Renegade Commencement – New beginnings for the Class of 2021

Last weekend, we celebrated our amazing Renegade Class of 2021 with a special Commencement Tribute that aired on KGET and streamed on Facebook.

BC featured several of our graduates on our Twitter stream leading up to the tribute. Jose Linares Ochoa was among them – he graduated with an Associate of Science in Kinesiology:

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing videos from the tribute production. You can also see all the videos on the 2021 Commencement Page.

Today, I’m kicking us off by sharing the first two videos from the production.

Student Life Director Nicky Damania‘s introductory remarks:

Music Professor John Gerhold‘s performance of the National Anthem:

We are so proud of our 2021 graduates, who persevered through multiple semesters of virtual learning to accomplish their academic goals. I know we will see great things from you in the future.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 22, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

BC Spring Concert: “I Lived”

The BC College Choirs Spring Concert premiered on YouTube on Monday of this week. The video is now available for anyone to watch at any time.

The featured ensembles include the Bakersfield College Choir, Bakersfield College Renegade Chorus, and Bakersfield College Chamber Singers. Jennifer Garrett — the conductor, and Patrick Bender — the pianist.

Filming took place at the BC Indoor Theatre, Hart Park, Brookdale Assisted Living, and in Lebec.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to produce this amazing concert.

Enjoy this – you are in for a treat!

AAPI Heritage Month Conference Recordings

Andrew Bond uploaded the final recordings from last week’s events celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The playlist is available at

Videos include AAPI Faculty & Staff Spotlight featuring Art Professor Joseph Tipay, The Delano Manongs & a Post-Viewing Discussion, and Readings & Conversation with Portia Choi.

Closing Day

I’m continuing to share videos from our Closing Day celebration, which was held May 11-13 with three days of video production shared on YouTube.

You can see all the videos on the Closing Day Website.

Here’s our first photo roll welcoming everyone to our Closing Day celebration:

And my opening remarks from Day 1:

And of course, our wonderful emcees – Todd Coston, Norma Rojas-Mora, Manny Mourtzanos, and Isabel Castaneda, who started our day with wit and humor:

Educators for Peace

This week, we continued the Peace Initiative’s Peace Seminar Series with a new installment: Educators for Peace. Kara McDonald served as moderator for panelists Richard McCrow, Jessica Wojtysiak, Bryan Hirayama, and Jeremy Staat.

Here is Kara’s introduction to the seminar:

And my opening remarks:

Celebrating Early College Initiative Awards finalists and recipients

Our Outreach & Early College team visited high schools this week to present Early College students with awards that they recently won as part of our BCSGA Student Leadership Awards ceremony. Students were nominated for this award by their instructors and counselors, and we are so proud of all of the dedication and initiative that they are demonstrating by completing high school and getting a head start on college at the same time.

The team would like to recognize and congratulate all finalists and award recipients:

  • Lidia Nunez (Nominated by Cynthia Zamora)- McFarland High School Early College- RECIPIENT
  • Jose Cortez (Nominated by Aaron Rothkopf)- South High School- RECIPIENT
  • Isaac Lara (Nominated by Christopher Pelletier)- McFarland High School- RECIPIENT
  • Annika Fernandez (Nominated by Christopher Pelletier)- McFarland High School Early College- FINALIST
  • Shelby Wood (Nominated by Amanda Brummer)- Liberty High School- FINALIST
  • Janelle Cruz (Nominated by Alyson Moss)- Liberty High School- FINALIST

These amazing pictures show some of the students mentioned above surrounded by the high school and BC staff who are supporting them through their educational journey. Congratulations to all finalists and recipients!!

Recipient Jose Cortez from South High School with his instructor Mr. Rothkopf, counselor Mrs. Ramey, and Principal Mrs. Grumling
Finalist Janelle Cruz from Liberty High School with our BC Early College Counselor Josie Guillen
Recipient Lidia Nunez from McFarland High School Early College with BC Counselor Cynthia Zamora.

