Kern County — Thank you for supporting BC

As we wrap up the first month of 2021 – a month that has brought upheaval and many changes – I was grateful this week to be able to get back to campus briefly to see the progress on the construction of our new buildings. I was joined by Billie Jo Rice, and it was wonderful to spend some time together and appreciate the future of Bakersfield College as we build #ABetterBC.

Sonya Christian, Billie Jo Rice

Kern County, thank you for voting Yes on J

In addition to the in-person campus tour, I also had a great virtual budget meeting with Steven Holmes, Mike Giacomini, and Teresa McAllister.

If we have learned nothing else from the past year, it’s to truly enjoy and embrace those moments of normalcy and camaraderie. I am so excited about what the future holds and how we can best serve our students.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 30, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Central Valley Takes Center Stage

While I was watching “Celebrating America,” the concert honoring President Joe Biden’s inauguration, I noticed that one of the speakers chosen to read from previous inaugural addresses was Dolores Huerta.

It was a great moment to see one of our local legends featured on a national level.

And did you notice that behind the president’s desk, he has a bust of Cesar Chavez?

NPR interviewed Dolores Huerta about the significance of featuring Cesar Chavez so prominently:

It’s really a very strong message that the strongest person in the whole world, the president of the United States of America, would have a bust of Cesar Chavez, a very simple, humble farmworker, a leader, a person who stood up for gun violence, who dedicated his life to make life better for the poorest of the poor – to me, that was a very strong message.”

You can listen to the interview on NPR’s website.

Renegades Receive the Vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue throughout California, some of our Renegades have had the chance to receive their first immunizations.

I was pleased to see Trustee Nan-Gomez Heitzeberg and track and field coach Pam Kelly get their COVID-19 vaccines from Kern County health care workers. Nan got her vaccine at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital from a BC student – Ariana Nahjmabadi. There were a lot of nursing students there in their Renegade Red tops, working very hard and doing an exceptional job. #WeAreBC

On Friday, Deborah Rosenthal set up a vaccination clinic aimed at those in our BC community who are over 65. Bill Kelly shared with me that he was getting his vaccine Friday morning.  

If you’re a BC faculty or staff member who has pictures receiving the vaccine, please send them to or

Jack Hernandez Poem: Relevance

Jack Hernandez shared this poem with me:

When past a certain age
the question of whether
we matter descends
like a morning fog,
whether we are needed
or just an afterthought  
like those decades old
clothes hidden in a closet,
dishes given as gifts
stacked out of sight.
Once others welcomed
our routines
sought our thoughts
on practical truth,
but now we are seen
as a classic car
stored in a garage
annexed to the main house,
a book of wisdom
out of print.
Yet though alone
we do not moan,
use unruffled time
to find ourselves,
sing our stories
to the moon.

Distinguished Speaker Gordon Bellamy

On Tuesday, February 2, our first Distinguished Speaker is a Visiting Scholar of USC Games and head of an incubator program to develop designers and programmers for video games and other interactive media. Gordon Bellamy has an extensive background in the video game industry as a designer for the Madden NFL football franchise and product management roles at Tencent, a Chinese entertainment company that owns the studio behind League of Legends.

Gordon Bellamy will be giving two presentations at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Visit the event listing on the BC calendar for more information, and visit the Distinguished Speaker Series website for a full listing of the speakers for this semester.

Undocumented Student Workshops in February

The AB 540/Undocumented Students Program has partnered with the United Farm Workers Foundation (UFW) to bring a series of workshops to Bakersfield College. These workshops are open to BC students, staff/faculty, and community members.

To Register for AB 540/Undocumented Students Program Workshops, visit

Suicide Prevention: Know the Signs

From an email from College Safety:

Care for mental health is an important part of college life. Please take a moment to review our Know The Signs presentation on suicide prevention.

Bakersfield College staff, faculty, students, and community members are influential. When someone is in distress, we have an opportunity to provide care and support. Pain isn’t always obvious, but most suicidal people show some signs that they are thinking about suicide. Remember our motto: If you see something, say something, so we can do something.

If you think someone is in distress, visit our Help Someone In Distress website for some tips on how to provide help to someone quickly.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us at or (661) 395-4554.

Measure J: Photos From the Campus Center

Progress on our Measure J construction projects continues while we all work to build A Better BC for our students and community. Earl Parsons snapped this shot of the BC logo on the new Campus Center, slated for completion in April 2021. 

The structure of the new Science and Engineering building gets stronger every day and is on pace for completion in November 2021. From the second floor of the Math and Science building, you can see it towering over the existing Science and Engineering building.

