Closing out the 2015-2016 academic year

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 14, 2016….A good a day to be a Renegade!

Selfie with Clayton Fowler May 13 2016

Clayton Fowler, Sonya Christian

The academic year ended on a high note yesterday with BC’s 102nd commencement.  Here is Jose Gaspar‘s coverage on channel 29  http://tinyurl.com/jkoqknv.  A very nice piece.  Thank you Jose! Also The Bakersfield Californian featured photos by John Hart, of the class of 2016 on the front page.  Thank you TBC!

Here is the photo that Clayton Fowler tweeted “One last president selfie before graduation .

We had Trustees Romeo Agbalog and Kyle Carter at the ceremony.  Thank you trustees for celebrating this great moment with the college. It is always a treat to have you with us.

Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog May 13 2016

Kyle Carter, Romeo Agbalog

Here is an email exchange between a student and her faculty.  This, my dear community, is what BC is all about.  It is not a myth.  BC faculty and staff are SO very committed to our students.  I love the line from Betty Wandick to her professor Pat Smith “….but you live in all of us.”

From: Betty Wandick <betty.wandick1961@email.bakersfieldcollege.edu>
Date: May 13, 2016 at 11:13:05 PM PDT
To: Patricia Smith <patsmith@bakersfieldcollege.edu>
Subject: Re: Appreciation

Yes, but you live in all of us; therefore, it was good seeing you tonight.

On Fri, May 13, 2016 at 1:17 PM, Patricia Smith <patsmith@bakersfieldcollege.edu> wrote:

Well thank you so very much!
I wasn’t able to attend that graduation due to finals and grading.  I will be there tonight…are you graduating tonight?  I wish you the very best in all that you do.  You were a wonderful student!

> On May 13, 2016, at 12:51 PM, Betty Wandick <betty.wandick1961@email.bakersfieldcollege.edu> wrote:

Hello Professor Smith, I want to thank you for being my instructor throughout the years. I want you to know that I gave your name at the Black Graduates Graduation because I think you are a AWESOME instructor, and I appreciate you. Thank you for everything, Betty James.

Class of 2016, congratulations!  I might do a more in-depth with photos of commencement in a later blog.  Until then, here is the team doing our pre-final walk through the day before commencement.  They put in countless hours with attention to a lot of detail to pull off a grand commencement celebration for our students with fireworks and all.  BC Team Awesome!

 

Pre final wal thru May 9 2016

Here is a drone photo by Manny De Los Santos. Super cool!

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Garden Pathways

It was wonderful attending the Garden Pathways High Tea at Seven Oaks.  The place was packed with our community who had come out to support the winners of this years “Women with a heart for Bakersfield.”

honorees2016.jpgClockwise from top-left: Cynthia Icardo, Norma Rojas-Mora, Tracy Walker, Danielle Wade

Norma Rojas Mora Sonya Christian May 20 1026These four women are truly remarkable in volunteering their time out of their busy lives to support the community.  All of them were eloquent in their remarks and very inspirational.  Norma Rojas-Mora spoke about “opportunity” and that “often those opportunities are the difference between living life in the shadows or living one filled with recognition.”  It struck me that one of the greatest gifts we can give one another is the gift of opportunity.  Here are excerpts from her remarks at Garden Pathways:

I have been blessed with a life filled with opportunity…the opportunity to grow up in a loving family, the opportunity to study at a top university, the opportunity to choose the job I wanted and the ability to make a career out of it.  I share this with you because I also recognized early on that not everyone has opportunities, and often those opportunities are the difference between living a life in the shadows or living one filled with recognition.

Eighteen years ago a gentleman by the name of Bill Carter gave me the opportunity to work at an agency that was in transition, it was only my second job out of college and at that time I told him I was only interested in being with the Housing Authority for three years.

Little did I know that I would find my passion and build a career-I truly believe in our mission of providing safe decent and affordable housing to low income residents of this community and to assist them in becoming self sufficient and moving on to homeownership.  We have so many families that are living in the shadows-but being able to develop programs that provide them with opportunities makes all the difference in the world.  Seeing a family increase their earnings, seeing a child be the first in their families to graduate from high school and go on to college, seeing families purchase their first home and knowing that we played a part in it has been the most important thing.

….

There are over 20,000 people on the Housing Authority’s wait list for affordable housing -we need to be creative to assist families in increasing their earnings so they can move out of subsidized housing so we are able make room for another family. Five years ago we established a nonprofit Foundation that allows to do even more to create opportunities for our families-I want to say Thank you to the Housing and Opportunity Foundation’s Board of Directors who are here for joining us on this journey of empowering families to become self sufficient.  Thank you for rolling up your sleeves and getting in the trenches with us.

My parents and siblings sacrificed a lot to give me opportunities and I am grateful to be able to say thank you-Mom, gracias por tu eterno apoyo!

…..

I leave you with this, get involved, even one small action can impact a person’s life.  Our community has so many needs, know that YOU can make a difference.  Find what you are passionate about and do your part to make an impact.  I Challenge each of you to find your interest and go out and do something about it-our community needs us and we can all play a big part in making Bakersfield great.

Mayor Hall was there supporting our community as usual and presented the awards to the fabulous four women.  I have been in awe of Mayor Harvey Hall ever since I was a faculty member at BC.  His generosity in supporting our Allied Health programs has been amazing.  He told the story of how he deliberately picks his suit when going out to high schools so that the colors match the school colors.  What fun!

