The Renegade Experience is Incredible

Good morning Bakersfield…. let’s start this morning with two short videos of the phenomenal concert. Freedom, on friday night by Dr. Jen Garrett and the BC Choir.   The concert featured a multipart, multimedia commissioned piece by Dr. Ron Kean chronicling the inspirational story of courage of Harriet Tubman.  I will cover this evening in my April 1st blog.  But until then, enjoy the 1:34-minute excerpt of Ken Burdick and 2:14-minute excerpt of Caley Mayhall with the BC Choir.

Caley Mayhall a little taste of Ron Kean’s composition.

 

It was quite an incredible week for me… a week filled with music, travelling to present on Guided Pathways…a week of enjoying Renegade Passion and Renegade Talent…The Renegade Experience is incredible.

Let’s take for example just one day in the week, Friday, March 24th.  So many individuals engaged in important issues.  Here are three:

AAMP Open House:

Lesley Bonds March 24 2017 Umoja Recruitment Event

Faculty Chairs and Assessment Team attending a webinar

Assessment March 24 2017.jpeg

Completion Coaching Communities Workshop

Lesley Bonds March 23 2017 Completion Coaching Communities

African American Mentor Program Open House

 

The Bakersfield College African American Mentor Program hosted its first ever AAMP open house event.  Keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Wallace inspired an audience of over 100 high school and college students in which he highlighted the importance of leadership in the community.  As a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Wallace experienced growing up in a poverty-stricken environment in which he could have very easily gone down the wrong path. Dr. Wallace explained that he could have been sucked into a perpetual life of crime and self-pity as so many of his peers did, but instead, he rose to the occasion, he made sure to not let anyone else define who he was or would become, and is now the Vice-President at CSUB.

Photo Collage AAMP Open House March 23 2017

After the keynote and lunch, we had a sample of the talent that Bakersfield College has among its student body.  Lee Collins, Dominique Miller, and Jordan Young invigorated the crowd with their musical collaborations.  To close the event we heard from community member Bryan Buyton.  What became a very sobering moment was when Bryan revealed to us that his 5-year-old son had been tragically murdered in a driveby shooting that occurred last month in Central Bakersfield.  He implored students to have an appreciation for what they have and to trust in a divine purpose, even in the face of adversity such as his.  Overall, we spoke, we learned, we sang, we laughed, and we cried, but most importantly, we came together as a community and embodied the true definition of a community college.  #WeAreBC

Here is one of our six core values:

Core Value of Community

Thank you Julian West for your leadership! Here is a tweet from Lesley bragging about Julian.  The picture is not very clear, but I am sure you will enjoy Julian and Lesley’s tweet as much as I did

Lesley Bonds March 23 2017 on Julian West

Public Health Hackathon

IMG_9699

Photo by Dylan Wang

Over a week ago, students from BC and CSUB lined up to register for BC’s first Public Health Hackathon. This competition was for teams of students to innovate and design public health solutions for the community of Kern County. Free food, prizes, and networking opportunities were available. This interdisciplinary competition engaged students and professionals from various backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and non-STEM fields, local centers of higher education, community, industry, and the public. It’s great to see students and events that rally around increasing awareness of public health and use technology based tools to address public health issues. 

Special thank you to ALL who were involved, especially professor Sarah Baron and our mayor, Karen Goh who was present for the awards ceremony.

Thank you Mayor Goh for all you do to support our community and especially education.

hackathon 2nd place

Photo by Cara Jackson

First place was awarded to “Down with Depression” for developing an app that gives accurate information on how to fight depression. Second place to “Safe Searches” for a website that helps LGBTQ communities search for supportive doctors. And third place to “MentalMapper” for an app that stimulates brain activity to improve cognitive functions for patients with neurological disorders.

Mayor Karen Goh at Public Health Hackathon March 2017.jpg

Photo 2 Public Health Hackathon.jpg

More photos were taken by Cara Jackson and are available on Smugmug.

Also check out Mayor Karen Goh’s Facebook posts for more photos: http://tinyurl.com/mf5ajcs

Earlier this week, I tweeted an absolute must read by Harold Pierce at The Bakersfield Californian. He covered this incredible event in his article, “During Public Health Hackathon, students search for solutions to big problems”  His opening words are powerful. “When it comes to diabetes, obesity, heart disease and sexually transmitted diseases, Kern ranks among the worst statewide. Awareness, however, isn’t an issue. Solutions are.”  You have to check it out!

