A busy Homecoming Week at BC!

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“I don’t think there’s any jobs like back then.” – Bob Thompson

Two years ago, in 2014, The Washington Post published a story following Bob Thompson, a man from Southern California who had never gone to college, but as a young man in his hometown of Downy in the 1960’s it was easy to find a decent job. Since it was the proud hub of aerospace manufacturing, he quickly secured a job at a local plant with no higher education.

At the end of the video clip, he said, “Today’s world – I don’t think there’s any jobs like back then. Today’s world – you have to be educated… college educated, or trades, something like that. But to just go out and get a job, a nice paying job, I think those days are over with.You can check out the short video clip here on Washingtonpost.com.

His words have stuck with me over the past week… Especially as I’ve witnessed the amazing dedication from individuals who persistently support BC and Measure J. It is BC’s goal to provide necessary job skills for the people of this community for the next 50 years.


Michael Turnipseed supporting Measure J

Georgetown University, in its Job Growth and Educational Requirements Through 2020, has predicted that, “By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school” and “The United States will fall short by 5 million workers with postsecondary education- at the current production rate- by 2020.” https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Recovery2020.ES_.Web_.pdf

Bakersfield College – and community colleges nationwide – are the pipeline to prepare the workforce for both middle-skill jobs and transfering to higher levels of educational obtainment and the highly-skilled workforce. A lot has changed since the 1960s, and the demands for more education will increase, right along the increasing number of students. The success of our community, the success of our local economy, and the health of our people depend on locally and technically trained prepared students to meet this upcoming demand.  #MeasureJ


David Torres supporting Measure J

This was made clear at the Kern Workforce Summit on October 19th organized by Supervisor Leticia Perez, Teresa Hitchcock and a team of business and industry partners.  Unfortunately, I did not take my own pictures at the event, so here is a collage from Karen Goh’s facebook page.  Thanks Karen!



Supervisor Leticia Perez supporting Measure J

David Womack, a retired USAF colonel, is the senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in Kern County.


David Womack

Have you seen his piece in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian? He says,

Measure J has the potential to transform our region and create a tipping point for generations to come. Here is how your vote will make a difference.

He concludes with:

Desmond Tutu once said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” Measure J is our upstream opportunity. You can choose to invest in the health of our community and wellbeing of our veterans.

You can choose to vote Yes on Measure J.

Find out how by checking out his letter at http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-how-measure-j-can-improve-kern-s-health/article_4516a34e-973f-527d-a569-256b8f93fa9b.html

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Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, October 22nd …. Homecoming at Bakersfield College and an amazing day to be a Renegade.  An amazing day following an amazing week of activities both on-campus and off-campus.

And why would the week not be great when we had Scott Cox in it🙂

First Look with Scott Cox


Scott Cox, Marlene Heise, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian

Retired Congressman and KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas and I were guests on First Look with Scott Cox this past week to talk about Measure J.  It was really a lot of fun.  Also notice Hop, Mike Hopper, with the Measure J sign.  We was wonderful and so funny.  Thank you Marlene Heise for making this happen.

A recording of the live video is available on First Look’s Facebook page at


Measure J Update


The Kern County Farm Bureau Endorses Measure J.  See press release


Thank you President Jeff Rasmussen and Beatris Espericueta Sanders and each member of the Board for your support of Measure J.


Beatris Espericueta, Heather Baltis, Sonya Christian



Doug Starr of the Kern Ag Foundation supports Measure J

Over 1800 individuals have endorsed Measure J.  Check out the list at http://www.yesonj2016.com/endorsements.html

Here are some examples in alphabetical order:

Kevin Burton, President, SJCH Foundation
Kyle Carter, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate/KCCD Trustee
David Couch, Kern County Supervisor
Jose Flores, Arvin Mayor
Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Doug Greener, Bakersfield Fire Chief
Shannon Grove, California State Assembly Member
Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor
Harold Hanson, Bakersfield Vice Mayor
Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor
Kay Meek, KCCD Trustee
Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member
Chris Parlier, Bakersfield City Council Member
Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor
Leticia Prado, Lamont Water District Member
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Council Member
Rudy Salas, California State Assembly Member
Mary K. Shell
Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member
Jay Tamsi, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President
Bill Thomas, Retired U.S. Congressman
Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department Chief

Milt Younger

What’s happening at the Measure J Head Quarters?

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Volunteers are coming from all around to give their time and talent to ensure Measure J is a success!

Here are some smart, beautiful and talented women who support Measure J

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January Lau-CEO January & Company (Bakersfield)

Norma Rojas-Mora-President Latina Leaders of Kern County (Bakersfield)

Pauline Larwood-Retired Kern Community College Trustee/Kern County Supervisor (Bakersfield)

Connie Perez-CPA (Bakersfield)

Sue Benham-Retired Bakersfield City Council (Bakersfield)

Mariela Gomez-student ( Bakersfield)

Carolina Espinoza-student (Bakersfield)

Raji Brar-Owner Countryside Market & Restaurants (Bakersfield)

Tina Miller-Host “Open Up” talk show (Bakersfield)

And here is the fabulous Nicole Parra.  I love this picture.


Nicole Parra supporting Measure J

At the headquarters this week, I had a minute to chat with Malique McClanaan, a high school student volunteering with his mom who also wants to take dual enrollment classes at BC.


I also saw smiling faces like Manny De Los Santos and Venessa Reyes, who made phone calls to voters.


Manny De los Santos, Vanessa Reyes

I snagged a selfie with adjunct faculty, Kaureen Brady. And Kenneth Mireles, Carlos Baraban and Paul Beckworth also hit the phones and chatted with potential supporters.


Sonya Christian, Kaureen Brady


It was great to also see Ken Byrum, a local attorney, a member of our Board of Directors and a strong supporter of Bakersfield College phone banking out on behalf of Measure J.


Ken Byrum phone banking

Check out our Academic Senate Vice President volunteering her time phone banking.

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Andrea Thorson phone banking Oct 19, 2016

Here is Dena Rhoades, Kathy Howarth, and Kristin Rabe counting and preparing Measure J yard signs!


Dena Rhoades, Kathy Howarth, Kristin Rabe

Matt Stahl and I took a look at the voters map for walking precincts.


Sonya Christian, Matt Stahl

BC is a family and so it was refreshing to see Grace Comisso downtown at Measure J headquarters with her whole family, even the baby in tow! Marissa Marquez and her daughter Clarissa were on hand to help with whatever was needed!

The Delano crew also got together. The committee meeting for lunch and “walk” planning took place – Here is Raquel Lopez, Alma Feathers, Carolina Madrigal; Juan Torres; Gustavo Enriquez; Abel Guzman; and Helen Calip.


Shout out to Volunteers:

Tuesday, October 18th:

Terri Goldstein, Michelle Pena, Keri Kennedy, Adel Shafik, Amanda Rangel, Lesley Bonds, Ashlea Ward, Claudio Felix, Shanell Tyus, Manuel Muralles, Josie Guillen, Steven Watkin, Debi Anderson, Tom Gelder, Paul Beckworth, Jackie Lau, Yadira Guerrero, Chris Glaser, Steve Waller, Cynthia Munos, Jay Rosenlieb

Wednesday, October 19:

Jackie Lau, Carlos Banbaran, Pat Smith, Heather Barajas, Tracy Lovelace, Kristin Rabe, Loy Salarda, Lisa Kent, Kathy Howarth, Dena Rhoades, Somaly Boles, Chris Glaser, Steve waller, Keesha Collins

Thursday, October 20:

Lesley Bonds, Lisa Kent, Brenda Silva, Silvia Silva, Jason Page, Mark Osea, Keesha Collins, Terri Goldstein, Michelle Pena, Linda Cordobam, Josh Shackelford, Jackie Lau, Sergio Maldenado, Salvador Gomez-Pantoja, Shohreh Rahman, Matt Hinson, Sam Moreno, Steve Waller, Chris Glaser, January Lau, Tom Gelder, Janet Tarjan

Friday, October 21:

Stephen Waller, Keesha Collins, Kalina Hill, Jackie Brouillette, Shanell Tyus, Pedro C. Ramirez, Tom Saba, Janet Tarjan, Elina Garcia, Maria Duenas, Brenda Silvia, Sam Moran, Daulton Jones, Shanice Watson, Liz Rozell, Kate Pluta, Ruben Chavez, Mariah Earl, Iris Gonzalez, Loy Salarda, Nicky Damania, Teresa McAllister, Chase McAllister, Lucero Cisneros, Andrea Lopez, Lesley Bonds

And a little birdy told me that some people didn’t sign in – you know who you are!

