Our 60th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, October 14, 2017….our homecoming.  A wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Tailgader Homecoming Sep 30 2017This year marks the 60th Homecoming celebration at 1801 Panorama Drive. I hope you’ll come out and show your unique Renegade pride in celebration of 114 years of BC transforming lives in Kern County. The game starts at 6PM, but we’ll be serving steak dinner with music by local legends Mento Buru at TailGade starting at 3PM and our grand Homecoming Parade starts at 4:45PM before the game.

On campus, we’ve been celebrating Homecoming all week. When I arrived on campus on Monday morning, I was greeted with Renegade decorations and school spirit everywhere. We kicked off with an office decoration contest hosted by The Office of Student Life. This year there was a tie between two areas: the shared area of the Marketing & Public Relations and Institutional Effectiveness departments, and the Extended Study Area. Congratulations!!



Guess who is the king in the picture above? Answer will be provided at the end of this blog post.

There was also a poster artwork competition for the Red&White Traveling Trophy. Congrats to this year’s winners of the Team Poster Competition. You can stop by the Office of Student Life to view them all. First place to “Free on the Outside,” second place to the Student Nursing Org, and third place to the Ag Club.

Renegade Homecoming Paint Night

In the evening, SGA hosted a Renegade Paint Night where BC students, faculty, staff, and friends could come together and create their own masterpiece.

On Wednesday, we held a talent show to showcase our talented Renegades. The host for the evening was Stig Jantz, who cracked jokes and kept everyone laughing. Congratulations to the first place winner Dezi Von Manos & Rayven Acosta-Webb (Duet Cover of Dynamite by Taio Cruz) second place went to Valentin Vargas (single dancer) then in third place came Ganae Romo (Alessia Cara – Scars To Your Beautiful). Special thanks to the BC Food Services for providing the nachos and beverages for the event.

The Office of Student Life held a Pancake feed and pep rally on Thursday, bringing everyone into the Homecoming spirit. Students were jousting with rubber batons “American Gladiators”-style in a ring and knocking down milk jugs with bean bags in celebration of Homecoming Week. Our cheer team led routines and high energy dancing while our drumline gathered all on campus to the Renegade Crossroads for the activities.

Learn the BC Fight Song

Before the big game, listen live here!

We will fight fight fight when we’re winning
We will fight fight fight when we lose
Ere play ere goes ere the whistle blows.
We will fight where ere we choose.
We will fight fight fight in the morning,
We will fight fight fight in the night.
We are bound to win today, as we battle in the fray.
We will fight fight fight fight fight.


Homecoming Queen: Robbie Bonas

Robbie (1)

1961 Homecoming Queen, Robbie Bonas

In 1961, Robbie Bonas was our Homecoming Queen and I recently requested her photo from back then. Can you spot the BC on her crown? I absolutely love this photo.

Robbie was also one of our 100 stars. She gained numerous honors during her career as a student at BC, including homecoming queen, head song leader, and was an active member of the Newman Club. She married and raised 3 daughters, one of whom assisted in nominating her for the 100 stars centennial award. Her daughter, Tarina Perry works in the executive suite with Academic Senate. Robbie returned to BC in 1992, and served as the key support person for numerous deans. She was known on campus for her kindness and patient nature.

Doesn’t Tarina look like Robbie?

Somaly Boles and Tarina Perry May 12 2017

Sonya Christian with Robbie Bonas at the Red and White Wine Festival April 12 2013

BC Cannon Crew Captain

Courtney Carter Shooting BC CannonIt’s a great day to be a Renegade and it’s a great day for honoring tradition and celebrating new milestones. BC Gun Crew Captain John Medvigy will be retiring after 50 years of shooting our BC cannon. The Home of the Renegades wants to say thank you for the many years of service to our students, our alumni, our friends, community, and fans. Our next Captain has a love for shooting cannons stemming from her childhood. Courtney Carter is not only a renegade alumni, she’s also currently working with Tom Gelder and the BC Foundation.  The love she has for shooting cannons defies explanation – please see the whole story done by Tabatha Mills at KGET.com.