Thank you to the amazing team that worked with Sarah Baron to make all this happen. Specifically, Eddie Rangel and Richard Miles from Computer Science, Chris Cruz Boone and Angela Bono BC Communications, Diego Diaz Computer Science Club, KIT and Alyssa Haas and all the sponsors who are on the back of the T-shirt and Asha Chandy who support behind the scenes.

Talking about Asha Chandy, here is a cute picture Jennifer snapped of Asha taking our Measure J dog Bruce for a walk on campus.

Asha Chandy taking Bruce for a walk on campus March 24 2017

Thank you sponsors of the Public Health Hackathon #bcinnovates

Sponsors for Hackathon.jpg

Here are the different articles about this amazing event:

The Bakersfield Californian – Harold Pierce – February 17th  http://tinyurl.com/lt968u8

The Bakersfield Californian Article – Harold Pierce – Sunday March 19th  http://tinyurl.com/m2yo5g9

Building Health Communities  http://tinyurl.com/l687kqn

Valley Public Radio – Kerry Klein
http://kvpr.org/post/bakersfield-college-hackathon-brings-health-advocates-together

BC Social Justice Institute hosts “Real Boy” film screening & discussion

Real Boy SponsorThe Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute hosted a wonderful screening and panel discussion of the new award-winning documentary “Real Boy” on March 16th.  The film, funded in part by a documentary grant from California Humanities, follows the story of a young transgender youth, Bennett Wallace, as he transitions gender to a “real boy.”  Over 100 people attended the screening and engaged in a community dialogue with California Humanities Program Officer John Lightfoot, “Real Boy” director Shaleece Haas, and Jack Bockover from the Sexuality and Gender Awareness (S.A.G.A.) Club of Bakersfield College.

Thank you to everyone who made this happen: Professor Helen Acosta, Oliver Rosales, the Levan Center for the Humanities, BC Office of Student Life, and the Renegade Rip and Bakersfield Californian for covering the event.

RealBoy03

Oliver Rosales

For more information about “Real Boy” and California Humanities, including a Community Voices piece written by California Humanities CEO Julie Fry about the event, you may go to the following links:

Here is my tweet on the Julie Fry community Voices piece

Julie Fry community voices

PuebloFest

Speaking with prospective students is one of the most incredible things… There’s no way to quite describe the excitement in the voice and in the eyes of young people who are about to begin their college experience. Any opportunity that we have to speak to them is a great one.

IMG_2211Student Success and Equity Manager, Lisa Kent joined Office of Student Life Director, Nicky Damania at PuebloFest 2017, a three-day arts and culture festival that took place March 17-19th in Tulare. BC had the opportunity to be involved with the first-ever regional Mexican music festival in the United States, via Arnaldo Avalos, a Board of Governors member for the California community college system and festival organizer who sought for PuebloFest to have a larger social purpose. Our goal was to educate festival attendees on the higher education opportunities available at BC and encourage anyone wanting a college education to consider BC a place for them.

IMG_2204It was great to see representatives from Reedley College also hosting a booth, alongside over 100 other nonprofit and community organizations offering information on topics like financial literacy, health services, and immigration. A diverse variety of artists were represented including Los Lobos, Baby Bash, Los Tigres Del Norte and Bakersfield’s own Velorio.

The inclusion of higher learning institutes at Latin music festivals like this can only help to empower 1st and 2nd generation Latinos with the information they need to have a successful education experience and become upwardly mobile. BC aims to meet the needs of Latino students with its Student Success and Equity program, specialized Summer Bridge institutes in rural communities, an increase in dual enrollment course offerings for Kern County high school students, and on-site matriculation services throughout Kern County, Student Success.

I checked out Pueblofest on Sunday, March 19th, after returning from the Accreditation commission meeting on Saturday.

Sonya Christian at Pueblo Fest March 19 2017

This is whatArnoldo Avalos, the man who had the dream and made it happen, had to say on Facebook

Adiós PuebloFest- you changed my life. Until next year, PuebloFest 2018.

