Unity During Turbulent Times…BC, a beacon in our community

Today, we live with the unfathomable reality and sadness that in the past week, 34 people have died in three separate and unrelated mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton.  Many others were badly wounded, and families and communities are in shock. Again and again, we struggle to understand why, and in the 20 years since tragedy struck at Columbine High School we have adapted to the grim reality of mass shootings – at schools, shopping malls, clubs, concerts, festivals, churches, mosques, and synagogues

What we can also do – what we must do – is deepen our culture of inclusion and tolerance for our students and our community. Education opens us up to differing worldviews and provides the space needed for us to coexist and thrive. This is what we do at BC ….by living and teaching our core values.

  • We insist that diversity be valued and promoted, recognizing that multiple perspectives lead to a better education and knowledge of the world. 
  • We foster curiosity, inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity within a safe and rigorous academic environment.
  • We continue to develop and follow an ethical and moral consciousness which places the collective wellbeing and health above the self.
  • We believe health and wellness to be integral and foundational elements, and we understand that a holistic education improves all aspects of the individual and the society including the mind, body, and spirit.
  • We commit to the wellbeing of all members of our community; we maintain strong ties with the surrounding community, and we respond to their needs by serving as an open institution which engages all students, faculty, and staff

BC Holds Candlelight Vigil to Honor Victims of Mass Shootings

BC Student Government Association

The BC Student Government Association (BCSGA) held a candlelight vigil on Tuesday in front of the Grace Van Dyke Library to honor those who were killed and injured in these recent mass shooting tragedies. SGA President Samantha Pulido spoke about the importance of honoring the lives lost, the families affected during these tragic events, as well as ensuring that the BC campus continues to be safe, strong, and inclusive.  BC student Jesus Arias read the names of the latest victims of this senseless gun violence.

BCSGA President Samantha Pulido and President Sonya Christian

El Paso — 22

  • Jordan Anchondo, 25
  • Andre Anchondo, 24
  • Arturo Benavides, 60
  • Jorge Calvillo García, 61
  • Leo Campos, 41
  • Maribel Hernandez, 56
  • Adolfo Cerros Hernández, 68
  • Sara Esther Regalado, 66
  • Angelina Englisbee, 86
  • Raul Flores, 83
  • Maria Flores, 77
  • Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66
  • David Johnson, 63
  • Luis Juarez, 90
  • Maria Eugenia Legarreta, 58
  •  Ivan Filiberto Manzano, 45
  •  Gloria Irma Márquez, 61
  •  Elsa Mendoza, 57
  •  Margie Reckard, 63
  •  Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15
  •  Teresa Sanchez, 82
  •  Juan de Dios Velázquez, 77

Dayton — 9

  • Megan K. Betts, 22
  • Monica E. Brickhouse, 39
  • Nicholas P. Cumer, 25
  • Derrick R. Fudge, 57
  • Thomas J. McNichols, 25
  • Lois L. Oglesby, 27
  • Saeed Saleh, 38
  • Logan M. Turner, 30
  • Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, 36

Gilroy — 3

  • Trevor Irby, 25
  • Stephen Romero, 6
  • Keyla Salazar, 13

The Washington Post profiled some of these victims and what their lives meant in the articles “The lives lost in El Paso” and “The lives lost in Dayton.”

Mike Giacomni, VP; Norma Rojas Mora, Director; Sonya Christian, President listening to BC SGA President Samantha Pulido

At the vigil, Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damnia spoke on these tragic events, reminding attendees of BC’s safety motto, “If you see something, say something, so we can do something about it”. Thank you to everyone for your continued support and unity. WE ARE BC!

Dr. Nicky Damania speaking about safety and inclusion on campus.

More photos from the vigil can be viewed on BC’s Facebook page

The Passing of Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison, one of the great American novelists of the 20th Century and the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature, passed away at the age of 88 in the Bronx this past week.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Toni Morrison

Morrison’s luminous prose channeled the consciousness and identity of the African-American community in novels such as Beloved, The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon.  She was one of the rare authors whose works were both critical and commercial successes. Morrison was a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, and she received numerous honors for her work, including the Pulitizer Prize, the American Book Award, The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecture, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Check out this brief video by the New York Times remembering Tony Morrison.

Her literary influence will continue for generations to come. 

BC in The Bakersfield Californian

Community Voices by Bill Moseley

Susan Scaffidi unveils the new Men’s Choir at BC

Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg tours the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

Earlier this week Paul Beckworth, Nicky Damania and Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg toured the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center along with AECOM/Parson project Manager Jared Cascadden.  The building is scheduled for completion in December, with a ribbon cutting/unveiling ceremony to be held on December 10.  The project is moving along beautifully, as you can see from these photos. We cannot wait to share the newly finished building with everyone this winter! 

BC Attends Hobson’s Summer Institute 2019 

Nine BC staff members Jeff Laforce, Victor Diaz, Mark Osea, Michelle Pena, Grace Commiso, Dan Hall, Leo Ocampo, Tony Cordova, Amber Hroch , Jennifer Achan and Lida Castillo attended this year’s Hobson’s Summer Institute (aka the Starfish conference).  This year it was held in San Marcos Island, Florida, where attendees were provided training and updates on the system.  BC’s Dan Hall, Grace Commiso, Michelle Pena and Becky Weaver presented on “Plan, Nudge, and Schedule: Creating the Ultimate Integrated Approach to Student Success.”  Great work, team! I’m proud of how BC is represented at these events.

Sneak Peak! Highlighting Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. 

