We need each other…..Proud to be an American

Washington Monument July 7 2018Good morning Bakersfield
from our nation’s capital. 

Here is the view from my window of the phenomenal Washington Monument.  The weather in DC was perfect and my traditional walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial started at 8:30 p.m. as dusk fell over this historic area with the cicadas buzzing close to the trees that line both sides of the impressive expansive walkway with the water feature right in the middle.  And then as it got darker, there were hundreds of fireflies  twinkling in the air that created the perfect magical evening.

This fourth of July week has been a week of reflection triggered by the sermon of the visiting priest at St. Phillips at the 7:00 a.m. service.  His main message was that we need each other.  This then pulled me into the talk that I attended at UMC on Holy Trinity Sunday where the speaker emphasize the importance of living in community.  The individual he said becomes a person when they are connected to other individuals creating a community.  On July 5th, I attended the wake of a man who was clearly beloved by his community.  The testimony, one person after the other, was about this individual showing up with his wife and the two of them being there for others during their darkest hour.  He was there as a constant for all of his community and not just some.  And then Pope Francis stated:  Let us ask our Lord to help us understand that love is service, love means taking care of others.  All these messages, whether religious, spiritual, or secular extol the virtue of love and respect for all human beings.  And on July 4, 1776 there was a declaration with this sentence:

….. all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Washington Monument to Lincoln Memorial

Every fourth of July is an opportunity for all of us, to live a life of supporting each and every individual in our community, who, as the declaration clearly states has unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  Let us continue to nurture the human dignity of every individual in this amazing country.

Proud to be an American.  Happy Fourth!

Bakersfield celebrated a festive day mid-week with numerous events in our community.  I checked out the scene at the River Walk that was bustling with energy, music and food.

Did you know that this Fourth of July, Intel had planned its first-ever drone light show in honor of Independence Day at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. The event ended up being cancelled due to windy weather conditions, but Intel released breathtaking video of the rehearsals for the light show, which were published on the YouTube channel for the San Jose Mercury News.

Intel performed its first synchronized drone show at the Opening Ceremony for this year’s Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea, and the proposed drone show for Independence Day was designed to provide a safe celebration for armed services members in wildfire-prone Northern California, as well as for individuals who are part of the base’s Exceptional Family Member Program, which offers support for active personnel who require dependents to provide special physical or psychological care, according to an article by Wired. BC has a great Robotics program and drone technology is part of the curriculum.  

I grabbed this fun photo from Facebook of Sociology Professor, Eleonora Hicks celebrating July 4th  at the Lincoln Memorial. You can see the WAshington Monument behind them.


Thank you Assemblymember, Rudy Salas

Rudy Salas with group

img_7643-lLast week Bakersfield College was awarded $1 million allocated from the 2018-2019 state budget to fund our Rural Initiative programs in rural Kern, thanks to the hard work and tenacity of Assemblyman Rudy Salas.  We held a Public Statement here at the Bakersfield College campus on Tuesday where students, staff and community leaders could come together to celebrate this amazing support.

I am beyond proud that our college has been recognized as a regional and statewide leader with the strategic goal of expanding access to workforce development programs.


The North Kern area, which includes the cities of Delano, McFarland, Shafter and Wasco, has seen a student headcount growth of 79%.  This funding will support and help to expand the following programs:

  • Launch of the first HVAC Certificate and Associate of Science Degree programs in Fall 2018 targeting North Kern, which includes the cities of Delano, Shafter, Wasco & McFarland
  • Establishment of a new chemistry course designed to satisfy the local general education science requirement for CTE degrees.
  • Expansion of the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation to the Delano campus, for the North Kern community.
  • Expansion of the mobile welding program, to provide a broader welding program to Arvin/Lamont and other rural areas.
  • Expansion of the Rural Initiatives Distance Education (RIDE) project.

As you all know, supporting student success is at the core of Bakersfield College’s mission and this funding will help influence not only current students, but also those of generations to come.  This truly is an amazing time to be a Renegade!

Special thank you to Assemblymember Rudy Salas, Senator Jean Fuller, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, and KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke.


Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian, Tom Burke, Romeo Agbalog


Manny Fernandez, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, Tom Burke, Freddie, Rudy Salas, Abel Guzman

Standing: Prof. Manny Fernandez, Sonya Christian, Trustee Romeo Agbalog.  Sitting: Chancellor Tom Burke, Student Freddie Maldonado, Assembly Member Rudy Salas, Abel Guzman

See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

And special thanks to Joseph Luiz of the Bakersfield Californian for covering this event. See his article at Bakersfield.com.

