So many reasons to celebrate! We are BC!

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, October 8th ….another great day to be a Renegade.

This week was a week of travels for me.  Denver early in the week for the AACC Pathways institute and then Orange County to present on Guided Pathways on Friday.  Another big highlight of the week was the Measure J Open House on Tuesday evening.

But let me start my blog with Jim Norsworthy, class of 1965. I met Jim and his wife at a BC football game and captured a short video of him describing his time at BC:

Pathways Team at AACC Institute in Denver, CO

PathwaysTEam.jpgI traveled with the BC Pathways Team to Denver this week to attend the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways Institute. Bakersfield College is one of 30 community colleges selected to participate in this 3-year initiative funded by the Gates foundation.

Janet Fulks, Maria Wright, Kimberly Bligh, Kate Pluta, Lesley Bonds, and Stephen Waller joined me on this trip.

Check out my previous blog, February 5, 2016from San Antonio at the very first institute. In July, I recapped about a similar Pathways event held at LAX and here’s where I posted about Nick Strobel’s piece describing in only 500 words how the pathways initiative is like a GPS for students.

Traveling Adventures

Traveling home from Denver on Tuesday was quite the adventure as well. I arrived bright and early at the airport and went through security like normal. Denver is a beautiful city with a wonderful transportation system, even inside its airport. I took the “people mover” train to concourse B where I’d wait for my flight… and the system is so well designed. I learned from Wikipedia that its layout is based upon the train inside Atlanta’s airport and the systems are nearly identical. Anyway, upon settling in and getting my breakfast burrito, panic immediately set in. I realized I had left my ID back at security and had to go back to get it.

I had to wait, but the TSA agents were kind and helpful in the process. It’s often easy to dismiss the service these men and women provide as simply inconvenient during the rush of travel, but it’s truly helpful and an important public service. Safety is always a team effort and it was a common theme through multiple interactions during my trip home. Once I made it on the flight and before takeoff, the cabin crew on my United flight announced that all Samsung Galaxy phones needed to be switched off during flight unlike other phones which could be turned to airplane mode. If you’ve followed the news recently, there’s been a recall on these phones due to safety issues and you can check out the article about this notice on

I arrived in Bakersfield, safe and sound, inspired and ready for everything this week had in store and headed straight to the Measure J Open House.

Volunteers for Measure J!

Do you know how to “sign” Yes on J?  Let’s watch and learn from Tom Moran.

BC is woven deeply into the fabric of this community. We have incredible students and relentless support from the people all over Kern County. It is wonderful to see so many people willing to spend time working for a better future for our community colleges. I am grateful for their hard work and support.

You can find out more about Measure J, and fill out an online endorsement form, at

Measure J Open House:

There was also a fabulous open house for the Yes On J campaign on Tuesday night. There was great turnout, and the support and kind words about Bakersfield College were overwhelming.  Thank you Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Andrea Thorson for leading a team to make this happen on short notice.

Photos from the open house are posted on the Yes On J 2016 Facebook page.

I’d like to share some videos from the event from a few of our supporters. More videos will be on the Yes On J Facebook page soon, so check back!

Harvey Hall

Harvey Hall Open House Oct 4 2016.jpg


Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas Open HOuse Oct 4 2016.jpg


Leticia Perez



Mike Turnipseed

Wayne Kress

Wayne Kress Measure J Open House Oct 4 2016.jpg



Other Speakers and pictures:


Presentations and endorsements:

On October 5th, Bill Thomas, JP Lake, Nicole Parra and I attended the Kern County Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting.  It was wonderful seeing all our Ag faculty out there in full force to support the needs of the college and the Ag department.


JP Lake, Bill Kelley, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas, Heather Baltis, Chris McCraw, Lindsey Ono, Greg Cluff, Bill Barnes

On October 6th, JP Lake presented to the Renegade Helmet Club.  I am happy to say that the club unanimously endorsed Measure J.

JP presenting to the Renegade Helmet Club Oct 6 2016.jpg

Also this week, Cheryl Scott informed me that the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council endorsed Measure J.

Over 100o individuals have endorsed Measure J.  To check out the list, visit

Last week at the Kern County Fair

Thank you to all the volunteers at the Measure J booth at the Kern County Fair.  Thank you Trustee Kay Meek who staffed the booth Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately we did not get a picture of her hard at work.

Vounteers at work:

Thank you to all the volunteers who phone banked this last week.  Here are just some names of the many who turned out at the Campaign Head Quarters to help.

Michelle Pena, Linda Cordoba, Josh Shackelford, Jackie Lau, Peggy Gonzales, Sergio Maldando, Sal Gomez.

Kathy Rosellini, Chelsea Esquibias, Shannell Tyes, Abel Guzman, Nielly Damamia, Isabel Casteneda, Lucero Cisneros, Iris Gonsalez, Sam Moreno, Sandra Beckworth, Paul Beckworth, Natesha Johnson, Katie Johnson

And they come young 🙂  Isabel Castaneda’s 5 year old.  Just precious.


Delano promoting Measure J:

Delano was out during the Harvest Festival promoting Measure J


Kern Shakespeare Festival

This week the Shakespeare Festival at BC kicks off and will last for the upcoming two weeks.

Brian Sivesind, the new director for the Drama Department, is excited to be heading the 32nd annual festival.

In preparation for the play of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” 28 students and 2 faculty spent 7 weeks, 5 days a week making sure the performance would blow people away. Brian Sivesind commented that he “wants the audience to be amazed at the level of talent and commitment that BC students have put into Shakespeare.”

This modernized version of the comedy tells the story of two people who fall in love, elope into the desert and due to magical forces are caught in a love triangle that includes other people.

It also incorporates elements of Burning Man, a real event, in which thousands of people assemble in the desert each year to burn a huge wooden art structure. Then, return to civilization leaving no trace of being there.  Have you been to Burning Man?

Students participating in the play also had a chance to comment.

Ryan Lee, playing the character of Lysander, said,” I want to have fun and act and focus on the building of the character and that’s what drives me.”

Juliana Benavides commented, “I was not real familiar with Shakespeare, but decided to give it a try. I love the feeling of being on stage and bringing myself into the world of the play.”

Tickets are available through Vallitix, and the show is held at the Outdoor Theatre. The festival began this weekend, and continues next week, with shows at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

Industrial Automation Student Gathering

IndustrialAutomation.jpgThe BC Industrial Automation students gathered on Tuesday evening to mingle and prepare for potential internships that may come up with quick deadlines.

Stephanie Baltazar, our Job Development Specialist, was on hand for a special resume workshop and to help students improve their resumes.

It’s been an exciting journey so far for this incredible group of students.The Renegade family is so proud of these trailblazing students and I can’t wait to see what they can accomplish as they reach for the stars!

Congratulations to Helen Calip!


Helen Calip, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Jay Tamsi

BC is a campus without boundaries and our staff in Delano accomplish incredible things each day. I have to extend a warm congratulations to Helen Calip, our lead coordinator of Admissions and Records for the Delano Campus. Last month, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Delano Union School District by the Delano Union SD Hall of Fame Committee for Outstanding Service to the community.

This is not the first recognition for her service to the Delano community either. In 2012, she was voted Woman of the Year by the Filipino Community of Delano for excellent community service, and in 2010, she was awarded Woman of the Year by the Delano Chamber of Commerce.

Helen works diligently with heart, helping the Delano faculty and staff to meet academic and professional needs while actively engaging and serving the people of her community.

Thank you and congratulations Helen! Everyone at BC is so proud you are part of our family.

Emergency Responder Training

The week at BC was off to a safe start as the BC Public Safety Department held hour-long Emergency Responder Trainings on Monday and Tuesday. The training was open to all employees, especially our new faculty and staff, so that everyone knows what to do in case of an on campus emergency.

Chief Chris Counts, our Director of Public Safety recently said in the newest Annual Safety Report, “Do not hesitate to ask the Dept. of Public Safety staff any questions you may have about your personal safety. You will find that the staff members are interested and welcome the opportunity to assist with your concerns.”

Our campus community is very lucky to have such caring and dedicated public safety personnel. These are people who want nothing more than to serve and improve our campus! I cannot adequately express how grateful I am for our BC Public Safety team – Thank you for all that you do!

Homecoming & the Big Red Dinner!

1957-November-7-1.jpgThe excitement is ramping up on campus for the annual Homecoming celebrations that take place later this month. This year will mark the 59th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama Drive and the upcoming activities are themed around building the Renegade community for the future, focusing on the next 50 years to come. Over the past year as a BC Community, we have enjoyed reuniting with our past and looking back at our campus traditions while we plan for the future so this announcement is especially exciting.

The front page of the Renegade RIP in 1957, in large bold letters read “Campus Open House Features Spaghetti Feed” and there’s no better way to celebrate where we started and where we’ve come — so we’re doing it again!

Community members, leaders, alumni, families, friends of BC, and colleagues – this spaghetti dinner will be the tailgate of the year and with your attendance and support, we can make it the best one yet!

The celebration kicks off with a spaghetti feast with salad, roll with butter, and water or soda – plus the famous BC flying saucer cookie! With the purchase of dinner, you’ll get admission to the grand homecoming football game, entertainment by the BC Drumline and music department, cheerleaders, and more. Come back to the campus on the hill for Homecoming 2016.

Tickets are available on Vallitix.

For more information about Homecoming, check out

I can’t wait to see you there!!

Driven by Art: Public Art Project at BMOA

bmoaIt’s a beautiful thing when creativity and community collide and that’s why we’re so lucky to have the Bakersfield Museum of Art in our neighborhood. In celebration of the BMOA’s 60th anniversary, they invited the community to participate in “Driven by Art” where various groups and organizations painted and decorated 33 miniature fiberglass 1956 style pickup trucks.

Why 1956? An article about the event on tell me, “That was the year the Museum was founded, of course!” The article also states that 13 of trucks have been promised to the Bakersfield Foundation and will be permanently installed along the Westside Parkway.

Bakersfield College was well represented through art faculty, David Koeth and adjunct professors, Cameron Brian and Nano Rubio.


This is a uniquely Bakersfield take on successful community art projects like Chicago’s “Cows on Parade,” New York’s “Big Apples,” Vacaville’s We Know Jack, Riverside’s “Giant Oranges” and Cincinnati’s “Big Pig Gig.”  33 small-scale 1956 era fiberglass pickup trucks were painted, embellished, and festooned, and will be on display until January 2017 in downtown Bakersfield.   In addition, 12 of the trucks will be donated to the City of Bakersfield and permanently installed on the Westside Parkway in 2017.

A map with the location of each truck can be found at:

Photos below: “RockArt” is by David Koeth and Nano Rubio, “Citrus” is by Cameron Brian.


We also had BC alumni who worked on the trucks including, Liz Sherwyn, José Lemus, and Lorraina Paz. Check out the video by KGET at and follow the Bakersfield Museum of Art on Facebook at


Thank You Mr. Jensen


It was a celebration on Wednesday evening at William M. Thomas Terminal at Meadows Field Airport when the Honor Flight Kern County came back into town. A band played live music, miniature American flags were in every person’s hands, and the red, white, and blue spirit was at an all-time high.

HFKC says on their website that there are approximately 46,000 veterans in Kern County with over 8,000 of them World War II and Korean Vets. Their mission is to honor and send Kern County’s vets to Washington to see the memorials built in their honor, for their service and dedication to our country. The top priority on these flights is given to the most senior veterans and those who are terminally ill. Every veteran accepted by HFKC travels at no cost to him/her and these trips are memorable and life changing.

I was made aware of a special man, Mr. Mervin Jensen – a loyal supporter of BC for over 50 years – who would be traveling on the honor flight and I was honored to write him a letter of appreciation and be on hand to welcome him home upon his flights arrival in Bakersfield. Mervin and his friends regularly attend BC football games and their common love for BC and friendship has helped them through their elder years, loss of spouses, and chronic illness.

We are BC, and our sense of community and comraderie is an integral part of our Bakersfield identity. Thank you Mr. Jensen – your love and enthusiasm for the Renegades is unrivaled and BC thanks you for your steadfast support. Furthermore, thank you for your service, your courage, and for serving the United States of America. We are so incredibly grateful for what you’ve done.


Cristian Gutierres, Mervin Jensen, Sonya Christian, Karen Goh, Paul Beckworth

A special thank you to Karen Goh for inviting me to participate in this special opportunity. Karen is a big supporter of education and a consistent supporter of Bakersfield College. Thank you Paul Beckworth, BC’s Veterans Faculty Lead, and Cristian Gutierrez, 8 year Marine vet, STEM major, and BC’s Veterans Club Vice President who also joined me in the celebration for Mr. Jensen. To learn more about Honor Flight Kern County, visit

BC Faculty and Staff Featured:

Matthew Garrett


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.

If you haven’t had a chance to pick one up, it is available on Amazon and it’s the winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies. From 1947 to 2000, some 50,000 Native American children left their homes on reservations to live with Mormon foster families. Making Lamanites traces this student experience within cultural and institutional landscapes to reveal how and why many of these Native youth adopted a new notion of Indianness.

Andrea Thorson:

andriathor-01-jmHere is a great piece by our student reporter for the Renegade Rip, Joshua Fisher, featuring Professor Andrea Thorson.  Here is an excerpt:

Thorson feels that she teaches as more than just a career, she says it is a lifestyle. Classes to her are like sub-family communities and everyone’s voice should matter. Embedded inside her is a morally high expectation of her students.

The picture was taken by James Macias for the Renegade Rip article.

Andrea represents the talent and commitment to students of BC faculty and staff.  We are BC! For more, check out:

A note from Jack Hernandez:

On March 29th, 2017, the second annual Levan Lecture will be given by Juan Felipe Herrera, the current Poet Laureate of the United States.  He has written award-winning poetry and fiction. He has also written nonfiction and children’s books.

Please save this date.

Faculty on a CSU panel

From Facebook.  Reggie Williams, Marcus Duarte-Smith and Dahna Rasmussen.

Reggie Williams on CSU Panel Oct 2016.jpg

BC Athletics:

Coach Chudy and his staff led the Renegades into Murdock Stadium on the El Camino Campus in Torrence, CA.  After giving up the lead with 39 seconds to play, the Renegades pulled out the victory with a 70-yard 5-play drive and scoring the go ahead touchdown with 3 seconds to spare! Check out  to watch the highlights.

With a bye this week, Renegade Football opens National Northern Conference play on Oct. 15th at Moorpark College, 6pm kickoff.

Volleyball opened Western State Conference play with two impressive 3-game sweeps over Glendale on the road Wednesday night  and Santa Monica at home on Friday night. Coach Carl Ferreira has prepared his team through a touch preseason schedule to make a run at the conference championship.

Women’s Golf Team led by Coach Brittney Goehring placed third as a team at Western State Conference Match #5 on the San Dimas Golf Course.  The Renegades were led by Janette Chhuon Chan with a round of 77, while Brandi Borjon turned in an 86 to finish second on the team.



Mackenzie Hernandez

Sophomore, volleyball, setter

Had a strong all-around match with 30 assists, 15 digs and four blocks last week to lead the Renegades to a 20-25, 25-14, 25-18, 23-25, 15-9 win over Moorpark, the same team that beat the Renegades 3-0 one week earlier. The Bakersfield High graduate leads BC in assists (332) and aces (24), and is second in digs

(125), third in blocks (18) and fourth in kills (83).



Sophomore, football, wide receiver Derrick Vickers

Caught eight passes for 205 yards and a touchdown while adding two rushing touchdowns. His 53-yard reception with six seconds to play set up his own game-winning 1-yard TD run to beat El Camino 42-38. Vickers, named the National Northern League’s Player of the Week for special teams and all-purpose, has a state-leading 11 touchdowns to help BC to a 4-1 start.

Mark your calendars:

October 21, 2016: BC Choir’s Fall concert.

October 22, 2016: Join us for Homecoming.  This year we are going big!

December 17, 2016: BC Choir along with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra will perform a Holiday Concert at the Fox Theater.

March 29, 2017: Levan Lecture



That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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2 thoughts on “So many reasons to celebrate! We are BC!

  1. […] The RIP has been around for over 85 years at Bakersfield College reporting on news and events across campus and our community. To learn more about The RIP, visit and to see my previous blog about the BMOA’s Driven by Art Trucks, see […]

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