So much Diversity and We are BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 21st…and another wonderful day to be a Renegade.

The weeks leading up to graduation I kept telling everyone, just wait till after May 13th and I am going to have plenty of time.  Well “after May 13th” came, and went ….wow …it was one crazy week.

I, and others at BC, had a number of speaking engagements that gave me the opportunity to get connected or reconnected with some wonderful Bakersfield organizations: the Boys and Girls Club, Bakersfield City School District Foundation (thank you Dee Slade), The Boy Scouts annual dinner at Tejon, and the Dong Hae Lions Club.

This morning, BC hosted the first class for the Energy Academy, a project of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Chevron.

Energy Academy May 21 2016

This is the second year of the program and is being facilitated by Lauren Skidmore, Director of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government whose mission is to promote economic, fiscal, and public policies that keep Kern County on a sustainable path to prosperity.  For more see  The Academy has a great list of speakers that include Richard Chapman, CEO KEDC; Christina Sistrunk, CEO Aera; Robin Fleming, Chevron and many others.  The Academy will end with a tour of the San Joaquin Refinery and the Mt. Poso Biomass Cogeneration Plant.  The students are BC students many of whom are from our MESA program.  Thank you Jay Tamsi and Adam Alvidrez and BC’s Lisa Kent for making this happen.

Honor’s Celebration

On May 6, 2016, in the BC gym, the Honor’s Celebration was held to recognize student’s scholarships and achievements. Each year, businesses, organizations, individuals in the community, and the Bakersfield College Foundation, sponsor students to go out and achieve their dreams.Recipients and their families lined up outside the doors, eagerly waiting for the program to start. Once inside the doors participants found their name tags and sampled the refreshments. It was so nice to hear a reflection speech from outgoing BCSGA President Clayton Fowler.

Roberta Ayala Sonya Christian May 2016

Sonya Christian, Roberta Ayala

Many students were singled out and introduced by BC professor’s to highlight their particular scholarships, GPA achievements, and future education goals.

A quick shout out to Roberta Ayala, Financial Aid Tech, with whom I had the pleasure of working the check-in table to expedite the long line of students.  It was also a treat to sit by Michael O’Doherty, chair of the BC Foundation and a big supporter of the college.

Thank you Tom Gelder for making this happen.


Delano Campus Pre-Commencement Celebration

“Magtiis ka muna”

“All your sacrifice will be worth it”

Emmanuel Espanola recalled how his family encouraged him with these words when his studies interfered with his attendance at family functions during his brief acceptance speech at the BC Delano Campus Pre-Commencement Celebration hosted on Friday, May 13.



This theme—loving and supportive faculty, friends, and family as being vital to success—was echoed by fellow graduates who each took a couple of minutes to address attendees. I am continuously impressed by students’ deep appreciation.

This is Delano campus’s second pre-commencement ceremony, and it was a success. The complementary luncheon catered by Janitzio was plentiful and delicious; the Delano High School drum line rousingly entertained the crowd before the formal ceremony; keynote speaker Danny Ordiz shared experiences from his life and offered practical advice for the new graduates; student guest speaker Yanelie Ponce spoke convincingly of the transformative effect that her involvement with other students and with WECOMM, a communication and service organization, have had upon her life. Program Manager Raquel Lopez offered inspiring opening and closing remarks.  Many proud students gathered after the ceremony for a group picture. The cameraman prodded, “Smile!” After the many years of hard work, that was the easy part.

Lost Hills Article

Lynda Resnick Sonya Christian Jan 2015

Sonya Christian, Lynda Resnick Jan 2015

On Tuesday morning, Trustee Agbalog sent me an article by David Brooks in the New York Times.  Those of you who know me know that I am a fan of Brooks.  This particular piece, One Neighborhood at a Time, calls for recognition to the wonderful things happening in the close by community of Lost Hills, CA.  Brooks says that, “we’re beginning to see the rise of intentional community instigators” on the heels of a statement that generally says, social isolation is…. well, scary.

He states that social isolation is a catalyst for trends like rising suicide rates, drug addiction, inequality, and depression, among many other things. To put this simply, people need other people – which brings us to what’s going on in the small nearby community of Lost Hills.

“In Lost Hills there are new health centers, new pre-K facilities, new housing projects, new gardens, new sidewalks and lights, a new community center and a new soccer field. Through the day, people have more places to meet, play and cooperate with their neighbors.”

These improvements are all because of the philanthropic efforts of Lynda Resnick, owner of The Wonderful Company, whose efforts are not going unnoticed. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety, located at

Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony

Tamika Payne and daughterOn May 10th, the Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony was held in the Indoor Theater.  It was a fabulous event with students and families celebrating education.