Arnoldo Avalos at Pueblo Fest March 2017

Summer Bridge 2017

Faculty gearing up to meet our new cohort of students.  Thank you faculty! Thank you Kimberly Bligh!

BC STEM/MESA Students Dreaming Big!

Twelve BC STEM/MESA students, Dillon Giblin, BC Math Faculty and Yadira Guerrero, Engineering Program Manager attended a field trip to the California Science Center to watch “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” and explore the permanent and special exhibitions the museum had to offer. The bus was loaded up by 7am and the morning chatter on the road was of sharing individual stories. Chad Hidalgo, Emmanuel Limaco (MESA), and Andrea Hernandez (MESA) are a few BC students who shared their inspiring stories and offered guidance to high school attendees.

MESA STEM STUDENTS (1)Inspiration was just the theme of the day. I’m told the film even moved several students enough to make them misty-eyed. After lunch, the group was off to explore the Ecosystems Exhibit and the Air and Space Exhibit, which included the space shuttle, Endeavor! The bus, tickets, and even lunch were all provided courtesy of the Southern San Joaquin Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and was of no cost to any students or faculty. What a gift!! And what a way to enjoy a Saturday!

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BC at the USC Choral Invitational

The BC Chamber Singers had an incredible experience at the USC Choral Invitational last month.  Some of the best two-year colleges in the state perform at this annual event and it was an honor to be among them. Choral Director, Jennifer Garrett tells me it’s one of the most stressful events of each year, but it’s exactly what the group needs to help them rise to the greatest potential. The group performed two pieces and one was the premiere of a new work by Dr. Ron Kean, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot/Follow the River” which is part of a newly commissioned work entitled, “The Journey of Harriet Tubman” which was premiered at the concert last night.

La Valley College Rehearal 2017

Rehearsal right before USC at LA Valley College with Ron Kean and our marimba player

This is what Jen Garret had to say:

The Chamber Singers gave their all at the Invitational and many reported that they were the finest choir of the evening.  I appreciate their dedication to the music, attention to detail, and the emotional investment they put forth in each piece. The audience rose to their feet in applause almost before I could cut off the last note of “Swing Low”.  Ron Kean, who graduated with his Masters and Doctorate from USC was there on the stage with us playing the mbira (African thumb piano) and I know the performance meant a great deal to him as it did to me.

 

USC pic after performance 2017

This years traditional picture, always taken after a successful USC performance in the stairwell of Newman Recital Hall at USC

I am so proud of the BC Chamber Singers.  They always strive to be more and do more. Did you know they will be representing BC in Australia at the Sydney Opera House?

You can help this talented group get there by partaking in the next evening of Broadway music and spaghetti dinner on April 1st.  I have purchased a table and I hope to see you there. Jennifer Garrett says,

We are calling it ‘Give My Regards to Broadway.’ It will combine the talents of the BC culinary arts under chef Eric Sabella providing spaghetti, bread, salad, drinks, etc., and the BC chamber singers performing Broadway hits as a choir, soloists and small groups.

 

Susan Scaffidi did a fabulous article in The Bakersfield Californian
http://tinyurl.com/lrh24sc

You don’t want to miss this incredible event on April 1st. The cost is $15 per person and tickets are only on sale until Monday, March 27. Tickets can be purchased by calling 395-4547 or by emailing at jennifer.garrett@bakersfiieldcollege.edu.

USC choral directors

BC Choral Director, Jen Garrett, with some of the best choral directors in California!

 

Sounds for the Soul

SoundsForOurSouls-BandOrch-20

Photos by Belen Martinez

The talent at BC just keeps going… this time, the BC Concert Band, Orchestra, and Dr. Kathryn Kuby had something extra planned for the audience. During “Sounds For Our Soul”  last weekend, there was an abundance of music provided to satisfy the souls of all who were present.

Dr. Kuby invited the incredible Pipe Dream Flutes & Friends to perform in the beginning of the first half of the concert. Prior to this performance, I didn’t know that there were more than just the flute and the piccolo… but, having the pleasure of hearing a Double Contrabass Flute, C Flutes, Alto Flutes, and the more was incredible and filled the air with the most powerful yet delicate sounds.

Apparently there are only 4 Double Contrabass Flutes in the world and imagine one of them is in Bakersfield.  When I heard this, I leaned over and whispered to Jon Gerhold, “Really?”

