Finding our path to peace

The west coast has endured another week of catastrophic wildfires, which have burned more than 3 million acres of land across California this year. For another week, we are waking to reports of loss of life, damages to businesses and family homes, and harmful air quality that continues to force us indoors.

I saw this satellite photo showing the extent of the smoke, which has even extended across the rest of the United States and extending into Europe:

During these times, I think of our firefighters who are in the depths of the inferno ….. let’s pause for a moment in prayer to keep them safe. Across the state, many of those firefighters learned the skills they needed to protect our communities here at BC, through our Fire Technology program.

At Bakersfield College, our Fire Technology faculty are dedicated to protecting life, property and the environment by providing our students the high qualify education in fire science. If you’re interested in saving California’s beautiful forests and parks out on the front lines, we have a Wildland Firefighting Associate of Science degree, which prepares Renegades for a career with a state or federal wildland firefighting agency. At BC, we’re also proud to train our Bakersfield City firefighters through our Fire Fighter I Academy and Chief Fire Officer and Company Officer program.

This year’s wildfire season has highlighted the need for more trained fire professionals in California, so please recommend our Fire Technology program to anyone you think might be a good fit. For more information, check out the BC Fire Technology website.

Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I was also heartbroken last night to read about the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 87.

Justice Ginsburg has been a strong voice for women and equality since she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

There will never be another Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But there will be many more women who will follow in her footsteps and continue the path she began, and change the world.

As we continue to navigate these difficult times, I wanted to share this beautiful poem from my dear friend Jack Hernandez, about the pain we all are facing and the opportunity we have to find and share our own empathy and compassion for one another:

A Time by Jack Hernandez

A time when
smoke mutes
the sun
fires blacken
the forest skin
political rage
burns compassion.

A time when
the heart opens
to refugees from pain
bears the scars
of those severed
from homes
of those struck
by love’s loss
of the stranger
waiting to enter.

A time of burning
A time of sowing
new seeds daring
all to care
as one.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, September 19, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade.

BC Offers Free COVID Testing

From an email from Cindy Collier:

In our continued efforts to help support the health and safety of our community, BC is proud to announce that we will be hosting a Free Mobile COVID-19 testing site on campus on September 22, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the parking lot on the corner of Haley and University.

Through our partnership with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber and Kern County Public Health, BC will be hosting the Federally provided Mobile Testing Site which will provide FREE COVID-19 testing for anyone wishing to be tested. Thank you Jay Tamsi!

Jay Tamsi and Sonya Christian

This walk-up clinic will be using the less invasive “Self-swab” test. Pre-registration is required, please register at, but the Mobile Testing unit can accept a limited amount of walk-up participants. Once registered, participants need to bring the appointment voucher with reference number to the appointment.

Thank you Norma Rojas-Mora. Thank you Cindy Collier.

Please help me share this information with students, staff, friends and family. See attached flyers for more information.

Rural HEAL webinar Sep 22nd 1:00 p.m.

You don’t want to miss this webinar on Tuesday, Sep 22nd from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Even if you have just 30 minutes during this time block, go ahead and register here You should be able to get at least one presentation.

International Peace Day

From Krista Moreland.

Now that we are actively working on the Peace Garden Project at BC, International Peace Day seems to hold greater significance.  Peace is something we need to work towards, it will not happen unless we make it happen. And we make peace happen by practicing compassion, kindness, and tolerance. In the spirit of our Peace Garden Project, I would like to share a little about Peace Day with everyone, and I hope it helps bring you a little peace during these tumultuous times.

Monday, September 21st the U.N. International Day of Peace will be observed around the world. This Peace Day was established unanimously by the U.N. in 1981 as a 24hr period for humanity to come together and commit to peace and compassion. Each year on this day, “The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.”   This year is also the 20th anniversary the U.N. Resolution of the Program of Action on a Culture of Peace.

This year’s theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together”, encouraging everyone to practice compassion and kindness and stand together in the face of hardship. The U.N. Secretary-General has “called on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and focus on the battle against this unprecedented global pandemic” as we come together for this global day of peace. The theme of Peace Day fits with the U.N.’s year of ‘listening and learning’, marked by the largest global conversation on fostering peace and prosperity.

Campus Visit

This week, I was able to visit the campus with Bill Potter and Jennifer Marden. I enjoyed being able to connect in person with my colleagues, while keeping our social distance.

The construction work is continuing on campus, and I can not wait until we are able to share the updates with our entire Renegade family, and our Bakersfield community.

KHSD Early College Pathways Program Kicks Off

Our BC Counselor, Jesus Oropeza, guides his 9th grade STDV B6 students through his syllabus on Canvas during their first virtual class meeting.

This week, 354 students from Kern High School District attended their first course from our new KHSD Early College Pathways program. About one third of these students are incoming 9th grade students who are beginning a pathway that will lead to the completion of one of the following associate degrees: Industrial Automation AS, Psychology AA-T, Administration of Justice AS-T, and Public Health AS-T. The rest of the students are 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who are getting a head start on their college education and will graduate from high school with between 9 and 45 college credits. 

