Joy and Enchantment

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 22, 2017, Gardenfest at Bakersfield College and a great day to be a Renegade.  Come on out!

I promise you, BC’s GardenFest will bring you joy and enchantment!

Roses 2 April 22 2017

Renegade Red and White Roses that I planted in 2013 


This has been a semester of work-related travel and I am getting road weary.  Can’t wait for the last bit to be over and then on to summer.

The Easter weekend was great. Besides going to St. Phillips for the 7:00 a.m. mass, spending some time reading at the Riverwalk park, over indulging with Krispy Kreme, there was Beauty and the Beast.  A phenomenal movie remake of the 1991 animated film. Two words to describe the movie — Joy and Enchanted!  And you can imagine my delight when I saw A.O.Scotts review in the New York Times use the very same words.

Here is an excerpt:

This live-action/digital hybrid, directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson and San Stevens in the title roles, is more than a flesh-and-blood (and prosthetic fur-and-horns) revival of the 26-year-old cartoon, and more than a dutiful trip back to the pop-culture fairy-tale well.  Its classicism feels unforced and fresh.  Its romance neither winks nor panders.  It looks good, moves gracefully and leaves a clean and invigorating aftertaste.  I almost didn’t recognize the flavor: I think the name for it is joy.

For the entire review see

I love the dance scene from the movie and found this clip on Youtube.  Its just a 1:53-minute length video.  watch it.



Tuesday, April 18th at the Capitol

I was in Sacramento on April 18th to testify to the Assembly Budget Committee with individuals from the State Chancellor’s Office on Guided Pathways.  I hope it makes it through the legislative cycle.

Assembly Budget Committee April 18 2017

Here is a picture of Vice Chancellor of Finance Mario Rodriguez and me prior to the meeting at 9:00.  Mario Rodriguez has done a tremendous job shepherding this effort on behalf of Chancellor Eloy Oakley.  Mario, you rock!

Mario Rodriguez and Sonya Christian April 18 2017

Mario Rodriguez, Sonya Christian

I must pause here for a moment to recognize our legislators in Sacramento — Jean Fuller, Andy Vidak, Rudy Salas, and Vince Fong.  They are just phenomenal and all four of them support education and Bakersfield College 100%.  During this visit, I texted Rudy Salas and he was immediately helpful in talking to the chair of the Assembly Budget Committee on Education.  Rudy Salas we are so proud of the work you do!

Sonya Christian and Rudy Salas Cesar Chave Bfast March 31 2017

Sonya Christian, Rudy Salas

Here is a photo from the train as I was riding back from Sacramento.

Train ride.JPG

Looking at this picture again, I am reminded of two pieces that I read describing agriculture in California’s Central valley:

And from Verlyn Klinkenborg on May 13, 2013 from the New York Times:

It is easy to let yourself be overwhelmed by the agricultural geometry of the valley, all those rows seeming to rush past as you drive.  But to understand its true immensity and capacity for transformation, you have to drop down off the interstate and onto the valley floor.  There is something stunning in the way the soil has been engineered into precision.  Every human imperfection linked with the word “farming” has been erased.

From NPR:

Most Americans, and the rest of the world, would describe California by its popular tourist destinations and economic touchstones: Hollywood, Disneyland, the Golden Gate Bridge, Big Sur, Venice Beach, Silicon Valley.

But there is another California, and it’s home to the greatest garden in the world. The 400-mile-long Central Valley supplies fully one-quarter of the food America eats. It’s a long, mostly flat and incredibly fertile pocket of land nestled between the coastal mountains and the Sierra Nevada range.

California’s Central Valley is growing fast and its biggest industry, agriculture, racked up $27 billion in revenues last year.


Trustee Agbalog at the Honor a Hero event:

It was wonderful to see Trustee Romeo Agbalog visit the BC booth at the Honor a Hero event by the Employment Development Department at the Marriott.  Here he is with Domenica, Beth, and Armando.  Thank you Trustee Agbalog for your consistent support of education, our rural communities and our veterans.


The Billion $$$ Man


Bill Thomas

What a great featured piece by Dorothy Mills-Gregg  in the Bakersfield Californian today on the Thomas Roads Improvement Project.

Thank you retired congressman Bill Thomas for all that you have accomplished for this community.

The fabulous Becki Whitson

Hard to imagine that Becki Whitson is retiring.  Becki is all things Renegade…At the Board meeting on April 13th after Kay Meek, President of the KCCD Board recognized Becki, Trustee Kyle Carter talked about Becki and said that Becki Whitson is Bakersfield College.  I can’t agree more Trustee Carter.