Double contrabass March 18 2017

Here is a copy and paste from wikipedia:

The double contrabass flute (sometimes also called the octobass fluteor subcontrabass flute) with over 18 feet (5.5 m) of tubing is the largest and lowest pitched metal flute in the world (the hyperbass flute has an even lower range, though it is made out of PVC pipes and wood). It is pitched in the key of C, three octaves below the concert flute (two octaves below the bass flute and one octave below the contrabass flute). Its lowest note is C1, one octave below the cello‘s lowest C. This flute is relatively easy to play in comparison to most other large flutes. Despite the tendency of the larger sizes of flute to be softer than their higher pitched relatives, the double contrabass flute has a relatively powerful tone, although it usually benefits from amplification in ensembles.

 

When concert band took the stage and performed a beautiful piece by Rossano Galante, the instruments filled the theater with the most powerful sound. I mentioned before that Dr. Kuby had planned a special night, and  in addition to Pipe Dream Flutes & Friends, she also had a flute soloist perform with both the band and orchestra.

SoundsForOurSouls-BandOrch-36

Sara Andon. Photo by Belen Martinez

Sara Andon, an international soloist and recording artist, took the stage in beautiful white gown and performed with the band. The Lark Ascending, was such a beautiful piece.

I wish we were able to capture a video of this music, but instead here is a version on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR2JlDnT2l8

The BC campus is a place full of talent and it always shows on performance days. If you’ve missed out, the final concert for the spring semester is coming up on May 3rd. Check out all the photos, captured by the talented Belen Martinez at the BC Smugmug page.

SoundsForOurSouls-BandOrch-69

Photo by Belen Martinez

Thank you Dr. Kathryn Kuby

Kathryn Kuby March 18 2017

Dr. Kathryn Kuby

This week on the road:

This was an easier travel week for me.  I provided testimony at the Senate Budget Committee along with a team from the State Chancellor’s office.  It was a great experience.  Chancellor Eloy Oakley is doing a terrific job advancing the student success agenda in a fiscally sound manner.  I tweeted this picture right before we walked over to the capital.

Sonya Christian and Eloy Oakley March 23 2017

 

The most fun part for me was how Senator Jean Fuller and Assembly Members Rudy Salas supported my visit to the Senate Budget committee.  Senator Jean Fuller contacted Senator John Moorlach and Assesbly Member Rudy Salas contacted Senator Anthohny Portantino.  When the item of Guided Pathways came up both Senator Moorlach and Senator Portantino were warm and welcoming and openly supportive.

Senate Budget Committee Senator Portantino Senator Moorlach

Senator Anthony Portantino and Senator John Moorlach

Thank you so much Senator Jean Fuller and Assembly Member Rudy Sallas for your support.   #WeAreBakersfield!

And thank you Dana Culhane Brennan for so quickly responding to my text.  You are the best!!!!  I tried finding a photo of Dana and I found this picture on Facebook.

Photo from Facebook

Dana Culhane Brennan and family

After the presentation at the Capitol in Sacramento I headed out to the Chief Student Services Officers Conference on Integration Through Action in Los Angeles.  It was a great conference and they dedicated two hours to Guided Pathways – the first hour on CA Guided Pathways presented by Deputy Chancellor Erik Skinner, Senior Researcher Craig Hayward and myself.

Guided Pathways at CSSO Sonya Christian Erik Skinner Craig Hayward March 24 2017

Sonya Christian, Erik Skinner, Craig Hayward

This was followed by Tom Bailey, the first author of the book Redesigning America’s Community Colleges.  I want to do a shout out to the Exec Board of the CSSOs for putting on such a dynamic conference.  Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson is the president and our very own Zav Dadabhoy is on the Exec Board.  Unfortunately, we did not get a photo of the BC team that was there — Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin and Grace Commiso.  Here are the ones I have.  In the first picture, I am with Valerie Shaw a member of the Board of Governors and Tom Bailey.  The second picture is of Mandy Davies, a member of the CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee with Tom Bailey.

 

 

Delta Kappa Gamma events at BC

Delta Kappa Gamma Area VII and BC Future Teachers Club cosponsored a Voter Information Night at BC in October that had 37 participants.  On March 18, they cosponsored the Technology for Educators Conference at BC which had approximately 65 participants!

