Catching the Olympic Spirit

 

Sonya Jen Paula August 12 2016

Sonya Christian, Paula Dahl, Jen Garrett

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, August 13, 2016 following a week of Olympics and a week of great activity at BC….a great week to be a Renegade.  

 

On Friday, after my Land Rover was broken into (yes…..quite bummed about that) I spent a few brief moments with Jen Garrett and Paula Dahl at the Starbucks on 24th.  I just sat back watching these two incredible women talk about what they did this summer and all I can say dear community members, is that we are so fortunate to have such incredible faculty members at BC taking care of our students, taking care of our community.  No wonder I always repeat over and over and over again that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.  These two women inspire me!

Let’s start with Rio or should I say #Rio2016…..

The Olympic spirit is contagious and it’s hard to not get caught up in the highlights of terrific athletic merit and examples of superb sportsmanship. It’s easy to sit back and enjoy the thrilling Olympics, but sitting back also makes me truly appreciate the hard work, dedication, training, resilience and sheer talent of these athletes and their preparation for these few weeks in Rio.  Anticipation and preparation are two ingredients to success….BC has done this over the last 100 years and now it is our turn to anticipate and prepare for future generations.  And that we are doing through our facilities planning as we build, together, A Better BC!

women_gymnastics_team

Every unique story stemming from Rio has struck me as particularly moving, but one article caught my attention specifically. U.S. Women Jump, Spin, and Soar to Gymnastics Gold from the New York Times explains just how these girls earned gold. The author explains – It started with “A strong start on the vault” followed by Gabby Douglas getting “her moment.” These young women maneuvered the trials by “avoiding trouble on the balance beam” and closing the victory with “great performances.”

The charismatic U.S. women’s gymnastics team is a shining example of what makes America great –dedication, the opportunity to explore our talents and passions, the ability to freely pursue them, tough training, incredible grace, and banding together to accomplish great things. Our biggest advantage as a nation also stems from our diversity as displayed on the roster by these fantastic women. Laurie Hernandez is Latina, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas are black, and Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian are white. Together, they offer a glimpse into the beautiful mosaic of American diversity.  A single “i” in the collective “we”.  i-BC….and yes, We are BC!

Our world is full of perils and challenges, but the camaraderie on display at Rio 2016 offers a view of our increasingly diverse future; one that we can all take pride in being a part of. Let us continue to be inspired as we witness the beauty in diversity of people working together and striving for excellence.

The track and field competitions have just begun on Rio’s schedule, which reminds me of Jim Ryun (yes, spelled “Ryun”) and his record setting accomplishment at our own Memorial Stadium. A side note: I recently learned that Jim Ryun went on to serve in Congress with our very own Bill Thomas.  On June 23rd of 1967, a world record time was set by Ryun of 3:51.1 running the mile during the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. A video, uploaded to Youtube, shows this unbelievable feat.  (Thank you Shannon Musser for finding this in the archives for us.  And thank you Jerry Ludeke for all that you do for the archives, a true treasure of Bakersfield College.)

That year was the first of five times Memorial Stadium would be home to the championship event. It is my hope that moving forward, BC can continue providing adequate spaces as more records are set at The Home of the Renegades.  Together, let’s build A Better BC for generations to come.

Talking about building A Better BC, Tom Burke and I were on the Jim Scott show on KGET this past Saturday, August 6th sharing information about the KCCD Bond that will be on the November ballot.  If you are interested in this 30-minute video segment check it out on the KGET website at http://tinyurl.com/z7eoxue.

Program for Energy Academy Graduation August 11 2016On 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 https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/05/21/so-much-diversity-and-we-are-bc/

 

It was such a great event.  Besides celebrating our BC students going through this intense Saturday program I enjoyed the friendship of different community groups coming together to make meaningful and transformative opportunities happen for this community. The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce puts this program together with funding from Chevron.

The student speaker Larry Dano was just phenomenal.  He shared his story in the oil industry going through the ups and down of the cyclical economic climate.  He is a BC student who is in the Fire Technology program while he is working towards a baccalaureate degree in Industrial Safety.  Larry is also a student veteran.  Armando Trullijo, BC’s Ed Adviser for student vets was present at the graduation beaming with pride as he introduced Larry to me.  Here is a selfie with Larry right after I gave him his certificate.  The second picture is with David Alanis, a KCHCC member who was at my table and a lot of fun to hang out with.

