Every Day is Something to Celebrate

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, February 11, 2017 and a good day to be a Renegade.

heidi-scottIt seemed as it all of Bakersfield packed St. Francis on Thursday, 2/9, at 12:00 noon to honor Trice Harvey.

It was a very nice service with beautiful music.  And Heidi Scott…..Have you heard her sing?  What emotion…what a voice!  She moved me to tears.

I so wanted to capture her version of Here I am Lord and Precious Lord Take my Hand on my iphone, but felt it was not appropriate.

So you get youtube instead

Precious Lord Take My Hand

 

 

There were many wonderful Trice Harvey stories. The first speaker told one about beating Bakersfield College when he was the Quarterback at Taft College. (I thought “What! ….. I’m sorry that I never got the opportunity to speak with Trice about that to set the record straight.”)

KCCD was well represented.  I spotted Trustee Kay Meek, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Bill Thomas, and Chancellor Tom Burke.

Check out the piece by James Burger in The Bakersfield Californian
http://tinyurl.com/hatv6h9

Here is a photo by Henry Barrios of The Bakersfield Californian.

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Summer Bridge

BC is already gearing up for our Summer Bridge 2017 which kicks off with Saturday sessions starting April 29th.  Here is the cover photo with faculty, staff, and peer mentors along with  BC SUMMER Bridge students 2016.  Information for 2017 is available now
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/sse/bridge-to-BC.  Make sure you “like” the Summer Bridge page on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/summerbridgeBC/?hc_ref=SEARCH

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BC Athletics

womenbeatlapierceBC Athletics home games will always energize you before a busy week.  Last weekend’s Basketball game did not disappoint! BC had come out to support our students, Coach Hughes and Coach Dahl. It’s a great time to be at BC and it’s a great time to support our Renegades! Miss coming to the game? Check out the recap written by Francis Mayer at
http://gogades.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/releases/20170207l29t01.

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Napa Valley IEPI PRT Visit

By Monday, I was in Napa chairing a Tuesday event on strengthening program and institutional planning processes. It was raining hard, but boy… Napa is beautiful and the work we accomplished was great. IEPI (Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative) is a statewide collaborative effort to help advance the practices of the California Community Colleges. This is a great team: Kristina Whalen (City College of San Francisco), Randy Beach (Southwestern College), Mandy Lang (City College of San Francisco), Stephen Eaton (Barstow College)

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Sonya Christian, Kristina Whalen, Randy Beach, Mandy Liang, Stephen Eaton

Campaign for College Opportunity Visits BC

sonya-pillars-2partsOn February 8th, Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President for the Campaign for College Opportunity, brought a group to campus to learn about Bakersfield College’s guided pathways efforts. The group met with faculty, administrators, staff, and students in the Fireside Room.  The Campaign for College Opportunity is an organization that works tirelessly on issues of equity.  They were a powerful voice behind SB 1440 the legislation that provided the 60-credit Associate Degree Transfer (ADT) pathways to the CSU system.  This single legislation has tremendously improved the transfer rates of students from BC to CSUB.  The Campaign for College Opportunity CEO, Michele Siqueiros, is wonderful and committed to making things happen.  For more http://collegecampaign.org/

 

We offered a short presentation: Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, provided background information, preliminary data describing the college’s initial results after the implementation of multiple measures, and a discussion of the learning and career pathways. Dr. Paula Parks discussed the success of the ASTEP-Umoja program, and Kimberly Bligh introduced the group to our Summer Bridge Program.  Kimberly invited one of our students Kenneth Mireles to talk about the student experience.  Maria Wright, our new Director of Academic Support Services, discussed peer support, and Jessica Wojtysiak, who organized the event, closed our presentation with a discussion of Extend the Classroom and Completion Coaching Communities.

The presentations provided a great opportunity to consider some of the excellent progress being made at BC, and we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by Chef Eric.  I Must say that BC has the very best Culinary Program and our Food Services rocks!

Thank you to all who participated and attended, including Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas! Here are some photos!