Panorama Creative Music Summit

The Panorama Creative Music Summit started last night and will also continue tonight! This is the first annual Music Summit organized by faculty members Josh Ottum and Kris Tiner.


It was  good to faculty out to support this inaugural event on Friday the 13th.  Janet Tarjan, Mathematics; Reggie Williams, Philosophy; Andrew Bonds, English.

Janet Tarjan, Reggie Williams, Andrew Bonds at Panorama Creative Music Summit Oct 11 2017

Janet Tarjan, Reggie Williams, Andrew Bonds

The music was phenomenal.  The performers included the BC Commercial Music Students, Josh Ottum Trio, and Chris Schlarb & Psychic Temple.

You be the judge of that and listen to Josh Ottum perform Tom Petty’s Learning to Fly.  I don’t know about you….. but I’d take Ottum over Petty.  It is a quieter but more powerful version of the original–great bass.

I am so glad Josh did this piece.  Tom Petty is one of my all time favorites.  Listen to Ottum in the first video doing Learning to Fly and then Petty in the second with Free Falling.

Here is Tom Petty and Free Falling

Josh Ottum Trio with Kyle Burnham on the drums and Jared Gardner on the bass guitar was followed by Chris Schlarb and Psychic Temple.  Just great music.  Schlarb invited Kris Tiner to join them for two pieces.  Here is a 41-second snippet of Tiner.


During the transition of bands, I asked our philosophy student Andrew Martin to do a short video for my blog.  Let’s listen to Andrew

Distinguished Speaker, Dr. Ignacio Garcia

Ignacio GarciaDr. Ignacio Garcia was a guest speaker on campus this week, giving a talk he calls “Becoming brown in America: Remembering the Chicano movement.” Dr. Ignacio Garcia is the professor of western American history at BYU he has written 5 books. He says the presentation is a memoirist odyssey on why and how he and many other Mexican American youth in the 1960s became brown and Chicano and went into activism and the academy. He talked about the conditions in which many lived, the inadequate schools attended, the identity crisis faced and the bleak economic future that awaited many. Thank you Dr. Garcia, for coming to BC and thank you SGA and Student Life for hosting the Distinguished Speaker Series.

One Heart, One Voice – 1965 Choir Documentary

In the summer of 1965, the Bakersfield College Choir toured Europe and now, 52 years later, I had the privilege of seeing this incredible story documented on the big screen at our very own indoor theater on campus. We held two premier showings on Sunday, October 8th of the documentary “One Heart, One Voice: How the Bakersfield College Choir found success on the international stage”.


The film documented both the triumphs and hardships they experienced. From humble beginnings of signing waivers before leaving on the trip, to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, singing for the Pope, and meeting the President of the United States. It was incredible to see the reunion, and film’s premier showing take place at our campus on the hill, the place where it all started 52 years ago. I fell in love with the story and can’t wait to share more with you.


Herb Benham wrote a fantastic piece available here at the Bakersfield Californian website. I love how he started the article, “They broke all the rules, they broke some of the rules, they broke enough of the rules to prove they were 18, human and in the midst of a grand adventure.”

Thank you to everyone who contributed to creating the film and those who attended. Among all the familiar friendly faces, it was fantastic to see Joe Hustzi, Director of the 1965 Choir and our mayor, Karen Goh at the event.  Thank you city councilman Andrea Gonzalez for attending and the fabulous Jerry Ludeke.

Mary Jo snapped a photo of the choir singing benediction afterwards. Just incredible.


