up, I have always associated September as the birthday month…September 2nd is my brother Kevin’s birthday (Virgo) and Sep 24th (Libra) is my mom’s b’day.

Eisha Paul Pam Sonya maybe in 2000

Eisha Christian, Paul Christian, Pam Christian, Sonya Christian

The picture was probably taken 15/16 years ago.

So given mom’s birthday is right around the corner, here is a little song that I grew up with.  I think you will enjoy it.

M-O-T-H-E-R
“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold;
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER,”
A word that means the world to me.

This last week, as all weeks at Bakersfield College, has been hectic yet fulfilling.  Some of the high points were:

Social Media Group Aug 29 2016

Nora Dominguez, Reyna Olaguez, Bill Moseley, MaTesha johnson, JP Lake

 

  • doing facebook webstream for the very first time with Mary Jo Pasek.  This was our assignment from the Social Media group led by JP Lake and Bill Moseley.  In the first hour, I heard, the video had over 200 views.  Pretty cool!  Am glad that JP Lake is on the campaign committee.  He believes in the transformative power of education, when done right!
  • the presentation to the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary.  They are such a fun group and it was delightful to co-present with Karen Thompson and Jay Rosenlieb.
  • Receiving the endorsement from the VFW District 6.
  • Seeing our student leaders putting on a fun set of activities for the new students in the campus quad.
  • Watching our soccer teams on Tuesday.  Women’s soccer won 5-0 over West Hills Lemoore with Emilia Lopez finishing with a hat trick.  Men’s soccer tied 2-2 with BC goal keeper Frank Aerola having numerous saves.  We are BC!

It is a good time to be at BC!

On a sad note, John Boydstun a long time BC friend passed away this week.  Here he is with the BC Cheer team at the Kiwanis meeting.

John Boydstun and BC Cheer team Aug 2016.jpg

Dual Enrollment

DualEnrollment_Jesse Oropeza (Adjunct Counselor) Check In (Arvin HS)“It’s never too early to think about college and the credits that can help your student reach success post high school.”

These words kicked off a fabulous article on KGET highlighting the dual enrollment program at BC and our Renegade Signing events this week. Over the past several weeks, our BC Delano staff has gone out into the local high schools to help counselors and instructors encourage young students through the matriculation process for BC.

http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/renegade-signing-events-are-a-welcome-for-incoming-high-school-students

Thank you Christina Lopez of KGET for this great coverage!

Various hands-on workshops were held to get hundreds of students registered. A special thank you to Gustavo Enriquez, Richard McCrow, Abel Guzman, and the entire team in Delano who have been working diligently for some time now on getting dual enrollment courses up and going in the Delano Joint Union High School District. Their efforts have also been to get more dual enrollment courses offered in Arvin High School.

DualEnrollment_First student to sign up (CCHS)The future looks bright for these areas, its people, and our students! We are BC!

On Monday, we held an event at CCHS, Tuesday at Arvin HS, Wednesday at Delano HS, and Thursday at RFK HS to welcome both students and families to Bakersfield College. These “mini convocations” greeted students, answered parent questions, and most importantly made it clear that as of that evening, they were all now BC Renegades!

Each student received a BC planner, BC pencil, and “Get Focused, Stay Focused” wristbands as parents signed all the necessary dual enrollment authorization forms.

The school districts and school sites were amazing in setting these events up. Paul Chavez (Director of Career Technical Education for DJUHSD), the administrators at all Delano sites, and Mr. Watts at Arvin HS did a great job of promoting the event, and creating a welcoming environment. Several schools even provided their own snacks and drinks. Bakersfield College-WeCOMM students volunteered to help run the events.

DualEnrollment_WECOMM students help at check in (DHS)

Earning a college degree is an increasingly important step towards creating a better future. “It’s never too early to think about college and the credits that can help your student reach success post high school.”

BC is a Family!

Andrea ThorsonAndrea Thorson (btw, I love this picture of Andrea and her son) sent out an absolutely elegant email on Wednesday highlighting my blog to our campus community. In closing she wrote

Bakersfield College is not just a great college with a small town feel, it offers a high quality education from people who love what they do and care deeply about keeping this city strong and thriving.  So, don’t forget to get connected with students, staff, faculty, and even administrators on this campus.  We are a family.

And it’s true – I couldn’t have said it better.

BillPotter_Sonya

Sonya Christian and Bill Potter

It brings me joy to hear the little stories throughout my week from various members of the BC family, and I was especially struck when Bill Potter, our Director of Facilities, stopped by to update me on a few projects. Bill was bragging about his department and mentioned that at a recent staff retreat, Patrick Harrison shared the story of how he became one of the BC crew.