Cindy Pollard introduced me to Cathy Ferguson, Executive Director of the Girl Scouts. BC has a great collaborative relationship with Boy Scouts and now we have the opportunity to partner with Girl Scouts. Yes!

GardenPathways

Sonya Christian, Mary Jo Pasek, Karen Goh, Deanna Blaise

Bakersfield College was present at the event in full force.  Thank you Karen Goh for the amazing work that Garden Pathways does to support our most vulnerable populations and thank you for your support of Bakersfield College.

What a great team.

Hare you met Michael Bowers yet?  If not, you are missing out on life.  Michael, with Steven Watkin, is heading up a group that is partnering with Bakersfield College to position the campus for the next 50 years.  2016..2066.  Envisioning an even “better BC.”  Here is the team that he put together–super smart, super cool, super focused, and on the move

African American Outreach May 12 2016

Kalisha Hudgins, Tomeka Powell, Keith Wolaridge, Sonya Christian, Steve Watkin, Dee Slade, Danny Morrison, Michael Bowers

 

Empowering Women summit by CA Latina Leaders

Last Saturday, May 7th, I attended the Empowering Women summit hosted by the CA Latina Leaders at the Double Tree.  I enjoyed hanging out with a BC group of students and listening to wonderful speakers – Assembly member Rudy Salas and Aera CEO Christina Sistrunk.  As you can see from the pictures, I did not have the best seat for getting good photos of the speakers!

Empowering Women May 7 2016

Janet Tarjan, Patrice Morrow, Sonya Christian, Tarin Hansen, Rebekah Kubli, Epi Mendoza, Nicki Damania

Janet Tarjan, math faculty, and Nicky Damania, director of student life attended the event. with a group of amazing BC students.  Patrice Morrow moved to Bakersfield from Bellflower at age 10 with her family.  She will be starting Nursing at BC in the fall.  Rebekah Kubli is a kinesiology major at BC.  Epi Mendoza is the daughter of two parents from Niyarit, Mexico.  Either her great-grandmother or grandma (I’m not sure which) lived to be 117.:-)   Tarin Hansen is working on her prerequisite classes for nursing. It was just a fun relaxed time.  We are…BC!

Helmet Club at the Stiers house:

Later that afternoon on May 7th, I headed out to the Helmet Club event at Mike and Cathy Stiers next to the Bakersfield Country Club.

I did not stay for dinner but enjoyed meeting several new friends of BC and friends of Renegade Football.

Ed Davis is the President of the Helmet Club and a great supporter of BC.  Coach Chudy, Coach Bolton and Coach Dean were all at the event with their families.  It was great seeing Karen Goh at the event supporting BC.  She has been to several football games this last season.  Thank you Karen!  Also, many of these community members supported our student, Terrence Young, when he was seriously injured in the fall.

Track and Field State Meet:

Janet Tarjan and I headed out today, after our exercise class this morning, to the Track & Field State meet at Antelope Valley College.  It was wonderful seeing Coach Pam Kelley and our Renegade Athletes  in action.

Many of the athletes advanced to the state level. Kyra Saunders in long jump, Tyra Saunders in the 100 meters with a new school record, Marilyn Quintero in Discus, Jacob Bookout in high jump and Dillen Littles in both shot put and discus.


End of Year Potluck:

At the end of every academic year I traditionally have an end-of-year potluck in my back yard for the committee leadership on our campus.  This year the planning team included Krista Moreland, Janet Thomas and Tracy Hall and they organized an incredible evening gathering on May 10th at my place.  They did an entire Havana theme with dominoes, Cuban music and even Cuban food items.  Jennifer Johnson’s Cuban sandwiches were to die for.  It was such a fun and relaxing evening and I wish I had taken more pictures.  Janet Thomas’ center pieces for the tables stole the show.

 

Welcome back home Dennis Spencer.  BC came to a standstill without you.

Dennis Spencer May 2016.jpg


Kern County Probation Volunteer Luncheon
We are so proud of our BC Human Services student interns, Abigail Gonzales and Yasmin Chavez, who were nominees for Volunteer of the Year at the Kern County Probation Volunteer Luncheon.

While they didn’t receive that award, they were honored when Mayor Harvey Hall presented them with certificates in recognition of their hard work.  It is so nice to see our students give back to the community, and it is just wonderful when their efforts are so appreciated. Thanks again to the mayor for giving our student interns such a great day.

 

It is a good time to be at BC!

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2 thoughts on “Closing out the 2015-2016 academic year

  1. Mary Jo Anhalt May 15, 2016 at 5:51 am Reply

    Thanks, Sonya! I love seeing your blog, with up-to-date news about BC. Now that you have a bit of free time, you and Janet should see the new movie, “The man who knew Infinity”.

    ~Mary Jo

    On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Bakersfield College Presidents Blog wrote:

    > bcpresident posted: “Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, May 14, > 2016….A good a day to be a Renegade! The academic year ended on a high > note yesterday with BC’s 102nd commencement. Here is Jose Gaspar’s > coverage on channel 29 http://tinyurl.com/jkoqknv. A very ” >

  2. bcpresident May 15, 2016 at 6:36 am Reply

    Glad to see your comment Mary Jo. Thank you for taking time to write. I just checked the youtube trailer of “The Man who knew infinity.” It is the story of Ramanujan. Will definitely watch it this summer.

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