Joseph Luiz

Joseph Luiz, Bakersfield Californian


Engineering and Industrial Technology Professor Roy Allard created an amazing video showcasing the 2018 Project Lead the Way Automation Camp. This specific camp was all about building robots and using drones. Dean Michele Bresso said, “When you see the excitement on the faces of these young students, you know that Professors Allard and Fernandez, Yadira Guerrero, Jose Sepulveda and other wonderful folks in our Industrial Tech department have done an incredible job to inspire young people with all the possibilities of technology, now and in the future. I’m so proud of their work!”

I am so proud of the dedicated work of our faculty and staff. My friends, can’t you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Youth Renegade Wrestling Camp

Wrestling Camp in actionThe BC wrestling team held the Renegade youth wrestling camp on June 29th and 30th.  Over forty youth wrestlers from Kern County attended the camp.  The BC coaches and guest clinician, Quincy Osborn (assistant wrestling coach at Concordia University and a Division III National Champion at Augsburg College) taught proper wrestling techniques to the enthusiastic group of youngsters.  BC Head Coach Brett Clark said that there were some future Renegades at the camp.

Wrestling Camp Group Photo

Alix Solis Signs at the University of Saint Mary


Alexis Solis

Alexis Solis, a sophomore outfielder with the Bakersfield College softball team, has signed to continue her softball career and education at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, KS.

Solis played in 81 games in her career at BC. She batted .366 with 15 home runs, 73 RBI and scored 69 runs.

Congratulations to Alexis and all our Renegade Athletes!


Sikh Peace Parade

Sikh parade3

Nan at the parade

I was cleaning out the junk folder in my email last weekend when I noticed some lovely pictures that Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg had sent me from the Sikh Peace Parade in downtown Bakersfield.  The annual parade celebrated Bakersfield’s Sikh community with food at Mill Creek Park and beautiful floats marching down 18th Street.

The week before, the Sikh community also celebrated the annual Sikh Nagar Kirtan parade in Southwest Bakersfield, which brought together Sikhs to sing hymns and pass out refreshments in honor of the Guru Granth Sahib, the religious scripture of Sikhism. Both celebrations correspond with the festival of Vaisakhi, which celebrates Guru Gobind Singh’s creation of the Khalsa Panth, a community of initiated Sikh warriors, in 1699.

Finding these pictures of Nan with Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife Lilly was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend, and I’m so grateful that our campus leadership is so engaged with our community.

Special Notes from Friends of BC

Fred Misono, proud Renegade Alumni and past president of the Bakersfield West Rotary sent me a kind email after attending the Air Force Band’s performance at BC on June 26th. If you missed my blog last weekend, where I covered this evening, check it out here. 

But back to Fred’s email! He said:

Thanks so much for your part in hosting the Air Force Band concert on Tuesday evening.  It was my wife and my first time to attend a program in your new venue and we were quite impressed and proud as BC Alumni.  Tried to get your attention, but you were busy tending to your special guests while managing crowd control over a standing room only audience.  Also, thanks for providing an up lifting evening of patriotism to our community, which our 9 year grandson totally enjoyed.  Only disappointed that you weren’t donning your very special West Rotary Taft College speaker’s t shirt!

See my blog entry from June 2016, when Fred presented me with the Taft College shirt here.

Summer Drawing I

Professor Diego Monterrubio recently shared with me that his midterms for Summer Drawing I were a huge success. I love every time he shares his students art with us. Let’s take a moment to enjoy these talented Renegades and their creations!

Fun Summer Photos

Fernando Lara, BC SouthWest Program Manager shared some photos from the summer activities taking place at BC SouthWest.

BC’s SALT, Student Affairs Leadership Team held their summer retreat at BC SouthWest in June.

Last month, Public Safety Officer Carlos Rios in action during BC SouthWest fire drill. Fernando shared that faculty members, Fabiola Butcher and Scott Dirkse did an excellent job of clearing the building in less than four minutes. Go BC Public Safety!

Jennifer Garrett and a few Chamber Singers were on the morning show!


Check back later I will have more photos and videos from the Bon Voyage concert.


Sonya Christian 3 at Finish in 4 May 7 2018That’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 “We need each other…..Proud to be an American

  1. Michael O’Doherty July 8, 2018 at 3:53 pm Reply

    It continues to amaze me what is getting done under your watch. Great job Sonya!

    • SonyaChristian July 8, 2018 at 8:19 pm Reply

      Hello from Washington DC Michael. Always love seeing your post.

  2. […] about the 2018 press event in last year’s post and read about the HVAC Tech Program unveiling in Delano […]

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