Launching Fall 2016 to Build A Better BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  Today is Saturday, August 20th, the day after my grandmother Hilda Sparrow’s b’day and two days after BC’s Opening Day.  Hilda Sparrow, Nana as I called her, was born in 1908 — that would make her a 5-year-old in 1913 when leaders here is Bakersfield launched the first community college in Kern County, Bakersfield College.  Last night when mom and I were out for our evening walk, rather late yesterday because of going to the new release of the 1959 epic movie Ben Hur, we enjoyed the fabulous moon and talked about Hilda Sparrow. Nana, this blog is for you!

Back to Ben-Hur, the music done by Hungarian composer and pianist Miklós Rózsa is just wonderful.  Here it is on Youtube.  See if you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

 

Opening Day 2016

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It’s been an eventful, exciting, and super-hot Bakersfield summer leading up to one of my favorite times of the year – Fall.   And this week at BC, we gathered to celebrate Opening Day kicking off our monumental fall semester of 2016.

Our faculty, staff, and administration look forward to seeing the halls filled with students and our campus brimming with activity. Our campus comes alive when the students are present – after all, they are the center and the inspiration for all we do.

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Chef Eric Sabella and his team prepared a bountiful, delicious, and healthy lunch of fresh salads and a selection of different wraps. It’s always a treat when we gather together as the whole BC staff to enjoy lunch (or any kind of food, really) together.

In a special way, I’d like to recognize folks who spent the last several weeks preparing for opening day.

 

Our fantastic team of ushers –  Chris Glaser (lead) –  Somaly Boles – June Charles
Heather Barajas – Isbael Casteneda – Bernadette Martinez – Jacki O’Bannon Strong
Felicia Scott – our wonderful students

Contributors to the content of the program – Kate Pluta – Nan Gomez-Heitzberg – Zav Dadabhoy –  Bill Potter – Lesley Bonds –  Steve Waller –  Nicky Damania

The M&O team – Ramon Puga – Rachell Morehouse – Jason Brown

Our video, media and technical team – Manuel De La Santos –  Kristin Rabe – Kevin Ganger

Our graphics and printing – Dylan Wang

My creative writing partner – Monika Scott

And the two women who are complete rockstars – Shannon Musser and Jennifer Marden

 The program followed lunch and almost every seat in the Indoor Theater was filled. The sea of familiar faces and red Renegade pride gets me every time. It’s an incredible sight to see and I hope you’ll check out some of the photos if you couldn’t be there in person.

Our BCSGA President, Matthew Frazer took the stage introducing himself and welcoming everyone to the celebration. He spoke as a true leader of our next generation:

IMG_6313Knowing how my life has been impacted, I felt a calling to serve for the greater good. Last spring, impacted me in two life altering ways that I am grateful for… finally be wedded to my girlfriend of three years, and to announce my candidacy for BCSGA President.  I am happy to report I survived both this summer, so far. I’m still married and expecting, and I am standing before you as the 2016-2017 Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) President. I am Matthew Frazer.

This year, my goal is for us to be more visible and vocal on campus. We hope to achieve this goal by hosting an array of events all year long and by doing so we wish to inspire others to be just as equally impactful.”

I can’t wait to see what our incredible student body has in store this year – it is a great time to be a Renegade.

This fall, we will see the great work of our excellent departments come to life. Enrollment is booming, students are excelling, and we have our first set of history making juniors in the industrial automation baccalaureate program at BC!

As of today, Saturday August 20th, there are exactly 80 days till our community decides on the investment and outcome of Measure J so it was fitting that during Opening Day, we revisited the innovative history and evolution of BC’s ground breaking past.  Together let’s build…A Better BC.  We will have the State of the College posted next week.

Our story began in 1913 and took a gigantic leap in the 50’s as we claimed a campus of our own, moving to Panorama Drive. Today, 50 years later, we continue to dream big because BC’s tale isn’t over. Our campus gives life to the endless opportunities for future generations and along with our students. We’re writing the next chapter and it’s up to us to direct the story.

Here is the conclusion from the State of the College:

We live in an era of viral soundbites and tweets rather than one of comprehensive and detailed discussion. But let us not be reluctant to tell our story, openly and honestly; boldly in all its detail; and in all its glory.