The Links 40th Celebration


BC was in full force at The Links, Incorporated’s 40 year celebration of providing important educational resources to the community at the Seven Oaks Country Club last Saturday. The Bakersfield chapter of The Links offers has offered dozens of programs to support Kern County youth over four decades, including health and wellness conferences; panels on human trafficking, cyberbullying, HIV/AIDS prevention and other important social issues; and its hallmark “Leadership STEAM Academy”, introducing students to academic achievement tools and information about careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

There are three women who are members of The Links in our BC Faculty – Debra Strong, Denise L. Norris and Odella Johnson, who is now retired. Also in attendance were Shanell Tyus, Paula Parks, Steven Watkin and June Charles. I’d like to thank all of our faculty who supporting the Links in making a positive impact on our youth.

Research and Planning Group: Student Success Conference

Several Bakersfield College Staff and Faculty attended the conference to present data and programs and to take back valuable information to BC. Collaboration at National conferences is vital to build communication across our regions.  I’m so proud!

BC Team Pictured: Isabel Castaneda, Darla Cooper (RP Group), Erica Menchaca,  Kimberly Bligh,  Teresa McAllister, Karen Snow, Shanell Tyus, and Lisa Kent

BC Team at RP SSSC Oct 2017 cropped.jpg

Craig Hayward.pngOur very own Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Craig Hayward, was part of a team who presented a break out session titled “Multiple Measures Assessment Project (MMAP): From Pilot to Paradigm). The MMAP research team has found that assigning the highest placement from either a test or from multiple measures rule sets (i.e., disjunctive placement) reduces error and increases appropriate placement into transfer-level English and math. Disaggregation of student groups also demonstrates improved access and throughput for important demographic groups, decreasing or eliminating disproportionate impact. Pilot college results confirm reductions in required semesters of developmental education and increases in successful completion of transfer-level courses, while maintaining success rates in those courses. Participants learned about these results and heard about lessons from pilot college implementation to inform their own plans or refinement of their own implementation of a high-quality multiple measure placement system.

Isabel Castaneda, Darla Cooper, Erica Menchaca, Kimberly Bligh, Theresa McAlister cropped

Isabel Castaneda, Darla Cooper, Erica Menchaca, Kimberly Bligh, Theresa McAlister

At team from Title V and the Academic Development at BC, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, Teresa McAllister, and Dr. Erica Menchaca presented a break out titled “Extending the Classroom: Intensive Academic Support for Accelerated Basic Skills Pathways” Participants learned about how BC has redesigned traditional math pathways to offer more coherent accelerated options in remedial math. By extending the classroom to support college readiness, BC provides intrusive academic and counseling support to improve student learning in the math classroom and beyond. During this session, participants will hear how these acceleration and intensive support practices have increased student success at BC. Participants discussed how one of these approaches, interventions, and practices can be adapted to fit most colleges. Several participants requested a visit to BC to learn more about the ETC program! One participant stated that BC as a “Zootopia College: A College that ‘has it together and others want to imitate…’”  #WeAreBC

Family Literacy Night

On October 5 Bakersfield College Elementary Education students supported Family Literacy Night at Stella Hills. The students were paired in groups creating activities to develop literacy for children. Parents played games with their children and in each classroom throughout the Stella hills campus kids were laughing  enjoying spelling, reading and finding words. It was a very successful event and a proud night for Bakersfield Colleges future teachers.  Thank you Bernadette Towns for sending me these photos.


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Gadfly Cafe

On Thursday, the Gadfly Cafe met in the Levan Center and they discussed how robotics can help out in many different situations. It was inspiring to see how all the students attending were laser focused and paying close attention to the speaker. Thank you to Reggie Williams for organizing the Gadfly Cafe.


Jobs for Justice

Criminal justice professionals from across Kern County, many of them former BC students, came to campus on Wednesday to teach students how to get into the field, and what to expect when they get there.

Our Career and Technical Education department organized “Jobs in Justice: A Panel on Careers in Criminal Justice,” putting together panelists from Kern County Superior Court, the Bakersfield Police Department, Probation, Kern Valley State Prison, and the Department of Human Services.

