Holiday Gift List: A College Education

Sonya and Cheer Squad

Photo by April Massirio

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 23 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade!

It’s the peak of December and the season’s hustle and bustle is leaving us more festive-minded. We clutch our peppermint lattes a little tighter (and for me always a soy latte) and we let Judy Garland remind us a few more times that we should have a merry little Christmas. And gifts are everywhere! Knickknacks, treats, toys; one right after another. There are a few gifts that we hold a little closer: the gift of family, the gift of friendship, the gift of peace…

Students in the welcome center

Student Employee April Whitfield assists
student Zadden Pimentel register for Spring 2018 classes.

Our recently restructured Administration Building lobby is now the Bakersfield College Welcome Center and it’s the perfect place to unwrap BC’s gift to our community: the gift of education.

The Welcome Center is a one-stop location for all new and current students. Want to enroll at BC? There’s a team of student ambassadors who have got you covered. Need to clear a hold? They’ll help you out. Having trouble using the online student portal to register for classes? They can guide you through.

Education is a gift that you can help give someone else or that you can give yourself. This holiday season, consider the gift of education. It is truly one of the great equalizers. Our students know that education opens the doors of all opportunity. BC’s faculty, staff, and administration are here to help you open those doors!

Monday Morning

Speaking of opening those doors… what a treat it was to walk in on Monday morning to see two hard working individuals who have a great heart for BC and our students.

Mary Jo Pasek and Ramon Puga

Mary Jo Pasek and Ramon Puga

Superheroes in IT

In today’s educational landscape, it’s important for our campus to be as technologically robust as possible to accommodate our 30,000 students and over 1,000 faculty and staff members with assignments, grading, vocational training, distance education and more.

Todd Coston

Todd Coston, IT Director

Our IT Department, led by Todd Coston,  works year-round to keep up with all of BC’s technological needs. Currently, we have seven system support specialists that maintain over 3,000 computers at the various BC campuses, as well as all non-computer devices such as printers, phones or cameras. The IT Department is also in charge of managing complex instructional software systems for our 3D printers, nursing simulation mannequins, automotive equipment, AutoCAD, industrial automation equipment and more.

This year alone, IT replaced several hundred computers in offices and labs across all campus sites. Our IT team is an incredible group of people and two of the staff at BC, relocated from our sister colleges at Porterville and Cerro Coso, and they commute over 2 hours to and from work every day. One comes from Palmdale and one from Fresno. Another tech has been at BC for over 25 years! What an incredible love for BC, our students, and our community. We’re lucky to have them.

For 2018, the IT department is planning on replacing more of the older computers on campus and figuring out their big projects for the summer, including adding over 250 additional wireless access points across the Panorama campus so that all of our internal buildings have full wi-fi coverage.

Home for the Holidays

Jen Garrett and Carl Topilow Dec 16 2017

Jennifer Garrett, Carl Topilow

The magic of Christmas came alive with the third annual performance by The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra on December 16 at the Fox Theatre. I excitedly shared that the performance would also feature the Bakersfield College Choir with Dr. Jennifer Garrett and it was a complete hit. Featured in the show was Ron Keans’ “The Rose That Bare Jesu,” a beautiful work based on a 14th-century carol, commissioned by the Jean Sebastian Vallee who is the conductor of the Mountainside Master Chorale. The Mountainside Master Chorale is located in Claremont, CA and you can learn more about them on their website.

Dr. Garrett tells me she wanted to perform the piece during the Home for the Holidays concert, but it was only written for piano. Jack Bertrand, one of our Chamber Singers who is also the choral director at North High School, did and incredible job with the orchestration. Jen tells me she feels so fortunate to have been able to conduct the piece in concert, and she considers it a huge honor. It was lovely that Ron would come to rehearsal as well and share about the piece.

Jennifer Garrett.jpg

Susan Scaffidi wrote a lovely teaser article for this event on Check it out here.

I was sitting next to Michael Turnipseed and his wife Nancy.  I unfortunately missed the opportunity to get a picture of them, but here are a few photos from that evening.

Lisa Kent with her mom, Emma Robles, and her son Gabriel Adame.

With Heidi Allison and Janet Tarjan, and with Mike Stepanivich.



Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra Home for the Holidays

Photo from Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra on Facebook

I captured a few videos for my blog

Allelujiah and When the Saints go Marching in

Its Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We need a little Christmas

Sleigh Ride

Last year for the BSO-BC Home for the Holidays concert I captured this piece with Ken Burdick and Monty Byrom performing the David Bowie-Bing Crosby rendition of Drummer Boy — check it out.


Cal-SOAP Winter Staff Development

CalSOAP Staff

The California Student Opportunities and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) is designed to increase the number of students attending college.  The program serves students who are from low-income families, will be the first in their family to attend college, or are from areas or schools with low-eligibility or college-going rates.