After moving to Bakersfield from Santa Barbara on a whim in 1982, Patrick first came to the campus on the hill during a 4th of July celebration. That day, he saw the carts racing the track of memorial stadium and remembers thinking to himself, what it would be like to actually drive one of those things

Patrick Harrison

Patrick Harrison

 

 

A few years later, in 1996, he applied for a job at Bakersfield College and was called back within 3 days to start working. Today he takes care of the same stadium he once remembers thinking about.

He tells the story as if everything eventually fell into place and it was meant to be, but my favorite part of all is the day he remembers driving back to Bakersfield after a visit in Santa Barbara. He explained that after the long drive on the grapevine, he pulled into the streets of Bakersfield and remembered thinking “I’m home.”

We are BC! And I truly believe every individual involved on campus is meant to be here.

Talking about every individual at BC is meant to be here, I certainly feel that way.  Here is a photo taken at the public announcement of the 10th president of BC on October 15, 2012.

Sandra Serrano Sonya Christian John Corkins 2012

Sandra Serrano, Sonya Christian, John Corkins

Another shining example of our BC family is Chris Counts, our public safety director.

chris-counts-convocation

After a strange situation on Wednesday morning including an incident with a student, Chris was available for multiple interviews, sharing safety tips, explaining what we’re doing campus wide to increase safety and commending our excellent campus security team.

The student did the right thing by trusting her instinct, and seeking help on campus. It’s important to note that our campus security team encourages anyone to contact them at any time.

Chris CountsIn fact, Chris sent out an email just the Friday prior stating, “I want you to know and understand that reporting of suspicious activity, even when you don’t really understand why you think something is wrong or out of the ordinary, like a ‘gut feeling’ something just doesn’t seem right, is perfectly OK to go ahead and make that call to Public Safety. We will respond to all calls of suspicious activity to ensure the safety of our campus.”

Way to go Chief Counts, public safety team, and Shannon Musser. Due to your diligence and awesome communication, our students knew quickly what had happened on campus, and they’re prepared with the tips they need to seek help if any situation should arise.

The BC family truly knows the way to my heart, especially Ying Vang, who appeared on Thursday with a platter of homemade eggrolls for me to share.  And Kristin Rabe, who gave me a packet of Cheetos with a bow to pep me up before the State of the College address on Opening Day.

Ying

Ying is a Systems Support Specialist in the IT department, and I’m sure many of you have interacted with him and know his positive smile and attitude. He absolutely loves to help people and is an encouragement to the whole IT department and staff campus wide. The homemade eggrolls were packed with colorful veggies, rice noodles, had a spicy sauce, and lots of love.

He tells me, “Hmong eggrolls are different than Chinese eggrolls and I want to share them so they can try something different.  They are easy to eat because eggrolls are finger food and you don’t need a fork or chopsticks.”

He also admitted that he doesn’t actually make them himself – but his wife Chia makes them. Either way, they were incredibly delicious and I’m glad I was able to share them, but even more so that Ying is part of our BC family!

We are BC!

Our Student Activities

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SGA Senator Fitzgerald Graves addresses students at the Campus Center

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What an incredible first two weeks it has been! BC Student Government Association and the Office of Student Life have tackled the first two weeks of fall with passion and enthusiasm in getting students involved in campus activities!

The 2nd Annual Student Involvement Festival was a huge success, as was evident by the large turnout of BC students and businesses that were present. Many local businesses recruited for volunteering, displayed employment opportunities, gave out free prizes, and provided an opportunity for job networking. Many students found the information helpful, since many of the businesses were major specific.

Student_PancakesKicking off first thing Monday morning, students arrived to the Panorama and Delano campuses to Welcome Tents filled with student planners, information on campus departments, how to download the BC Renegade App, and most importantly, guidance to their first class! KVC/BCSGA Discount sticker holders got tons of freebies during the first two weeks as well. A BCSGA water bottle, tie-dyed t-shirt, tacos, and even free pancakes at the pep rally this past Thursday! Thanks to the Renegade Cheerleaders and Coach Heather Foss for a spirited time!

sonya and nan sep 1 2016

Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Students engaged in campus activities throughout the week by making plush bears decked out in Renegade pride, filling candy straws, listening to DJ Platinum, The Mentalist, and live band Epic Proportions during their time at the Campus Center. The first two weeks were wrapped up with the Student Involvement Festival which brought in over 72 booths for students to visit between departments, student organizations, and outside vendors.