The panelists detailed the application process for their various fields, which almost all require some combination of written, physical or oral examinations; background checks; and several rounds of panel interviews, as well as academy training after being hired to ensure that the right applicants are being chosen to serve the vulnerable populations that criminal justice professionals are tasked with helping.


While the application process can be daunting, many criminal justice fields, including juvenile probation, allow students to work as trainees while earning their degree, working around students’ class schedules. Monique DeLeon, a deputy probation officer for the Juvenile Investigations division of the Probation Department, recommended attempting to work in detention facilities in some capacity to prepare for a career in probation, where you’ll be responsible with making sure people are on the right path after getting out of those facilities.

“It will really prepare you in a closed environment for when you have to interact with people in an open environment,” DeLeon said.

Another entry point is by applying for temporary extra help terms, which have lower standards for application but allow you to learn important skills and network with professionals in the field before applying for permanent positions, Human Services Program Director Juan Rocha said.

Panelists reiterated the importance of dressing and conducting yourself in a professional manner in preparation for a criminal justice career, as well as maintaining a clean social media profile, as professionals in this field will be looked at as figures of authority.

All of the panelists emphasized the reality that a long, successful career in criminal justice can be very stressful and emotionally taxing. Rocha, who works with child custody disputes, detailed a harrowing first assignment where he assigned custody of a newborn child to its biological father with no criminal history, who displayed no red flags, to later find out that the man had killed the child at five months old.

“In child welfare, you see the worst society has to offer,” Rocha said. “When you’re dealing with human behavior, you can never be sure that everything is going to be OK.”

To see a gallery of photos, visit BC’s Smugmug.

Alliance Against Family Violence Fundraiser

It was a pleasure seeing representatives from our district and the community converge at the KGET parking lot for the annual fundraiser lunch for the Alliance Against Family Violence, a hotline and support program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Kern County. As I parked my car and was walking over, there was Gary Moser, Vice Chancellor of IT crossing the street from the Weill Institute to the KGET parking lot.  I joined him and we decided to take a few moments and have lunch rather than rushing back and eating at our desk.  It was great catching up with Gary and getting to know of the larger projects that he is working on a with other community colleges in the state.  Louis Gill came and joined us for a few minutes.

I ran into so many people I know.  John Means, Derrick Jeffries (thank you KGET for all your support), Jeff Green (a board member of the Alliance), Sandy Woo and many more.  I spotted the very unique Mustang car of Board member Trustee Agbalog as he pulled into the drive-through lane.

KGET interviewed Louis Gill, CEO of the Alliance, about sexual assault.


Board of Trustees Meeting

I loved this photo taken with our incredible students at the last Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.

BC Students at KCCD Board Meeting

Afterwards, Bill Henry, President of Porterville College handed me this treasure in the parking lot.  A record of the 1965 choir that he found at his mother’s home.  Thank you Bill for safely getting this record to the Bakersfield College Archives.

Bill Henry at Board Meeting on Oct. 12, 2017

President Bill Henry

Board meeting Bill Henry (2)

What an incredible time to be a Renegade. So much history, so much love from our community. Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Kern County Workforce Summit

Bakersfield College was present at the 2017 Kern County Workforce Summit.  Liz Rozell, Dean of BC’s baccalaureate program in Industrial Automation did an amazing job presenting the program to our community.  I was on the panel highlighting BC’s work in Arvin, a collaborative venture with Michael Turnipseed from KernTax, Supervisor Leticia Perez, Bryon Schaefer and KHSD and Bakersfielf College.


Karen Goh, Mark Novak, Sonya Christian

Karen Goh, Mark Novak, Sonya Christian

Cheryl Scott, Kristen Barnes, Richard Chapman, Sonya Christian

Cheryl Scott, Kristen Barnes, Richard Chapman, Sonya Christian

BC Choir Heading to Australia

And speaking of the BC Choir, Jennifer Garrett was so thrilled with the Board’s decision to help fund their Australia trip that she made up fake checks to give them at one of their rehearsals this week.  She said some of them cried and others just squealed with delight.  Regardless, she said they were so appreciative. I loved the photo they all took – well done all.