Manny de Los Santos has put together this overview of the event in a very Manny style.  I love the singing voice of our student  Austyn Williams in the background. Check it out at

Gwendolyn Turner the student speaker was phenomenal.  She started in 1980, graduating in 2016. A Theater Arts major and veteran, she overcame many obstacles. BC improved over the years she said. They knew they had to do better to be better. She gave a special thanks to Paul Beckworth, Joyce Kirst and Kimberly Chin. All went the extra mile to be supportive.

Dr. Oscar Anthony was the keynote and was inspiring in his remarks.  Pastor Anthony is someone who says it as he sees it.  He is a former former Renegade who graduated in 1974 after coming back from the service. He is a good friend of Bakersfield College.  He said: We are turning a chapter in your book. Be the best you can be and better than everyone else. God has a plan for you. Follow your passion.

Paula Parks emceed the event with the consistent message ……you didn’t come this far, just to come this far.

We also have a photo gallery at

Latino Celebration

ChicanoGroup1Drum roll! Here comes the twenty-second Latino Celebration on Thursday, May 5, 2016! Guests not only enjoyed receiving their awards, but also seeing the festive and colorful entertainment. The car show, mariachi band and cultural dance performances kicked the event off to a great start. Despite a thunderstorm, which darkened the gym for a short few seconds, the ceremony began.


Dolores Huerta (photo by Cara Jackson)

Key Speaker Dolores Huerta, one of the leaders in founding the National Farm Worker’s Association, congratulated the students on their achievements so far and encouraged all “to pursue a passion each person loves.” She in turn said that she quit teaching grammar school after she “couldn’t stand seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes,” and thought she “could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children.” She said that she pursues her passion of changing laws and standing up for the rights of her people and that everyone should pursue their dream.

The crowd responded to her speech with applause and then the students were invited to step up on stage to receive their diploma. Everyone had the opportunity to voice their appreciation to family and teachers for helping make their goals a reality.

I want to thank Victor Diaz, Lisa Kent, Vanessa Bell, Jo Ann Acosta, Isabel Castaneda and Corny Rodriguez for all their efforts in organizing such a great event to celebrate our students.

Check out our 4:49-minute overview video at

Also, I briefly introduced this event in a previous blog.


Photo by Cara Jackson


Radiologic Technology Certification & Pinning Ceremony

On May 12, in BC’s Indoor Theatre, family and friends gathered to watch the

graduates of the Radiologic Technology program walk up on stage with their heads high and faces beaming as they accepted awards and certificates.

Kathy was honored for her 26 years of service. She was described by a former student as someone you want to keep in your life.  She was an alumni of the program who always embodied engagement. She was described a collaborator, a mentor and a friend.  I knew Kathy in my previous life at BC as a Math faculty.  I have always loved her big beautiful smile.

These students put many hours of hard work and effort in earning their
certificate. In the beginning, they first attended an orientation, were placed on a 1-to-3
year waitlist, and now have finally completed 2 years of training!
In addition, on average for the first year, in addition to schoolwork, each person works 16 hours a week on-the-job, and the second year, about 24 hours a week!
Radiology technicians help peform general x-rays, CT and MRI scans, radiation
therapy and other diagnostic imaging. One graduate, Gregory Jason McGee stated,
“It is something I always wanted to do because I have a love of people and this will help
find out what is wrong with someone.”
A special feature this year was a song written and performed by LaTierra Rumph that described the graduates’ journey.
 I am so thankful that Cindy Randal from Kern Radiology was able to attend and congratulate each of our deserving, hard-working graduates.  Nancy Perkins, you do a phenomenal job directing this excellent program.
Also, thank you to Cara Jackson for taking great photos of the event!


Thursday night’s (May 19th) African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) end-of-the-year celebration was a festive evening acknowledging student achievement and recognizing those who lent support. Students Darlene Williams and Mariah Bagsby spoke about their growth as writers and researchers as well as how much they depended on the ASTEP community of faculty, students, and mentors to make it through their coursework. The evening was full of creativity, humor, and love – expressed through words, poetry, song, and ritual.

The first year of ASTEP includes two English courses (53 and 1a) and two student development courses (2 and 6) – all offered with an African-American focus. Students also studied together, enjoyed cultural and academic trips, met with their mentors, and attended community events.

ASTEP2 continues the support and includes a 1-unit class with readings and community involvement.  Paula Parks is our lead faculty for this program and does a phenomenal job.

