We do live in a beautiful world.
The weather in Bakersfield has been perfect. The sound of the birds and the smell of the flowers intoxicating. My morning starts with a Neo walk as dawn is breaking but still relatively dark and the neighborhood quiet. Every morning, a sentinel owl who is perched high up on the cypress that fills our neighborhood calls out … who goes there.
Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 4, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.
Here is Jack Hernandez on Beauty
By Jack Hernandez
From my window
a white cloud
rain has come
the dawn begins
a week of waiting
for another kiss
of passing beauty.
Jack also had a beautiful essay in the April 1, 2020 Californian. Poetry is felt, not analyzed. A poem is not an argument; it is an experience, a revelation. check it out https://tinyurl.com/tzye3ja
Ronnie Wrest and Jeffrey Huston from the Jones Gallery created a virtual exhibition of student art projects. The 2020 Bakersfield College Student Exhibition went live on the web on Thursday afternoon, and features art projects in a variety of mediums. The annual student art exhibition usually takes place at the Jones Gallery inside the Grace Van Dyke Byrd Library, but our art students and staff #LettheTimesGuidetheirCreativity to move this year’s exhibition online.
See the fabulous art at one or all of the following:
- The Jones Gallery
- Jones Gallery @ BC (@thejonesgallery) Instagram
- Bakersfield College Jones Gallery – Facebook
- The Jones Gallery (@TheJonesGallery) Twitter
Talking about the art faculty and their creativity, I spotted this wonderful tweet from their dean bragging about them.
Career Education’s First Virtual Career Expo
The Career Education Department hosted their first ever virtual career expo for the Industrial Technology & Transportation pathway on Wednesday April 1st. This innovative platform successfully connected employers with students giving them virtual facetime through Zoom. Our Employer participants included; Berry Petroleum Company, LLC, Sierra School Equipment, Crown Lift Trucks, US Army, AppleOne, JTI Electrical & Instrumentation, LLC, and Westec. As in the many things we do BC is setting the trend as our regional partners have reached out to see how they can duplicate and adapt the event to their campuses. Check out our video recapping the event.
Thank you Carlos Medina and the staff in CTE for thinking outside the box and finding another modality to bring this important event to our students and the community. #BCGoesOnline
Leslie Aldridge Making the World Beautiful
Professor of Performing, Leslie Aldridge is still finding incredible ways to serve our community even though we currently find ourselves in challenging times. Leslie is Mrs. Bakersfield 2020 pageant queen, led a senior donation drive to bring food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and gift cards to needy seniors, and she hosted Donate Life to increase the number of vital organs and tissues to save lives.
She has also used her creativity to bring joy to our community. Her art work at the “Chalk Your Walk” was breathtaking!
BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Campaign
Now, for some more positive initiatives at BC! Endee Grijalva, the Program Manager of Rural Initiatives, and the BC Office of Student Life staff members came together to assist BC students through the “BC Do Good, Feel Good” campaign. On April 1, 2020 (no April Fools on this one), began a campaign that provides opportunities and encourages BC employees to continue to “do good and feel good” in continuing to serve and provide much-needed resources to students, all while social distancing. We are keeping our spirits up by continuing to support our students in this difficult time and feeling good about it.
Thank you, BC staff and faculty, for your generosity during this time, and thank you, Endee Grijalva and the BC Office of Student Life staff members, for leading this fantastic campaign.
Cesar Chavez Day
Did you know that Tuesday, March 31st, was César Chávez Day in the United States? In California, César Chávez Day is a state holiday that celebrates the birthday of César E. Chávez, paying tribute to his life as a labor leader and champion of civil rights.
Chávez’s life as a community organizer and activist began in 1952 when he joined the Community Service Organization (CSO), a Latino civil rights group. He coordinated voter registration drives and conducted campaigns against racial and ethnic discrimination. He eventually became CSO’s national director, but his dream was to create an organization that protected and served farmworkers. In the early 1960s, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America), along with Dolores Huerta (who spoke at BC just last year) and Philip Vera Cruz. Chávez remained president of the United Farm Workers of American until he passed away on April 23rd, 1993.
Today, his life motto, “sí se puede” (it can be done),” encourages organizers around the nation to come together and advance civil rights and different causes. Additionally, many schools, parks, streets, libraries, and other public buildings named or renamed after César Chávez to commemorate his work and commitment to social justice. In 1994, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. president can grant an American. In 2006, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Here at BC, we hope Chávez’s legacy continues to inspire us to serve others and the greater good.
David Villarino has organized a large community celebration each year but could not do so this year because of COVID-19 stay-at-home executive order from the Governor. Here are links to the three previous years.