Wellness at BC

Wellness Core Value

Many of us at BC are attempting to be deliberate about developing habits that promote wellness.  Our Office (VPs and President), under the leadership of Chris Glaser, has tried to cultivate one habit every month.  Last month it was hydrating by drinking water.  This month is taking breaks and going for walks.  Here is a photo I snapped with Chris Glaser and Denis Spencer after Dennis shared with us that his doctor had ordered him to walk more.  So he tried several times a week to do ten rounds through the gym which included two flights of stairs.  His routine included placing 10 pennies on a banister and after every round he would pick up one of the pennies to make sure that he made the ten rounds.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Chris Glaser, Sonya Christian, Dennis Spencer

Chris Glaser sent this great email this week to remind us to take breaks and walk.  In it he had a video about the Pomodoro Technique to overcome procrastination.  Check it out

He wrapped up his email with this:

And, now that I’ve intensely focused on writing this piece, I’m going to take a break and recharge by brewing my second cup of tea.

Happy Thursday and Happy Renegade Pride Day!

Keeping in Touch

Alex DominguezI got a lovely email from our former SGA president Alex Dominguez, who’s currently studying law at Old Miss. Alex wanted to let me know that he’s taking a class about Torts, Contracts and Civil Procedure in his first semester with a professor who has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Oxford University. It’s good to know that Alex hasn’t given up on electioneering, as he successfully ran for one of only three Senate positions on the Student Bar Association for his graduating class. He’s also staying connected back home by writing a column in the Kern County Bar Association’s monthly magazine.

As well as staying in touch with me, Alex makes sure to maintain contact with Nicky Damania and fellow former president Clayton Fowler, who share stories about how BC has impacted their lives and looking forward to their return to Bakersfield to give back to our college and community.

BCSGA Presidents with Nicky Damania June 16 2017

Four Generations of SGA Presidents and Nicky Damania

Ag Advisory Meeting

BC students, past and present, are a huge inspiration to me. Here are some photos from this week’s BC Agriculture Advisory Meeting. Thank you Corny Rodriguez for the photos!


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Celebrating our Faculty

This week, one of our faculty in Art, Diego Gutierrez, was invited by the Consulate General of Mexico in Fresno to show his stunning artwork. You can view some of Diego’s artwork online at: https://diegomonterrubio.weebly.com/

Congratulations to Diego for this high honor. We are so proud of you! And thank you Manny Mourtzanos for letting me know.  You are always bragging about faculty accomplishments.

Monterrubio at Mex Consulate

BC Social Science professor Matthew Garrett was granted an award by the Utah State Historical Society for his book about Native American children who left their reservations to live with Mormon foster families. Garrett is the winner of the 2017 Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Utah History Book Award for “Making Lamanites”, a book about the Indian Student Placement Program published by the University of Utah Press last year. “Making Lamanites” documents the Church of Latter Day Saints’ Native American foster program that ran for over 50 years and the debate between First Nations leaders who saw the Mormon Church as an empowering force for natives, and Red Power activists who viewed them as colonial invaders.


BC Passings

Beverly Keiper-MaloufKim Nickell shared that our beloved colleague and friend, Bev Keiper, passed away this past week in Los Angeles with her husband, Bob, at her side. As most of you know, Bev had battled and beaten cancer several years ago; however, she continued to battle pneumonia and other illnesses for some time. Bev was a remarkable woman and teacher.  She created a supportive atmosphere for our ACDV students in the writing courses she taught and in the Student Success Lab.  Students always sought her out because she was helpful and encouraging to them in many ways.  And despite the fact that Bev didn’t always feel well, she still came to work with a cheerful spirit. She had an amazing work ethic, and she brought many years of valuable teaching experience and a professionalism that elevated the work in the lab as well as the Learning Center

Renegade Athletics:


October 11 2017 BC vs AVC

The Renegades swept Antelope Valley (25-17, 25-10, 25-13), on Wednesday night.  And on Friday, won 25-24, 25-12, 25-18 over LA Valley.