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I was so proud to hear about the work the college has been doing to advance student success and student learning.  What a talented group of faculty and staff at BC….Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Guided Pathways:

eloy-oakley-uciThe Guided Pathways conversation continues in high gear across the state.  Here is a recent email from our statewide Chancellor for the 114 community colleges, Eloy Oakley

CA Guided Pathways Project: I am pleased to report that on December 6, the College Futures Foundation approved funding for the CA Guided Pathways Project. The CA Guided Pathways Project will create a framework for colleges to integrate their planning and resources in order to focus on improving student outcomes and reimagining the student experience. This is an important initiative for the system, as it will create a foundation for comprehensive professional learning and tools for colleges to better use data to improve student outcomes. The model helps colleges clarify paths to student end goals, helps students select a program and stay on path, and ensure quality learning. By creating structured educational experiences that support each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and employment in a chosen field, the project is intended to increase the number of students earning community college credentials, while closing equity gaps. In early 2017, 15 to 20 community colleges will be selected to implement the California Guided Pathways Model from a competitive application and interview process. Colleges will participate in six two-day institutes, which will focus on key elements required to implement a fully-scaled pathway model which serves all students at a community college, plus receive support on the change process from expert coaches. Each college will commit to have implemented guided pathways for all incoming students by 2019. You can find the press release on the website of the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

Celebrating at the Kern Co. Bar Association Dinner

img_8760Bakersfield College has the incredible honor of being involved with partnerships and initiatives which bring our young people closer to their dreams and enhance opportunities for our community to grow. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools do amazing work with local high school students in conjunction with the Kern County Bar Association. Among this work, events such as the Mock Trial, We the People programs, and Constitution Day are making an impact on our young people.

Steve Sanders from KCSOS was at the February 9th event which was organized by Judge Robert Tafoya to

1) recognize and celebrate past collaborations between the legal community, the educational community and the community at large and

2) To present two new student oriented legal programs.  The Bakersfield College Pathway to Law Initiative  (Two years in a community college, two years in a four-year institution to earn a BA or BS and three years in law school).  The other program is the Young Writers of Kern Essay Contest, a collaborative effort  of the Writers of Kern, many school districts, the Kern County Bar Association and the Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program and BC’s ASTEP Program founded by Professor Paula Parks.  This year’s essay contest is on social media and whether it is a relevant news source. Our advisory council members are mentoring pre-law students and internships are in place with David Wolf and Steven Katz.

president-thuy-thi-nguyenMoving forward, I can’t wait for our next Law Day event on Friday, April 28th.

I was disappointed that Thuy Thi Nguyen, President of Foothill College was not there to receive her award.  Cynthia Loo described Thuy’s work in starting the pre-law program.  Let’s toast President Thuy Thi Nguyen for her leadership and dedication to student success!

Judge Robert Tafoya was incredibly inspirational and I asked him to send me his remarks for my weekly blog.  Here they are – please sit back and enjoy Judge Tafoya.

David Brooks in his book “The Social Animal” reminds us that

We humans are social animals. When trying to figure who we are or the essence of any person we start from the supposition that we are born in to relationships-with parents and ancestors-and that those relationships possess certain qualities, good and bad. We surmise that a person grows through interaction within his or her relationships. Our habits, beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, assumptions, personalities emerge from relationships. First with mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and as one matures with folks outside the immediate family like neighbors, teachers, classmates, roommates, co-workers, employers and spouses and friends we make throughout a lifetime.  Through the interaction of these relationships we learn about our world and how to navigate its trials and tribulations.

I prop0se that these truisms about humans and relationships  also  apply to the development of  communities and nations in that a community is established, develops and evolves within the context of individual and institutional relationships.  A community through a networking process among individuals and groups creates systems of governance that allows for cohesion and stability. For example, one can assess the essence or the lifeblood of the health of a community by examining the quality of its educational systems, its healthcare systems, its police-citizen relationships, its legal and judicial systems, its economic systems and the the governing institutions that respond to the needs of  its poor, its children, it’s disabled.

robert-tafoya-feb-9-2017The purpose of today’s reception is to honor the  significance of relationships, or partnerships or collaborations that have been established and maintained over the years by and between Kern county students, parents, educators, lawyers, judges and business folk. Specifically the kcba and the kcsc want to acknowledge all of those persons and institutions responsible for the establishment and development of the mock trial program, the we the people program, the constitution day program and now the creation of three new education/legal collaborations: namely, the bakersfield college’s pathway to law initiative, the bc and csub’s prelaw programs and the young writers of kern essay competition.