Homecoming 2016!

School spirit is alive at 1801 Panorama Drive! The week was off to a magical start with our campus’s first “Quidditch Tournament!” Students drew a crowd as they participated in the magical sport created by J.K Rowling in her Harry Potter series. Teams were formed, competitions began, and no one walked away empty handed! You have to see the pictures to see a glimpse of how this whimsical sport was a fantastic start to Homecoming Week at BC!

On Tuesday, BCSGA set up bumper ball soccer for students! Large plastic balls were inflated for one person and that’s how the games began! Student booths for Student Life and BCSGA were on hand to get students involved and assist with the bumper games.

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Wednesday was all about fun and food with a special event Tacos & Tie-Dye out in the Renegade Crossroads. As you can imagine, tie-dye was incredibly messy and the tacos from the Taqueria el Roble del Leon Taco Truck are always a hit with the students.



Campus was fired up on Thursday in preparation for the big weekend. Students listened to music and enjoyed pancakes at the traditional Pep Rally and Pancake Feed! The BC Cheerleaders and BC Drumline raised the excitement and our campus spirit with stellar performances.


It’s an exciting time to be on campus, and this evening is the best chance to reconnect with your community college – Bakersfield College! Homecoming 2016 is going to be the best one yet and it all takes place tonight starting with the Big Red Dinner! You don’t want to miss the parade and big game vs. Cerritos College.

I hope to see you up at “the campus on the hill” tonight! For Homecoming 2016!!

Third Thursday

There were two events this past Thursday, October 20th — the third thursday prayer group luncheon for public sector leaders and the Downtown Business Association’s event in the evening.  Our mayor Harvey Hall was recognized at both events.

I enjoyed hearing the McKinley School Choir perform and found this youtube video of them receiving a check from Robin Mangarin on behalf of Dignity Health.

Another event that happened Thursday evening was the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government.  Thank you JP Lake for having me as your guest. I did not take photos but found this collage on Karen Goh’s Facebook.  Thank you Karen Goh!


Creative Experiences at BC

BC at Via Arté

It is through the music and art curriculum and experiences that BC students are prepared for a myriad of creative fields. From professional music to drawing, painting, ceramics, architecture, digital media and more, our students accomplish great things. Each year, the Bakersfield Museum of Art presents Via Arte at The Marketplace where artists recreate a traditional Italian street painting festival with original chalk art.

Check out these incredible pics from Art adjunct faculty, Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio and BC Art student, Emily Lloyd.


BC Chamber Singers

On Monday, our BC Chamber singers were featured on First Look with Scott Cox. If you missed this wonderful highlight of Dr. Jennifer Garrett and a portion of the BC Chamber Singers, make sure to check out this link for the recording!


Yesterday, on Friday evening, this group of talented students took the stage along with the entire BC Chamber Singers, BC College Choir, Lucy Adams on french horn, Naomi Rivera from Marvin Ramey’s Experience Dance, and one of our own BC students Linda Snoddy on bagpipes. The beautiful Indoor Theater was filled with talent and the evening’s theme was one to remember: Life and Death.

Here is the Director’s Note to us:


Dr. Jen Garrett emailed me… “I have done quite a few concerts in my life, but I don’t think any of them have meant as much to me as this one.  I thought of the idea just over a year ago on the day my Mom passed away and I had to do a rehearsal with College Choir immediately after I arrived home from traveling to see her one last time.  I knew then that I wanted to do something to honor her.”

I did not take photos but saw Cara Jackson at the vent.  When she gets her pictures to us, I will go ahead and add them to this blog.  So check back.

Here are two of my favorite songs from the evening and since I did not take a video of the BC Choir performing, I found the songs on youtube take a few moments to close your eyes and listen and see the amazing Jen Garrett with her choir, in her pale but bright blue dress with a delicate black vest.

We Rise Again:

Peace Like a River

All of the choir members have made dedications to people that have influenced their lives–both people still living and those that have passed on.” The BC Choral program is constantly working to bring light to our community through performance, art, and music. The next performance is December 2nd for “Winter Around the World” – you don’t want to miss it.  We love you Jen Garrett!

Lucian Ban & Mat Maneri:

Tomorrow, Sunday October 23rd at 6:00pm, the BC Jazz Program presents a unique evening with Transylvanian born, NYC-based pianist Lucian Ban and Grammy nominee Mat Maneri, who will share their musical discoveries. Admission is free, open to the public and also for our students. Performing Arts adjunct faculty, Susan Scaffidi shares more about these incredible artists in her article on Bakersfield.com.

I hope you’ll check it out.

Traveling to Mars at BC


BC’s planetarium director, Nick Strobel, presented a Mars Travel Guide on Thursday at BC’s very own William M. Thomas Planetarium on Thursday. This special show covered the hazards of the months-long flight to Mars, properties, the atmosphere and geology, weather, and the history of our explorations on the surface of Mars from Viking to Curiosity.

planetarium1Nick said, “To give it proper justice would probably require a whole semester’s worth of a class or at least a six-hour show but most people, I suspect, would find that a tad too long.”

Just a tad, he said!

What a fabulous gift for the community at BC – the gift of knowledge and education concerning one of our most interesting subjects – space!

Check out this link for more about the Bakersfield College Planetarium or click here to read one of Nick’s biweekly Bakersfield Night Sky articles.

Student Initiatives

African American Mentor Program:

Making a transition to a new environment such as college can be overwhelming, especially for first-time and first-generation college students. That’s why Bakersfield College strives to offer many diverse student organizations and initiatives. One initiative in particular, the African American Mentor Program, is one that incorporates drop-in mentors, peer mentors, resiliency guidance, and general assistance to encourage students to be motivated in their studies.

Julian West is the coordinator for AAMP and he has said, “A big part of what AAMP is for and what I do, is to ensure that African American students feel like they belong at BC and get them comfortable with using these services. We have a network of dedicated staff and community members that are addressing the unique issues faced by African American students.”


The group holds weekly meetings with dedicated black tutors, or “real talk” sessions in which students can speak their mind and talk about any issues on or off campus.

The most recent “Real Talk” was conducted by Danny Morrison of Hot 94.1 radio, who runs Project Dynamo, helping children strive in school. I’m told Danny spoke on how important it is to break the cycle of black stereotypes and how it must strive from motivation to change and its talks like this that help motivate our students and keep them on track.

The mentors of AAMP make note of and reach out to students when they are missing items like educational plans or financial aid paperwork. They incorporate a very intrusive approach to educational advising including outreach and even text message reminders!

BC is a family and nothing makes us more proud than to see students accomplish their goals and better their future; services like AAMP on campus allow us to do that.

If students want to get involved, find contact details and more at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/student/aai/aamp

Spotlight On: The Grace Van Dyke Bird Library


This week, I’d like to take a moment to focus on our fabulous library.  This is the newest building on campus, built in 1996.  Most of the other buildings were built in 1956.

The Bakersfield College library is a tremendous academic resource to students in need of books, reference books, articles, research assistance, research workshops, or just a quiet place to study.  The library subscribes to 12 online research databases and offers access to 150,000 electronic books in addition to the 80,00 print volumes housed in the library. The library staff consists of 5 full-time librarians, 3 adjunct librarians, and 4 support staff. The library is open 62 hours each week, including Saturdays.

Each semester librarians teach 2-3 sections of Library B1 (Introduction to Library Research), almost 70 research workshops, and well over 100 discipline-specific library orientations. In Spring 2016, a small library was opened at the Delano Campus, staffed by both adjunct and full-time BC librarians.

The Delano library is open 24 hours each week.

There are a total of 70 library workshops available to students every semester. These workshops help students learn research strategies, which give tips on how to find information about a certain topic by using key words; find books, including e-books and using the library catalog, as well as using EBSCOhost and other scholarly sources needed for researching. To find the schedule of all library workshops, visit the website: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/library/workshops


The library hosts an annual Cerro Author Lecture, thanks to the generous bequest of Dolores Cerro. This year, we’re pleased to host Andy Weir, author of “The Martian”, which is now a major motion picture.

This book portrays the story of a young astronaut, Mark, left stranded by his crew after being presumed dead during a sand storm on Mars.