It was a treat having Mr. and Mrs. Packer there to support Renegade Volleyball.  They  recently celebrated 55 years of marriage and met while attending BC…they are long time supporters of volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball.

Mr and Mrs Packer October 13 2017 Renegade Volleyball

Mr. and Mrs. Packer with Sandi Taylor and Coach Paula Dahl

Men’s Soccer:

The Renegades defeated Victor Valley 1-0, On Monday night, for their first win of the year.  Alazhar Magali scored the only goal of the game, his first of the season.  Israel Rodriguez, making only his second start of the season recorded the shutout for his first career win.

I was at the Memorial Stadium on friday the 13th supporting our soccer program.  And of course saw Stig Jantz there.  He is always there for all sports supporting our students.  I snapped this picture of him with a track student Edward who is an Engineering major.

Women’s soccer:

The Renegades women’s soccer team played to a 1-1 draw against Antelope Valley.

October 10 2017 against AVC.jpg

Grand Jury presentation about Bakersfield College

My favorite thing to do, besides sitting in the galleries watching our students, is to talk about BC.  So, I was delighted when the Grand Jury invited me to present to them about the State of Bakersfield College.  It was so much fun.  And the individuals where full of energy with sharp probing questions.

Grand Jury October 11 2017.jpg

Fun Pictures:

Welcome to Wendy Lawson, Nan’s new assistant.

Wendy Lawson and Jennifer Serratt Oct 10 2017

Andrea Thorson and son Jimmy from Facebook

Andrea Thorson and Son Jimmy from Facebook October 13 2017

Liz Rozell and grandaughter from Facebook

Liz Rozell with grand daughter from FAcebook Oct 13 2017

Matthew Garrett and his daughters

Matt Garrett and his daughters Oct 14 2017

Craig Hayward:

And the answer to the quiz above.  The king in the picture is…….[drumroll]

Craig Hayward October 10 2017


And in closing, here’s Neo being smart, alert, and figuring things out…

October 13 2017 Neo on leash

Sonya Christian walking Neo Oct 8 2017


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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7 thoughts on “Our 60th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama

  1. Michael O’Doherty October 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm Reply

    See you at the BBQ. 😎

  2. Shanell October 14, 2017 at 8:43 pm Reply

    What a week for the Renegades!

  3. Olivia Garcia October 15, 2017 at 8:59 am Reply

    Thanks for the updates. But wow…. Neo has grown up so quickly! Just beautiful.

  4. Gene Bonas October 16, 2017 at 11:30 am Reply

    Thoroughly appreciated the picture of my lovely wife, Robbie Gonzales-Bonas, as 1961 Homecoming Queen and the fact she was selected as one of the 100 stars of BC. She is so proud of her relationship with you, Sonya, and your enthusiasm for BC. She literally shines when we discuss BC and all you have done to make our college one of the best in California.

  5. Robbie Bonas October 16, 2017 at 4:58 pm Reply

    Dearest Sonya–I am speechless and humbled at seeing my photograph and your beautiful message you added. I have been blessed to have my daughter Tarina & to have found my awesome husband Gene who have been my inspirations. I was fortunate to have surrounded myself with precious friends @ BC who continuously encouraged me & I will always be grateful for our friendship & your leadership that gave me courage to do my best.

  6. […] I shared last week that BC was in full force at The Links, Incorporated’s 40 year celebration of providing important educational resources to the community. I wanted to share a few photos from the event. If you missed my piece last week, check it out here! […]

  7. […] While at the District office this week, it was great to see Suzanne Galindo, KCCD’s Executive Assistant to General Counsel, Chris Hine. She shared with me the painting she did of the Renegade Knight and Shield at the Homecoming Paint Night hosted by SGA. I covered this and have a group photo in my blog titled, “Our 60th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama.” […]

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