A week of roses speaks Hope

With the month of March having unseasonably high temperatures, some of us worried that the cooler wetter weather was left behind and we could be in for an early brutal summer with the potential for another CA drought. And then April surprisingly brought us rains with beautiful clouds and burst of flowers, with roses all around our neighborhood. Enjoy the sprinkling of roses throughout this blog post that I captured for you during my Neo-Bessie walks.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 17, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

A Birthday

Here is another great poem by Jack Hernandez

Photo by Earl Parsons

As I turn into a new year
I feel the cycle narrowing,
the road to the ocean shorter
where I will sit on a rock
and see the expanse before me,
I do not walk on water
only the earth behind me
with its soft snow fallen winters
and rising green springs,
I could spread tears on the rock,
instead I will enfold myself
in memories as the waves
embrace me.

Continuing to celebrate National Poetry month with youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s Words of Hope

I thought I’d awaken to a world in mourning.
Heavy clouds crowding, a society storming.
But there’s something different on this golden morning.
Something magical in the sunlight, wide and warming.

I see a dad with a stroller taking a jog.
Across the street, a bright-eyed girl chases her dog.
A grandma on a porch fingers her rosaries.
She grins as her young neighbor brings her groceries.

While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,
Our people have never been more closely tethered.
The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown,
But how we will weather this unknown together.

So on this meaningful morn, we mourn and we mend.
Like light, we can’t be broken, even when we bend.

As one, we will defeat both despair and disease.
We stand with healthcare heroes and all employees;
With families, libraries, schools, waiters, artists;
Businesses, restaurants, and hospitals hit hardest.

We ignite not in the light, but in lack thereof,
For it is in loss that we truly learn to love.
In this chaos, we will discover clarity.
In suffering, we must find solidarity.

For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.

Read children’s books, dance alone to DJ music.
Know that this distance will make our hearts grow fonder.
From a wave of woes our world will emerge stronger.

We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind
Are also the moments that make us humans kind;
Let every dawn find us courageous, brought closer;
Heeding the light before the fight is over.


When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing
In testing times, we became the best of beings.

California History on Bakersfield’s CW 12

Tomorrow, April 19, Bakersfield College History Professor Oliver Rosales will be hosting a new series on Bakersfield’s CW at 12:00 noon about California history. The show, “Our California Story: Community Stories and Digital Preservation in the San Joaquin Valley,” is a community engagement forum connected to the California History course students will enroll in through Bakersfield College. 

Oliver will be interviewing experts on local history and archiving. This week, he interviews Javier Llamas and Olivia Garcia from our own history department.

This is an opportunity for viewers to learn more about Central Valley history and become a part of developing our California story. Many thanks to Manny De Los Santos and Shannon Musser for helping put together this television experience to our local community.

BC’s Distinguished Speaker Series Presents: Dr. Tony Iton

Our final Distinguished Speaker for the semester was our first to lead their discussion through a webinar presentation. Dr. Tony Iton, the Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at the California Endowment, delivered a presentation via Zoom on Wednesday titled “Zip Code vs. Genetic Code: Which is a Better Predictor of Health?”

Dr. Iton’s presentation on health in rural communities was hosted by Public Health Professor Charles Daramola and Office of Student Life Director Nicky Damania.

If you want to keep engaged with BC’s health equity and rural health work, please follow the Health, Equity, and Learning (HEAL) page, events, and HEAL Twitter account. Thank you, Dr. Tony Iton, for presenting and engaging with BC students, faculty, and staff. And, thank you to Dr. Charles Daramola, Nicky Damania, Benny Balderrama, and the Office of Student Life for coordinating such an informative webinar.

Spring Fling

Our talented group of representatives in the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) have been very busy with moving our annual Spring Fling festival online. The BCSGA team brilliantly organized a fun group of activities through Discord, Zoom and other virtual platforms.

