Celebrating MLK & Spring Kickoff

Good morning Bakersfield…it is Saturday, January 20, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

Steve Watkin leading the MLK event Jan 15 2018The week started on Martin Luther King day with the campus closed and Bakersfield coming together at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on South Owens for a morning of honoring Reverend King.  The emcee for the event was our very own Steve Watkin or Pastor Steve Watkin as he was introduced.  Steve did a great job keeping the program moving along.  Watching Steve in this leadership role in our community made all of us at BC very proud.  And there were many of us there that Monday morning….two tables full of faculty, staff and students.  #WeAreBC

Martin Luther King Jr.

Nationwide, we remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, which is why the Spring 2018 semester started on a Tuesday. Dr. King’s civil rights activism laid the groundwork for realizing the voting rights of millions of people, opened the way to the promise of American democracy. In this work he saw education as the key to helping people understand shared struggles, and developing empathy for struggles that are not shared.

BC Gang MLK event Jan 15 2018

In his essay “The Purpose of Education,” Dr. King wrote,

The function of education… is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.

As we look back on Dr. King this week, we should reflect on the responsibility we have as educators to ensure that we’re not leaving any of our students behind in providing a quality education for all, regardless of ethnic background, socioeconomic status or political affiliation. We can’t grow complacent and say that the work we’ve done so far is good enough—we must push forward and continue to find where we’re falling short of advancing BC’s educational mission of BC to everyone with the drive to be successful and achieve their dreams.

Mayor Karen Goh with Sonya Christian and BC gang MLK event

Debra Strong, Paula Parks, Mayor Karen Goh, Gilbert Ayuk, Sonya Christian, Julian West, June Charles, Kim Evanson

I was honored to attend the annual MLK Community Awards Breakfast which recognizes prominent African American leaders for their achievements. I was so glad to see this picture by Felix Amado of The Bakersfield Californian on the front of Tuesdays paper.

TBC with Steve Watkin

It was so much fun catching us with friends and colleagues in the community.  Here I am with Assembly Member Rudy Salas and the two vice presidents, Zav Dadabhoy and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

I was sitting next to June Charles and the event and we had a great time enjoying the emceeing of Steven Watkin and the many honorees.  I was delighted to run into my daughter’s high school friend Roopa Raman.

Here are the Umoja students Kim Evanson and Jordan Taylor with their faculty Paula Parks and Jonathan Ward.  When Jordan told me he was transferring to CSUB, I walked him over to meet President Horace Mitchell.

At this year’s breakfast, those being honored included Horace Mitchell, retiring president of Cal State Bakersfield; Essie Davis, retired high school vice principal; Odella Johnson,  retired Bakersfield College administrator; Lisa Green, the departing Kern County District Attorney; Ramon Hendrix, superintendent of the Greenfield Union School District; Harry “Doc” Ervin, the superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District; Darryl Johnson, director of human resources at Panama-Buena Vista Union School District; Karyn Bostick, dance director at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center; and Bakari Sanyu, who has spent 20 years as a volunteer tutor at the MLK Community Center.

Sonya Christian, Odella Johnson, Valerie Robinson

In his remarks, Dr. Horace Mitchell quoted Dr. King… “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Keynote speaker, Chief Lyle Martin shared that we need to be “constructively kind” and that tough love with high expectations is the way to success. This made me think of our completion coaching communities and their coaches at Bakersfield College who work tirelessly to inspire and keep our students on the path to graduation and beyond.

BC was well represented at the event and I loved seeing our UMOJA students there with Dr. Paula Parks.

Umoja Students

Back row- Professor Jonathan Ward,  Mr. Julian West, and Professor Gilbert Ayuk Front row – Dr. Paula Parks, Dr. Sonya Christian, and Umoja students Kim Evans and Jordan Thomas

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Welcome to Spring Semester 2018!

The BC campus came back to life this week, as students returned to school on Tuesday to start classes for the Spring 2018 semester.

s18welcomeweek02-l

Debi Anderson from Outreach hosting a Welcome Tent

The Welcome Center and Counseling area were busy with students trying to register into classes at the last minute, and students were lined up in the bookstore to get their materials for the semester.