Third annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast. April 24, 2019. Corny Rodriguez was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/04/27/spring-is-heating-up-at-bc/
Second annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast in March 2018. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/03/24/a-beautiful-rainy-week-at-bc/
Inaugural Cesar Chavez Breakfast in March 2017. Sandra Serrano was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/01/an-absolutely-uplifting-week-at-bc/
Thank you to everyone who continues to share their experiences sheltering in place using the hashtag #BCGoesOnline on social media. Here are some highlights from this week:
Librarian Mindy Wilmot hosted her first ConferZoom meeting and had a furry friend joining her, as well.
Isabel Castaneda joins a Zoom meeting to move the Summer Bridge to BC program online.
Lesley Bonds’ dog Luna was listening intently to the All-Campus Virtual Forum on Tuesday.
Finally, Kalina Hill from Testing and Placement responds to a message of hope from Manuel Rosas.
This Week at BC: Nursing and Allied Health
Marketing student workers Ramon Carreido and Juan Reyes made one last video before BC transitioned to a virtual environment, which happened to be about the important work of our Nursing and Allied Health Departments. Thank you, Juan and Ramon!
BC in the News: Back to College Program on KGET
Local station KGET covered BC’s five-week Back to College in a video piece last weekend, explaining to the community how our program will assist workers who are displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, KGET
For more information about this program, visit the Back to College website.
Reflections From Inside
Caption from Sara Wallace’s blog: “This is my mobile office. I have office supplies for the students (left) and my clear backpack (right) to bring in supplies (office supplies, graded work, handouts, dry erase markers, etc). It makes it easier for security if I have a clear backpack, and one of the facilities we work in requires it.”
Sara Wallace, an English faculty at Bakersfield College, has published her second blog entry titled “Reflections from Inside: Teaching in the Inmate Scholars Program”. She has been working as a full-time instructor at a total of five different prisons since the Fall. This blog is her reflection about doing this important work. This program is only a few years old, but it has expanded to include ten prisons and a thousand students. It is expected to grow more in the future. This was written before the recent CoronaVirus Outbreak, and some of the lessons and experiences with teaching inside have already changed dramatically.
Lessons Learned so far: I am teaching composition. There are some real differences between teaching on campus and teaching inside, so it has not been a seamless transition, which was not surprising.
Pro-tip: Do not put anything in the supply cabinet. It will be gone when you get back. The inmates do not have access to this cabinet, so it is probably not them. It is probably another educator. We are all office supply thieves at heart. I am a hardened pen thief myself. There is a real run on office supplies inside.
Something that I take for granted like having a pen or paper to do homework with is really valuable. Bring it in with you and take it with you when you leave. That is a pain, but in some facilities the inmates do not have paper, or they have to buy the paper on their own, which is hard when they are using some of their available time to take my class. I am trying to teach writing. Paper and pens are pretty necessary. I just threw bundles of papers into the recycler the other day because the printer messed up a little bit. It really makes you think about the things we take for granted.
In addition to supply issues, there are some differences in the way I run my class. For example, I have had to limit the amount of call and response kinds of questions I ask. The inmates are very excited to participate, so it can get a little loud. It requires a little bit more management partly because of their excitement for us to be there. It makes it harder to manage, but it also makes me feel more enthusiastic as well. I have only been working in this program for a month, so there is still plenty to learn and different techniques to try out.
A few months ago, the program had its first graduation. Since I am new, none of the new graduates were students of mine. I am looking forward to future graduations so that I get the chance to hear about what some of our students do with this opportunity as it will continue to inform my response to the question of why I am doing what I am doing.
Language of Power: One of my students asked me why I was making them write in this way. I have been asked this question on campus as well, though not as frequently. I had a more precise answer for my students on the inside. I am teaching you the language of power. People who have control over your lives write like this and speak like this. If you do not know how to communicate like them then you are at a disadvantage. Another student asked: like how the lawyers talk? Yes, and everyone else you talk with who has power. That seemed to motivate some of the students who were not as motivated before though I have less trouble with a lack of motivation inside than I do on the outside.
Lessons Learned: “It is all your fault” one of my students said as he stuck his head in the door during their break. They are not really supposed to come back into the classroom until the break is over. The private facility is more strict about this than the government facilities. I have a hard time saying no to students when they want or need help, so I end up spending our entire break answering questions most days. After all, they do not have the opportunity to come to my office hours. This time, my student did not have a question, but he did want to tell me something.
Me: “Oh? What is my fault?”
Student: “The conversation is still going on out there!”
Me: “Fantastic! That is so great!”
We had a discussion before break about the reading, and they were so engaged with the topic that they continued the discussion. We did have to move on to working on the research essay, so I am glad I gave them the break first. Sometimes they can get a little loud because everyone wants to say something. Last week one of the Correctional Officers came into the classroom to see what was going on because we were so loud. We do eventually have to get back to the writing, but it is nice to talk with students who have something to say, and lots of questions.