Check out my blog post on Paula Parks receiving the Alpha Alpha Phi award:


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Physical Science Student Recognition Dinner

Photo by Cara Jackson

Also on May 12th, in the Fireside Room a dinner was provided by MESA and was held in honor of students who were recognized for their outstanding work and effort in Physical Science.

Many of our faulty had the chance to speak about how diligent students were and why they deserved to be honored at the dinner. Overall, students
enjoyed an elegant dinner, while celebrating their accomplishments for the year.
MESA Program

Photo by Cara Jackson

The 12th Annual Awards Banquet for MESA was held on May 5th in the Renegade Room. The MESA program is dedicated to providing academic support to educationally disadvantaged students so they can pursue higher education.

Students who are enrolled in the program have the goal to graduate with degrees in engineering, science and technology.

The night began with a delicious dinner, followed by humorous speeches given by keynote speakers Skylar Pane, Alex Marquez and Javier Flores.

Skylar Pane, a Software Engineer at Google, highlighted that one thing he wants future students to know is that, “failure is a pre-requisite for success.” He mentioned the reason he has come this far in life is simply because he kept trying and that everyone can achieve their goal if they work hard for it.

Bakersfield City School District Foundation meeting

BCSD Ed Foundation Board Presentation May 16 2016Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and the hard working people at the BCSD Education Foundation are doing the groundwork to see this positive change through.

Bakersfield City School District’s vision is to create a collaborative and supportive learning community that ensures all students are inspired to achieve academic excellence and become life-long learners and productive citizens.  I had the delightful opportunity on Monday to present our BC Facility Needs to the BCSD Foundation and was overwhelmed by the positive response. Thank you Dee Slade for opening up the door for BC.  You are such a powerhouse and you just make things happen.

Delano High School District–a great partner.

Sonya Christian Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg Terri Nuckol May 16 2016Have I mentioned recently that I love BC’s campus at Delano….I love the Delano community.  This is a community of passinate people who are willing to do what it takes to make their community better.  Dr. Terri Nuckols, Superintendent of the Delano High School District is one such individual. Terri visited our campus this week to discuss the planning for dual enrollment at Delano High Schools. Thank you Terri.  You are a fabulous partner of Bakersfield College

Check out my previous post on the Delano Prayer Breakfast


WESTEC Partnership

Corny Sonya Bill Rector May 18 2016

Corny Rodriguez, Sonya Christian, Bill Rector

I had the opportunity to spend Wednesday afternoon speaking with previous Bakersfield Police Chief, Bill Rector, who now serves as the executive director at WESTEC. This fantastic program works together, with BC and Taft College, to provide specialized training for those interested in certain careers.

These programs are giving our students the necessary skills to succeed in an ever changing and evolving workplace. Some of the training areas are as follows: oilfield/agricultural safety, general industrial safety, corrections/law enforcement training, court report writing classes and a program that prepares people for general industry jobs. For more about WESTEC and their program offerings, visit

American Lung Association Luncheon

Recently BC was a sponsor of the American Lung Association Luncheon.  BC Nursing students were present taking blood pressure and basic vital signs.  We received a lot of positive feedback about their presence at the luncheon. Everyone loved them! Thank you Pearl Urena for making this happen.  Pearl is the educational advisor for BC’s Pre-Law Program.  You may enjoy my April 30th blog that included our Pre-Law program at



Korean Cultural Club:

Thank you Andrew Bond, first year English faculty in starting a Korean Cultural Club. Here is a picture of them at the end of the semester celebration at Tofu House.

Korean Cultural Club May 2016.jpg

So much diversity….and We Are BC!  

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5 thoughts on “So much Diversity and We are BC

  1. Kay Meek May 22, 2016 at 10:27 am Reply

    What a GREAT week at Bakersfield College and all of it’s wonderful programs! Thanks to all involved and congratulations to our students and graduates. So appreciate everyone’s dedication to BC, students and our community. Kay Meek

  2. bcpresident May 22, 2016 at 1:52 pm Reply

    Thank you Trustee Meek for your comment. It is a wonderful way to wrap up the academic year.

  3. […] Also a shout out to the fabulous Lynda Resnick who has the heart for communities like Delano and Lost Hills.  Check out a piece I did on the work of Lynda in my May 21, 2016 blog at […]

  4. […] On Thursday evening, after the Board meeting, I attended the graduation ceremony of the Energy Academy which started on May 21st.  Check out my previous blog post at […]

  5. […] Check out my May 21, 2016 blog post that includes the Lost Hills article. […]

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