Thank you to our BCSGA representatives and their supporters in the Office of Student Life for keeping Spring Fling Week fun for our campus community. Read more about all of the activities below, and follow BCSGA on Discord.

Escape the Room: Report Back from Valerie

Let’s check out the text-based Escape the Room challenge through the virtual chat service Discord. Valerie Urso, a Web Content Editor in the Marketing Department, describes her experience of solving the elaborate puzzle:

“This Monday, I played the BCSGA’s Escape the Room challenge as part of the Spring Fling week slate of virtual events. Once I got through the hurdle of signing up for Discord and figuring out how it works (like Slack, but cooler-looking), I was ready to begin. 

The game was cleverly constructed using a Google form, a Powerpoint and finally, a website with a secret challenge. I had been expecting to click around on a single screen, in an environment that looked pulled straight out of Clue, looking under lamps and behind bookcases. Instead, I found myself on a quest to solve riddles with a unique story customized to being a student at Bakersfield College. I was impressed with the work and creativity that went into putting together a game from the ground up. 

As a bit of a puzzle nerd who in their youth racked up an unseemly number of hours playing Myst, I have to congratulate the BCSGA team for making something original that was both fun and challenging. Whenever I got stuck, there was a clue to help me along, but nothing that made the quest too easy. I’m pleased to report I did, in fact, “Escape the Room” and made it through the final stage to claim my prize.”

For more, check out: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/event/virtual-spring-fling-renegades-surf-the-web. Thank you to Benny Balderrama for leading this event and helping out with Spring Fling. I can’t wait to see what you have in store next.

All-Campus Virtual Forum Videos

I have been doing a virtual seminar series via zoom and you can find these videos by visiting the COVID-19 Response page . Here are a few videos.

April 6, 2020 line up — Fong, Fuller, Chapman, Agbalog

Vince Fong gave us an update on how the State Assembly is operating to serve Californians during the unprecedented times.

Retired California Senator Jean Fuller offered her perspective on the impact that COVID-19 is having on schools across the country. In her 48-year career as a public servant, only natural disasters compare to the level of response that this situation requires.

Richard Chapman, CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation, gave his prognosis for how COVID-19 will affect the Kern County’s business climate.

Romeo Agbalog spoke on behalf of Kern Citizens For Sustainable Government to talk about how Bakersfield College is establishing the model for other colleges to efficiently move their programs online.

April 7

Radiologic Technology student Sara Navidad shared the challenges she had with moving to an online environment.

Computer Science and Engineering major Krissy Coggshall talked about what she’s learned about learning and working as a Child Development tutor online.

Commercial Music student Izzy Foster misses the opportunity to perform live with her peers, but she’s still getting ready to transfer to the Berklee College of Music in Boston next year. She also performed a song at the end of the All-Campus Virtual Forum.

BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Campaign

The BC “Do Good, Feel Good” campaign is still in motion! This week, we’re reaching out to the Mission at Kern County, which is in dire need of supplies for babies and children, including hand sanitizer, wipes, diapers, and toiletries. These supplies would greatly benefit those in need, including BC’s very own Project HireUp students.

For questions or donations please reach out to Endee Grijalva directly at endee.grijalva@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Thank you to all who have donated or supported the BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Series, and thank you to Endee Grijalva for leading this wonderful campaign!

Thank You to Our Essential Workers

Thank you Valerie for putting together this photo display to recognize our Essential Workers

Photos submitted by Bill Potter in M&O and Shelley Casteneda in Public Safety with messages from their staff. 

Thank you to all our essential workers who are going in every day to make sure our campus is kept safe and secure. I deeply appreciate your commitment to the health and safety of our BC community. 

Fun Photos: Everything Is Going to Be Okay

Veronica Hathaway, a Department Assistant with the Office of Instruction, shared this great photo of her dog Bella Marie. Thanks, Veronica!

And here is Bessie…growing up fast.