Left with only broken machinery, and no way to contact Earth, Mark is left to rely on his intuition and knowledge to survive. The book has proven to be a page-turner and hard to put down!

Weir will present programs to our students, faculty and staff on October 25th and 26th. On October 25th, he will also present a public program at 7 pm at the Indoor Theatre – all are welcome to this free event! For more information visit the Bakersfield College Librarian desk, or see https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/library/cerro-authors.


You can follow the library on both Instagram (bc_library) and Twitter (LibraryatBC)

Celebrating our favorite red!


The days are ticking down to Nov. 8th, and a few short days later, Jennifer Marden will be saying “I do!”

Last weekend, it was a great thing to see so many friends and colleagues take the time out of our busy lives on a Saturday afternoon to celebrate with Jennifer and her soon-to-be-husband, Mark. Stepping out into the patio at the Pyrenees Café was like stepping into a Tuscan retreat.

The food was delicious, including the gorgeous cake made by BC’s Rad Tech Dept. Assistant, Anita Karr.  Thank you to the special party planners, Kathy Howarth, Tracy Hall, Cynthia Munoz, and Becky Dargatz.

Jennifer’s wedding website says that even with an ocean, the 2nd largest city in America, and a mountain range between their homes, they did everything possible to spend as much time together and now their wedding is quickly approaching! There’s so much to celebrate at BC, but I’m glad last Saturday afternoon was all about Jennifer. Congratulations Jennifer Marden and Mark Serratt – I can’t wait to share a picture from the joyous occasion in a few short weeks!

Sonya and Pam in Singapore

Sonya Christian, Pam Christian

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — 

reading Jenn’s note about her mom made me go back through old pictures.  Here I am with Pam Christian in Singapore many years ago.

Welcoming the community to campus

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, October 15th, a great day to be a Renegade.

Let’s recap last week!

Liga MX


Photo credit: Nick Ellis, Bakersfield Californian

Charter buses were lined up outside as the fans packed the stands on Sunday for international soccer at Memorial Stadium. Josh Bennett described the event in his article, Fans flock to Liga MX friendly at BC by saying “Horns were honking and flags were waving as fans from as close as Bakersfield and as far as Mexico congregated at BC’s Memorial Stadium to see Monarcas Morelia defeat defending Clausura 2016 champion Pachuca 3-2 in the second annual International Soccer Challenge.”

It’s always a great day when our community and neighbors come to BC for a chance to make new memories and history at Memorial Stadium. In fact, the big BC Homecoming game of the year will take place in a few short days! Make sure to come out and support YOUR Renegades at YOUR community college.

Big Red Dinner


Homecoming and the Big Red Dinner take place next weekend, October 22nd, from 4:00 to 6:30 pm north of the stadium and outside the Gil Bishop Gym.  There’s the Homecoming parade, the Drumline, the BC cheerleaders, the BC Jazz Ensemble, a hot local DJ, nine different tailgate booths highlighting many of BC’s finest programs, and the most requested event of the year – The Big Red Dinner!

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students with ID and $5 for children 12 and under which includes a complete spaghetti dinner with salad, a roll, a drink and a “Flying Saucer Cookie”! You’ll also be able to purchase beer or wine.  A dinner ticket admits you to the football game with Cerritos College as well.  There will be interesting demonstrations at the tailgate booths and a number of goodies for everyone participating. Tickets are on sale through Vallitix and will be available at the dinner. Bring your friends, family, and neighbors to BC next weekend!  Support YOUR Renegades at YOUR community college!

Measure J

Sikh Radio

I started my Sunday morning, on October 9th, on Sikh Radio along with Nicole Parra and Raji Brar.  We were there promoting Measure J with Raji going back and forth between English and Punjabi.  The radio program is organized and funded by donations from the Punjabi community.  Nazar Kooner takes responsibility for operating it and Harjit Singh interviewed us.  Here are some pictures from Nicole.

Pieces in the Californian

The support BC has received in recent days and months has been astounding. It’s been incredible to read the community voices section in the local paper – seeing all the wonderful submissions from community members and even students. I can’t thank everyone enough for the outpouring of love and support for the Renegades and our campus.

October 9th. A student-veteran speaks on the bond.



Letter to the editor: A student-veteran speaks on the bond

Wesley Lyons is also BCSGA’s Director of Legislative Affairs. This young man speaks candidly with honesty and heart. I’m proud of our students and I’m proud of Wesley – thank you for sharing your voice. 

October 11th Community Voices. Measure J is of paramount importance.

JP Lake did a great community voices piece supporting #MeasureJ in the October 11th Californian.


Check out the weblink


Here is a 2 minute 30 second video of JP Lake presenting about Measure J to the Kern Ag Foundation.  He is a strong supporter of education done right and a strong supporter of Bakersfield College.

Community Support and Measure J


Students were also spotted at the Measure J headquarters this week. Gabriel Gonzales is currently taking History 17B with Dr. Matthew Garret. He’s an excellent media studies student and will be transferring to Berkeley soon. Here is Gabriel with Nicole Parra.



The Renegades are a family! And supporting BC is a true family affair. This week at the #Measure J headquarters, the Johnson family stopped by to show their support. Here is mom, Natesha with Katie and Robert. Don’t these future Renegades look awesome sporting their support for BC and Measure J?


Sondra Keckley and her mom, Stephanie Cox, have also been dedicated and loyal to BC through their tremendous support and outreach for Measure J! You’re never too young or old to love BC – Bakersfield College is a family! I had to take a selfie with Sondra’s mom:


Sonya Christian, Stephanie Cox


Connie Gonzales was also one of many giving her time and talents to support BC. She diligently made calls going back and forth fluently between Spanish and English.



Jean Laborde, one of Kern County’s finest commercial realtors, Bill Thomas, former Congressman and current KCCD Trustee, and Mary Kay Shell, Renegade, journalist, politician, and community leader also support BC in countless ways.



Phone Banking Volunteers

Saturday, October 8th: Gabriel Gonzales, Kathy Rosellini, Consuelo Gonzalez, Natesha Johnson, Katie Johnson, Robert Johnson, and Stephen Waller

Tuesday, October 11th: Mariela Gomez, Cynthia Munoz, Anna Gonzalez, Dena Rhoades, Stephen Waller, Nicky Damania, Karen Schuett. Debi Anderson, Steve Watkin, Josie Guillen, Stephanie Cox, Ashlea Ward, Julian West, Grace Commiso, Tom Gelder, and Jay Rosenlieb

Wednesday, October 12th: Kristin Rabe, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tracy Lovelace, Stephen Waller, Eddie Ledbetter, Keith Ford, Heather Barajas, Nicky Damania, Chris Glaser, Jay Rosenlieb, and Stephanie Cox

Thursday, October 13th: Sam Moreno, Brenda Silva, Silvia Silva, Michelle Pena, Sandi Taylor, Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, Josh Shackelford, Chene Shoemaker, Linda Cordoba, Maria Wright, Pamela Gomez, Antonio Alfaro, Sergio Maldonado, Jackie Lau, Salvador Gomez-Pantoja, Peggy Gonzales, Tarina Perry, Jennifer Achan, Cindy Collier, and Chris Leithiser.



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Endorsements for Measure J continue to come in

Here are a few of the over 1400 endorsements that Measure J has received

Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor
Bill Thomas, Former U.S. Congressman
Shannon Grove, California State Assembly Member
Rudy Salas, California State Assembly Member
David Couch, Kern County Supervisor
Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor
Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor
Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Council Member
Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member
Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Kyle Carter, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Jose Flores, Arvin Mayor
Doug Greener, Bakersfield Fire Chief
Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department Chief
Mary K. Shell
Milt Younger

CHAP in Delano


The BC Delano Campus Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) kicked off its fall 2016 speaker series on Oct. 4th by highlighting award winning and local author, Patty Enrado. She spoke about her personal journey of discovering her family’s Filipino-American heritage while attending the University of California at Davis.

Born in Los Angeles, she knew very little about her parent’s formative years. However, as she continued to write and learn more about the role that Filipino-American farm workers played in the Delano Grape Strike of 1965, she also learned more about her personal heritage. Weaving truth with fiction, Ms. Enrado published her debut novel, A Village in the Fields, which chronicles the life of Fausto Empleo, an elderly Filipino farm worker who looks back on his long and costly struggle for civil rights.