Lauren Skidmore did a fabulous job facilitating the entire academy and giving up her Saturday mornings to be with this cohort of students.  Thank you Adam Alvidrez and Jay Tamsi for your leadership.  It was great fun sitting at the same table with Norma Rojas-Mora, Michael Bowers and others.  The final word on the Energy Academy must be about Lisa Kent.  This beautiful and talented young woman is so committed to BC and our community.  Thank you Lisa for all that you do!

The BC Team came out in full force to support the Energy Academy graduates.  See below –Armando Trujillo, Connie Gonzales, myself, Jay Tamsi, Lisa Kent, Lesley Bond.  Also, a quick shout out to two more students, Andrea Hernandez and Jose Chavez, with Skidmore, Gonzales, and Kent.

Our Staff is a Great Team

All this focus on Rio and team work reminds me of the great staff and faculty I’m lucky to be working with at BC. Taking care of our current facilities and campus is a constant and growing challenge for a team of truly awesome people.

These efforts wouldn’t be possible without the leadership and dedication of our Facilities and Operations staff. I’d like to mention Ramon Puga and Andrea Watson, who have stepped up and taken on additional responsibilities without being asked. Their attitude is commendable because these two will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

These two, however, are part of a much larger team – everyone at BC plays a unique role in what we do. Thank you Ramon and Andrea for your example of leadership and dedication!  And thank you Bill Potter, Director of Facilities, for your commitment to BC.  Together we will modernize our buildings and infrastructure for future generations….together we will upgrade our learning spaces from the 1950s to accommodate new technologies….together we will build A Better BC!

Another example of quality at BC is the Peer Mentor program, led by Maria Wright. This last week, the PMLA (Peer Mentor Leadership Academy) trained 50 new student employees over a four-day period.

PMLA 2

These students will begin doing student success work in the tutoring center, counseling department, supplemental instruction, and outreach. The training they received focused on students helping students and enhancing their role as Peer Mentors as a means to increase students success campus wide. These great young people are going to make a great difference in the lives of their fellow students! Each student seen individually…. It is all about  customizing for the individual and scaling up for the collective.  i-BC! and We are BC!

This week was also MESA Week Zero. MESA workshops started off in helping students interested in STEM classes.

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This marks year nine for the program, where various workshops – including organic chemistry camp, biology, and engineering are taught. The main goal in providing workshops all week was to get students ready for STEM classes and give insider knowledge specified for each major. BC professors assisted in providing different curriculum projects, which showed students what they would be learning and how they could apply it on the job. Seeing each individual student within the whole group.  Yes, i-BC! and We are BC!

Consuelo Gonzalez, MESA director, said she believes that “in order to be successful in science and engineering you need to have life coaching and the right discipline.” These five-day workshops going on all week are sponsored by Chevron and MESA.

Introducing the new GoGades.com

Gogades.jpgA wave of updates has washed over our campus this past summer. Have you seen the new signs around campus, the newly poured walkways, and fresh coat of paint in the parking lot? In addition to those and many more, BC Athletics has a new website! You can’t miss the pop of Renegade Red, while checking out the accomplishments of our fantastic student athletes.

GoGades.com features a slideshow highlighting the most recent news and photos about Renegade sports. You’ll find news, photos, videos and a schedule for every BC sports department, as well as information about tickets, recruiting, athletic facilities, sponsorships, directions around campus and more. The redesign couldn’t have come at a better time, with the fall 2016 semester right around the corner.

Football is a proud staple at BC and I hope you’ll join me at our first home game against Chaffey College at BC’s Memorial Stadium on September 10th. This fall also marks the return of Men’s Soccer to BC after a 30-year absence. Along with head coach Vayron Martinez, I’m excited for the future as this program builds from the ground up into a legitimate competitor in the Western State Conference.

Thank you to our Sports Information Director, Francis Mayer, for his work on this site, everyone who works to cast a spotlight on our student athletes, and everyone at BC  and in the community  who supports them! Go Gades!

For more info about Renegade athletics, including former BC quarterback Logan Kilgore making his first professional start in the Canadian Football League, I hope you’ll be sure to visit Gogades.com.

Howard Swan Award

RonJen1Another staple at BC is our talented music faculty. Since 1985, every summer, at the CACDA (California American Choral Directors Association) conference near Yosemite, a director is awarded the Howard Swan Lifetime Achievement award. This award recognizes an outstanding retired choral director in our state and candidates are nominated by the California ACDA Board of Directors and voted upon by past Presidents.