BC Nursing Students Join Battle Against COVID-19

Our third-semester students joined the battle last week and began working as COVID-19 screeners at Bakersfield Heart Hospital. Thank you to all our nursing students who are working on the front lines of the pandemic to protect us all. 

Another big thank you to our classified staff and their families, who have been making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of cloth face masks and caps. Thank you to BC staff Venessa Reyes and Robin Patterson, and their mothers Corrine Reyes and Vivian Patterson, for working hard to meet the national shortage of PPE. Over 170 masks have been distributed to students and faculty to keep them safe as they provide patient care.

#BCGoesOnline

Thank you to everyone who is continuing to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #BCGoesOnline. Here are some of the responses that came through this week: BC librarian Allison Burch and her pup Mr. Unicorn are eager to help and support students online!

Kalina Hill shared a message of encouragement following the “Lean On BC” video message.

She also took this photo of her screen during our All-Campus Forum with political and community leaders.

BC’s Career and Technical Education Department sent a creative message to BC’s student employees wishing them a Happy National Student Employee Appreciation Week!

Marbella Avalos shared a photo of Dr. Iton’s fantastic presentation for the BC Distinguished Speaker Series. 

Dolores Huerta’s 90th Birthday

Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta turned 90 this past weekend! I enjoyed watching community members celebrate her special day with a birthday car parade

Huerta was born on April 10, 1930, in Dawson, New Mexico, but at the age of three, she moved to Stockton, California.

In 1988, Huerta was a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, and in 2012, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in our nation.

See the coverage of this amazing woman in my March 17, 2018 blog post when she visited BC. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/03/17/bc-is-booming-with-activities/

Emails Worth Sharing: In Memoriam – Ron Dethlefson

Ron Dethlefson (Photo by Jill Wettersten)

Jerry Ludeke at the BC Archives sent this email commemorating Ron Dethlefson, who taught at BC for 27 years in the Communication Department. He was the advisor to our student radio station KBCC for 14 years and published expert work about early records and phonographs. Read the full email below:

Dear BC family:

The normal cycles of life go on even as Covid 19 surrounds and constricts us.  We’re grateful for the technology that still lets us keep in touch.

Easter morning Ron Dethlefson, 82, died peacefully in a nursing home after several years living with Alzheimer’s disease.  Ron retired in 1996 as a full professor after teaching for 27 years at BC. He started in 1969 teaching speech in the Communication Department.  Then in 1972 he became advisor/instructor for the fledgling radio broadcasting station KBCC which he guided until 1986, when he returned to teaching speech.  

Ron was always known for his outstanding radio voice and a good sense of wry humor.  Few people knew, however, of his outside interest. Ron was considered an expert consultant in the area of early records and phonographs which he began collecting and writing about in 1953.  His books and other writings on Edison Blue Amberol Recordings are highly regarded. In 2012 the ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collection) awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award. He also volunteered as a consultant while he did research at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  

At Bakersfield College, Ron was active in the Academic Senate and his wife Barbara, who survives him, was active in Faculty Wives and served in the very first volunteer tutoring program offered to BC students.  The Dethlefson family is planning a celebration of Ron’s life in July at Wesley United Methodist Church where they have been active participants for many years.

If you go to the BC Archives website, you will see two changes.  First, it is my personal pleasure to call your attention to the listing which shows Mindy Wilmot as the new Director.  She is ready for the challenge, and we on the staff are all excited to have her. (I will continue as an archives assistant, so you will still hear from me once in a while.)  Our second change is that photos, which were once visible on the website, disappeared after January. They are only temporarily in hiding while arrangements are being made to let them move to a happy little cloud.  It may be summertime before that changeover is completed.