The talk this week, organized by CHAP co-chairs Michelle Hart and Oliver Rosales, highlighted not only the importance of following your educational dreams and perseverance, but also the necessity of remembering our histories. She eloquently spoke of the importance of California Assembly Bill AB 123 (2013), which requires the State Board of Education to provide state curriculum on the significant role of Filipino Americans in the California farm labor movement.

Then, in September 2016, Gov. Brown signed AB 2016, which for the first time will establish a model ethnic studies curriculum for use in California’s public and charter high schools. In fact, LAUSD (by 2019) and Sacramento City USD (by 2020) students must take an ethnic studies class to graduate.

Following her talk in Delano, Ms. Enrado spoke to the Porterville College campus later in the week as part of its campus C.H.A.P. speaker series. To learn more about her book, A Village in the Fields, check out http://www.iexaminer.org/2016/10/what-carlos-bulosan-started-patty-enrado-finished/

Special thanks for this event go to the BC Student Government Association, who’s funding through the Collaborative Action Grant, along with our partners the BC Delano Foundation, allowing us to host this amazing local artist. Additional thanks go to the BC Delano WECOMM students and their advisor Gustavo Enriquez for greeting and directing the amazing crowd in attendance.

For more information on C.H.A.P., please visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/delano/chap and consider going to their next event on October 17th – a student-led informational session to discuss the importance of civic engagement, information on the upcoming election, and important issues that will impact our communities.

Listen In – Matthew Garrett on Utah Public Radio

BC Professor, Dr. Matthew Garrett was a guest this week on Access Utah, an original program focused on the things that matter within the state. The hour-long show airs daily on Utah Public Radio, but is also available online. It’s so cool to share the incredible things our BC family is up to. Check it out at http://upr.org/post/matthew-garrett-and-making-lamanites-wednesdays-access-utah

Student Success and Equity

BC is committed to serving former foster youth in our community and has a team of faculty and staff who serve on a task force to identify and address their needs. On Friday, this team hit the road for a summit CSU Fresno where they learned from other colleges about innovative ways to serve our students. Check them out with Fresno’s mascot, “Victor E.”

For weeks, the Office of Student Success & Equity has been working with Independent City and the Dream Center to organize a community wide event to help foster youth in Kern County get connected to resources that will help them be successful. BC was out in full force with information on Financial Aid, Summer Bridge, and our upcoming application workshops. Special thanks to Kelley Fullerton and Juanika Barnett at Independent City for your collaboration! And thanks to BC’s planning team: Lisa Kent, Karla Young, Shauna Turner, Manuel Rosas, Vanessa Bell, Angela Williams, Debi Anderson, and more!  And thank you Lesley Bonds for your leadership.


Community Outreach

BC Agriculture Raises Awareness of Dangerous Citrus Pest

ag_eventWednesday was an extraordinary day filled with learning and career information at BC! Agriculture officials from across California held an event at our Agriculture Lab to inform residents about a disease with the potential to eradicate the state’s citrus industry and on the other side of campus, we had 26 employers from local healthcare agencies on hand for all pre-healthcare majors.


Victoria Hornbaker from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) explained to a crowd of BC Ag students, local media and concerned citizens the dangers of Huanglongbing, a rapidly transmitted pathogen that turns citrus fruits green. HLB, for short, is primarily spread by a sap-sucking bug called the Asian citrus psyllid, which has devastated orchards across Southeast Asia and Florida and now threatens citrus plants in our local Southern California. She explained that, “We have to do everything we can to protect our citrus belt.”


There were booths explaining how to recognize Asian citrus psyllids and their larvae, what to do in the event of an HLB outbreak, and how to prevent the spread of the disease. Did you know that when a tree is found to have HLB, the CDFA kills any remaining psyllids in the area, removes infected fruits and cuts the entire tree out from the roots, then double-bags it and sends it to a landfill for deep burial? Hornbaker estimates that 99 percent of her organization’s time is spent treating HLB.


The event opened with BC Agriculture chair Lindsay Ono introducing Ruben Arroyo, the Agriculture Commissioner for the Kern County Board of Supervisors, who provided some statistics to illustrate the importance of the citrus industry to the state and county’s economy. The facts were astounding – such as, citrus plants were first brought to California in 1649 and California’s orchards have become a multibillion dollar business ranked second in the United States behind Florida. Also, six in 10 Californians have a citrus tree in their backyard, and citrus trees are the third-highest grossing crop in Kern County, with 3 million cartons of fruit shipped out of Kern County orchards every year!


HLB has significantly impacted citrus production in Florida and around the world, but with proper prevention efforts by state regulatory agencies and educational events like those at the BC on Wednesday, we still have time to save California’s citrus. Check out the article on KGET about the event here!


Health Careers Connection Fair

healthconnectionsSpecial thank you to the Career and Technical Education and Nursing and Allied Health departments for organizing the Health Careers Connection Fair. This special event filled the Huddle with over 26 potential employers with valuable information for CTE and students interested in the healthcare professions.

Events like these really give students an opportunity to ask questions, learn more, and students get to know people who presently work in their field of studies.

The employers on hand were: Accelerated Urgent Care, Bakersfield Family Medical Center, Bakersfield Heart Hospital, Bethesda, Brookdale Riverwalk, Cal State San Marcos, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Clinica Sierra Vista, CSUB, Delano Regional Medical Center, Dignity Health, Grand Canyon University, Healthsouth of Bakersfield, Kaweah Delta Health Care District, Kern County Breastfeeding Coalition, Maxim Staffing, Northwest Surgery Center, Optimal Health Services, Parkview Julian Convalescent, Partners in Care Foundation, Rosewood, San Joaquin Community Hospital, Taft Federal Correctional Institution, Truxtun Radiology, Bakersfield Community Home Health, and the University of Phoenix.

Coffee Conversations for Parents of Youth


Important issues are always up for discussion at Bakersfield College and students are continually encouraged to engage with the community regarding these topics. On Thursday evening, the Office of Student Life and the Kern County Homeless Collaborative joined together for an informal evening of information and discussion revolving around homelessness and its effects on today’s youth.

Unfortunately, many of Bakersfield’s young people including BC students are affected by this epidemic. According the CA Homeless Youth Library — only a few years ago, during the 2012-2013, nearly 270,000 students in California experienced homelessness. Now in 2016, there’s a total of 1,067 children, adults, unaccompanied minors and families are homeless just in Kern County alone and 8% of them are ages 18-24.

I’ve said it before – BC is a family… but, so is Kern County and Bakersfield. When we see something that affects our family we do our part to step up, bring awareness to the issues, and find a resolution. That’s why events like this are so important. Invisible Homeless Youth – The Silent Epidemic helps to shine light on the reasons why youth are turning to the streets and how young people are finding themselves stuck in such dire situations.

The evening highlighted multiple situations where minors found themselves in sex trafficking, unaware of the resources offered in Kern County.  Following the presentation, a panel was held where students were encouraged to ask any questions.

Did you know Kern County has multiple food banks, shelters, missions, and support groups to help anyone whom may find themselves in such a similar situation? Whether the cause is domestic violence, drug use, or an unstable home life, Kern County has resources to provide help.

Homelessness does not have to mean hopelessness. Some local organizations that can assist are:

  • Bakersfield Homeless Center for meals and housing. 661-322-9294
  • The Mission at Kern County for meals. 661-322-9294
  • Alliance Against Family Violence (Domestic Violence in Bakersfield) 661-322-0931
  • Woman’s Center High Desert (Domestic Violence in East Kern) 760-371-1969
  • Alpha House (Domestic Violence in Taft) 661-763-4357
  • Corporation for Better Housing 661-363-7077

Thank you to the experts on our Q&A panel from Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Garden Pathways, Sheriff Department, and the Gay Lesbian Center.

Boy Scouts Honoring Community Leaders

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of attending the Distinguished Citizens Award Banquet presented by the Boy Scouts of America Southern Sierra Council.

This inaugural event honored Dr. Tom and Mrs. Pauline Larwood for their lifelong contributions to the fields of medicine, public service, education, global missions, as well as their long-time support of Scouting. Though our hearts are saddened by Dr. Larwood’s recent passing in September, the joint legacy he and Pauline leave for us is clear and unmistakable. Our world is better and our future brighter because of them.

Here is a 36-second video that I captured with my new iphone 7 (yes!) of the song. The song is of a religious nature, though the words can be understood in terms of comforting and lifting up each other.  So beautiful….so important….. it is a little thing we can do for each other.