Becki Whitson, besides her passion for student success, has stepped up to serve BC in many ways. She has been Department Chair of the Behavioral Science Department, Co-Chair of the BC Alumni Association, has organized the biannual Alumni Hall of Fame, served as BC Cheer Team Coach, coordinated the Great Teacher Seminar, BC Commencement Committee, Archives Committee and was the recipient of the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award in 2010.  Prof. Becki Whitson, thank you for over 20 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.

Paul Beckworth

Paul Beckworth

Paul Beckworth forwarded to me an email be sent Becki.  Here it is”


I am sorry that I could not make it your retirement party.  I wish you all the best!  It is well deserved and well earned.

I would be remiss if I did not share my “Becki moment” with you.

Four years ago we held our first ever Vetfest at the Huddle.  I had only been at BC for three years and really did not have a clue what I was doing outside the classroom.  I didn’t know the planning for a BC event should take several months.  Sonya cut threw some red tape for me and we had our first one.  I can say it now; it was pretty sad.  We only had four vendors, and a handful of water and potato chips.  HOWEVER, it all got better when you brought you whole class to the event.  The students came out, they were engaged, and happy to be there.  Before you came out with your class, I had a sinking feeling of failure in the put of my stomach.  I knew I did not plan well but I did not know about the support for our veterans at BC.  Before this, I only knew you via email when you would sell the discount cards for BC Cheer.  You came out, we talked about how important this event was and I immediately knew we were on the right track.  I knew this college cared about our veterans because of you taking the time to show it!  So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for what you probably thought was a small gesture of support.  It was so much more than that.

All the best on your retirement.

So, from an old Navy hand; Dear Becki,

Bravo Zulu!

Fair winds and following seas.

Paul Beckworth
History Professor
Veterans Faculty Lead
Bakersfield College

Here are some pictures from her retirement party last night.

Reitrement Party April 21 2017

Becky Whitson with Cheer Team April 21 2017.JPG

Tom Moran emcee April 21 2017

From Mary Jo Pasek’s Facebook

Becki Whitson's Retirement April 21 2017.png

Library Case

Have you seen the display case in the library’s lobby? Anna Agenjo, our beloved Library Chair who will be retiring at the end of Spring 2017, sent me a photo so I could share it with all of you. She said this display case has been coming together since I shared my support of our DREAMers, back in January. There’s a little glare, but I think you can see most of it and Anna says the reactions in person have been very positive. #WeAreBC!


Alpha Phi Alpha 2017 Scholarship Banquet

The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Chapter #530 presented the 9th Annual Black and Gold Scholarship Banquet at the Sheraton on April 15th at the Four Points Sheraton. Five local high school students were applauded as they received well deserved scholarships for their high academic achievements.  Encouraging words from the keynote speaker, Dr. (and Pastor) Oscar J. Anthony, reminded everyone that when we help our students succeed academically, our communities thrive.


Scholarship winners from left: Darion Gutierrez, Hope Maiden, Jordan Amey, and Iesha Hamm

Guests included Bakersfield College staff, Mandelyn Hobbs, Tonysha Miles (student), Jennifer Achan, June Charles, Eryn Justice and Paula Parks.


Relay for Life in Delano

Loy Salarda is back….so of course BC’s presence at the Delano Relay for Life was grand.

Check out the photos:

Emails Worth Sharing: KCMEA Jazz Day at BC

Peggy Picture

Peggy Biller

Dean Mourtzanos forwarded a lovely email from Peggy Biller, the KCMEA Treasurer AND Rosedale Middle School Jazz Band Director, about the Jazz Day event recently held at BC. You can read about it in last week’s blog titled, Love Endures… Happy Easter.

The email said, “The 2nd Annual KCMEA Jazz Day at BC that Kris Tiner planned, advertised and got Kern County Middle School and High School jazz programs involved in was fantastic. His commitment to bringing a Jazz Performance Event to the Kern County Community as well as the top notch jazz artist that he brings in to demonstrate and clinic our students is fabulous!

I am both the Treasurer of KCMEA and the Rosedale Middle School Jazz Band Director (one of the groups that participated in the Festival).  Kris’s fiscal responsibility of running the festival was great from KCMEA’s treasury point of view.  My Jazz Band’s performance that morning after the clinic provided by one of his guest artists was much better than I thought was even possible.  The idea of getting a clinic before the performance was brilliant.  My students came home with information and techniques (especially my drummers) that they will use for the rest of their lives.