Honoring our Kern County Resource (Foster) Parents

On Thursday, May 13, 2021, the BC Foster & Kinship Care Education (FKCE) program and Kern County Department of Human Services (DHS) hosted the 12th Annual Resource event to honor resource (foster) parents for their hard work and dedication. May is Foster Care Awareness Month and this event was just one way to celebrate our foster resource parents. Over 90 resource families participated and honored by their caseworkers and community support teams during this virtual ceremony.

The MC of the night was Monique Hawkins, who is the Foster Care Ombudsman for Kern County. Vanessa Frando, Assistant Director of the Kern County Department of Human Services, and Imelda Valdez, Executive Director of Categorical programs of Bakersfield College, provided a warm welcome to all attendees.

Throughout the evening, resource parents were honored for exemplary service to foster youth: Jessica & Timothy Swatzell adopted and cared for special needs children, and Noemi Sanchez, who started an organization called birthday boxes, providing party in a box for a child in foster care. When she learned that some children in foster care do not celebrate their birthdays, she made it her mission to ensure that no child should go without a celebration and started this organization. She has delivered over 50 boxes to foster children to help celebrate their birthdays.

The event also included a special presentation by Mike and Kristin Berry who are parent coaches, trainers, published authors, and podcasters. They are the founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and authored seven books related to foster children. They are parents of eight foster children, all of whom have been adopted.

Back to Campus

I’ve been loving seeing the photos our Renegade family is sharing as they return to our physical campus.

Here’s a picture of the Foundation team getting settled in their new office space in the Campus Center:

And here’s Craig Hayward and Sooyeon Kim from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness:

In the News

Romeo Agbalog named Kern County Farm Bureau Executive Director

Congratulations to KCCD Board of Trustees President Romeo Agbalog, who has been named Kern County Farm Bureau Executive Director.

“Romeo comes to the Farm Bureau with a wide breadth of experience having worked in both public and private sectors. He brings a wealth of knowledge of public policy and government at all levels,” said President of the Farm Bureau, John Moore.

BC COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

BC will be holding COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the Hindu Temple of Kern County on June 10 and July 8.

Upcoming clinics will also be held:

  • Tuesday, June 1 @ Emanuel Lutheran Church (1900 Baker Street) from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Thursday, June 3 in partnership with the Governor’s Office and KGET @ 2120 L St, Bakersfield, CA 93309 from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Saturday, June 5th BC Mass Clinic on campus from 10 am to 2 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Thursday, June 10 @ the Hindu Temple of Kern County (6700 Valley View, Bakersfield) from 5 to 8 p.m.: Moderna (18+)
  • Monday, June 21 @ BC Delano Campus from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Tuesday, June 29 @ Emanuel Lutheran Church (1900 Baker Street) from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Thursday, July 1 in partnership with the Governor’s Office and KGET @ 2120 L St, Bakersfield, CA 93309 from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Thursday, July 8 @ the Hindu Temple of Kern County (6700 Valley View, Bakersfield) from 5 to 8 p.m.: Moderna (18+)
  • Saturday, July 7th BC Mass Clinic on campus from 10 am to 2 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Monday, June 21 @ BC Delano Campus from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (+18)
  • Saturday, August 7th BC Mass Clinic on campus from 10 am to 2 pm: Moderna (+18)

For more information, visit the BC Student Health & Wellness Center COVID-19 Vaccination page. Walk-ins are accepted at all clinics or register at or call (833) 422-4255 and schedule your appointment. Enter the zip code of 93305 to view the Bakersfield College Student Health and Wellness Center availability.

Spotted on Social Media

Rural Initiatives Director Abel Guzman earned his doctorate from USC. Congratulations, Dr. Guzman!

Endee Grijalva showed off her BC mask while celebrating Garden Pathways:

And I loved this inspirational message that Bill Moseley shared:


Congratulations to all our Student-Athletes graduating this semester:


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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