“Just call me up..because you know I will be there” — BC

It has been an incredibly busy week as we prepare for the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we held our Opening Day ceremonies. As we’ve been doing since the pandemic began, we again held a virtual celebration with multiple days of video productions featuring presentations, speakers, and performances.

The video team is working on getting the pieces prepared on a website, and I will start sharing those with you next week. Today, though, I’m able to share a sneak peek – an especially poignant one while we as a nation grapple with the events of the past weeks and months, and where we will go from here.

Please enjoy our Bakersfield College Renegade Chorus’ rendition of True Colors:

“Just call me up
Because you know I’ll be there”

Friends – in this time of ongoing uncertainty and social distancing, that is such a wonderful message:

Call me up, and I will be there.

I know that even in the hardest days of social distancing, we can reach out to one another and offer support or a friendly voice. It is ever more important that we remain connected.

Thank you to Performing Arts Chair & Choral Director Jennifer Garrett for sharing this message with all of us. And thank you to our wonderful and talented Renegade Chorus!

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 16, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Thank you, Dr. King!

On Monday, the nation will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision for a better America. While many parades and celebrations for Martin Luther King day have been cancelled nationwide due to the pandemic, we still have the time to reflect on what Dr. King’s ideals and sacrifice mean to each of us, as well as how we can embed the clarity and power of Dr. King’s ideals into our daily work as we start to build a new future for our students.

The Bakersfield MLK committee has put together its usual MLK Breakfast event, except this year it is virtual. Get your scrambled eggs and bacon and tune in at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 18, 2021 ….

Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning

Susan Pinza, Director of the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning, joined 17 News at Sunrise to share more about classes available for community members. These classes aim to help keep our community members active – both mentally and physically.

Classes are available in a variety of subjects, including art, photography, yoga, pilates – and there’s even a class about Zoom!

Check out the interview on KGET’s website, and visit the Levan Institute website to see the full list of Spring 2021 courses.

Veteran Student Success Grant

Jenny Frank

Bakersfield College was one of 16 colleges to receive $450,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success.

The grant will allow BC’s Veterans Services to hire a second dedicated student veteran advisor, as well as provide additional support and services.

“When a veteran transitions out of the military, there’s a sudden feeling like, ‘Where’s my place in the world, where do I belong? What we aim to do is assist them in the educational journey,” said Veterans Services Director Jenny Frank.

For more information, check out the article on the Bakersfield Californian website.

New Protocols for Coming to Campus

As we prepare for the Spring 2021 semester, I wanted to remind everyone that the overwhelming majority of our instruction and all of our student services remain in an online format, and all of our physical campus locations remain closed to the general public.

However, if you have been granted access for our very small selection of courses featuring socially-distanced instruction, or you have been approved to be on campus for essential work, then you must download the Kern Community College District app to do your daily pre-screening and receive your Campus Pass. The Kern Community College District app is available in the iOS App Store and Google Play for Android devices.

Once you download the Kern Community College District app, you can the Health Pre-Screening Questionnaire that will be required every day to get the Campus Pass for in-person attendance. Once you receive your Campus Pass, you’ll use the app to scan QR codes around the campus when entering and leaving all buildings, classrooms, offices, and physical spaces.

This app is an important contact tracing tool that will help us avoid outbreaks on the campus. For more information, visit the Campus Pass App website.

First Meeting of 2021 As ACCJC Committee Chair

In the midst of getting us prepared for the start of Opening Week, I also had a chance to chair the first ACCJC (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges) meeting of the new year on Wednesday, January 13.

Talking about ACCJC, I am proud of the Learning Seminar Series we hosted in early december 2020 — The Future of Learning, which was highlighted in this year’s Opening Week videos.

I’ll be sharing these with you over the coming weeks, so please check back!

Opening Week Roundup

Faculty and staff got ready for the start of the Spring 2021 semester with three days of videos chock full of performances from the Renegade Choir, highlights from the ACCJC Future of Learning Seminar Series, and important updates about campus initiatives. The emcees for all three days were Manny Mourtzanos, Todd Coston, Norma Rojas-Mora, and Reggie Bolton, and we had Konrad Dahl and Zack Peters leading our stretch breaks.

On Day 1, we heard from BCSGA President Gian Gayatao and the Assessment Committee, as well as a retrospective on the life of Ruth-Bader Ginsburg from Olivia Garcia.

Day 2 featured remarks from Chancellor Tom Burke, the Manny Mourtzanos of the Management Association, the Curriculum Committee, and a heartfelt tribute to Becki Whitson.

Day 3 closed out the festivities with Liz Rozell and James McGarrah speaking about the Energy TT&WD initiative; an accessibility report from Matt Andrasian-Jones, Andrea Thorson, and John Means; remarks from Ann Tatum of CCA and Steven Holmes of the Academic Senate; and announcements from Erin Miller for the Levan Faculty Colloquium and Reggie Williams for the Levan Center for the Humanities.

It took a lot of work and intentional thought to put together this year’s presentation. I can’t wait to share the videos with you all. A special thank you to the programming team — Valerie Urso, Shannon Musser, Tarina Perry and Jennifer Serratt.

Community Voices

KCCD Board President Romeo Agbalog wrote this piece in the Bakersfield Californian: Reflections on Early College.

Romeo Agbalog

He wrote about how the program has grown since its early beginnings, and how it has been particularly successful in closing equity gaps.

However, the success of the program extends beyond just the sheer number of students served, but also in closing equity gaps. Early College has had a 93 percent student success rate across all high school campuses in the last academic year, consistently exceeding BC’s own institution-set standard for student success by 15 to 20 percent. Most importantly, more than 85 percent of students from rural areas who were in an associate degree completion pathway went to college after high school.

Trustee Agbalog has always been an ardent supporter of our Early College program. Talking about Early College, I must mention Senator Jean Fuller who helped up take this idea to scale; under the senator’s leadership we accomplished in one year the goals we had set for three years. Here is a fun video from March 2019 of the senator talking about Early College.

Spotted on Social Media

Alisha Loken, Nursing Department Chair, got her COVID-19 vaccine this week!

Bakersfield Heart Hospital shared this thank you to our BC Nursing Students, who helped with vaccine distribution:

And BC Nursing shared a photo of upcoming Level 4 students about to get vaccinated:

Mindy Wilmot watched Opening Day with her dog:

Olivia Garcia got a treadmill workout in while she watched:

Matt Andrasian-Jones continued his Discern and Draw series with a pasta spoon:

And the City of Bakersfield celebrated the city’s 123rd birthday on January 11:


Throwback to 1961 Renegade Basketball

While most of our campus has laid dormant due to the pandemic, it’s interesting to look back at old photos of our Renegade athletes of many years past.

This throwback picture from the Renegade Raconteur goes all the way back to the 1961 basketball season. While the identity of the players is unknown (maybe one of you reading this know who they are??) – this image gives fantastic imagery into the environment of a BC Men’s Basketball game in the 60’s. I mean, look at that crowd filled all the way into the top bleachers! More throwbacks to come.


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 ““Just call me up..because you know I will be there” — BC

  1. Michael O'Doherty January 16, 2021 at 10:14 am Reply

    If you go to iHeart Radio, to “Historic Voices Podcast::Global History and Culture” you can hear the complete famous speech of August 28, 1963.
    You are also able to hear another lessor known speech, but one that resonated with me, that he gave in 1967 titled “Beyond Viet Nam – A Time to break the Silence”

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