BC doing it right – Early College in Kern County

Have you heard about 2-year-old Kashe Quest? Her IQ is 146, which is nearly 50 points higher than the average American adult.

Kashe, who is from Los Angeles, is America’s youngest member of Mensa – the oldest high IQ society in the world. She knows the periodic table and can identify the states by shape – wow.

A faculty member from BC sent me this story…. made my week.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 12, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Early College Students Graduate from Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano

Early College graduates from the Wonderful College Prep Academy celebrated graduating as Renegade-Wolves during their ceremony on Saturday, June 5. A team of Bakersfield College advisors were present at the graduation to let parents know about the course offerings available in Summer and Fall 2021. 

Student speakers included these accomplished young wpmen, pictured with Abel Guzman and myself. Crystal Herrera Heredia will be attending UCLA, Destiny Serna will be attending UC Davis, and Adriana Alvarado will be attending Princeton.

Abel Guzman, Crystal Herrera Heredia, Destiny Serna, Adriana Alvarad, Sonya Christian

Destiny Serna was named the Excellence in Pathways Student Speaker. She earned a 4.5 GPA with 430 credits. In her speech, she spoke of the “sense of independence and responsibility” at Wonderful Academy.

Salutatorian Crystal Herrera Heredia earned a 4.5 GPA with 450 credits. In her speech, she talked about the difficulties of attending high school and graduating during a pandemic and the importance of staying connected ….. “when we are apart, it is important to connect to each other.”

Valedictorian Adriana Alvarado earned a 4.5 GPA with 460 credits. In her remarks, she mentioned how her parents were farm workers, as we well as fruit and tupperware vendors. She credited her parents with helping her understand the value of a strong work ethic, and she urged her fellow graduates to remember the sacrifices their loved ones had made to give them a better life.

Congratulations to these incredible young women, and all the graduates at Wonderful College Prep Academy. #ProudPrez #WeAreBC

Visit the photo gallery by Earl Parsons to see more pictures from the Wonderful College Prep Academy graduation.


I’d also like to share some more videos from our commencement tribute for our class of 2021, which aired on KGET on May 16th. Our production included some phenomenal speakers who offered words of advice and congratulations to our amazing Class of 2021.

KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke:

State Senator Shannon Grove:

Assemblyman Vince Fong:

We also included a photo roll of our graduates. Today, I’m sharing the second segment:

You can see all the videos from the Commencement Tribute at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/admissions/2021-commencement-tribute.

BC Celebrates Juneteenth

Dr. Paula Parks embraces a student from the Umoja Club
during the Black History Month conference in February 2020.

Join us on June 15, 16 and 17 at 3 p.m. as we celebrate the history and contributions of African-Americans in a series of virtual seminars leading up to June 19. Visit the Zoom registration link to sign up for all three days.

On June 15, Rich McCrow will be facilitating a discussion between BC history professor Jamal Wright and CSUB history professor Kiran Garcha about the history of the African-American struggle from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865 through the Reconstruction era to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

On June 16, Dean of Counseling and Student Success Marisa Marquez is hosting a forum titled “What Juneteenth Means to Me”. The panel will feature Daron Mackey, BC Educational Advisor and Lead for the African-American Mentoring Program; Natasha Harris, Senior Admissions Officer at CSUB; and Julian West, Director of the Career Ladders Project.

Finally on June 17, we close out the celebration with a look at Juneteenth customs and traditions hosted by Outreach and Early College Director Steven Watkin and Dean of Instruction Jessica Wojtysiak.

On the morning of June 17, a team of volunteers led by Reggie Bolton, Kara McDonald, Michele Puentes, and Cecilia Lopez will be handing out Juneteenth Recipe kits filled with all of the materials needed for some great traditional recipes. Finally, BC will be in attendance at the NAACP Bakersfield Branch Juneteenth Celebration at Yokuts Park between 3:30 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.