At first I was finding it hard to maintain control over the students with all of their questions and comments. It led to a conversation with the director of education, correctional officers, and with the class itself. The solution offered by employees of the prison was to just press the emergency button and have the guards come in and crack some heads.
Me: Because they were a little too loud and were a bit rude? That seems like an overreaction.
Them: They would not do it again.
True. If I pressed the emergency button, the students would not do it again, but they also would not say anything in class anymore, and it would hinder their learning. I am not an employee of the prison system, and my purpose in being there is not to control them or to punish them or even to rehabilitate them; it is to teach them. I have dealt with boisterous classes before, and I have never felt the need to call in a bruiser to deal with them. So I did what I usually do, I changed their seating arrangement every week. They could not form little groups of people chatting to themselves if they were not by their friends. Educators can find other ways to manage a class. We do not always have to drop the hammer.
The interactions with the students in the prison setting are really rewarding for the instructors and hopefully the students as well. The coronavirus outbreak has put a stop to all face-to-face teaching in the prison system. My next blog post will be about the effect it has had on our teaching. We are trying to make the best out of this situation, but all of us want to eventually go back inside. Having interactions with someone who is communicating with these students about something other than their behavior or the past mistakes they have made is really important and means a lot to them. I was evaluated by the students last semester as part of the normal evaluation process. I have not had a chance to read all my evaluations (which I cannot read until after the grades are submitted for the semester), but during my meeting with my committee, one of my committee members read a comment to me from one of my students. He said: she never looks at me like I am a level four criminal. She said there were a lot of comments like that and if I am ever feeling low, I should go and read through them. As soon as this is over, I will, and I hope we can go back in soon because besides teaching the Inmate Scholars the content of the course, personal interaction is important too.
Archives Throwback: Highlights from 1965-1967
Earl Parsons took a deep dive into the Bakersfield College Archives last weekend to find any information available about Lupe Hernandez, the Bakersfield nursing student rumored to have invented hand sanitizer in 1966. After digging through two Raconteur yearbooks and countless volumes of the Renegade Rip, however, nothing came up. If you have any information about a Bakersfield nursing student from the mid-60s named Lupe Hernandez, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his search, he managed to find all kinds of resources that paint a picture of life for Renegades in the mid-60s. We’ll be focusing on a few of those major highlights over the next coming weeks, but let’s just take a look at some of the best photos from those years, including this picture of donkey basketball in the gym:
Renegade Athletics were alive and well during this time, with diving, water polo and men’s soccer all being played on the Panorama Campus.
In 1966 just like now, construction projects were happening around the Panorama Campus.
In the coming weeks, look forward to a glimpse of Bill Thomas during his time as a Renegade faculty member, Ray Gonzales founding the first Hispanic Cultural Club in BC history, and a closer look at the era of on-campus student housing.
Fun Photos Coffee Cup Collection
Every weekday morning at 7:30 (8 on Fridays) the Marketing team greets one another on Slack. Lori Ortiz also adds a photo of her coffee cup. She has quite the collection. It’s just one of the fun things the MPR team does to stay connected and have some fun in our work from home environment. Here are a few the team shared with me:
Upgrade Your Zoom Appeal With New Athletics Backgrounds!
We all have been using Zoom to its fullest this past few weeks and why not ‘Rep your Renegade pride while meeting with your colleagues and community. Feel free to use the background above or click this link to find more on GoGades.com: Renegade Custom Video Conference Backgrounds
National Athletic Training Month
This last month (March) was National Athletic Training Month and we don’t want to let the opportunity slip by without highlighting our awesome Renegade Athletic Trainers – Mike Medeiros, Tricia Gay and Lexi Pitcher. All three spend countless hours helping our student athletes (and visiting teams’ student athletes) stay in tip-top shape for competition. We are grateful to have such a great team of athletic trainers who keep our student athletes operating at peak physical condition!
Field House Demolition
The Dr. Romain Clerou Fieldhouse has been a fixture on campus since we moved up to here on the hill. This last week the historic structure was demolished to make way for the gymnasium. Countless Renegade student athletes used this facility to change for practice/games and we know there are hundreds of alumni with cherished memories of the building from their time spent as Renegades. While we are sad to see it go, we are excited for the new gymnasium that will take its place.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Tagged: #BCGoesOnline, Bakersfield College, Cesar Chavez, corny rodriguez, Jack Hernandez, Jeff Huston, Jones Gallery, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Ronnie Wrest, Sandra Serrano, Sonya Christian
Thanks for a refreshing blog, Sonya!
I needed it today as we start Spring Recess in the confines of our homes. I am used to spending part of the week with my daughter and family in Cardiff by the Sea. May the Easter Bunny be good to you and yours.
Love the pictures of your flower gardens. Maybe we can have some competitions of most beautiful gardens that people can share pics of their yards during this SIP time. “Dueling gardens”
This was a beautiful post. I really enjoyed it. Thank you!