Walking through was a real joy to see all the different campus and community groups who came out to get involved and invite our students for opportunities to make a difference. When strolling through, I even stopped by the SGA table for a marvelous pancake breakfast served by our students.

Check out some of the great photos on BC’s Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/jejq4k5

and make sure to watch the video captured by 23 news! http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/bakersfield-college-hosts-student-involvement-festival

The final event was for the community at large, BC’s first Community Movie Night showing Captain America: Civil War. What a whirlwind of wonderful events for students to participate in! Truly, our student Renegades will be able to get involved in the various activities that are planned for the year.

For more information visit www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/studentlife or download the BC Mobile app at www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/mobile.

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Baccalaureate Program

A little over a week ago, we had our first Orientation and Welcome to the Lower Division and Upper Division Enrollment Cohorts. This event was organized and facilitated by our BDP Counselor, Cynthia Quintanilla.

She arranged for speakers from Student Life, Financial Aid, and CTE Job Development. It was informative and included a time for a facilities tour and socializing. Students received several informational handouts. It’s also great to see the communication our students receive, like the Industrial Automation Student Newsletter.

The first issue featured articles like, Courses in 2016-2017, Faculty & Staff, New Automation Lab, and Comparison to a 4yr University.  Thank you to Cynthia and all involved in our STEM programs at BC!

IA_Newsletter

Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary

Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary is comprised of both CEOs and small business owners who find a breakfast meeting to be the best fit for their needs. The group includes large and small business owners who contribute to everything from roofing Habitat for Humanity homes (I’m told they’ve done 35+ roofs) to the wreath project at our National Cemetery.

Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary won the Beautiful Bakersfield Award in 2014 for Humanitarian large group!

Thank you Jerry Starr for publicly appreciating Bakersfield College particularly the nursing program.  Was great seeing Mike Stepanovich after such a long time. Pete Leveroni also knew my dad and worked with him on  Rotary International Project.  Was great seeing you Pete!

 

Downtown Business Association

DBA2

Sarah Baron, Nicky Damania, Cathy Butler, Jeff Lemucchi

This week, I’m excited to share four upcoming events in collaboration with Cathy Butler from the Bakersfield Downtown Association and Jeff Lemucchi from the Arts Council of Kern. Thanks to these awesome people and two of our BC go-getters, Professor Sarah Baron and Dr. Nicky Damania, we’re developing more plans to engage the community and College.

  • Third Thursday event: Taste of Downtown Bakersfield
    Thursday, September 15, 2016  |  6-10pm
    Come join us for some fun while eating some of the delicious creatiions from our local businesses downtown.
    Learn more at  http://bakersfielddba.com/event/taste-of-downtown
  • DBAOctober First Friday (aka garage top party)
    Friday, October 7, 2016  |
    5-9pm
    Contributing to the Arts in Bakersfield, BC will be support our own arts on campus. Also, there might be a humor of an exclusive parking garage roof top party for our beloved Bakersfield Community. Learn more at  http://kernarts.org/first-friday-art-walk/
  • Third Thursday Event
    Thursday, October 20, 2016  |  5:30 to 8:30 pm
    Come play with Bakersfield College as we honor our city leaders and enjoy good company at Central Park along Mill Creek.

We are Bakersfield. And we are BC!

College Council

Council

On friday, as I was driving to campus, I was looking forward with anticipation to the first College Council meeting of the new academic year. It was wonderful to see bright familiar faces and new smiles among the mix as we welcomed new members for this year. We gather regularly to address college-wide issues through a collaborative, integrative approach, promoting greater communication throughout the college campus at large, and to facilitate effective decision-making efforts.

Members of the Council fill a unique place in the College’s structure. As members, they are the primary and most visible representative of their constituent groups. They set the standard for civility, candor, and accuracy in collegial discussion, within Council meetings and in their interactions with others in the college community. Members are conduits of information to and from the groups they represent. They should strive to understand and accept diverse points of view while attempting to reach a consensus to best serve the College as a whole. Members have a responsibility to engage and communicate regularly with the constituent group(s) they represent.  I’m so grateful to have such a superb group of people on this team.  Because of leaders, teams, and councils like this, it’s definitely a great time to be at BC!

James Schmitz Letter

In our digital world of Facebook, Twitter, emails, and quick, quick, quick communication, it was really meaningful to slow down and read a physical letter which was delivered to my desk. Mr. James Schmitz attended the memorial tribute to Jack Brigham a few weeks ago and shared his comments in note I’ve uploaded at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/17376.