This year it was awarded to our own Ron Kean! Many well respected choral directors in California spoke about Ron’s dedication to the choral art. The speakers focused on the way he brought multicultural music to the forefront of choral music and made it accessible and something choral directors did not have to be afraid to try. They talked about his quiet and humble dedication as he served as President of the ACDA Western Division, President of the Music Association of California Community Colleges (MACCC), 6 years as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives, and more.

The “Lifetime” Achievement Award seemed insufficient as Ron’s dreams and support go well beyond his tenure at any institution or office. He continues to support ACDA through workshops and sharing of his years of experience. And he wholeheartedly supports Bakersfield College in his so called “retirement,” still teaching the World Music class he created. He also conducted the BC Choirs and BSO in an unforgettable opening of our Outdoor Theater, and supports the choral program in any way he can.

Jen Garrett and many others also talked about the way his compositions will live on beyond any of us. He has made a personal difference in so many lives–as a professor, choral conductor, leader, composer, and most importantly, as a friend and colleague. Many lives have been greatly enriched and blessed because of Ron. Congratulations!!

In an email last week, Ron told me “retirement can open the doors to creativity.”  “The White Birds” is one of 5 commissions he’s done in the past two years.  He has judged choral music festivals at Bakersfield High School, Fresno State, USC, Santa Rosa Community College, and this Fall at Cal State Long Beach and guest conducted in Hawaii, Bali, and for the Santa Monica/Malibu School District Honor Choirs.  The photo was taken at St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland just after the premiere of “The White Birds,” with poetry by William Butler Yeats.  It was co-commissioned by the two conductors in the photo, Lou De La Rosa from West Valley College in San Jose, and Dr. Jeffrey Benson from San Jose State University.  “The White Birds” was performed for the opening of the first ever Limerick Choral Music Festival, for the mayors of Limerick and Dublin, and at the end of each concert. I’m told each performance was followed by a standing ovation – I believe it too!RonIreland.jpg

Renegades in the Community

BC is connecting our community in both simple and meaningful ways.

Sometimes, all it takes is a 35 mile drive and the need for a diet coke to connect staff and students! Tracy Lovelace from our Educational Media department sent me this video – I hope it’ll make you smile, just like it did for me.

Janelly, we’re proud that you’re a Renegade! Thanks for sharing Tracy.

Cropped Aug 12 2015 Community Leaders Gathering

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

(This picture, posted by Karen Goh one year ago at the African American Leaders breakfast, popped up on Facebook after a year.)

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5 thoughts on “Catching the Olympic Spirit

  1. Mary Jo Anhalt August 13, 2016 at 8:46 am Reply

    Thanks, Sonya, for all you are doing to make BC great! I’m now living in Cedar City, Utah, near SUU, home of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Thanks for sharing pics of my good friends and colleagues, Jen and Paula, and all the great news!

    ~Mary Jo

    On Saturday, August 13, 2016, Bakersfield College Presidents Blog wrote:

    > bcpresident posted: ” Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, August > 13, 2016 following a week of Olympics and a week of great activity at > BC….a great week to be a Renegade. On Friday, after my Land Rover was > broken into (yes…..quite bummed about th” >

    • bcpresident August 13, 2016 at 9:03 am Reply

      Mary Jo, great to hear from you. We need you to help us in the next 90 days to on the work we are doing to build #ABetterBC!

  2. Jay Rosenlieb August 13, 2016 at 9:47 am Reply

    Thanks for including the link to the video of Jim Ryun setting the world record in the mile run at BC Stadium. As I watched the video it brought memories of the first time that I watched that same race… As a young boy I was at the BC Stadium on the southeast side mid way up toward the finish line on the day that Ryun set the world record. I watched with awe as Ryun pulled way from the pack on the last lap, having led the entire race. Great things have taken place at the BC Stadium and at BC generally and will continue so given the strong interest and support of the entire Bakersfield Community!

    • bcpresident August 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm Reply

      Thank you Jay for taking time to write this comment. You paint a wonderful picture of a young boy being influenced by an incredible event in the Memorial Stadium. The halls of BC have whispers of events past and the promise of better futures for generations to come. Thank you for working on the team to build #ABetterBC.

  3. Ron Kean August 14, 2016 at 4:58 am Reply

    Thank you Dr. Christian for everything you do for Bakersfield College and for the community. I am proud to STILL be a part of this team. Thanks for including my stories. Ron Kean

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