KCMEA has Awarded  Kris Tiner the Jazz Educator of the Year.  He was awarded Primarily due to his influence he has had on Jazz Education in Kern County. Thank you for Bakersfield College’s involvement in allowing this event to happen. I’m looking forward to participating in the KCMEA Jazz Festival next year.”

Such a great message! Thank you Peggy and Congratulations Kris Tiner! It’s a fantastic day when students visit BC to be inspired and leave campus with information they can use for the rest of their lives.

BC Faculty Jazz

Here is Kris Tiner on stage during Jazz Day with the BC Faculty Jazz Group!

Inspired jam session at Spring Fling!

Blind drummer Anthony Rodriguez plays on stage during Spring Fling week.

Anthony Rodriguez jams with a musician during “Spring Fling” week in April.

A big congratulations to Nicky Damania for organizing yet another fun series of events on campus. The week before spring break, Student Life hosted a full week of activities and bands. What an electric week to be on campus to see the fun laser tag setup, see food trucks on campus and hear the live bands from the student center.

On Wednesday (April 5) you may have walked by and heard something special. One of the musical artists was playing his guitar when one of our own students Anthony Rodriguez joined him on stage to jam for a couple of songs.  What a treat!  If you had walked by, you may have noticed that Anthony was holding his drumsticks in a very thoughtful way, later to find out he is blind.  What a talent!  Anthony is a Kinesiology Major and plays in a local band called the “Stanley J. Tucker Band” which is nearly completely made up of former BC students.

Here is a video of the “Stanley J. Tucker Band” with Anthony drumming!:

From twitter:

Great tweet from Chris McCraw, Ag faculty on the internships with Grimmway Farms

April 2017 Grimmway Academy Chris McCraw Tweet.png

and from Lesley Bonds

Leadership Matters April 2017

From Jen Garret on Facebook

I am so proud of all of the BC musicians in the Stars production of “Ragtime” tonight. They gave a great opening night. The music director,Brock Christian told me that all of the BC people he gets are wonderful and great to work with. That made me very happy. I am so blessed to be at BC! Go see the show!

BC Chamber Singers in Ragtime April 21 2017

Renegade Athletics Roundup by Francis Mayer

The Bakersfield College Men’s and Women’s Swim teams are competing at the Western State Conference Championships at Allan Hancock College this weekend, and they’ve shown plenty of promise so far. After two days of competition, the men are ranked fifth and the women sixth, with room to rise.

The relay team of Kenneth Rodriguez, Brian Bender, Steve Santana, and Cameron Reeves placed third in the 200 Yard Medley Relay, and fourth in the 400 Yard Medley Relay.

Santana also placed third in the 200 Yard Freestyle, while Bender has set the high-water mark with a second place finish in the 100 Yard Breaststroke. Andrew Martinez also nabbed a third place finish in the 400 Yard IM.

On the women’s side, Jennifer Quan has a pair of top five finishes in the 500 Yard Freestyle and the 400 Yard IM.

Quan also anchored a fifth place finish in the 800 Yard Freestyle Relay with teammates Kathryn Hunter, Victoria Hernandez, and Cynthia Maner.

BC Track and Field hosted the Western State Conference Prelims in historic AND beautiful Memorial Stadium Friday, and while high-jumper Jacob Bookout didn’t break the school record of 7 feet, he is still ranked #1 in the state, and he and several teammates are advancing to Finals at Moorpark next weekend. Bookout is having a special season, and he’s just one inch away from setting a new record in the high jump.

Teammate Cesar Patino is ranked #3 in the state in the 5,000 and Coach Pam Kelley believes he could also break a school record! Exciting times in Track and Field!

Baseball will wrap up it’s home season on Tuesday against West LA College, and if you haven’t been to a game this season…or even if you have, this could be the last chance to enjoy the game while you savor Ray Miranda’s tri-tip sandwiches until next year…and the last chance to see D-1 bound Brock Hallum and Austin Toerner!


Treasuring the Joy and Enchantment of Life!

Sonya Christian Easter Sunday at Riverwalk April 16 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

(photo on Easter Sunday at the Riverwalk

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2 thoughts on “Joy and Enchantment

  1. Heather Baltis April 22, 2017 at 1:39 pm Reply

    “Agricultural geometry” – love.

  2. […] chair for 7 years. She is perhaps best known as the former head cheerleading coach. I remember when she retired in 2017, KCCD Trustee Kyle Carter said, “Becki Whitson is Bakersfield […]

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