You may want to re-read my August 6th blog on Jack Brigham at http://tinyurl.com/j9q6a23

In his note, James mentioned that Jack’s favorite song was Walk a Mile in My Shoes by Joe South and The Believers.  Jack was indeed, much larger than his physical self and his spirit will always be alive at BC!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKUI2Zwioc0

S.Christian Oct 3 2012  from Renegade Rip as candidate for president

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

(picture from the Renegade Rip, oct 3, 2012, during the open forum for presidential candidates at BC)

The end of the first week…Fall 2016

Casey Sorrell, Krista Sorell, Baby Jack Aug 26 2016

Casey, Krista and Jack Sorell

Baby Jack “is going to be a Renegade football player like his dad,” said Krista Sorell, the young mom with her husband Casey at the Memorial Stadium watching the Renegade scrimmage against Antelope Valley.  The young family was there with their parents and this generational support for Renegades is not uncommon.  As you can see baby Jack is already in Renegade Red.  Thank you Sorell’s for your support of Bakersfield College.  We are BC!

 

Btw, I didn’t get their email address, so, if any of your reading the blog know the Sorells, could you forward the blog link to them?

Good Morning Bakersfield! It is Saturday, August 27, 2016 and a phenomenal day to be a Renegade!

Week One of Fall 2016

Last Saturday, I was filled with anticipation for the students to arrive on campus and boy, was I not disappointed! The students have filled the campus and BC is alive!

On Wednesday, Sue Vaughn, Director of Enrollment Services and who has served our students in Admissions and Records for over 20 years, stopped by my office to let me know our enrollment numbers have hit an all-time high. On Thursday, we hit a headcount of 20,268.  This is just for the fall term.  Wonder what the number is going to be for 2016-2017.  In 2015-2016 we had approximately 27,000 students.   Together, let’s build A Better BC for our growing student body and the future generations.  Check out our efforts to do so at http://www.abetterbc.com/.

Many of our departments volunteered to staff welcome tents, “ask me” carts, or extended hours to assist students with their needs. Food services rocked the house and fed a growing number of students wanting snacks and nutritional meals, campus safety was on top of things, answering every call and addressing the increased traffic and congestion around campus. Student Life prepared amazing activities and events every day of the week. Each department contributed in a unique way to this successful start to a new year. We are BC! And our entire community works together to make sure our students are prepared, and equipped with the tools they need to be successful. Here’s to a great Fall Semester and 2016-2017 academic year!

Carlos!

Carlos

Sonya Christian with Carlos Barbaran

In addition to new students, we also have new faculty and staff on campus. This week our office staff walked in to a beautiful memo on their desks written by Carlos Barbaran, our custodian. Carlos welcomed the 22 new staff with a letter explaining how to best reach him if help is needed and kind gestures like this remind me how people at BC always go out of their way to do that little extra something.

 

Carlos, along with many others, takes pride in his loyalty to BC. He has such a unique story and background which was detailed in an article titled “Immigrant from Peru comes to U.S., finds home at Bakersfield College.” This fantastic article, from a 2009 issue of The Renegade Rip explains how Carlos, born in Lima, Peru, found himself in Bakersfield accepting a job at BC and made a true home here. He took classes in real estate, communication, and English; volunteered for local and global initiatives; earned numerous awards including a Congressional award from Congressman McCarthy, an award from Mayor Hall, and from the Governor of Peru; and he’s spoken to state officials in Sacramento on behalf of Bakersfield College.

In his letter to staff this week, Carlos notes that “The key to success is great communication” and he’s taken the first step to opening the door of communication with all our new staff.

With over 20 years of dedication to Bakersfield College, thank you Carlos.

I encourage you to read the article on Carlos as it’s an incredible glimpse into one of the hundreds of people who make up this amazing and diverse college.

Kate and Sonya JAn 25 2015 in OaklandKate!

The second example of going above and beyond was brought to my attention via an email from Kate Pluta. She said…

We have had a wonderful team work through the process of adding additional English B1a sections (last week there were over 700 students on waitlists).

Dave Moton who wouldn’t give up on finding more and more adjunct faculty. Tina Johnson who worked closely with Tina Chamberlain to find classrooms–magic! Tina Johnson who emailed and called students to tell them they were moving from a waitlist to a new section (online or at the same time). Angela Craft who made sure they had office space and keys and sent them their class lists because they couldn’t yet access them until they were in the system. Tina Chamberlain–the eye in the middle of the storm, who calmly added the classes, ensured loads were correct, and kept track of newly-hired faculty as they were finalized by HR so the names could be changed from STAFF to theirs.  A & R staff who moved the waitlists. HR who verified that adjunct faculty could take on an additional section or sections and then made sure they were processed in time so they could step in the classrooms the first week.  Dave Moton who kept on top of the process and shepherded the new faculty or new-to-full-time faculty. Nan who responded so quickly so that we could move adjunct into temporary full-time status for the fall.  Her faculty led to two additional online 1a sections. 