We are also entering the mobilization phase on construction of the new gym and fieldhouse, which is now slated for a March 2023 completion due to the delay in DSA approval. Finally, we’re engaged in discussions on the design of the new Agriculture building, which is projected for an April 2024 completion.

For more information about Measure J projects, visit the A Better BC website.

Emails from BC: The Legacy of JB Teasley

I was inspired earlier this week by an email from the fabulous Jerry Ludeke currently overseeing the BC Archives looking back on the life of JB Teasley, a retired BC faculty member and member of the Delano College Center Foundation.

Here is the email below:

“When a person dies at age 94 and has been retired for around thirty years from Bakersfield College, it is not surprising that there are few who remember him in his vital, teaching days.  That does not diminish the person’s importance in the history of the BC family, and it is our honor to recognize their memory.

Fortunately, Phil Feldman recognized the notice of JB TEASLEY’s death.  Phil himself is now retired from the faculty at BC but remembers JB as “a teacher and very active Delano College Center Foundation member when I ran that Center going on forty years ago.”

 The obituary tells us that Teasley, originally from Mississippi,  taught at Buttonwillow Elementary and Wasco Junior High, becoming a teacher and counselor at Delano High School, and remaining in Delano for the rest of his life.  He became connected with BC’s Delano College Center and, as Phil mentioned, was active in the Delano College Foundation.  However, he also spent many years as a teacher, counselor, and administrator at the Delano College Center. 

One interesting tidbit in the obituary caught my eye.  It stated that JB was born in May, 1926.  It also mentioned that he was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class after serving in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1947.  Think about those dates.  If he was born in 1926 and entered the Navy in 1942, he must have been one of those brave young men who, at only age 16, possibly with his parents’ reluctant permission, enlisted in the months after Pearl Harbor, served for five years, and survived.  He was remembered with Military Honors on January 22 at the Bakersfield National Cemetery.

We are proud of his service to our country and to Bakersfield College.

Thank you Mindy Wilmot for finding the photo for me.

In The News

Academic Technology featured in Education Technology Insights

Bill Moseley and Alex Rockey had their article published in Education Technology Insights. The article, Reimagining Access: Leveraging Mobile Devices to Transform Education, looks at how we as educators must utilize the technology many students already have – phones and mobile devices – as we try to engage with them, especially during the pandemic. The article highlights BC’s “Person Up” program, which sees a faculty member and instructional designer work together to best address the needs of the students and reimagine how we teach online.

You should also check out the Academic Technology blog,

Community Voices: Vayron Martinez

Head BC Men’s Soccer Coach Vayron Martinez published a Community Voices piece in the Bakersfield Californian titled, “Putting Bakersfield on the map through soccer.”

“One of our core program values in our team is “community.” Our young men give back to the community with various community service events throughout the year. We want to showcase the hard work Bakersfield has when we step foot onto the field and play anyone in the state. We don’t shy away from playing the best teams even if the outcome is not the desired one.”

Fun Photos

Jennifer Serratt enjoying her time in the snow:

Todd Hansen shared these pics of the digital billboard on Oak Street/California Ave, showcasing our BC Partners:

Spotted on Social Media

Kylie Campbell‘s tweet of BC’s Early College team met with 150 high school administrators on Friday morning:

Renegade Athletics shared this throwback photo of the Renegade tradition of firing the cannon at home football games:

Nick Strobel made a delicious looking pecan pie — unfortunately there were no pies left outside my front door.

BCSGA shared this inspiring quote:

Todd Coston shared this great view from a hike he took with his daughter, Ashli:


Ulloa Headed to Cal State Bakersfield

This last baseball season was cut short due to the pandemic, but even before that happened Renegade pitcher Gabe Ulloa’s season was cut short due to an injury to his throwing arm. Gabe has been working through rehab to get back to full strength and announced this week that he is headed to play baseball across town at Cal State Bakersfield. Ulloa will join fellow former Renegade pitcher Benji Caggienelli, who transferred to CSUB back in October. We are proud of Gabe and will be cheering on both the former ‘Gades turned ‘Runners!

Fun Photos

Enjoy these fun photos of some our Renegade Athletes who were ‘shrunk’ into bobbleheads!


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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4 thoughts on “Kern County — Thank you for supporting BC

  1. Michael O'Doherty January 30, 2021 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Courtney is the Cannon Master now!!!

    • SonyaChristian February 2, 2021 at 7:46 pm Reply

      she certainly is 🙂

  2. Nick Strobel January 31, 2021 at 10:53 pm Reply

    When I get more of the other ingredients besides pecans, I’ll see if I can get a pie to survive leaving the boundaries of my house and make it to your front porch.

    • SonyaChristian February 2, 2021 at 7:45 pm Reply


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