Here is the 4-minute version from youtube.

I would be remiss not to mention Pauline’s leadership and investment in KCCD as a long-time and beloved Trustee. The Distinguished Citizens Award Banquet included wonderful tributes by Council President Jay Rosenlieb, sons David & Don Larwood, Dr. Royce Johnson, and Scout Executive, Jesse Lopez. The evening was a heartfelt celebration of two lives well-lived and I was honored to be a part of it.

Manny Mourtzanos organized BC’s table at the event along with Tom Gelder.  Manny is a die-hard believer in the scouting movement.  And he has the same commitment for BC and our students.  Here’s to the fabulous Manny Mourtzanos.manny and sonya outside vons 2014-2


#2 of Top 5 Highest Earning Two-year Colleges!

To top off an exciting week, I received an email with a link where BC recently placed number 2 among the top five highest earning two year colleges! Our students and their success is the inspiration for all that we do. Check it out at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/20/the-top-5-highest-earning-two-year-colleges.html?slide=5


Mark your calendars:

October 21, 2016: BC Choir’s Fall concert.

October 22, 2016: Join us for Homecoming.  This year we are going big!

December 17, 2016: BC Choir along with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra will perform a Holiday Concert at the Fox Theater.

March 29, 2017: Levan Lecture



That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

So many reasons to celebrate! We are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, October 8th ….another great day to be a Renegade.

This week was a week of travels for me.  Denver early in the week for the AACC Pathways institute and then Orange County to present on Guided Pathways on Friday.  Another big highlight of the week was the Measure J Open House on Tuesday evening.

But let me start my blog with Jim Norsworthy, class of 1965. I met Jim and his wife at a BC football game and captured a short video of him describing his time at BC:

Pathways Team at AACC Institute in Denver, CO

PathwaysTEam.jpgI traveled with the BC Pathways Team to Denver this week to attend the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways Institute. Bakersfield College is one of 30 community colleges selected to participate in this 3-year initiative funded by the Gates foundation.

Janet Fulks, Maria Wright, Kimberly Bligh, Kate Pluta, Lesley Bonds, and Stephen Waller joined me on this trip.

Check out my previous blog, February 5, 2016from San Antonio at the very first institute. In July, I recapped about a similar Pathways event held at LAX and here’s where I posted about Nick Strobel’s piece describing in only 500 words how the pathways initiative is like a GPS for students.

Traveling Adventures

Traveling home from Denver on Tuesday was quite the adventure as well. I arrived bright and early at the airport and went through security like normal. Denver is a beautiful city with a wonderful transportation system, even inside its airport. I took the “people mover” train to concourse B where I’d wait for my flight… and the system is so well designed. I learned from Wikipedia that its layout is based upon the train inside Atlanta’s airport and the systems are nearly identical. Anyway, upon settling in and getting my breakfast burrito, panic immediately set in. I realized I had left my ID back at security and had to go back to get it.

I had to wait, but the TSA agents were kind and helpful in the process. It’s often easy to dismiss the service these men and women provide as simply inconvenient during the rush of travel, but it’s truly helpful and an important public service. Safety is always a team effort and it was a common theme through multiple interactions during my trip home. Once I made it on the flight and before takeoff, the cabin crew on my United flight announced that all Samsung Galaxy phones needed to be switched off during flight unlike other phones which could be turned to airplane mode. If you’ve followed the news recently, there’s been a recall on these phones due to safety issues and you can check out the article about this notice on SmarterTravel.com.

I arrived in Bakersfield, safe and sound, inspired and ready for everything this week had in store and headed straight to the Measure J Open House.

Volunteers for Measure J!

Do you know how to “sign” Yes on J?  Let’s watch and learn from Tom Moran.

BC is woven deeply into the fabric of this community. We have incredible students and relentless support from the people all over Kern County. It is wonderful to see so many people willing to spend time working for a better future for our community colleges. I am grateful for their hard work and support.

You can find out more about Measure J, and fill out an online endorsement form, at www.yesonj2016.com.

Measure J Open House:

There was also a fabulous open house for the Yes On J campaign on Tuesday night. There was great turnout, and the support and kind words about Bakersfield College were overwhelming.  Thank you Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Andrea Thorson for leading a team to make this happen on short notice.

Photos from the open house are posted on the Yes On J 2016 Facebook page.

I’d like to share some videos from the event from a few of our supporters. More videos will be on the Yes On J Facebook page soon, so check back!

Harvey Hall

Harvey Hall Open House Oct 4 2016.jpg


Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas Open HOuse Oct 4 2016.jpg


Leticia Perez



Mike Turnipseed

Wayne Kress

Wayne Kress Measure J Open House Oct 4 2016.jpg



Other Speakers and pictures:


Presentations and endorsements:

On October 5th, Bill Thomas, JP Lake, Nicole Parra and I attended the Kern County Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting.  It was wonderful seeing all our Ag faculty out there in full force to support the needs of the college and the Ag department.


JP Lake, Bill Kelley, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas, Heather Baltis, Chris McCraw, Lindsey Ono, Greg Cluff, Bill Barnes

On October 6th, JP Lake presented to the Renegade Helmet Club.  I am happy to say that the club unanimously endorsed Measure J.

JP presenting to the Renegade Helmet Club Oct 6 2016.jpg

Also this week, Cheryl Scott informed me that the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council endorsed Measure J.

Over 100o individuals have endorsed Measure J.  To check out the list, visit


Last week at the Kern County Fair

Thank you to all the volunteers at the Measure J booth at the Kern County Fair.  Thank you Trustee Kay Meek who staffed the booth Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately we did not get a picture of her hard at work.

Vounteers at work:

Thank you to all the volunteers who phone banked this last week.  Here are just some names of the many who turned out at the Campaign Head Quarters to help.

Michelle Pena, Linda Cordoba, Josh Shackelford, Jackie Lau, Peggy Gonzales, Sergio Maldando, Sal Gomez.

Kathy Rosellini, Chelsea Esquibias, Shannell Tyes, Abel Guzman, Nielly Damamia, Isabel Casteneda, Lucero Cisneros, Iris Gonsalez, Sam Moreno, Sandra Beckworth, Paul Beckworth, Natesha Johnson, Katie Johnson

And they come young🙂  Isabel Castaneda’s 5 year old.  Just precious.


Delano promoting Measure J:

Delano was out during the Harvest Festival promoting Measure J


Kern Shakespeare Festival

This week the Shakespeare Festival at BC kicks off and will last for the upcoming two weeks.

Brian Sivesind, the new director for the Drama Department, is excited to be heading the 32nd annual festival.

In preparation for the play of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” 28 students and 2 faculty spent 7 weeks, 5 days a week making sure the performance would blow people away. Brian Sivesind commented that he “wants the audience to be amazed at the level of talent and commitment that BC students have put into Shakespeare.”

This modernized version of the comedy tells the story of two people who fall in love, elope into the desert and due to magical forces are caught in a love triangle that includes other people.

It also incorporates elements of Burning Man, a real event, in which thousands of people assemble in the desert each year to burn a huge wooden art structure. Then, return to civilization leaving no trace of being there.  Have you been to Burning Man?

Students participating in the play also had a chance to comment.

Ryan Lee, playing the character of Lysander, said,” I want to have fun and act and focus on the building of the character and that’s what drives me.”

Juliana Benavides commented, “I was not real familiar with Shakespeare, but decided to give it a try. I love the feeling of being on stage and bringing myself into the world of the play.”

Tickets are available through Vallitix, and the show is held at the Outdoor Theatre. The festival began this weekend, and continues next week, with shows at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

Industrial Automation Student Gathering

IndustrialAutomation.jpgThe BC Industrial Automation students gathered on Tuesday evening to mingle and prepare for potential internships that may come up with quick deadlines.

Stephanie Baltazar, our Job Development Specialist, was on hand for a special resume workshop and to help students improve their resumes.

It’s been an exciting journey so far for this incredible group of students.The Renegade family is so proud of these trailblazing students and I can’t wait to see what they can accomplish as they reach for the stars!

Congratulations to Helen Calip!


Helen Calip, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Jay Tamsi

BC is a campus without boundaries and our staff in Delano accomplish incredible things each day. I have to extend a warm congratulations to Helen Calip, our lead coordinator of Admissions and Records for the Delano Campus. Last month, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Delano Union School District by the Delano Union SD Hall of Fame Committee for Outstanding Service to the community.