Why is this important one may ask. Consider the common themes promoted through these student, teacher, lawyer, judicial and business collaborations. 1) pursuing a legal career is a worthwhile goal, 2) learning understanding the particulars of a liberal democracy like the bill of rights is essential to its survival  3) that the work of responsible citizenship requires commitment and the development of critical thinking  and learning skills and 4) that the overriding goal of our government is to promote the rights and welfare  of  the individual as defined in our constitution . A free and open democratic election does not guarantee the enjoyment of our basic liberties like freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of association.  Our constitutional rights are secured  by creating a culture that includes norms, practices, and traditions that honor and promote the rule of law, respect for an independent judiciary, reverence  for the separation of church and state and deference to the dynamic relationship between the three branches of our government that forms the basis of our system of checks and balances that in turn prevents the abuse of our constitutional rights.

By continuing to support the collaboration of the programs i mention here today, for example by acting as a mentor, a mock trial judge, an advisor,  a student coach, a  role model or financial donor we recognize the elementary notion that our basic liberties as Americans are not birthrights are not entitlements but are  fragile  freedoms gifted to us by prior generations going back to september 17, 1787 with the expectation that we,  as stewards of these liberties, remain vigilant to their sustainability by defending them when challenged and by teaching them to younger generations. To remain true to the oaths we took as lawyers, judges and elected officials to  support and defend the constitution  we must assume responsibility for teaching, guiding, inspiring, and encouraging that irrepressible life force we call  our children to truly appreciate the necessity of being good citizens. Participating in mock trial or we the people or constitution day, or being mentors to college students or promoting the development of critical thinking, writing and research skills  we are engaged in the hard work of democracy.  We are collaborating in the difficult task of promoting responsible citizenship.   Today we are here to honor this collaborative  process and by acknowledging its importance and the relationships that buttress this process we keep our country strong.

It was great to also see H.A. Sala at the event – a great supporter of BC and our students! What an inspiration to our young people.  And thank you David Torres for your support with Measure J.

It was wonderful running into Mary Copeland who encouraged me to restart BC’s debate program.

Thank you to our Advisory Commmittee, Judge Tafoya, Bethany Peak, David Torres, Yinka Glover, Steven Katz, James Maddox, Alexia Torres Stallings, and Cynthia Loo.

And thank you Dr. Manny Mourtzanos and Pearl Urena for your commitment to the program.  BC has so many amazing faculty and staff so committed to our students.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Garden Pathways Garden Party

Thursday night was packed with events…after the KC bar Association event, I rushed over to the the 8th annual Garden Pathways Garden Party on Thursday evening. Garden Pathways motto is “Building community from the inside out” and what a wonderful message that is!  Karen Goh, our new mayor and CEO of Garden Pathways, has done a nice job in raising the profile of this important community organization.

Garden Pathways is a community based nonprofit mentoring children, youth, and adults to build productive lives. The official website says, “Diverse mentoring and education programs lead families to educational advancement, employment, family stability, self-sufficiency, healthy living, and improved quality of life. The programs of Garden Pathways provide a wide range of life-building services to the Kern County community.”

pathways

Sonya Christian with Board Member Darlene Mohlke and Executive Director Louis Gill from the Bakersfield Homeless Center

I saw Louis Gill, the CEO of the homeless center and snapped a photo. Seeing him reminds me that we may not always know the struggles or life stumbles people may have been through [or are going through] to get to where they are, but there are such tremendous resources in our community for people to take advantage of.

The work in particular that the Kern Homeless Center is doing for individuals and families in crisis is truly inspiring.  We should all remember organizations like this when we think about how we may give of our time.  Thank you Louis Gill for the amazing job you’ve done for women and families in Kern County.

Check out the Homeless Center’s volunteer information and their current needs at http://bakhc.org/volunteer/

The evening was full of familiar faces, laughter, wonderful food, and support for our community. The evening’s co-hosts were Brad and Brooke Antonioni, Joan Dezember, Robert and Beckie Diltz, Rick and Shannon Grove, Darcy Marshall and Barbara Grimm-Marshall, Maureen Napier, Kevin and Tuesdy Small, and Ray and Marlene Watson.

If you missed attending this year’s event, don’t miss the chance to learn more about Garden Pathways. Check out their website at http://www.gardenpathways.org/

I really enjoyed hanging out with the BC folks who were there.  Nicky Damania and Jennifer Achan are two relatively new administrators at BC, extremely smart, dedicated, work long hours and real fun to be with.  And of course, Mary Jo Pasek who tirelessly works to get the information about BC out there in the community.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Jennifer Achan, Nicky Damania, Sonya Christian, Mary Jo Pasek

 

Throughout the Week in the World of Athletics

It was an eventful Thursday with women’s Tennis, softball and baseball playing at BC.