What a wonderful team effort that most won’t know about, but many students who didn’t have a class have one now!  I am sure there are more people involved, but this list gives you an idea of the teamwork involved. –Kate Pluta, Dean of Instruction”

It’s a fantastic day when we can push ourselves to go above and beyond to accommodate our growing number of students.

Jahnea!

And a third example was brought to my attention through email but started on social media. Mary Jo Pasek received this Facebook message from the parent of one of our new students! It said…

Hey, MJ … sending a shout out to thank Jahnea Palfrey via you, for making my son’s day yesterday!! There was a glitch in the enrollment system and Jahnea took time to listen and help resolve the issue … school starts for my son on Monday and he cannot be any more thrilled to be part of the BC Renegade family!! ThankyouThankyouTHANKYOU”

People like Carlos, everyone mentioned in Kate’s email, and Jahnea are the hands and heart of BC. Every member of the BC community across buildings, departments, and even across campuses go above and beyond each day to make BC the best choice for our students. Days like these are one of the reasons I’m the luckiest college president in the world!

Winterfest

Winterfest.jpg

Cooler days are headed our way as we begin the countdown to Winterfest! Beginning December 21st, BC’s Memorial Stadium will come to life as a winter wonderland featuring not one, but two outdoor ice skating rinks, an obstacle course, zip line, and 18 days of seasonal family fun. I can’t wait to see our BC staff, faculty, administration, friends, and community enjoying this monumental event.

The Three-Way Chevrolet Condorstown Outdoor Classic presented by Mission Bank will be the ultimate signature event held on January 7th at 6:00 PM. On Tuesday, I joined the Condors Organization and community partners on the field for the press event and I’ll tell you – standing under the late August, mid-morning sun, it’s hard to imagine an ice cold environment for a wintry wonderland. But, I’m assured by the brilliant people putting this rink together, that this feat, including 600 tons of sand, will be a success! Check out the interview on CondorsTV to see what will go into creating this outdoor ice rink at https://twitter.com/Condors/status/768512055900905473.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0040.JPGMemorial stadium was built in 1955 with the grand vision of bringing the community together – creating extraordinary occasions through hometown favorites, such as Renegade Football. Throughout the years, it’s been a place of rich history, athletic achievement, world records, and dreams… and now the Condors playing ice hockey outdoors in this signature venue will bring our community together once more. Winterfest will truly make Memorial Stadium the “coolest” place in Bakersfield for two-and-a-half weeks of seasonal entertainment.

CondorsTV has a recap of Tuesday morning on their Youtube channel. I encourage you to check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABHlhNCZdjY.

And we have a great photo gallery from the press conference – check it out at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/Condors-at-BC-stadium-2016/! Thank you to Manny De Los Santos and Dylan Wang for sharing their photography skills.

Thank you to Matthew Riley, President of Bakersfield Condors; Mayor Harvey Hall; Ted Nicholas, President of Three-Way Chevrolet; A.J. Antongiovanni, President of Mission Bank; Chris Huot, Assistant City Manager of Bakersfield; Kelly Buchberger, Vice President of Player Development, Edmonton Oilers (NHL); Gerry Fleming, Head Coach, Bakersfield Condors; Barry Sherer, International Hockey Events; and Rich Cubin, Rink Specialists.

Winterfest announcement group August 23 2016

Chris Huot, A.J. Antongiovanni, Ted Nicholas, Sonya Christian, Harvey Hall

All information regarding Winterfest, tickets, and the Bakersfield Condors game versus The Ontario Reign can be found at http://www.bakersfieldcondors.com/classic/.

And extra thank you’s to Ramon Puga, Martin Ramirez, Sandi Taylor, Keith Ford, Roger Fessler, Erin Kidwell, Landon Webb, and Patrick Harrison, who came out to help set up the event, and helped break it down afterwards.

After the announcement of Winterfest, I started thinking about Ice Hockey and its history in the state of sunny California.

Did you know the first Calfornia hockey game was held in Los Angeles in 1917? Within a few short years, college hockey gained immense popularity with teams popping up at both USC and UCLA by the mid-1920s. The essential Zamboni was even invented in Paramount, California in 1949. In 1959, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena opened giving the city a suitable venue for the NHL to visit, with exhibition games and visiting minor leagues.