Earlier this week Tamara Baker worked alongside student intern Thanh Cao to create a video highlighting the work of local architect Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. (OMA).  I’d like to thank Jeannie Bertolaccini and Danny Ordiz for taking the time to speak with us about their work, and for continuing to support Bakersfield College.  I can’t wait to share the video once it’s completed!  

Danny Ordiz and Jeannie Bertolaccini filming the “Keeping It Local” video.

Delano Campus’s Finish-in-4 Sessions

The Kern Promise Finish-In-4 program hosted 3 informational sessions at the Delano Campus, with participating students pledging to participate in the program. Finish-In-4 Advisor Leo Ocampo hosted the final workshop Tuesday, August 6. Students in the program are guaranteed admission to CSUB in a similar major, and will complete an additional 60 semester units to earn a bachelor’s degree!

Seeing Bridge’s Impact on Incoming Students

The bar graph captures the positive impact that Bridge has on our incoming students, showing how many more Bridge students attempted and passed 12 units, 15 units, and transfer level math and English. These momentum points encourage educational success for our students and Bridge is helping them achieve this. Thank you Kimberley Bligh and all of the faculty and staff participants in Bridge for this amazing work and making such a difference in student success.

Chevron Visits BC

It was great having the Chevron Corporation Public Affairs Team from the San Joaquin Business Unit tour BC this week!  We enjoyed having the opportunity to update them on all of the programs that have taken place over the summer in partnership with Chevron, and to provide them with a tour of the Measure J construction on campus and our plans to expand BC’s STEM related programs.

BC’s Umoja Students Attend State-Wide Leadership Conference

Students in BC’s Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program attended a Student Leadership Summit. UC Merced hosted Umoja students from around the state, engaging in discussions and activities around discovering their  leadership styles, learning about African and African-American leaders, and overcoming obstacles to effective leadership. Thank you Dr. Paula Parks for sharing this great summit with us!

Ready-Set Back 2 School!

It is August again, signaling the beginning of a brand new school year! The Kern County Department of Child Support Services hosted the 10th Annual Ready-Set Back 2 School Health & Wellness Fair at the Kern County Fairgrounds and free for vendors and community members. Bakersfield College’s Rural Initiatives participated in full force

The Adult Education team was there to meet with parents that had an interest in learning about what Bakersfield College offers. Some of the parents were BC Alumni, some already enrolled in classes at BC, still others interested in restarting their college education after a long hiatus.

Fun Photos at the New Home of BCSW

Gregg Byrd of S.C. Anderson, Inc. sent over some photos of the work in progress at the new BCSW campus: site preparation for the modulars being used during construction, waterlines and power brought in. Thanks for keeping us looped in, Gregg!

Photo taken Aug 9 2019

IT Tours the VRC

Todd Coston and Kristin Rabe from our IT team toured the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Center this week to make sure that all IT requirements are being met.  Thanks Tamara Baker for organizing this tour!

Assembly Resolution

This week, BC received a beautiful framed CA Legislature Assembly Resolution recognizing BC as the John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award recipient for 2019. For more information on this award, see my blog on July 20th titled “Recognition and Gratitude – One Proud Renegade Prez.” Special thanks to Assembly Member Vince Fong and Senator Shannon Grove for this recognition.

Veterans Resource Center Construction

Aricia Leighton snapped these great photos on Wednesday of some cranes working at the VRC construction site.  It’s so cool seeing the progress of this building. Thanks for sharing Aricia! 

Measure J Contractor Lunch

Measure J Program Managers AECOM & Parsons treated Measure J construction workers to a lunch from Jake’s Tex Mex as a thank you for their hard work (and a break from the Bakersfield heat). Thank you to our workers from contractors S.C. Anderson, Inc., JTS Construction, and Ohno Construction Co. for all that you do!

Athletics Finish 5th in WSC Supremacy Award

The Western State Conference (WSC) announced annual rankings of the conference ‘Supremacy Award’ this last week with Renegade Athletics coming in at #5. With this year’s finish, the Renegades have now moved up the ranking each of the last three years. In 2017-18 they came in at #6, in 2016-17 at #10 and in 2015-16 at #11. Congrats Renegades and keep up the great work!

Congrats to Shahadah Camp from Men’s Basketball

Renegade men’s basketball standout, Shahadah Camp has signed to continue his academic and athletic career at Park University located in Parkville, MO. Shahadah was fun to watch on the court this season and even had a last second game-winning shot early in the season to get a victory for the Renegades. We are sure you will make us proud!

Four Wrestlers Named Academic All-American

We love seeing both the athletic and academic accomplishments of our student athletes. This last week it was announced that four of our Renegade wrestlers were named Academic All-Americans for their work in the classroom. The four include: Josiah Quiroz (East HS) – GPA 3.00, Kevin Mello (North HS) – GPA 3.22, Emmett Kuntz (Highland HS) – GPA 3.25 and Marcus Hutcherson (West HS) – GPA 3.33. Go Gades!

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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2 thoughts on “Unity During Turbulent Times…BC, a beacon in our community

  1. Denise Norris August 11, 2019 at 2:52 am Reply

    Beautiful piece!

    Thank you👍🏽💕👍🏽

    Denise L. Norris, MS
    Communication Department
    Bakersfield College

    “All great achievements require time.” Maya Angelou


    • SonyaChristian August 11, 2019 at 7:11 am Reply

      Thank you for taking time to post Denise. I love the quote in your signature line…All great achievements require time. Maya Angelou.

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