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!

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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

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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….

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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.”

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — signing off while signing on to Measure J

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