Meanwhile……Stay well….and let us hear from you.
Jerry Ludeke, for the Archives

Archives Throwback: Hispanic Culture – An Energetic Group in the BC Tradition

Let’s hear from Earl Parsons as he digs into our archives

For the third part in our series looking back at the Panorama Campus in the mid-60s, we turn to the 1966 Raconteur for a feature on the first Hispanic Culture Club in Renegade History. The club was founded by Spanish professor Ray Gonzales, who would go on to become the first Latino ever to represent Kern County in the State Assembly, as well as a diplomat for the US State Department in Central America.

Ray Gonzales passed away in 2018 at the age of 80, and many of our Renegade faculty regarded him as one of their greatest friends and mentors, including Dean Corny Rodriguez and History Professor Octavio Barajas, who organized a roundtable discussion about Gonzales during last year’s Jess Nieto Memorial Conference.

Artist Jorge Guillen and Oliver Rosales stand next to a painting of Ray Gonzales that Guillen created for the 2019 Jess Nieto Memorial Conference
Left to right: Dr. Mark Martinez, Steve Barber and Emily Gonzales speak on a panel about the life of Ray Gonzales, the first Chicano elected to state office in Kern County.

Read the article below, and stay tuned next week for more glimpses into Renegade life during the mid-60s.

Hispanic Culture: An Energetic Group in the BC Tradition

One of the newest clubs on campus, the Hispanic Culture Club, did not lag in getting organized or active. Under the advisorship of Ray Gonzales, a BC alumnus and Spanish instructor, the club had its constitution accepted early in the fall semester. 

At Christmas, the 26 members sponsored a canned food drive for needy Bakersfield families. In addition, they chipped in Christmas trees and much-needed clothing for the underprivileged. During the spring semester, they planned a dance and Spanish fiesta and also participated in the annual Spring Carnival with a taco booth.

Athletics: Resilience II Workouts Released This Week

Thank you Brandon Urry for the Athletics Roundup

As we continue our social distancing protocol in an effort to flatten the curve and protect our at-risk population and frontline workers, BC Athletics has your training covered! Our fantastic Renegade Kinesiology faculty including Zack Peters, Konrad Dahl and Matt Moon have put together the next phase of at-home workouts for our student athletes. Like the first phase, all exercises require nothing more than a chair, a towel, and your own bodyweight. Visit the GoGades website to get started with Resilience II.

Next Level Gades!

This week, we saw another group of Renegades commit to the next level while continuing their academic and athletic careers. First, from Renegade Baseball, Alejandro Murillo (pitcher) is headed to the University of Nevada, and Rich Garcia (infielder) is headed to the University of Antelope Valley. Both of these student athletes were key players for Coach Tim Painton and were great examples to their teammates of hard work and dedication.

Secondly, from Renegade Football, Paxton Winders announced he is headed to further his education and football career at Western Illinois University. We want to wish all three of these the very best in the future.

Renegade Student Athletes Will Receive “Make-Up” Year of Eligibility

23ABC sports reporter Matt Lively put together a story this week on the fact the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) has granted another season of eligibility to spring sports student athletes due to their seasons being cut short this spring. He talked with our Men’s Golf Coach Wes Coble and men’s golf student athlete Blake Keesey on the topic. Blake is one of about 9,500 student athletes that will be affected state-wide by this new policy.

Jackie Robinson Day

Wednesday was National Jackie Robinson Day. The day is celebrated because Jackie Robinson (a four-sport star at both Pasadena City College and UCLA) first stepped on the field in the Major Leagues as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, effectively breaking the color barrier in professional sports. 

In 1997, Major League Baseball (MLB) officially retired his jersey number ‘42’ across all MLB teams. On April 15, 2005 MLB declared April 15th as Jackie Robinson Day and on this day every player wears the number 42 to honor his legacy. Although Jackie faced much persecution personally and to his family, he never wavered and stood fast in his resolve to be viewed not by his skin color but by his ability to compete on the field. The movie ‘42’ which came out in 2013 perfectly portrays the hardships he endured in his plight breaking the color barrier. As we are all at home staying safe, now is a great time to watch (or re-watch) this film.

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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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