This is not the first recognition for her service to the Delano community either. In 2012, she was voted Woman of the Year by the Filipino Community of Delano for excellent community service, and in 2010, she was awarded Woman of the Year by the Delano Chamber of Commerce.

Helen works diligently with heart, helping the Delano faculty and staff to meet academic and professional needs while actively engaging and serving the people of her community.

Thank you and congratulations Helen! Everyone at BC is so proud you are part of our family.

Emergency Responder Training

The week at BC was off to a safe start as the BC Public Safety Department held hour-long Emergency Responder Trainings on Monday and Tuesday. The training was open to all employees, especially our new faculty and staff, so that everyone knows what to do in case of an on campus emergency.

Chief Chris Counts, our Director of Public Safety recently said in the newest Annual Safety Report, “Do not hesitate to ask the Dept. of Public Safety staff any questions you may have about your personal safety. You will find that the staff members are interested and welcome the opportunity to assist with your concerns.”

Our campus community is very lucky to have such caring and dedicated public safety personnel. These are people who want nothing more than to serve and improve our campus! I cannot adequately express how grateful I am for our BC Public Safety team – Thank you for all that you do!

Homecoming & the Big Red Dinner!

1957-November-7-1.jpgThe excitement is ramping up on campus for the annual Homecoming celebrations that take place later this month. This year will mark the 59th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama Drive and the upcoming activities are themed around building the Renegade community for the future, focusing on the next 50 years to come. Over the past year as a BC Community, we have enjoyed reuniting with our past and looking back at our campus traditions while we plan for the future so this announcement is especially exciting.

The front page of the Renegade RIP in 1957, in large bold letters read “Campus Open House Features Spaghetti Feed” and there’s no better way to celebrate where we started and where we’ve come — so we’re doing it again!

Community members, leaders, alumni, families, friends of BC, and colleagues – this spaghetti dinner will be the tailgate of the year and with your attendance and support, we can make it the best one yet!

The celebration kicks off with a spaghetti feast with salad, roll with butter, and water or soda – plus the famous BC flying saucer cookie! With the purchase of dinner, you’ll get admission to the grand homecoming football game, entertainment by the BC Drumline and music department, cheerleaders, and more. Come back to the campus on the hill for Homecoming 2016.

Tickets are available on Vallitix.

For more information about Homecoming, check out https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/homecoming.

I can’t wait to see you there!!

Driven by Art: Public Art Project at BMOA

bmoaIt’s a beautiful thing when creativity and community collide and that’s why we’re so lucky to have the Bakersfield Museum of Art in our neighborhood. In celebration of the BMOA’s 60th anniversary, they invited the community to participate in “Driven by Art” where various groups and organizations painted and decorated 33 miniature fiberglass 1956 style pickup trucks.

Why 1956? An article about the event on BakersfieldMagazine.net tell me, “That was the year the Museum was founded, of course!” The article also states that 13 of trucks have been promised to the Bakersfield Foundation and will be permanently installed along the Westside Parkway.

Bakersfield College was well represented through art faculty, David Koeth and adjunct professors, Cameron Brian and Nano Rubio.


This is a uniquely Bakersfield take on successful community art projects like Chicago’s “Cows on Parade,” New York’s “Big Apples,” Vacaville’s We Know Jack, Riverside’s “Giant Oranges” and Cincinnati’s “Big Pig Gig.”  33 small-scale 1956 era fiberglass pickup trucks were painted, embellished, and festooned, and will be on display until January 2017 in downtown Bakersfield.   In addition, 12 of the trucks will be donated to the City of Bakersfield and permanently installed on the Westside Parkway in 2017.

A map with the location of each truck can be found at: http://www.bmoa.org/map

Photos below: “RockArt” is by David Koeth and Nano Rubio, “Citrus” is by Cameron Brian.


We also had BC alumni who worked on the trucks including, Liz Sherwyn, José Lemus, and Lorraina Paz. Check out the video by KGET at http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/driven-by-art-public-art-project-debuts-at-the-bakersfield-museum-of-art and follow the Bakersfield Museum of Art on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BMOA1930.


Thank You Mr. Jensen


It was a celebration on Wednesday evening at William M. Thomas Terminal at Meadows Field Airport when the Honor Flight Kern County came back into town. A band played live music, miniature American flags were in every person’s hands, and the red, white, and blue spirit was at an all-time high.

HFKC says on their website that there are approximately 46,000 veterans in Kern County with over 8,000 of them World War II and Korean Vets. Their mission is to honor and send Kern County’s vets to Washington to see the memorials built in their honor, for their service and dedication to our country. The top priority on these flights is given to the most senior veterans and those who are terminally ill. Every veteran accepted by HFKC travels at no cost to him/her and these trips are memorable and life changing.

I was made aware of a special man, Mr. Mervin Jensen – a loyal supporter of BC for over 50 years – who would be traveling on the honor flight and I was honored to write him a letter of appreciation and be on hand to welcome him home upon his flights arrival in Bakersfield. Mervin and his friends regularly attend BC football games and their common love for BC and friendship has helped them through their elder years, loss of spouses, and chronic illness.

We are BC, and our sense of community and comraderie is an integral part of our Bakersfield identity. Thank you Mr. Jensen – your love and enthusiasm for the Renegades is unrivaled and BC thanks you for your steadfast support. Furthermore, thank you for your service, your courage, and for serving the United States of America. We are so incredibly grateful for what you’ve done.


Cristian Gutierres, Mervin Jensen, Sonya Christian, Karen Goh, Paul Beckworth

A special thank you to Karen Goh for inviting me to participate in this special opportunity. Karen is a big supporter of education and a consistent supporter of Bakersfield College. Thank you Paul Beckworth, BC’s Veterans Faculty Lead, and Cristian Gutierrez, 8 year Marine vet, STEM major, and BC’s Veterans Club Vice President who also joined me in the celebration for Mr. Jensen. To learn more about Honor Flight Kern County, visit http://www.honorflightkerncounty.org/

BC Faculty and Staff Featured:

Matthew Garrett


In late August, I announced on my blog that Dr. Matthew Garrett’s book, Making Lamanites: Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Student Placement Program, 1947-200 would be releasing the following month.

If you haven’t had a chance to pick one up, it is available on Amazon and it’s the winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies. From 1947 to 2000, some 50,000 Native American children left their homes on reservations to live with Mormon foster families. Making Lamanites traces this student experience within cultural and institutional landscapes to reveal how and why many of these Native youth adopted a new notion of Indianness.

Andrea Thorson:

andriathor-01-jmHere is a great piece by our student reporter for the Renegade Rip, Joshua Fisher, featuring Professor Andrea Thorson.  Here is an excerpt:

Thorson feels that she teaches as more than just a career, she says it is a lifestyle. Classes to her are like sub-family communities and everyone’s voice should matter. Embedded inside her is a morally high expectation of her students.

The picture was taken by James Macias for the Renegade Rip article.

Andrea represents the talent and commitment to students of BC faculty and staff.  We are BC! For more, check out:


A note from Jack Hernandez:

On March 29th, 2017, the second annual Levan Lecture will be given by Juan Felipe Herrera, the current Poet Laureate of the United States.  He has written award-winning poetry and fiction. He has also written nonfiction and children’s books.

Please save this date.

Faculty on a CSU panel

From Facebook.  Reggie Williams, Marcus Duarte-Smith and Dahna Rasmussen.

Reggie Williams on CSU Panel Oct 2016.jpg

BC Athletics:

Coach Chudy and his staff led the Renegades into Murdock Stadium on the El Camino Campus in Torrence, CA.  After giving up the lead with 39 seconds to play, the Renegades pulled out the victory with a 70-yard 5-play drive and scoring the go ahead touchdown with 3 seconds to spare! Check out http://www.gogades.com/landing/index  to watch the highlights.

With a bye this week, Renegade Football opens National Northern Conference play on Oct. 15th at Moorpark College, 6pm kickoff.

Volleyball opened Western State Conference play with two impressive 3-game sweeps over Glendale on the road Wednesday night  and Santa Monica at home on Friday night. Coach Carl Ferreira has prepared his team through a touch preseason schedule to make a run at the conference championship.