The Office of Student Life gave away hot cocoa and cookies in front of the Campus Center, and staff held court outside of the Administration building, helping new students find their classes in the fog. The start of the semester is always a busy time, but we all look forward to helping our students leap forward into their educational future.

Mentalist Richard Aimes gave a presentation to students on Wednesday in the cafeteria, and the Office of Student Life aired a movie on Thursday in the Fireside Room. Next week, the festivities only get bigger with our Spring Involvement festival, jousting in the center of campus, our Tunes and Tie Dye event and a comedy show by Steve Hofstettler, so come on out and help us in our goal of “Conquering the Road Ahead”, the motto for our Spring 2018 Welcome Week. Photos from this week are available at BC’s Smugmug.

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Students at the Welcome Center

Dolores O’Riordan

Irish singer Dolores O’Riordan of ’90s group The Cranberries passed away in London on Monday at the age of 46.

The Cranberries–known primarily for the song “Zombie”, which was about a Irish Republican Army terrorist bombing during The Troubles conflict in 1993–reached the Billboard Top 20 with four of their albums before disbanding in 2003, according to an article by The New York Times Christine Hauser. O’Riordan’s publicist did not specify the cause of death, but it’s not currently being treated as suspicious.

Writing about O’Riordan, Hauser said that “her unmistakable Irish accent and the Celtic inflection of her melodies gave her singing a plaintive individuality and a flinty core.”

I love the song Zombie …. here they are performing on the David Letterman show.

Sweet Treat Delivery

The President’s Office had a surprise visit on Wednesday from Chef Alex Gomez and his Advanced Food Practicum B55E students, Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez. Josh prepared chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting topped with popcorn and pretzel. They were delicious. The class that Chef Gomez was teaching is Advanced Food Practicum B55E

Chef Alex Gomez and Students

Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez with Chef Alex Gomez

I brought a piece back from my mom who loved it and wanted more.  When i told her that this was part of the culinary program and not a regular item in our cafeteria, mom responded..well aren’t you president…. 🙂

GET Bus Report to the Community

Golden Empire Transit (GET), Bakersfield’s bus system, highlighted BC student Ian Kennedy in its 2017 Report to the Community newsletter. Ian, who is legally blind, rides the GET bus to BC every day to pursue a degree in music. His service dog Dominic helps him navigate his bus routes and get around the campus. Ian has aspirations of being a vocal coach after earning his associate’s degree. “Being able to travel independently is important and GET makes that possible”, Kennedy said. “GET brings me closer to my goals.”

S18_GETIanKennedy01

Thank you to our friends at the GET Bus for highlighting Ian and providing transportation for all of our 31,000 students. Without GET, many of our students would be unable to make it to class every day

eLumen Training

On top of all the activity going on during Welcome Week, Bill Moseley and the Academic Technology Department held several workshops training faculty on eLumen, the new Curricular and Assessment software we’re rolling out for Spring 2018.

We also invited over 100 adjunct faculty — from first-semester adjuncts to a 24-year veteran instructor — to eat together and learn about all of the exciting new developments on the campus.

Renegade Basketball

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Renegade Basketball

On Wednesday night, the Renegades women’s basketball team opened conference play by beating Los Angeles Pierce College by 40 points at home. The Renegades forced 35 turnovers using a 1-3-1 half-court trap defense, and Octavia Croney scored 21 points in 23 minutes on the field to lead the Renegades to a much needed win after starting 7-11 for the season, according to an article by the Bakersfield Californian’s Jon Mettus.

The Renegades open their competition in the Western State-South Conference of the CCCAA tied with West LA College, and they enter into tonight’s game against College of the Canyons with a two-game winning streak. A full season schedule for the women’s basketball team is available at GoGades.com.

