BC — Heading back to our physical campus

These past few weeks have been very busy at Bakersfield College, and as we go into the even faster-paced final weeks of the Spring 2021 Semester, I took a day to head out to my daughter’s place at Marina del Rey

Sunset at the Marina. April 30, 2021

Quiet moments like these clear our minds of clutter and give us the clarity to be bold … to be brave. To dare to do mighty things.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

Talking about boldness and braveness …. a schoolgirl in 1982 impacted the Cold War when she penned a letter to Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, asking him if he planned to attempt to start a nuclear war with the United States. The striking innocence and simplicity of that letter, against the backdrop of world leaders threatening the globe, gave world leaders reason to pause. Andropov invited “America’s Youngest Ambassador” to visit the U.S.S.R. for two weeks in June, to see that “in the Soviet Union, everyone is for peace and friendship among peoples.”

Precious moments of tranquil beauty and seemingly small actions sometimes cause ripples that can make the world a better place.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 1, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

2021 Honors Celebration

On Thursday, the 2021 Honors Celebration went virtual with a special video premiering on Bakersfield College’s YouTube channel.

The 2021 Honors Celebration recognizes student recipients of scholarships and/or awards for the Spring 2021 and upcoming 2021-2022 academic year. This pre-recorded event featured BC administrators and Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales, as well as name recognition for student recipients.

Honorees were able to come to campus on Friday for a drive-through medal pickup. Thank you to Heather Pennella, Courtney Carter, Amanda Stone, Cheryl Scott, and Heather’s brother Eric Pennella, with support from Nicky Damania, for making sure our students were able to receive their medals.   

Check out the video below:

Student Leadership & Involvement Awards Virtual Ceremony

Also on Thursday, the Office of Student Life held The Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of our registered student organizations and various leaders at Bakersfield College. This event is to acknowledge their achievements to better the College community. It is an opportunity to showcase the wide variety of activities that occurred this year, and to make visible ingenuity and creative talent.

Danyel Harris served as emcee of the event.

You can see a recording from the Zoom event on the BCSGA Facebook page.

Congratulations Alejandro Hernandez!

Delano High School and Bakersfield College graduate Alejandro Hernandez earned both his high school diploma and his AA from Bakersfield College in just 3 years, through the Early College program. He has been named a Gates Scholar, and is now headed to Berkeley in the Fall.

Check out this video honoring his accomplishments:

Congratulations Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg!

Kern Community College District Board of Trustees member Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was elected to the 2021 California Community Colleges Trustees Board.

The CCCT serves a major role within the Community College League of California. The new board members begin their three-year terms in June 2021. Meeting five times a year, the 22-member board (including a student trustee) provides leadership and direction to ensure a strong voice for locally elected governing board members.

Nan represents KCCD area III and was elected in November 2018. She previously had been a professor at Porterville College, before becoming an administrator at Bakersfield College, retiring as Vice President of Instruction.

Jazz Students Play On

Students in the Jazz Studies program directed by Professor Kris Tiner have been keeping busy working on new music in the Outdoor Theater every Monday afternoon. Here is a YouTube compilation of recent rehearsal footage:

The Jazz Combo recently played at the Operation Vaccination clinic in southeast Bakersfield, and they will be giving a free lunchtime concert at the Bakersfield Museum of Art’s outdoor sculpture garden on Saturday, May 8 for Second Saturday presented by The Hub of Bakersfield. The BC Faculty Jazz Combo with Kris Tiner, Paul Cierley, Miller Wrenn, and Kyle Burnham will also perform.

The Jazz Ensemble has been exploring the music of keyboardist and bandleader Sun Ra, who famously claimed he was from Saturn and pioneered the Afro-Futurist aesthetic with his band, the Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra. You can catch the BC Jazz Ensemble’s Sun Ra Sessions on Instagram Live (@bcjazzstudies) from 5-6 pm on May 3 and 10.

Jazz students also continue to meet weekly on Zoom. They recently welcomed New York City trumpeter, producer, and educator Lee Hogans as a guest speaker. Hogans talked about touring with Prince, Jay-Z, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Maceo Parker, and Marcus Miller, as well as producing records for Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes and others. The students gained a wealth of insight from Hogans’ stories and his inspiring advice on how to build a successful career in the music industry.

Lee Hogans

The students are currently putting the finishing touches on collaborative recording projects that will be compiled into the follow-up to the “Quarantine Sessions” album released on Bandcamp last spring. Stay tuned for more info!