DKG Tech event at BC March 18 2017.JPG

Janet Tarjan and Gayle Richardson co-chaired the conference committee. Presenters included BC students, CSUB Faculty, K-12 teachers and administrators, authors, and the chair of the DKG International Communication Committee.  Participants learned about Google docs, social media, games, increasing student participation, Word templates, and were provided with updates on current legislation related to education.

DKG

Denise Hollister, Rachel Hibler

Denise Hollister (English Teacher, BHS) and president of DKG and her daughter Rachel Hibler.  Rachel presented two sessions:  “Social Media in Education” and “Ice Breakers and Drama Games.”

DKG March 18 2017 event

DKG BC Members include:  Jerry Ludeke, Pat Smith, Gayle Richardson, Janet Tarjan. Mary Jo Anhalt, Mita Dhariwal, and Sonya Christian.

And I got this email from Gayle Richardson about Chef Eric Sabella’s incredible food.

Yes, Eric!  In 35 years I have NEVER heard so many guests rave about the food at BC.  One spouse said that he has been to years of conferences, but never to one with such a delicious meal!  The compliments were made without being asked for!

Compliments to you, Chef Eric!

Renegade Athletics

Baseball

BC Baseball has endured some ups and downs this season, including a recent three-game losing streak. But they are on a tear now after winning two games in a row over LA Valley College. Catcher Brock Hallum will be attending Long Island University, Bronx on a baseball scholarship next fall, but he hasn’t lost sight of the work that is right in front of him. He hit a home run last Sunday to spur his team to a 8-4 win on the road against Valley before getting bit by the flu bug.  Coach Tim Painton ordered him to take a day off from practice Monday, but he still watched from the dugout.

Tuesday, Hallum played against LA Valley and had four hits in four at-bats while driving in four runs! Brock Hallum, you rock! Next week I’ll tell you about a special pitcher who has really turned his baseball career around this season for the Renegades.

McKenna Valencia and Alexis Solis

Speaking of turning it around, BC Softball had a shaky start to their season, but they’ve risen to second place in their conference  after winning three straight games this week, including sweeping a doubleheader from Santa Barbara at the Dean and Aaah Gay Sports Complex. They got good pitching from McKenna Valencia and Alexis Solis, and both also had good at-bats to help their teams win. Valencia pitched again Thursday, and the game went extra innings and she pitched the whole thing! That’s 12 innings; a usual game is seven, so she almost pitched the equivalent of two games! Thank you Coach Christie Hill.

Thank you Francis Mayer, the fabulous Sports Information Director for Renegade Athletics.

Always Something to Celebrate at BC

On Wednesday afternoon, Academic Senate and the executive office came together to celebrate with birthday cake! Tarina Perry planned a special surprise for Academic Senate President, Steve Holmes who celebrated his birthday on Monday. Little did Tarina know, Somaly Boles, who also works in the executive suite also planned a surprise for the party to surprise Tarina, whose birthday is later this month!  BC Food Services provided the most decadent chocolate cake…. Just look at those pictures! Wow! Happy Birthday Steve and Tarina!

BirthdayCollage

More Press coverage:

We got some great coverage from the Delano Recorder.

Delano Recorder March 2017

Check out my previous blog post about this event in Delano at https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/03/04/inspiration-all-around-us/

Emails Worth Sharing

When a child smiles, there’s something special about the wonder in their eyes. I received an email from Lesley Bonds saying,

Shauna Turner, Department Assistant III in Equity, shared this photo in a group text to my entire staff who has gotten to know her 3 sons over the past 2 years. Here is Bry’Shaun with the BC baseball team at the 2017 League of Dreams Baseball Opening Day. I’ve never seen him smile so big! You can just tell he feels like he’s surrounded by celebrities.

Shauna Turners Son

Little future Renegade Bry’Shaun with the BC Baseball Team

 

So much to be proud of….Renegade Experiences are Incredible

 

Coffee at Waikkiki March 14 2017

Sonya Christian. Morning Coffee on the Beach

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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One thought on “The Renegade Experience is Incredible

  1. Nick Strobel March 26, 2017 at 8:05 am Reply

    Another great roundup of the week!

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