After a short stint with the Western Hockey League, Los Angeles was learning to love hockey and by the late 60’s, the NHL was looking to expand. The Kings began an era of hockey growth that has just never really stopped. Their first game was in Long Beach, CA on October 14, 1967.

But they’re not the only team we have today. We now have 3 NHL teams, 5 AHL teams, and countless adult and youth teams across the state. And other ice sports have a connection with California – just look at Michelle Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world champion, nine-time U.S. figure skating champion, and southern California native.

Wayne Gretzky’s trade to LA may have led to a hockey boom, but it’s the true love and dedication of the hockey fans who keep that boom going strong. If you’ve never seen a game, you just have to experience it in person. I hope you’ll come and bring your friends and family to the “campus on the hill” for this memorable Winterfest event.

Voice of the Animal

I’m always excited to share something unique that our fine faculty are up to in their spare time, and last week, I mentioned Matthew Garrett’s book, Making Lamanites: Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Student Placement Program, 1947-2000. It’s now available online at http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/upcat/id/2022/rec/1.

RaeandJoshProfessor Rae Ann Kumelos shared some awesome news with me this week that I’d couldn’t wait to highlight. First off, she and Professor Josh Ottum of the newly established Commercial Music Program at BC, have partnered together to record and score the Voice of the Animal show. As part of the Commercial Music program curriculum, students will have a guaranteed commercial venue to produce sound and musical content, and will gain valuable exposure and experience in creating material appropriate for a national audience on a variety of social media and broadcast platforms. In addition, she tells me, students will have national commercial experience to include in their portfolio, and BC and the Commercial Music program will receive acknowledgment at the end of each show.

Just last week, Rae Ann and Josh were in the studio recording our first programs – check out the selfie! It’s an incredible opportunity for our students and we’re so lucky to have Rae Ann and Josh at BC!  We are BC! We are all about developing talent and all about J for Jobs!

If you’re wondering about Voice of the Animal, it’s Rae Ann’s radio show with international exposure. It’s broadcast on the Animal Radio Network via XM Satellite Radio, I-Heart Radio podcasts,  and over 140 independent radio stations in the US and Canada, and it reaches almost 500,000 listeners.

In addition, Rae Ann also has a new book coming out titled Wild Wisdom: Animal Stories of the Southwest, published by Rio Nuevo. The book is available now on Amazon – and you can check out more on her website, www.voiceoftheanimal.com.

Hispanic Chamber Business Conference
and Familiar Faces

On Thursday, August 25th, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held the 22nd Annual Hispanic Business Conference and Expo. Mary Jo Pasek and Tom Gelder were on hand to set up a beautiful display with BC themed goodies and represent Bakersfield College while I saw many familiar faces of BC supporters throughout the day.

First to catch my eye was Jay Tamsi, the CEO of the KCHCC.  Jay is a strong supporter of education and a great partner of the college.  Jay, the Business Conf. was a huge success. Thank you for all that you do for the community and for BC!

Next, BC alumna Lynne Grimes holds BC close to her heart with many fond memories of her time as a BC Renegade. She was an editor for the Rip and sang with our renowned BC Chamber Singers during her years as a student.

Three former students of BC have come together to create a small business, KIT Community, that supports tech and innovation in Kern County.  They were promoting their work at the Business Conference and stopped by the BC table.  We are going to collaborate with these youngsters and promote tech innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset.

Schilling Christian Aug 25 2016

Sonya Christian and Stephen Schilling

Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista and a fantastic partner of BC also was in attendance and stopped by to say hello. He posted in his official message on the Clinica Sierra website that, “Clinica Sierra Vista is a testament to what can be accomplished when there is a sincere desire to serve. We have faced many challenges, not the least of which have been recent mandates to reduce health care costs. Yet we continue to forge ahead to meet those changes and prepare for a new era without compromising our mission. As we celebrate over forty years of success, we are still aware of the myriad of challenges facing us. There is still much to do as we try to reach those who are still not receiving adequate health care. We view the coming years with excitement as we continue our role in providing much-needed services in the ever-changing health care arena never forgetting who it is we truly serve.”

A truly inspirational message from a first-class leader in our community — Clinica Sierra Vista is build upon a foundation of caring for the community and “it is truly a program of local, state and federal resources meeting the needs of our very at-risk patient populations.” For more information about Clinica Sierra Vista, please check out https://clinicasierravista.org/.  Thank you to all BC staff and students who volunteered to staff the table — Lisa Kent, Mary Jo Pasek, Tom Gelder, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Nicky Damania, Sarah Baron, Asha Chandy, and Corny Rodriguez.  