The students in these pathways will follow strategically designed educational plans to complete two BC courses in the evenings each term at either KHSD’s new CTEC facility or at our BC Southwest Center.

Psychology adjunct, Tamarah Tallman, welcomes her 10th grade students taking PSYC B1A this Fall with great excitement that they have chosen the Psychology pathway.

Early College continues to be our strategy for getting our students on the correct pathway and for creating a pipeline that will increase and sustain baccalaureate degree attainment in Kern County.

I am so excited to welcome these new cohorts of KHSD Renegades, and I can’t wait to watch them cross our Commencement stage in 2024 with associate degrees. I want to thank KHSD leadership– Superintendent Bryon Schaefer, Assistant Superintendent Dean McGee and Director Carla Stallworth for partnering with BC to make this opportunity possible.

You can read more about these new pathway opportunities in a wonderful piece by Ema Sasic in the Bakersfield Californian:

$3m to BC for Public Health Sciences

Bakersfield College has been awarded $3 million to boost and support graduates in Health Sciences!

The Hispanic Serving Institution Title V grant for Health Sciences was awarded to BC in recognition of their significant work to advance student completion and workforce readiness.

BC will leverage grant dollars to bolster existing efforts designed to address shortages in the health care workforce made more visible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By expanding the college’s footprint of health sciences pathways through Early College, transfer pathway agreements, and strong partnerships with health care providers and community organizations, BC will systematically strengthen Kern’s education-to-workforce pipeline while improving health outcomes for local residents.

BC to Honor Spring 2020 Nursing Grads

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, BC’s Nursing graduates, family, friends, faculty, and administration will gather remotely on September 19, 2020 at 6:30pm to celebrate the 105th Renegade Nursing Pinning celebration by video on the college’s YouTube channel.

The pinning ceremony usually takes place at the conclusion of each semester and signifies the successful completion of the program for its graduates. This event will focus on the more than 60 Renegade Nursing graduates from spring 2020 of BC’s rigorous two year RN program.

The community is invited to celebrate this new cohort of nurses on our YouTube channel at The program will begin promptly at 6:30pm on Saturday, September 19, 2020.

Renegade Alumni Council

The Renegade Alumni Council at Bakersfield College had a great week starting with 2015’s SGA President, Alex Dominguez sharing his voice in a piece submitted to The Bakersfield Californian.

In his piece, he said “Little did I know our “campus on the hill” would be the place where I find myself, my purpose and determine my future. It was all thanks to the exploration, learning, creativity and freedoms that I know my friends who went away to college did not receive. Not to mention, I also had some amazing faculty including professors Steven Holmes and Ed Borgens.”

On Tuesday, the RAC core team hosted the first Renegade Talk Live on FB. For the show, Alex chatted with 2016’s SGA President, Clayton Fowler. Check out the pic showing this dedicated team at work.

Are you a Renegade Alumni? Connect with this new initiative to come back to BC with RAC and check out the video at

And then today, there was another great piece in the Californian from an alum Jay Boydstun.

Sonya Christian, John Boydstun, Jay Boydstun

“One of my earliest memories is from the 1960s, when my father gave me a BC football schedule coin pouch. I will never forget the smell and feel of those little things. Each year, without fail, my father would distribute the BC football schedule coin pouches as a business promotion, but also because he had a passion for Bakersfield College.”

The first issue of BC’s The Grapevine Journal

From an email from Naomi Rutuku:

I have some exciting news to share with you all. Today is the official launch of the first publication of The Grapevine Journal, a collection of Bakersfield College student work! We (co-editors Rae Ann Kumelos, Keri Wolf, and I) are thrilled to have our first edition published today, digitally, on our website. BC students have worked hard for this accomplishment and we couldn’t be prouder.

I hope that you take a look at our publication on our website (click here) and that you might find useful ways of using the published student work in your classes; examples of former BC student work are always interesting and helpful for our current students. In this first edition of The Grapevine, you will find a table of contents that organizes the work by discipline.

 We are always accepting submissions on a rolling basis, so keep your eye out for some more excellent student work this semester! Thank you for continuing to inspire our students.

BC Faculty Featured

Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio, an adjunct faculty in our Art Department, shared that he was featured on the cover of California English, the quarterly journal of the California Association of Teachers of English. 

I especially loved his quote from inside the journal:

“With life, each individual must find a sense of serenity. For me, to create, to paint and portrait the world, is my purpose, my path to peace.”

In trying times, we must all find our own path to peace.

First “Learning Together” Reading

From an email from Kirk Russell:

Kirk Russell, Library Director

Our first campus “Learning Together” discussion will take place on Tuesday, September 22nd at 4:00 p.m. as part of President Christian’s virtual seminar series.  The first community read is an essay from the June 22, 2020 issue of Time Magazine entitled “The Overdue Awakening” by Justin Worland.  It can be found in the EBSCOhost database at the link below.  You will be prompted for your BC email address and password to gain access.  If you’d like to view the digitized version as it appeared in the original issue of Time, click the PDF Full Text link on the left side of the screen after clicking the link below.