Familiar Faces in Bakersfield

This week, I had the chance to meet with Dr. Jeet Singh and the fabulous Michael Bowers.  Dr. Singh is a remarkable man and co-owner of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. This Bakersfield Californian article from 2016 shares that at the time Dr. Singh had performed the TAVR, an alternative to open heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai, but will now also be offering it in Bakersfield. “It’s a good moment for Kern County” he said, as quoted in the article.

Dr.Singh and Michael Bowers

And Michael Bowers is a fantastic friend and supporter of Bakersfield College. He is a field representative for Andy Vidak and was instrumental with his endless support in helping with the Measure J campaign at BC.

Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board Installation and Awards Luncheon

carla musser

Carla Musser at the Luncheon Photo by April & Co.

Celebrating the past accomplishments and looking forward to new opportunities was the theme of the Chamber’s 2018 Board Installation & Awards Luncheon on Jan. 11, 2018. More than 300 people attended. The event served as the installation of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, including Carla Musser, of Chevron, as the 2018 Chairwoman of the Board. Carla is actively involved in the community and serves on several boards in Bakersfield. She is the Manager of Policy, Government, and Public Affairs for Chevron and is responsible for communications and community engagement function for major global upstream business unit covering exploration and production activities California. Carla and Chevron are great supporters of Bakersfield College and I’m so proud she is the Chamber’s new Chairwoman of the Board for 2018.

Karen Goh, Nick Ortiz, Carla Musser Jan 2018.jpg

April & Co. has provided photos from the event.  They are available here.  One of my favorites features BC’s own Mary Jo Pasek with Michael Chertok and Nancy Pollard.

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard. Photo by April & Co

I was photographed with Carla during our Sterling Silver in 2016 – check the photo on my blog post here.

College Council

On Friday, Abel Guzman, Faculty Chris Cruz-Boone, and counselor Jesse Oropeza presented to College Council on Rural Initiatives. College Council is a collegial, consultative, oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.

Choir and Chamber Singers Rehearsing at BC

I love to see the activities at BC that just never stop, and our talented performing arts students are so inspiring. Here is a post from Dr. Jen Garrett — she says “There’s some seriously good Choral music happening in Bakersfield”  It’s true.  If you haven’t been to a concert recently, keep your eyes on BakersfieldCollege.edu for details on the upcoming shows.

Chamber Singers

Talking about the choir, this week we had our second meeting with Trustee Kyle Carter who is spearheading the fundraising for the dollars that are needed to send our students to Australia to perform at the Sydney Opera House.  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was there and snapped this picture.

Concert fo Choir Trip to Australia March 10 2018

Mark your calendars for March 10, 2018.  Two celebrities in our area have stepped up to help the choir –Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum.

Here is Lydia Ranger singing the national anthem at a Lakers game

Here is Monty Byrom singing with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

We are trying to sell two shows of 251 tickets each.

And here is a great video put together by Mason Edwards and other students wishing Jennifer Garrett happy birthday.  It is awesome!

On Friday I presented on Guided Pathways to the North Orange Community College District.  Here I am with the Chancellor and two presidents or North Orange.  And Amita Suhrid who organized the event.

Greg Schultz, Joanna Schilling, Sonya Christian, Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

President Greg Schultz, President Joanna Schilling, President Sonya Christian, Chancellor Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

I remembered my friend Dr. Ken Meehan, a great researcher from Fullerton College, who passed away several years ago.  Here is a photo with Ken on May 7, 2005.

meehan

 

And Neo turned 10 months old on Jan 17, 2018.  He is 78 pounds

January 1 2018.jpg

Sonya Christian Jan 12 2018 San Jose cropped

 

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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3 thoughts on “Celebrating MLK & Spring Kickoff

  1. Di Hoffman January 20, 2018 at 7:48 am Reply

    Love the quote you shared from Dr.King on education, so true!

    • SonyaChristian January 20, 2018 at 7:05 pm Reply

      Happy to see your comment Di. Happy New Year!

  2. Mary Jo Anhalt January 20, 2018 at 10:17 am Reply

    I was in DC the day that Rev MLK , Jr gave his “I have a dream” speech. It’s good that most Americans now try to understand the true character of others, regardless of their skin colors.

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