DBA

At the Business Conference, I snagged a selfie with Cathy Butler, president of Bakersfield Downtown Business Association (DBA).

DBA

Selfie. Sonya Christian with Cathy Butler

Did you know the Bakersfield DBA was formed after the historical earthquake that devastated the Bakersfield area? It’s true! In 1954, two years after the historic earthquake wreaked havoc on over 100 buildings in Bakersfield, the DBA was established to bring business back to Bakersfield. Since then, it has worked diligently to improve the downtown area and keep Bakersfield safe, clean, and beautiful. And Cathy Butler is the heart and soul of the DBA!

A quick visit to their website reminded me that the Taste of Downtown event is back again this year. Did any of my blog readers attend last year? For information, check out http://bakersfielddba.com/taste-of-downtown-2016/

Student Leaders from BC, PC and CCCC Meet:

Last Saturday, August 20th, after publishing my blog, I headed out to Porterville College to join Tom Burke, CFO of KCCD, to present information about the bond and Measure J (remember J for Jobs) to student leaders from BC, PC, and CCCC.  It was delightful to see our students across KCCD be so enthusiastic, so curious, and so involved.  I was also really impressed with the advisors at the three colleges — Nicky Damania (Bakersfield), Carrin Blyth (Porterville) and Pam Campbell (Cerro Coso).  Porterville College President, Dr. Rosa Carlson, joined us and we had a wonderful and energetic conversation with the students.  And of course a shout out to the fabulous BC SGA Prez Mathew Frazer.

SGA Retreat Aug 20 2016

Arvin in the News:

 

The City of Arvin is definitely on the move. A groundbreaking ceremony was heldl on August 25th on the  Garden in the Sun Park on Bear Mountain Blvd.  Community Leaders were out in large numbers supporting the city.  Among them, Mayor Harvey Hall, who is also the honorary chair of the BC Bond Blue Ribbon Committee; Kern Community College Trustees Dennis Beebe and Kay Meek; as well as the Vice President of the Kern Economic Development Corporation Cheryl Scott.  Cheryl is also on the BC Foundation Board and is taking a leadership role on the Blue Ribbon Committee for the bond.  I also must do a shout out to Jim Young,  BC alum Jose Gurrola who is on the City Council, Mayor Jose Flores, City Manager Al Noyola, Jazmine Robles, and the entire Arvin City Council.

Ribbon Cutting Aug 25 2016

BC Athletics

Let’s now hear from Francis Mayer, BC’s Sports Director on the happenings with BC Athletics:

COACH CHUDY CALLS ANTELOPE VALLEY SCRIMMAGE PRODUCTIVE

“At this stage, you’ve got to look at it in bits and pieces; unfortunately we weren’t as consistent across the board as we needed to be. We had some missed tackles that led to more yards after the catch than you want to see, and then the mistakes…Our first two pays of the offensive series resulted in procedure penalties and those are momentum killers, and we repeated it. Those are killers…”

Chudy addressed the different looks BC trotted out against Antelope Valley.

“The game is evolving, and we are trying to get our best eleven players on the field every play whether that’s on offense or defense. Each play is it’s own unique play, and you take it one play at a time with your best eleven out there, that’s what we are trying to focus on…we are fortunate to have a lot of speed, and we have to utilize it. We won’t chuck n’ duck fifty times a game…we will try to be a balanced attack and make them cover the field; if they aren’t putting enough guys in the box, we’ve got to run downhill. When they gang up, we’ve got to throw to the edges and we are lucky enough to have guys who can take that five yard catch and turn it into a big gain,” Chudy explained.

No score was kept, but Chudy and his staff said they were more interested in finding hungry players. “We are finding out who can do what; that’s what this was about…it’s not about keeping score. It’s about correcting mistakes and pointing out things that were done correctly. And when we watch film tomorrow we’ll see who was doing the little things. Because the one thing they can control is their own effort. It doesn’t take talent; it just takes a lot of heart, guts, and mindset,” Chudy said.

THE BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE MEN’S SOCCER TEAM LOST THEIR REGULAR SEASON OPENER 2-1 AT SANTA MONICA COLLEGE

Coach Martinez Aug 2016

Coach Martinez

The Bakersfield College Men’s Soccer Team lost their regular season opener 2-1 on the road to Santa Monica College, their first regular season game in almost 30 years after being reinstated for play this year.