The librarians feel this essay is a timely and fitting introduction to the issues we will be discussing throughout this academic year.  Our discussion on the 22nd will provide time for us to learn, reflect and increase understanding.

Also, the newly-created libguide “Race and Cultural Competence” is now published and available for you to review at 

Submissions from across campus allowed us to include a variety of perspectives on issues of race and equity.  As mentioned before, our hope is that with ongoing input from the campus community this guide will grow during the year.

Kirk also spoke at Opening Day about the Learning Together project:

Opening Day 2020

In addition to “Learning Together”, we have additional projects and initiatives this year at Bakersfield College to address equity and inclusion. We shared some of this at Opening Day, which was held virtually this year.

Below are videos outlining some of the work our colleagues are doing.

Bryan Hirayama, USC Program:

Jennifer Johnson, FCDC:

Rich McCrow, Governance:

Norma Rojas-Mora, Department Commitments:

All the Opening Day 2020 videos can be found on the Opening Day website.

Archives Throwback: An Encouraging Message to Graduates

An editorial in the 1931 edition of the Renegade Rip illustrates how our Core Value of Community is timeless. At the close of another semester, the staff of the Rip left a heartfelt goodbye to their fellow students and encouraged them to become the best version of themselves possible at the next step in their lives.

A few former BCSGA presidents started the Renegade Alumni Council (aka the RAC), to help graduates maintain the bonds of community they established during their time at BC and help them give back to the place that made them who they are today, because now, just like back in 1931, once you become a Renegade, you’re a Renegade for life. 

Check out the editorial from May 21, 1931 below.

Good Luck, Graduates
“As the year draws to a close, we find that many of our friends are leaving Bakersfield Junior College. Many will go on to even higher institutions of learning, but some will be through their school days forever.
“Wherever you go, Graduates, remember that Bakersfield Junior College is backing you to the greatest degree possible. We are proud of you, and we hope that the students will carry on the next years afterward to make this college one that you will be proud to say, ‘I went there for my first two years’.
“Some are not so fortunate. They will not leave for a more advanced college next year. To them, we say, “Come back and we will be glad to see you and help you so that you will be able to continue your advanced work later on.
“If you are to start in this great game called ‘Life’ and put school days behind you, remember that we wish you all the success possible and the best luck in the world!”

Thank you to Earl Parsons for sharing this piece.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

Today, I am sharing three videos from the June 18th production of Bakersfield College’s Juneteenth programming.

Steve Watkin musical performance:

LaMeka Ross:

Valerie Robinson:

For more, including all the videos, please visit the Bakersfield College Juneteenth website.

Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared this photo of Heather Pennella, Alumni and Donor Relations Manager of the Bakersfield College Foundation. Heather is also a volunteer with the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee, and she helped clean up the Truxtun Lake area:

Michael Lennemann shared this photo:

“This is a picture of some outstanding athletes from the 1972 Bakersfield College State Championship Team.

Included in this pictures are Charles Mackey (7 ft high jumper), Jerlynn Atlas Kendricks, McKinley Mosley, Gary Ray (RIP), Louis Wright (Former Denver Broncos Standout), Vernell Jackson (RIP), John Nichols (RIP) and Stanley Mackey.

The BCSGA has continued with their #ThrowbackThursday posts on Instagram. This week they shared a photo of students on campus in 1975:

Librarian Mindy Wilmot shared a photo of herself practicing the ukulele as part of a Levan Institute course:

Lesley Bonds, Director of Student Success and Equity, shared this photo from our recent Admin Council meeting.

“Today, we repurposed our 2 hour @BAKcollege Admin Council meeting to make time to check-in with students directly via phone and text, and then collectively process lessons learned. 50+ managers contacted hundreds of students!”


Former Renegade Tyrone Crawford Set For Ninth NFL Season

Former Renegade football standout Tyrone Crawford took the field for his ninth NFL season as a member of the Dallas Cowboys this last Sunday. The Cowboys took on the Rams in the opening week of the NFL in the newly built Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. Crawford started his career at BC in 2008 when he was named All-Conference as a freshman. In 2009 he was named a JC All-American as well as first team All-State and first team All-Conference. He then transferred to Boise State where he spent his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility. In 2011, his senior season, he was named First-Team All-Mountain West. In 2012 with the 81st pick of the NFL Draft, Dallas selected Crawford and he has remained a Cowboy ever since. Although the Cowboys didn’t win the game, we are excited to see our former Renegade competing at the highest level.

Be sure to stay connected to Renegade Athletics on social media:

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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One thought on “Finding our path to peace

  1. Nick Strobel September 19, 2020 at 5:26 pm Reply

    The students in the ThrowbackThursday photo are standing/sitting where the new Science-Engineering building is going to be. Made me realize that there’s going to be less green lawn areas after we’re done with the Measure J buildings. Even more reason to intentionally add green public spaces such as the Peace Gardens.

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