Women’s Golf Team led by Coach Brittney Goehring placed third as a team at Western State Conference Match #5 on the San Dimas Golf Course.  The Renegades were led by Janette Chhuon Chan with a round of 77, while Brandi Borjon turned in an 86 to finish second on the team.



Mackenzie Hernandez

Sophomore, volleyball, setter

Had a strong all-around match with 30 assists, 15 digs and four blocks last week to lead the Renegades to a 20-25, 25-14, 25-18, 23-25, 15-9 win over Moorpark, the same team that beat the Renegades 3-0 one week earlier. The Bakersfield High graduate leads BC in assists (332) and aces (24), and is second in digs

(125), third in blocks (18) and fourth in kills (83).



Sophomore, football, wide receiver Derrick Vickers

Caught eight passes for 205 yards and a touchdown while adding two rushing touchdowns. His 53-yard reception with six seconds to play set up his own game-winning 1-yard TD run to beat El Camino 42-38. Vickers, named the National Northern League’s Player of the Week for special teams and all-purpose, has a state-leading 11 touchdowns to help BC to a 4-1 start.

Mark your calendars:

October 21, 2016: BC Choir’s Fall concert.

October 22, 2016: Join us for Homecoming.  This year we are going big!

December 17, 2016: BC Choir along with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra will perform a Holiday Concert at the Fox Theater.

March 29, 2017: Levan Lecture



That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A long history of community partnership

Good morning Bakersfield! It is October 1st and a great day to be a Renegade.

This last week was a huge professional development week for me as I made time to volunteer at the Measure J campaign Headquarters (HQ) on 1675 Chester Avenue.  This campaign week we started phone banking and it was wonderful hearing the positive responses about Bakersfield College as people responded to out phone calls.

Check out photos of our volunteer phone bankers — Yadira Gurrero, Maria Wright, Michael McClinnick, Ashley Ward.

One of my phone calls at 7:00 p.m. was answered by a young woman who was in Prof. Josh Ottum’s class.  She of course, supports Measure J, and more than that kept praising Bakersfield College and Prof Ottum.  You see my friends, this is Bakersfield College!  A dedicated faculty and staff!

Prof.  Josh Ottum is working on a grant right now and stopped by my office to pick up the signed approval to apply for a grant.  I loved hearing his enthusiasm for both his work and his little baby as he talked to Jennifer Marden.  As I watched the warm and engaged interaction between two of them, my heart was filled with great delight and great pride…a wonderful work environment….a wonderful learning environment….I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Let me introduce you to Professor Josh Ottum who, as you can see, is a scholar and artist and he is completely  committed to our community; completely committed to our students.  For more on Josh check out his faculty profile page at:
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/performingarts/faculty-staff.  Josh represents the talent and dedication of the faculty and staff of Bakersfield College.  We are BC!

Talking about music, our women chamber singers under the tutelage of the fabulous Dr. Jen Garrett performed yesterday morning for 900 high school students.  They opened with “Real Women Sing” event at Harvey Auditorium. Music is alive and well in Bakersfield and making such a difference in many lives.  I couldn’t be prouder of our BC Choir!



Back to phone banking.…  Before I started making my calls I wandered around watching the volunteers hard at work.  Here is Abel Guzman fluently switching between Spanish and English.  Also, Chris Glaser who has clocked in the most number of hours and Chelsea Esquibias who is a total rock star.  Nicole told me that June Charles has the perfect way of talking to people while she is phone banking.  She has been there many evenings with her daughter.  A total family affair.  Also, Tracy Hall, Somaly Boles, and Jennifer Marden.  

I enjoyed sharing a table with Ronnie Wrest, faculty in the Arts department and volunteering after-hours to do phone banking.  We also had Xavier Castellanos, a delightful high school student who volunteered some hours to phone bank.

It was wonderful Friday evening walking in and seeing Isabel Castaneda and her two children volunteering at the HQ.  This is a total family event. We are BC!

Volunteer teams at work at the Campaign HQ:

In the photos below you’ll see a valiant leader, the campaign manager for Measure J — Nicole Parra, assisted by the talented Asha Chady.

And here are more pictures of volunteers at the campaign HQ.  Chris Counts and his daughter Faith Counts were making phone banking packets with Christie Hill. Tim Capehart and Jennifer Achan were entering the information from the endorsement cards into the database. Kathy Rosellini and Asha Chandy were also hard at work.

And I almost forgot to mention the Kern County Fair.  Measure J was there in full force!  And if you need proof, check out these pictures from this week.

Thank you Isabel Cataneda for sending me this video.

Community Treasures:

With my favorite cup of coffee sitting nearby on the table and its warm aroma filling the air, there’s something simply personal about reading the local newspaper. It’s relevant, informative, interesting, and while professional, it also feels close to home… Maybe that’s because it is. It really is news about our home, the spotlight on our neighborhoods, highlights of our community, reports on our city and updates about our organizations.

Two local newspapers are on my mind as I’m writing this blog – The Renegade RIP and The Bakersfield Californian.

A few days ago, I wrote about how meaningful I feel the BC Archives Association is to the success of Bakersfield College. To put it simply, we rely on our archives for a more comprehensive and vital understanding of our identity and past, as we work towards building a better future.

This inspired my thoughts about the quality and abundance of local journalism and the archives of our city. What an incredible and priceless blessing these local journalists give us in their gift of capturing the local news.

At BC, our student journalists have contributed to the student newspaper, The Renegade RIP for over 85 years. The students do it all – from creating and writing seven or eight biweekly publications to regularly adding articles to therip.com. Above all else, they are active members of the student body, seeking out the newsworthy stories from their community and contributing back by honestly and genuinely covering today’s topics.

Over fifty years ago, in March of 1956, The RIP had a special edition issue focused around the new Panorama campus. Volume XXVIII, the special edition, featured large text on the cover saying “the new campus, the new spirit” and had equally incredible articles and headers within the pages following:

  • Kern County’s Businesses Offer Salute To New BC
  • Sweeping Panorama Shows The New BC
  • New Ideas Abound in BC’s Buildings
  • BC – Seeing Times Then, Now, and to Come


Could you imagine what they could cover if Measure J is to pass?  Another historic opportunity for the college…another historic opportunity for our community.  I invite you to revisit the historical “M-Day” as our faculty, staff, and students moved to the new campus on the hill 60 years ago. Check out the RIP special edition here – It begins on page 11 of the .pdf file.

I especially loved looking back to see the outpouring of community support from local businesses congratulating the students on their new campus. Browse through the ads – how many can you spot that are still local businesses today?

The Bakersfield Californian is also our local, close to home and close to heart news source. The Californians history has deep rooted beginnings as both the Kern County Weekly Courier and The Southern Californian merged to create The Kern County Californian. It received one more name makeover as The Daily Californian before Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Alfred E. Harrell purchased the paper in 1897. Afterwards, Harrell renamed it The Bakersfield Californian and the name has stuck since 1907.

Under Harrell’s leadership as an editor and publisher, The Bakersfield Californian was recognized as one of California’s finest papers, winning over 40 state and national awards for journalistic excellence. During his almost 50 years in the newspaper business, he came to be respected as one of the best newspapermen in the country. In 1969, Harrell became the 24th person to be named to the Newspaper Hall of Fame.(KernCountyGenerations.com)

Like many of our communities treasures, The Bakersfield Californian has a remarkable history; one withstanding a revolutionized industry, new technologies, and an expanding community that continues to grow, yet at the same time, it has for me kept that traditional “hometown content” that we’ve come to love.

Have you ever had the chance to visit The Bakersfield Californian’s building on the corner of Eye and 17th? It’s a showstopper on the outside, but stepping inside gave me the same feeling I get walking the halls of BC. It’s like walking into a place that you know has made a difference for the community and its people… with whispers of those who have created the stories of the past waiting in anticipation for the new whispers to be added from the present….


The historic building was originally built in 1926 for The Bakersfield Californian so it has always been occupied continuously by our local paper. It was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 10, 1983 because, “the building itself is considered an architectural landmark and a reminder of the golden years of the newspaper.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakersfield_Californian_Building).

Here’s a toast to the Bakersfield Californian!

The Voices of our Community

The Bakersfield Californian’s opinion and community voices section gives everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts. BC has incredible faculty, students, and over the past few weeks, multiple voices have been highlighted in the community voices and opinion sections. Today, I woke up to Nick Strobel describing the Rosetta spacecraft ending its mission in a controlled impact on the comet 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which it has been studying for the past 12 years.