Coach Nick Loudermilk and the tennis team have really done a great job this season. On a recent road trip to San Diego, the team had some time on their hands to take advantage of the ‘Escape Room’ an attraction that forces groups to use teamwork to solve smaller challenges on the way to unfolding a larger mystery that will allow them to escape the locked room they are in. They were successful and their team’s creative drive and focus also showed on Thursday when the Renegades had a big win over Glendale College to move to 7-0 on the season.  Paige Darstein and Chloe Moreno clinched the victory with a win at #1 doubles.

Softball, 2-3 on the season had a successful home opener with a 7-0 win over Taft College.  Coach Hill “we hit the ball well, and we played solid in the field. It was nice to have it come together.”

Alexis Solis and Naizemare Ubay led the Renegades with two hits apiece. Starting pitcher McKenna Valencia picked up the win.

Coach Painton’s baseball team had a great outing by starting pitcher Taylor Burns against El Camino, unfortunately the offense got blocked by their opposing pitcher and the team moved to 4-4 on the season. The good news is this was the first of a three game series so they have two more chances at El Camino Friday at 6pm (weather permitting) or Saturday at  noon.

Coach Paula Dahl posted on Facebook, “Great time with the team after beating Santa Monica. Only two more chances to watch this amazing team play. Saturday at 5:00 and Wednesday the 15th at 7:00 pm. Come and join the fun!”

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Doug Grimsley and BC’s Inmate Education Program

SonyaChristian_DouglasGrimsleyOne of our adjunct professors, Doug Grimsley, is teaching Political Science in the North Kern State Prison as part of an ongoing Inmate Education program.  Doug has received high praise for his passion and “captivating” teaching style.

Here are a couple of hand-written responses from students in the program.

I am compelled to share with the administration that Mr. Grimsley is an asset to your staff.  He came to North Kern State Prison and completely captured our attention as he subjected us to a lecture only course.  Not only was it very informative and inspiring, but he engaged the class throughout the Fall 2016 semester.  I personally think he deserves recognition for his determined success in educating men unacquainted with the political arena.  We have definitely obtained higher educational status.

“Best part of the program: The acquisition of knowledge has always been a big draw for me.  It is the people, however, that I believe can be accurately be described as “The best part of the program.”  Hands down, Mr. Grimsley, Chelsea, Alma and the other BC volunteers will forever be seared in my memory bank as incredible human beings.  They are, once more, “The best part of the program.”

As Chelsea Esquibias has told me, every time she brings Doug’s courses into the prisons, the students “rave about his teaching style and commitment to their learning.”

I couldn’t be more proud to know such dedicated teachers who are truly passionate about learning and the importance of character-building through education.  Great work Doug Grimsley! And great work Chelsea Esquibias.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Celebrating Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Patrick Jackson, Bakersfield NAACP President, presented at the February 10th African American Mentoring Program. He spoke on racism and encouraged AAMP students to understand how to overcome racism and be successful in their lives. Over twenty BC students were in attendance. Thank you to Julian West, Reggie Bolton, and Mandelyn Hobbs.patrick-jackson

The Simple Joys

starbucks

By Friday morning, I needed a tiny pick-me-up and stopped by Starbucks for my morning coffee. Kasey, my barista, knew my name and my order. A tall soy latte. How cool is that?

It felt like Cheers where everyone knows your name! Thank you Kasey!

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And I have a message worth sharing that came in via our Bakersfield College Facebook.

John Cohrs said, “My wife, son and I enjoy walking on campus on the BC weekends. Our son, Jack, who will soon be 12 and has autism, decided today that he wanted to help keep the campus clean. So he took a trash bag along and was happy to pick up as much as he could. We love BC; my wife is a student there and I have been an adjunct faculty in the past (along with being a student a LONG time ago).”

Thank you sharing, John. I absolutely love the photo of your wife, Kelley and son, Jack.

Happy Birthday June!

June Charles, Administrative Assistant for the Vice President of Student Services started as a temp and has been at BC now for 18 years! Happy Birthday June!  We love you!

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Sonya cropped June 24 2016

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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2 thoughts on “Every Day is Something to Celebrate

  1. Marlene Heise February 11, 2017 at 10:55 am Reply

    Every week Bakersfield College amazes me with how much is accomplished. Our community is so lucky to have individuals that care about education and community engagement.

  2. […] Heidi sing in my blog a few weeks ago titled, “Every Day is Something to Celebrate” – Check it out here. She truly is gifted and talented and her voice can inspire and touch my […]

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