Renegade Equity Series: Session 2

On Wednesday, the Renegade Leaders and EODAC sponsored the second session of the Renegade Equity Series. The session consisted of a faculty panel engaging in conversation about how to create more inclusive classrooms, keeping in mind student statements from our first session.

The Renegade Leaders came together in the fall of 2020. The participants include faculty, chairs, deans, and directors from the Faculty Chairs and Directors Council who volunteered to facilitate conversations and workshops on diversity, equity, and inclusion as it applies to higher education.

TRIO Grant

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds; targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs.

Check out this welcome video from Dr. Kimberly Bligh.

Reflections from Outside

Sara Wallace, English Professor at Bakersfield College, has published another entry in her blog retitled “Reflections from Outside” on Medium.

Her blog is focused on her experiences teaching English in prison facilities for Bakersfield College. She changed the title from “Reflections on the Inside” when the prisons closed to faculty. She has been working as a full-time instructor at a total of five different prisons since Fall 2019.

For the entire blog entry, go to the following link: https://sarawallace-75158.medium.com/reflections-from-outside-that-word-inmate-81e49a1e0655

EOPS Hosts Wellness Workshop

The EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/NextUp/AB 540 team hosted a Wellness Workshop where students got the opportunity to learn about the importance of mental health, how to manage stress, and the benefits that painting has on mental wellness. After a short presentation, students had the opportunity to attend a painting session with Bakersfield’s Blush and Brush company. The students enjoyed their study break as they painted a colorful piece.

Renegade Room Edible Schoolyard Dinner

Bakersfield College’s Culinary Arts students with the Renegade Room prepared an outdoor, in-person dining experience in conjunction with Barbara Grimm’s Edible Schoolyard. Community leaders enjoyed fresh-baked pizza, roasted chicken, and a scrumptious strawberry shortcake dessert.

Thank you to Norma Rojas-Mora for sharing these photos:

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem from Jack Hernandez:


                             As he packed for another trip

                             he thought of that other life

                             the one he might have taken

                             had the facts been different

                             had his heart opened elsewhere,

                             no doubt he would have dressed

                             in the same current fashion

                             driven a polished car,

                             But he would not have packed

                             for this familiar journey far

                             to be with those who have lived

                             in his heart for years,

                             so close to its beating

                             that when he returned alone

                             he unpacked their laughter

                             to fill his silent home.

Back to Campus

Josie Guillen posted these pictures on Facebook from Outreach & Early College staff who have started working on campus this week:

Nick Strobel shared some photos of inside the new Campus Center/ABC Building:

In the News

Community Voices: Dolores Huerta Exhibit visits Bakersfield College via Smithsonian Institution

Professors Oliver Rosales, Ronald Wrest, and Jeffrey Huston wrote about the Dolores Huerta Exhibit, and its importance for education in the Central Valley, in a piece in the Bakersfield Californian.

“The project team at Bakersfield College is hopeful that local teachers will take advantage of this important resource for students and the general public. We are optimistic that the virtual tour will excite young people about the history of Dolores Huerta and the importance of Kern County to Latino civil rights history. Interested viewers can access the virtual tour at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/art/jones-art-gallery.”

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

I love this photo of Manny Mourtzanos and KCCD Trustee Kay Meek:

I was able to see my dear friend Janet Tarjan on campus this week:

Bakersfield College Adult Education shared this update on Facebook:

Members of the Bakersfield College Adult Ed Team had the privilege of seeing all the upgrades happening across the panorama campus today, during a tour of our Industrial Automation labs!

BC Rural Initiatives shared a picture from their rural faculty orientation on Zoom:

Sondra Keckley is getting a good haul from her tomato plants:

The Jones Art Gallery shared this beautiful photograph by Monica Herring for Digital Photography, part of the Bakersfield College Student Art Show:


Athletics scores this last week

This last week was a BIG week for Renegade Athletics.

On Thursday Baseball and Softball hosted their first conference games on the Spring II season, both hosting Antelope Valley.

Softball won both games very easily 4-2 in the first game and 12-6 in the second game.

Baseball split their doubleheader winning the first game 5-0 and losing the second game 9-8.

Track and Field hosted Allan Hancock and Santa Monica in the heat of the afternoon sun in Memorial Stadium on Friday with the women’s team taking first and the men second.

Swim traveled to compete at Mt. Sac on Friday and came away with a number of individual first place finishes by both the men and women. A great week of competition by all our Renegades!


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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