Let’s joyfully shout out the BC story from the roof tops for the next 82 days and beyond.

Let us use Twitter….Facebook… Instagram and Snapchat.

Can we get 82 pieces of writing in the community voices section of the Californian? Every day from now until November 8th. We are BC and we are a Jewel of Kern County.

 We will continue to balance bold new directions with elegance and poise. We will continue to encourage punctual completion with gentle compassion and strong support. We see the face, heart, and brilliant mind of each individual student in the crowd of thousands and our mission is as important as it’s ever been.

I’m proud to say the state of Bakersfield College has never been stronger

Just like in 1913 – Just like in the 50s –

Now, in 2016, we stand together to write the next chapter of BC’s story….

Together, let’s build…A Better BC

WE are BC!

We had great presenters during the 4-hour plenary including the stretch breaks to support our Wellness core value.  Here are some pictures:

 

Our day continued with presentations by employee groups and a community panel. Thank you to Mike Turnipseed, Olivia Garcia, Karen Goh, and JP Lake – your words, voice, and wisdom will resonate with us this fall semester. Thank you for your involvement and for being a voice of the community!

Community Panel Opening Day Aug 18 2016

 

Community Panel 2We welcomed all the new faculty to our roster and concluded our indoor presentation with faculty awards and recognition. Congratulations to Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award recipient, Kenward Vaughn, Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award recipient, Jennifer Johnson, and recipient of this year’s Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium, Anna Poetker.

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What makes this year one for the history books, besides our record setting enrollments and student success accomplishments, is our upcoming date of November 8th.  But what makes this year one that I’m so proud to be a part of right now – right here – today, and in the present – is the fantastic people who make up Bakersfield College. Your energy, your smiles, your laughter, your involvement in our Opening Day stretch breaks, your willingness to stand and be recognized makes a lasting impact on me – and encourages me as President of BC each and every day.  Thank you colleagues.  We Are BC!

 

 New Student Convocation

What an amazingly spirited experience, right after Opening Day on Thursday night introducing new student Renegades and their families to the BC community!

As soon as students walked towards the Outdoor Theatre they were greeted by the Bakersfield College Student Government Association, received welcome packets and enjoyed food and refreshments before the start of the event.

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Chef Eric Sabella and the food services team are just phenomenal!

Chef Eric kicked off the ceremonies with a wonderfully delicious chili & cornbread meal with the perfect blend of spices. His team set the stage for the evening of excellence as the cheerleaders, faculty, and staff paraded down the stairs with the accompaniment of the BC Drumline, in celebration and commitment to the incoming freshmen.

The BC Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Jennifer Garrett, performed a breathtaking piece by Scott Farthing entitled “Come Travel with Me.” With references to Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road”, the piece encourages the young spirit to explore the journey of life. Jen, you are the best!

Our drumline and cheer leaders were just awesome!  Prof Becky Whitson was in great form….loved her energy and style.  And she did not lose it when she was introduced as a sociology faculty rather than a psychology faculty 🙂  And thank you Tom Moran for these wonderful photos!

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Renegade students, their families, faculty, staff, and administration all joined in taking oaths to support the incoming student renegades in their commitment to academic success as we all join together to make BC a better place of higher learning.

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Student Life Director Nicky Damania was very busy putting on such a wonderful event.

In talking with the students and their families at the event, I met a family that traveled a few hours to meet the staff, faculty, and students. They have an incoming freshman starting on Monday that was not able to attend the event; however, they wanted to meet the school community that would help cultivate their son’s educational experience. They expressed comfort in knowing that the entire campus community is invested in the success of their son. Even though he will have to leave home to pursue his academic goals, they are confident that he will be looked after and supported. That is the core of our work!

I want to thank CJ for teaching me how to sign We Are BC and Nan for prompting it.

Was very proud of all the Convocation Speakers — Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President; Mathew Frazer, SGA President; Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction; Corny Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction; Chief Chris Counts, Director of Public Safety. And of course the emcee for the evening.  The fabulous Nicky Damania.

Sonya_CaraThis shows how the faculty and staff  are important in helping our students excel at BC and in life and demonstrating what it means to be student and what it means to be a Renegade. Thank you everyone who showed up for this event, even in the heat, and helping make this tradition a meaningful experience for our students.