Recent contributions include:

I hope you’ll keep an eye on http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/ for any other contributions about Bakersfield College! How many can you find?

Here are a few more:

Support for Measure J is growing:

Families, friends, and community supporters have volunteered their time to staff the Measure J booth at the Kern County Fair this past week. In fact, at one time three generations including Tina Johnson, daughter Clarissa, and granddaughter Nevaeh showed their love for Measure J.

And thank you to the leaders of Arvin, Dr. Jim Young, Salvador Partida, Karen Davis, Dr. Michelle McLean, Jasmine Santoyo, Richard McCrow, Jose Gurrola, Jose Pinto, Reyna Olaguez, and Cheryl Scott – who gathered to celebrate how Measure J has the potential to make a college education more accessible for Arvin residents!

Arvin community leaders gathered for a kick-off to support Measure J on September 15.

You can see a video about the event on the Yes On J Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/YesOnJ2016/videos/1111784562248930/. Thank you to KBAK Eyewitness News for their coverage of this fantastic event! And thank you Jose Gaspar!

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Women in the Bakersfield Life Magazine

The current issue of Bakersfield Life features fabulous women in our community who have worked to make a difference. Pictured on the cover is Leticia Perez, our 5th District supervisor who mentions in the article that her college political science class was one that changed her life. She explained how each step of the way, she was on a mission to defeat being “powerless.”

After college, and defining where she needed to be, the things she saw throughout her community reinforced her goals to be active in local government. She said, “This local level of government is really the best place to bring people together to craft solutions that are going to change people’s lives.”  The picture with Baby Noah Perez was taken when Leticia stopped by the campaign HQ earlier this week.

Vickie Spanos is also changing lives by creating opportunities and quality learning environments that foster student success for local Bakersfield high school students. After years of teaching and administrative work, today Vickie oversees professional development for the district. Her goals are multifaceted with one solid intention.

She said in the article, “We want our students to reach that next level to feel confident so that if they choose to attend college, they are equipped.” BC is lucky to partner with such fantastic leaders throughout our local high schools and just as Vickie mentioned, “We need to communicate and work as a single entity of education to help students. Their success is our goal.”


People from all different diverse backgrounds can make a difference to better their community. I was really inspired to flip through the issue of Bakersfield Life and I hope you’ll have to chance to read through it yourself.

Other women featured in the special section were Elizabeth May, May Media Services; Julie Johnson, Bakersfield Animal Care Center and Bakersfield SPCA; Corine Ruiz, Olivia’s Heart Project; Mary Christenson, Watson Reality; and Lourdes Estrada, Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center. Check out these fantastic women and their stories in Bakersfield Life on issuu.com.

Child Development Center


I am really proud of our Child Development Center. A special thank you to Cara Jackson, our student who was able to spend some time in the center to share more about this fabulous resourceward.
Danell Ward
, the director for the Child Development Center is really excited to have come on board 3 years ago from Sacramento

The Child Development Center wants to spread the word that parents can feel safe and confident in enrolling their child in care while going to school or preparing for school. The department is constantly looking for ways to improve and develop better teaching instruction for both children and educators.

“Going to school and being a parent is hard and some don’t realize how hard. This is the place where parents can know that their child is safe and take care of their school,” Danell said.

Danell mentioned that they have participated in the Kern Early Stars program that aims to help parents become more aware of what constitutes high quality, allowing parents to see what areas their child excels in and what areas their child needs help strengthening. This also focuses on ratings. Currently, the center holds  four stars.

EHS or Early Headstart Partnership program also has joined the Child Development Center by providing free diapers and help from service workers, materials such as outdoor play equipment, and iPads for quicker documentation for teachers. Danell Ward also commented that, “it gave us a stepping stone to participate and see what we need to work on.”

The center also has 2 site supervisors along with various teachers and helpers to share knowledge.

There are also two programs that are state funded that Ward wants to make sure parents know about. They cover child care Monday thru Friday for a full day 7:30-4:00, or hours based on what parents need. This allows parents to be successful at school and achieve a balance for home.

I also wanted to share information about a celebration of life for one of our Child Development faculty members, Vienna Battistoni. Vienna passed away on September 12th, and her family is holding a celebration for Vienna at Luigi’s on October 6th at 6:30 pm. All who knew Vienna are welcome to attend and share in her memory.

BC Athletics: We bounce back even stronger!


The football team scored a dominant victory at home in Memorial Stadium over LA Harbor College after a tough loss at Riverside the week prior.  It was truly a team effort with two quarterbacks passing for touchdowns (Cesar De Leon passed for his first college touchdown and Dalton Gallis tacked on two more), while La Meshio Hill, Ferguson Ayers, Carlton Bowman, and Derrick Vickers all chipped in touchdowns to help the Renegades improve to 3-1. They’ll play on the road against El Camino College today.

At the football game, I visited with Jim and Dianne Norsworthy who came to the game with Bob and Heidi Allison.  Jim graduated from Bakersfield in 1965 and I took a short video of him talking about his time at BC.  But alas I am not able to get the video downloaded.  Will need to get Bill Moseley to help me here.

Group Picture Sep 24 2016.jpg

Sonya Christian, Heidi and Bob Allison, Jim and Dianne Norsworthy, Zav and Kushnur Dadabhoy

Also caught up with Stig Janz, BC’s advisor to our student athletes who was describing that the athletic study hall that he has developed is very active with student attending and getting help for their academic work.  This concept of having students do their work in study halls at BC is being scaled up for all students.  This is a key component of increasing the success of our students.

Volleyball lost to Moorpark last weekend at the Pierce Tournament, but Coach Carl said the only reason the loss bothered him was because the women weren’t “mentally in the game for the first time this season.” But they bounced back last night in the Gil Bishop Sports Center to beat Moorpark in an intense five-set match! What a win for Coach Carl and Renegade Volleyball!


Women’s Soccer played five games in a row on the road between September 7th to the 23rd where they won two games, lost two games, and had one end in a tie. But Tuesday night they beat West LA 2-0, and last night they blanked Cuesta College 3-0. Coach Scott Dameron says “This team is really balanced; every night it’s different women scoring goals.”

Coach Pam Kelley and The Bakersfield College Cross Country Team hosted the Western State Conference Preview at the Kern County Soccer Park Friday, and Patrick Alvarado finished in the top 20 for the BC Men. Coach Tony from Ventura College-who held the 800 meter record at UCLA- was pleased with the course and the event saying, “This was a first-class meet. Great job by Coach Pam and the Bakersfield College staff. The course was well-marked and the results were right on time. Great job all around.”

I actually drove over to the soccer park early in the morning hoping to catch Pam before she started her hectic day.  When I arrived at the park, I met John Trino the CEO of the Kern County Soccer Park. It was a real treat talking to him.  He graduated from BC in 1960 and was there when the Memorial Stadium was being built.  I wish I had captured a video of him talking about BC when the campus was built.  But I was juggling a lot of work related responsibilities and lost this great opportunity.  John, I am going to come find you soon…..🙂

The women’s golf team has made strides and sits right in the middle of the conference, in good position to move up under Coach Brittney Goehring’s leadership. Janette Chan finished second overall at Antelope Valley on Wednesday with an impressive 75 (one over par), while teammate Brandi Borjon wasn’t far behind with a 79. Keep up the good work, ladies!

MorroBayWMNgolf sep 2016.jpg

BC Wrestling’s season is underway, and they are already making waves…Pedro Sarabia (125lbs) and Zack Mitchell (197lbs) both took third place at the West Hills Tournament last weekend, and they both won matches at last nights 38-9 Dual Match Victory over East Los Angeles. Andrew Binger (165 lbs) is also winning matches, but he’s gaining attention for other reasons as well according to Coach Brett Clark: “Andrew not only has a GPA of about 3.70, but he’s doing the extra things like running five miles after practices and on off-days. Andrew is a great kid, and he’s leading by example.” The men wrestle today at the tough Santa Ana Tournament. Good luck!

October 1st marks the first official day of practice for our basketball teams, and Coach Rich Hughes is surely working hard to follow last year’s impressive conference championship, and Coach Paula Dahl seems to be hiding a smile when talking about her team, so it’ll be very exciting to see what they both unveil as Fall progresses and both basketballs and pumpkins become more familiar sights!




That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — signing off while signing on to Measure J

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.



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


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


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!



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)