“We held our own for the first 45 minutes, we were a little bit disorganized and it took us some time to get into the flow of things. We held them off the score sheet in the first half, and we came out in the second half and committed a turnover around the 20 minute mark of the second half that led to their first score. And then with about eight minutes left in regulation, we got a throw-in deep in their half by Alberto Munoz, and Braulio Guiterrez collected the ball, shook off the defender, and placed a nice cross to Kevin Hernandez who calmy headed the ball in to the far post with about eight minutes to go.”

The excitement of having scored the very first goal in so many years at BC, and the blood might have boiled to hot from that adrenaline rush and one of their wingers beat our guy in the one-on-one and scored off of that cross to give them the last lead of the game.

Frank Arreola had eight saves while giving up two goals in the net for the Renegades.

“You can’t dwell on it, we’ve got another game in four days,” Martinez said.

The ‘Gades will host West Hills-Lemoore in their home debut in Memorial Stadium Tuesday at 7p in the second half of a double header that sees the women’s team play West Hills-Lemoore at 5p.

LADY ‘GADES WIN OPENER 4-1 AT LA VALLEY

After coming out of the half tied at 1s, Bakersfield ripped LA Valley for three goals to run away

“I’m really thrilled to say we had four different goal scorers,” Head Coach Scott Dameron said, “Because I think that’s the strength of this year’s team; we are pretty balanced.”

Ali Castro scored the first goal from about 40 yards out, and Dameron called it an “absolute bomb”.

Sabrina Sanchez set up the ‘Gades second goal just one minute after entering the game in the second half as a sub; she slipped a ball through to Amelia Lopez who drove the ball home from about 18 yards out.

But Sanchez wasn’t done being helpful, and about 15 minutes later she found Maria Carrillo with a similar ball that only required nimble collection and a steady shot to beat the keeper.

3-1 ‘Gades.

Odalys Espinoza scored BC’s final goal on a PK given after a handball on a corner kick.

VOLLEYBALL OPENS REGULAR SEASON 2-0 WITH WINS OVER CHAFFEY COLLEGE AND RIO HONDO @DAY ONE OF LA PIERCE TOURNEY 

The Bakersfield College Volleyball team opened their 2016 season with a 3-0 win over Chaffey College and a 3-1 win over Rio Hondo in day one of the LA Pierce Tournament Friday.

 

The Lady Gades will resume play Saturday at 1pm against Mira Costa, and 6:30p against either Pierce or Santa Barbara.

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY OPEN SEASONS AT OXNARD INVITATIONAL

Cross Country Aug 2016

The Bakersfield College Women’s Cross Country team finished eighth out of 10 teams competing in the 5k race, while the Men’s team placed eighth out of 11 teams in the four mile race.

Sydney Roman was the top individual finisher for the women with a time of 20 minutes and 56 seconds (25th place), while Patrick Alvardo finished first for the men with a time of 22 minutes and 23.9 seconds (22nd)

Rudyard Kipling

Out of the blue, one of my friends this week quoted Rudyard Kipling. “But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew” …a line from Soldier an’ Sailor too.  That got me digging out my poetry book, Panorama, from high school and spending nostalgic evenings reading some of my favorite poems.  I thought about the late and absolutely genius Robin Williams as his role in The Dead Poets Society saying “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry… beauty, romance, love, these… are what we stay alive for.”

Rudyard Kipling, known for notable works including “The Jungle Book” and “If-“ was born in Bombay, India and found his talent at a young age as the editor of his school paper. He is quoted as saying “If history were taught in form of story, it would never be forgotten.” So, it was no surprise when researching Soldier an’ Sailor too, that it has a true historical reference to the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead in 1852. The poem pays homage to the Royal Marines who went down with the ship and gave lifeboat priority to the women and children on board. “The synonymous ‘Birkenhead drill’ became an exemplar of courageous behavior in hopeless circumstances”

The themes in Rudyard Kipling’s works include valor, adventure, and bravery. I’ve often mentioned my affinity for The Jungle Book (Check out July 9th’s blog when I saw the new movie) and one of my favorite stories in the collection is the one of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the courageous mongoose who protects his family against the snakes. You can see a clip of the cartoon on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl7f2ytS7Vw.

While these two stories are thoughtfully different – one of perishing soldiers and one of a brave little creature – they both have the same unfailing message that heroes (who can come in any shape or form) strive to do the right thing by putting others first.

That’s a wrap – and I can’t wait to see what next week has in store.

sonya thoughtful fall 2016

 

 

Until next Saturday…..

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya  

The luckiest and happiest college president