Team Building Activity

Cal-SOAP was established by the state legislature in 1978 and today operates projects in 14 locations throughout the state.  The Southern San Joaquin Valley Cal-SOAP Consortium officially became a part of Bakersfield College on March 2017.  Cal-SOAP hires professional experts to serve as College Peer Advisors for 21 high schools within the Southern San Joaquin Valley.  Cal-SOAP held their Winter Staff Development Series from December 18-20, 2017.

Group Break Out Session

The staff development series included team-building activities around trust, communication, and leadership; CCC Apply, along with Bakersfield College’s matriculation steps, onsite assessment, and the BC enrollment registration process.  The spring semester focus for Cal-SOAP at high schools will be on BC matriculation, onsite registration, recruitment for the Kern Promise, and financial aid applications, which were among the training topics covered.

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CARE & CalWORKs Holiday Celebration

Holiday Celebration15The EOPS department celebrated Christmas early on December 15th to ensure that their students who are also parents were provided the opportunity to enjoy a day of love, laughter, and family.  The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program promotes student success by offering specialized services to single parents receiving public assistance (CalWORKs/TANF/Tribal TANF).  The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is a parent program that provides education, employment training, support services, and work study opportunities to increase wage earning power, leading to self-sufficiency.  Many of the students on the program do not have the available resources necessary to celebrate the holiday season.  The holiday celebration is one of many ways that the CARE and CalWORKs programs show their support and appreciation for the students’ hard work and dedication throughout the year.

Holiday Celebration19The “Adopt a Family” program is a holiday treat for these parents and their children.  Families were adopted by BC faculty, staff, and community members, ensuring that every child is granted a special holiday gift from their wish list.  The program raises funds throughout the year to support the Holiday Celebration held at the Rollerama with food and gifts for all the students and their children.

Bakersfield College has continued to grow the EOPS program in the last few years. There were 1,430 EOPS participants at Bakersfield College last year, which was an increase of 43% from the previous academic year. The percentage of the student population participating in EOPS was 4.5% in 2016-2017, which was higher than the Statewide average of 3.8 percent.



Here is a photo I snapped with Tom Burke, Chancellor KCCD, and Jill Board, President of Cerro Coso at our recent meeting.

Sonya Christian, Tom Burke, Jill Board Dec 19 2017

Here is Tom Burke with Debbie Martin, Vice Chancellor of Finance; Tonya Davis, Vice Chancelor of Human Resources, and Gary Moser, Vice Chancellor of Information Technology.

Debbie Martin, Tom Burke, Tonya Davis, Gary Moser Dec 19 2017.jpg

Debbie Martin, Tom Burke, Tonya Davis, Gary Moser

Success and Equity TV

A great 13-minute show of Jack Hernandez and Nicolas David Meise with the fabulous Francis Mayer on BC’s Success and Equity TV.  The two authors discuss their pieces “Bridges” and “Nobody till Somebody Loves You”.

Speaking of Nobody till Somebody loves you, let’s hear the namesake Dean Martin song.

Dual Enrollment Holiday Party

The Dual Enrollment Program helps high school students to get a jump start on college by earning college and high school credit at the same time. Students can take Dual Enrollment courses in a variety of disciplines and fields including general education and career pathway courses that align with local industry needs. In addition to saving time and money, dual enrollment courses help prepare students for the rigors of college level studies.

It was great to see this hardworking and dedicated team get festive and enjoy some fun together. Here are some photos from Anna Laven‘s Facebook.

CTE Holiday Group Shot

CTE Holiday Group Photo

I snapped this picture of Andrea Thorson and her three sons yesterday, Dec 22, 2017 when they were on campus

Andrea Thorson with her three sons Dec 19 2017.jpg

Happy Holidays

2017 Christmas Tree in the Lobby

 Happy Holidays from the staff, faculty, and administration at BC!

The philosopher Neo

December 10 Neo 1.jpg

December 10 2017 Neo 2.jpg

December 10 2017 Neo 3.jpg


Neo and Sonya Christian Dec 18 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

— the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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6 thoughts on “Holiday Gift List: A College Education

  1. Jennifer Garrett December 23, 2017 at 11:01 am Reply

    Thank you for attending the “Home for the Holidays” concert! It is such an honor to have you attend the concerts and we appreciate all of the pictures and videos! Merry Christmas!

    • SonyaChristian December 26, 2017 at 9:05 am Reply

      Merry Christmas Jenn!

  2. Michael O’Doherty December 23, 2017 at 4:52 pm Reply

    Merry Christmas Sonya

    • SonyaChristian December 26, 2017 at 9:05 am Reply

      Merry Christmas Michael!

  3. Mary Jo Anhalt December 23, 2017 at 9:26 pm Reply

    Thank you. Sonya! Merry Christmas !!

    • SonyaChristian December 26, 2017 at 9:05 am Reply

      Good to hear from you Mary Jo!

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