BC and Rotary: Building Peace in Kern County

BC and local Rotary clubs are partnering to raise the peace conversation to a new level locally. Join us to hear what your neighbors are already doing to promote peacebuilding in Kern County, and to learn how you can join in the effort! The virtual seminar on Tuesday, June 22 at 4 p.m. is free and open to the public. To attend, visit the registration link

BC Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Scott will be facilitating a discussion between Rotary E-Club member Michael Henstra and Bakersfield East Rotary Club member Fernando Aguirre about how individuals can be empowered to contribute to a peaceful community and world. The discussion was inspired by a video from Rotary Action Group for Peace Director Reem Ghunaim, who described how her experiences living in Palestine shaped her understanding of peace as a conscious choice.

For more information about the BC and Rotary virtual event, visit the BC website.

This event is part of the BC Peace Initiative. You can find out more at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/bc-peace-initiative. There, you can find videos from our two previous seminars, “Educators for Peace” on May 18, and “Mothers for Peace” on March 30.

I’d like to share a few videos from the Educators for Peace seminar, to give you a taste of the types of discussions we have been having.

Here, our panelists are responding to the following prompt:
“It’s a painful reality that we live in a time of extreme polarization, and higher education is no exception. With that said, what are the professional as well as personal challenges of being an educator or administrator in higher educator right now, in this environment, and why?”

Richard McCrow:

Bryan Hirayama:

Jeremy Staat:

Jessica Wojtysiak:

Spring Internship Success

Manufacturing Professor Robert Stewart and Manufacturing Student Antonio Zavala

Internships are a great way for students to receive hands-on experience utilizing the skills they have learned from their pathway program. Every semester the Career Education Department works to expand placement opportunities for our students out in the community. The spring semester was no exception for great placements.

Antonio Zavala, a manufacturing student, was placed with a new employer partner, Shar-Craft Inc’s, a local manufacturing company that provides coating, machining and sealing services. Professor Robert Stewart was diligent in ensuring a positive placement, and Antonio was the perfect fit. Three weeks into his internship, Shar-Craft Inc. offered Antonio a full time position with their company.

The Welding department also had the opportunity for a great internship project over the spring semester at Windmill Cattle Ranch. Three students were placed on the project of tearing down old horse corrals and installing new ones. One of the students, James Bruce, had so much fun with the internship program he created a short video to capture the experience.

Express Enrollment

Last week, Bakersfield College’s Outreach Team served over 190 students during their Express Enrollment Event on June2nd! We hope to see similar turnouts throughout the summer! The next Express Enrollment Event is Wednesday June 16 from 12pm to 5pm. Register here: https://forms.gle/og858uCosjSU6Cao9 or visit the website at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/registrationrocks

There are two more Express Enrollment events planned for this summer, on July 7th from 12pm to 8pm, and August 11th from 12pm to 8pm.

BC Foundation Panorama Newsletter

The BC Foundation released their fourth issue of Panorama – their final issue for the 2020-21 academic year. Great work Heather Penella and Cheryl Scott.

A few items of note –

Kylie Campbell contributed a piece about donations from Bank of America and Phillips 66 to benefit the Early College program. Bank of America’s $56,000 donation will help the Public Health Pathway’s 4-year program that allows students to earn an Associate Degree for Transfer in Public Health. The $25,000 from Phillips 66 will provide course materials and travel funds for students in Industrial Automation.

Longtime BC Foundation Board Member Fran Florez is retiring in September after nearly two decades. “I am so proud of the major improvements to the campus today,” she said.

There will be a Celebration of Life for Professor Emeritus, BC Alumni Association President and Cheer Coach Becki Whitson, who passed away in December. The celebration will be held in the new Campus Center at BC on Monday, July 26 – her birthday. Guests must register online to attend.

Becki Whitson

Closing Day 2021

I am continuing to share videos from our Closing Day 2021 celebration, which took place virtually May 11-13. We enjoyed three days of video productions featuring speakers and performances.

We heard from KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:

I’m sharing three more of the President’s Leadership Awards today.

The first is for the Curriculum Committee:

The second is for Chris Glaser:

And finally, the third is for Steven Holmes, who is ending his tenure as Academic Senate President:

Check out all of the videos from the multi-day production at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/closing-day-spring-2021.

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem from