Welcoming the community to campus

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, October 15th, a great day to be a Renegade.

Let’s recap last week!

Liga MX


Photo credit: Nick Ellis, Bakersfield Californian

Charter buses were lined up outside as the fans packed the stands on Sunday for international soccer at Memorial Stadium. Josh Bennett described the event in his article, Fans flock to Liga MX friendly at BC by saying “Horns were honking and flags were waving as fans from as close as Bakersfield and as far as Mexico congregated at BC’s Memorial Stadium to see Monarcas Morelia defeat defending Clausura 2016 champion Pachuca 3-2 in the second annual International Soccer Challenge.”

It’s always a great day when our community and neighbors come to BC for a chance to make new memories and history at Memorial Stadium. In fact, the big BC Homecoming game of the year will take place in a few short days! Make sure to come out and support YOUR Renegades at YOUR community college.

Big Red Dinner


Homecoming and the Big Red Dinner take place next weekend, October 22nd, from 4:00 to 6:30 pm north of the stadium and outside the Gil Bishop Gym.  There’s the Homecoming parade, the Drumline, the BC cheerleaders, the BC Jazz Ensemble, a hot local DJ, nine different tailgate booths highlighting many of BC’s finest programs, and the most requested event of the year – The Big Red Dinner!

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students with ID and $5 for children 12 and under which includes a complete spaghetti dinner with salad, a roll, a drink and a “Flying Saucer Cookie”! You’ll also be able to purchase beer or wine.  A dinner ticket admits you to the football game with Cerritos College as well.  There will be interesting demonstrations at the tailgate booths and a number of goodies for everyone participating. Tickets are on sale through Vallitix and will be available at the dinner. Bring your friends, family, and neighbors to BC next weekend!  Support YOUR Renegades at YOUR community college!

Measure J

Sikh Radio

I started my Sunday morning, on October 9th, on Sikh Radio along with Nicole Parra and Raji Brar.  We were there promoting Measure J with Raji going back and forth between English and Punjabi.  The radio program is organized and funded by donations from the Punjabi community.  Nazar Kooner takes responsibility for operating it and Harjit Singh interviewed us.  Here are some pictures from Nicole.

Pieces in the Californian

The support BC has received in recent days and months has been astounding. It’s been incredible to read the community voices section in the local paper – seeing all the wonderful submissions from community members and even students. I can’t thank everyone enough for the outpouring of love and support for the Renegades and our campus.

October 9th. A student-veteran speaks on the bond.



Letter to the editor: A student-veteran speaks on the bond

Wesley Lyons is also BCSGA’s Director of Legislative Affairs. This young man speaks candidly with honesty and heart. I’m proud of our students and I’m proud of Wesley – thank you for sharing your voice. 

October 11th Community Voices. Measure J is of paramount importance.

JP Lake did a great community voices piece supporting #MeasureJ in the October 11th Californian.


Check out the weblink


Here is a 2 minute 30 second video of JP Lake presenting about Measure J to the Kern Ag Foundation.  He is a strong supporter of education done right and a strong supporter of Bakersfield College.

Community Support and Measure J


Students were also spotted at the Measure J headquarters this week. Gabriel Gonzales is currently taking History 17B with Dr. Matthew Garret. He’s an excellent media studies student and will be transferring to Berkeley soon. Here is Gabriel with Nicole Parra.



The Renegades are a family! And supporting BC is a true family affair. This week at the #Measure J headquarters, the Johnson family stopped by to show their support. Here is mom, Natesha with Katie and Robert. Don’t these future Renegades look awesome sporting their support for BC and Measure J?


Sondra Keckley and her mom, Stephanie Cox, have also been dedicated and loyal to BC through their tremendous support and outreach for Measure J! You’re never too young or old to love BC – Bakersfield College is a family! I had to take a selfie with Sondra’s mom:


Sonya Christian, Stephanie Cox


Connie Gonzales was also one of many giving her time and talents to support BC. She diligently made calls going back and forth fluently between Spanish and English.



Jean Laborde, one of Kern County’s finest commercial realtors, Bill Thomas, former Congressman and current KCCD Trustee, and Mary Kay Shell, Renegade, journalist, politician, and community leader also support BC in countless ways.



Phone Banking Volunteers

Saturday, October 8th: Gabriel Gonzales, Kathy Rosellini, Consuelo Gonzalez, Natesha Johnson, Katie Johnson, Robert Johnson, and Stephen Waller

Tuesday, October 11th: Mariela Gomez, Cynthia Munoz, Anna Gonzalez, Dena Rhoades, Stephen Waller, Nicky Damania, Karen Schuett. Debi Anderson, Steve Watkin, Josie Guillen, Stephanie Cox, Ashlea Ward, Julian West, Grace Commiso, Tom Gelder, and Jay Rosenlieb

Wednesday, October 12th: Kristin Rabe, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tracy Lovelace, Stephen Waller, Eddie Ledbetter, Keith Ford, Heather Barajas, Nicky Damania, Chris Glaser, Jay Rosenlieb, and Stephanie Cox

Thursday, October 13th: Sam Moreno, Brenda Silva, Silvia Silva, Michelle Pena, Sandi Taylor, Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, Josh Shackelford, Chene Shoemaker, Linda Cordoba, Maria Wright, Pamela Gomez, Antonio Alfaro, Sergio Maldonado, Jackie Lau, Salvador Gomez-Pantoja, Peggy Gonzales, Tarina Perry, Jennifer Achan, Cindy Collier, and Chris Leithiser.



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Endorsements for Measure J continue to come in

Here are a few of the over 1400 endorsements that Measure J has received

Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor
Bill Thomas, Former U.S. Congressman
Shannon Grove, California State Assembly Member
Rudy Salas, California State Assembly Member
David Couch, Kern County Supervisor
Mike Maggard, Kern County Supervisor
Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor
Terry Maxwell, Bakersfield City Council Member
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Council Member
Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Council Member
Karen Goh, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Kyle Carter, Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate
Jose Flores, Arvin Mayor
Doug Greener, Bakersfield Fire Chief
Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department Chief
Mary K. Shell
Milt Younger

CHAP in Delano


The BC Delano Campus Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) kicked off its fall 2016 speaker series on Oct. 4th by highlighting award winning and local author, Patty Enrado. She spoke about her personal journey of discovering her family’s Filipino-American heritage while attending the University of California at Davis.

Born in Los Angeles, she knew very little about her parent’s formative years. However, as she continued to write and learn more about the role that Filipino-American farm workers played in the Delano Grape Strike of 1965, she also learned more about her personal heritage. Weaving truth with fiction, Ms. Enrado published her debut novel, A Village in the Fields, which chronicles the life of Fausto Empleo, an elderly Filipino farm worker who looks back on his long and costly struggle for civil rights.

The talk this week, organized by CHAP co-chairs Michelle Hart and Oliver Rosales, highlighted not only the importance of following your educational dreams and perseverance, but also the necessity of remembering our histories. She eloquently spoke of the importance of California Assembly Bill AB 123 (2013), which requires the State Board of Education to provide state curriculum on the significant role of Filipino Americans in the California farm labor movement.

Then, in September 2016, Gov. Brown signed AB 2016, which for the first time will establish a model ethnic studies curriculum for use in California’s public and charter high schools. In fact, LAUSD (by 2019) and Sacramento City USD (by 2020) students must take an ethnic studies class to graduate.

Following her talk in Delano, Ms. Enrado spoke to the Porterville College campus later in the week as part of its campus C.H.A.P. speaker series. To learn more about her book, A Village in the Fields, check out http://www.iexaminer.org/2016/10/what-carlos-bulosan-started-patty-enrado-finished/

Special thanks for this event go to the BC Student Government Association, who’s funding through the Collaborative Action Grant, along with our partners the BC Delano Foundation, allowing us to host this amazing local artist. Additional thanks go to the BC Delano WECOMM students and their advisor Gustavo Enriquez for greeting and directing the amazing crowd in attendance.

For more information on C.H.A.P., please visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/delano/chap and consider going to their next event on October 17th – a student-led informational session to discuss the importance of civic engagement, information on the upcoming election, and important issues that will impact our communities.

Listen In – Matthew Garrett on Utah Public Radio

BC Professor, Dr. Matthew Garrett was a guest this week on Access Utah, an original program focused on the things that matter within the state. The hour-long show airs daily on Utah Public Radio, but is also available online. It’s so cool to share the incredible things our BC family is up to. Check it out at http://upr.org/post/matthew-garrett-and-making-lamanites-wednesdays-access-utah

Student Success and Equity

BC is committed to serving former foster youth in our community and has a team of faculty and staff who serve on a task force to identify and address their needs. On Friday, this team hit the road for a summit CSU Fresno where they learned from other colleges about innovative ways to serve our students. Check them out with Fresno’s mascot, “Victor E.”

For weeks, the Office of Student Success & Equity has been working with Independent City and the Dream Center to organize a community wide event to help foster youth in Kern County get connected to resources that will help them be successful. BC was out in full force with information on Financial Aid, Summer Bridge, and our upcoming application workshops. Special thanks to Kelley Fullerton and Juanika Barnett at Independent City for your collaboration! And thanks to BC’s planning team: Lisa Kent, Karla Young, Shauna Turner, Manuel Rosas, Vanessa Bell, Angela Williams, Debi Anderson, and more!  And thank you Lesley Bonds for your leadership.


Community Outreach

BC Agriculture Raises Awareness of Dangerous Citrus Pest

ag_eventWednesday was an extraordinary day filled with learning and career information at BC! Agriculture officials from across California held an event at our Agriculture Lab to inform residents about a disease with the potential to eradicate the state’s citrus industry and on the other side of campus, we had 26 employers from local healthcare agencies on hand for all pre-healthcare majors.


Victoria Hornbaker from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) explained to a crowd of BC Ag students, local media and concerned citizens the dangers of Huanglongbing, a rapidly transmitted pathogen that turns citrus fruits green. HLB, for short, is primarily spread by a sap-sucking bug called the Asian citrus psyllid, which has devastated orchards across Southeast Asia and Florida and now threatens citrus plants in our local Southern California. She explained that, “We have to do everything we can to protect our citrus belt.”


There were booths explaining how to recognize Asian citrus psyllids and their larvae, what to do in the event of an HLB outbreak, and how to prevent the spread of the disease. Did you know that when a tree is found to have HLB, the CDFA kills any remaining psyllids in the area, removes infected fruits and cuts the entire tree out from the roots, then double-bags it and sends it to a landfill for deep burial? Hornbaker estimates that 99 percent of her organization’s time is spent treating HLB.


The event opened with BC Agriculture chair Lindsay Ono introducing Ruben Arroyo, the Agriculture Commissioner for the Kern County Board of Supervisors, who provided some statistics to illustrate the importance of the citrus industry to the state and county’s economy. The facts were astounding – such as, citrus plants were first brought to California in 1649 and California’s orchards have become a multibillion dollar business ranked second in the United States behind Florida. Also, six in 10 Californians have a citrus tree in their backyard, and citrus trees are the third-highest grossing crop in Kern County, with 3 million cartons of fruit shipped out of Kern County orchards every year!


HLB has significantly impacted citrus production in Florida and around the world, but with proper prevention efforts by state regulatory agencies and educational events like those at the BC on Wednesday, we still have time to save California’s citrus. Check out the article on KGET about the event here!


Health Careers Connection Fair

healthconnectionsSpecial thank you to the Career and Technical Education and Nursing and Allied Health departments for organizing the Health Careers Connection Fair. This special event filled the Huddle with over 26 potential employers with valuable information for CTE and students interested in the healthcare professions.

Events like these really give students an opportunity to ask questions, learn more, and students get to know people who presently work in their field of studies.

The employers on hand were: Accelerated Urgent Care, Bakersfield Family Medical Center, Bakersfield Heart Hospital, Bethesda, Brookdale Riverwalk, Cal State San Marcos, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Clinica Sierra Vista, CSUB, Delano Regional Medical Center, Dignity Health, Grand Canyon University, Healthsouth of Bakersfield, Kaweah Delta Health Care District, Kern County Breastfeeding Coalition, Maxim Staffing, Northwest Surgery Center, Optimal Health Services, Parkview Julian Convalescent, Partners in Care Foundation, Rosewood, San Joaquin Community Hospital, Taft Federal Correctional Institution, Truxtun Radiology, Bakersfield Community Home Health, and the University of Phoenix.

Coffee Conversations for Parents of Youth


Important issues are always up for discussion at Bakersfield College and students are continually encouraged to engage with the community regarding these topics. On Thursday evening, the Office of Student Life and the Kern County Homeless Collaborative joined together for an informal evening of information and discussion revolving around homelessness and its effects on today’s youth.

Unfortunately, many of Bakersfield’s young people including BC students are affected by this epidemic. According the CA Homeless Youth Library — only a few years ago, during the 2012-2013, nearly 270,000 students in California experienced homelessness. Now in 2016, there’s a total of 1,067 children, adults, unaccompanied minors and families are homeless just in Kern County alone and 8% of them are ages 18-24.

I’ve said it before – BC is a family… but, so is Kern County and Bakersfield. When we see something that affects our family we do our part to step up, bring awareness to the issues, and find a resolution. That’s why events like this are so important. Invisible Homeless Youth – The Silent Epidemic helps to shine light on the reasons why youth are turning to the streets and how young people are finding themselves stuck in such dire situations.

The evening highlighted multiple situations where minors found themselves in sex trafficking, unaware of the resources offered in Kern County.  Following the presentation, a panel was held where students were encouraged to ask any questions.

Did you know Kern County has multiple food banks, shelters, missions, and support groups to help anyone whom may find themselves in such a similar situation? Whether the cause is domestic violence, drug use, or an unstable home life, Kern County has resources to provide help.

Homelessness does not have to mean hopelessness. Some local organizations that can assist are:

  • Bakersfield Homeless Center for meals and housing. 661-322-9294
  • The Mission at Kern County for meals. 661-322-9294
  • Alliance Against Family Violence (Domestic Violence in Bakersfield) 661-322-0931
  • Woman’s Center High Desert (Domestic Violence in East Kern) 760-371-1969
  • Alpha House (Domestic Violence in Taft) 661-763-4357
  • Corporation for Better Housing 661-363-7077

Thank you to the experts on our Q&A panel from Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Garden Pathways, Sheriff Department, and the Gay Lesbian Center.

Boy Scouts Honoring Community Leaders

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of attending the Distinguished Citizens Award Banquet presented by the Boy Scouts of America Southern Sierra Council.

This inaugural event honored Dr. Tom and Mrs. Pauline Larwood for their lifelong contributions to the fields of medicine, public service, education, global missions, as well as their long-time support of Scouting. Though our hearts are saddened by Dr. Larwood’s recent passing in September, the joint legacy he and Pauline leave for us is clear and unmistakable. Our world is better and our future brighter because of them.

Here is a 36-second video that I captured with my new iphone 7 (yes!) of the song. The song is of a religious nature, though the words can be understood in terms of comforting and lifting up each other.  So beautiful….so important….. it is a little thing we can do for each other.

Here is the 4-minute version from youtube.

I would be remiss not to mention Pauline’s leadership and investment in KCCD as a long-time and beloved Trustee. The Distinguished Citizens Award Banquet included wonderful tributes by Council President Jay Rosenlieb, sons David & Don Larwood, Dr. Royce Johnson, and Scout Executive, Jesse Lopez. The evening was a heartfelt celebration of two lives well-lived and I was honored to be a part of it.

Manny Mourtzanos organized BC’s table at the event along with Tom Gelder.  Manny is a die-hard believer in the scouting movement.  And he has the same commitment for BC and our students.  Here’s to the fabulous Manny Mourtzanos.manny and sonya outside vons 2014-2


#2 of Top 5 Highest Earning Two-year Colleges!

To top off an exciting week, I received an email with a link where BC recently placed number 2 among the top five highest earning two year colleges! Our students and their success is the inspiration for all that we do. Check it out at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/20/the-top-5-highest-earning-two-year-colleges.html?slide=5


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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3 thoughts on “Welcoming the community to campus

  1. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg October 15, 2016 at 10:48 am Reply

    How do you define a “community college”? Reading President Christian’s blog today I found many examples of how Bakesfield College engages its community. BC provides meaningful opportunities to hear an award winning author like Patty Endrado in Delano, experts on a threatening citrus problem, a panel on homelessness issues, and to attend a popular socccer competition in Memorial Stadium. Yes, BC has excellent programs. Our communities reflect our successes. Renegades who were trained, graduated or got their start at BC are now firefighters, welders, nurses, teachers, doctors, coaches, lawyers, and professors. You will find Renegades in the oil and ag industries, they are also accountants, realtors, business owners, and public servants. These examples define what BC has been and what it is, a “community college”. It is a good time to invest in BC’s future. November 8, vote Yes on Measure J.

  2. Lee Philley October 15, 2016 at 11:12 am Reply

    Chancellor Christian, congrats!

  3. Nick Strobel October 15, 2016 at 9:26 pm Reply

    So many good things going on at and with Bakersfield College. I wish I had known about the Agriculture Lab event on Wednesday because I’m one of the “six in ten Californians with a citrus tree” in their backyard, though I do have classes on Wednesday morning. I hope I’m not so sun-baked from my church’s Family Fun Day event for the community in our Pumpkin Patch, that I’m too wiped out for the BC Homecoming festivities. Nice tribute to Pauline and Tom Larwood!

    Did you see the study by Pay Scale that put BC as the top community college in earnings of its graduates? See http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/best-community-colleges/ .

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