I also got a chance to take a selfie our student Cara Jackson, who does fabulous work taking photos for my blog! I’m so glad to share a photo of the young woman behind the camera with all of you.

Matthew Garrett’s Making Lamanites

MakingLamanites.pngI’m excited to share that Matthew Garrett’s award winning book Making Lamanites will be released next month. It is the winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies for it “traces student experiences within contested cultural landscapes to reveal how and why many of these Native youth adopted a notion of Indianness.”

Donald L. Fixico from Arizona State University says, “Using historical themes of colonization, assimilation, and identity, Matthew Garrett presents an extraordinary revelation of indigenous resilience among 50,000 native students during the second half of the twentieth century. This brilliant exposé advances our understanding of Indian-white relations and it is truly an award-winning book!”

How lucky are we to have such dedicated, interesting, and accomplished professors like Matthew Garrett at BC. Make sure to keep an eye out for details on where you can get this book! We Are BC!
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International Students

Welcoming  F-1 visa students to our college and community is not a new concept; in fact, the arrival  of international students at Bakersfield College has been since the 1970’s, upon the arrival of Filipinos and Cambodians to Kern County.

International students are a vital part of our campus and community. Their attendance at our colleges bring diversity and enrich the college experience for our domestic students who may not otherwise have a chance to travel abroad or experience other cultures.  International students expose both the student body as well as the faculty and staff to different cultures and ideas.

Since 2013, there has been an approximate 30% increase in the enrollment of F-1 visa studentsIMG_7873 every year.  In fact, in Spring 2016, 88 F-1 Visa students representing 26 different countries, joined Bakersfield College. Students from Saudi Arabia are the largest group at 30%; the other 70% come from India, Mexico, Vietnam, Yemen, and Nigeria.

An increase in the number of international students can boost our local economies, create a worldly and diverse student population, and prepare our future generations for a globalized workplace. All international students pay for their American education with personal or family funds.

Thank you Shohreh Rahman for leading this work for the college.

Share Memories:

Loy Salada’s post on the Ice Bucket Challenge from two years ago just popped up on Facebook.  So fun!  Here it is

 

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That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday…..

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya  

The luckiest and happiest college president

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4 thoughts on “Launching Fall 2016 to Build A Better BC!

  1. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg August 20, 2016 at 1:12 pm Reply

    President Christian delivered the State of the College Address on Opening day and it was readily apparent that BC is thriving. Talented and dedicated employees and community members, who understand BC’s contributions to the community, are a winning team. The bond measure on the November 8 ballot, Measure J, provides us with a historic opportunity to guarantee future students quality programs and services in buildings designed for the 21st Century.

  2. raiderssportsguy August 23, 2016 at 2:13 am Reply

    Very sorry I missed this event! It’s the first I haven’t seen in years! You talk about an All-Star Team…this is the kind of event…the kind of drum-banging, pride-swelling, community-building, good time that answers the tired old “Why Bakersfield?” question for good. THIS IS WHY! Because we make things…together. We don’t laugh at one another’s dreams; we join hands and solve problems and make the community…AND THE WORLD…better for our children!! I’m tired from my own dream-building (and the requisite rest that comes with it!) but I’ll give you, Our Tired Cynic, a few examples; Kern County is the undisputed American home of Private Space Exploration!! Bakersfield and Kern County are home to TWO of the FIVE most productive natural energy reserves in the UNITED STATES!!! Oh…and as if finding a new place to settle and fueling those efforts weren’t enough…America (and four other continents) must have an armpit fetish! Because over 70 percent of the green groceries in their diet were harvested in Kern County and the Central Valley! THANK YOU, BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE! Thank you for enriching the minds atop so many strong backs that have hewn a strategic, metaphorical, and ACTUAL backbone to the “City on the Hill” of Planet Earth…Our people are truly the best-kept secret on the planet. I dare you to find a more productive, humble, and brave group who never listen to bellyaching and excuses in their quest to make a better life for their children; where is the American dream? Oh, you can find it alive and well in a number of exits off the 99 between Los Angeles and San Francisco…

  3. […] 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. […]

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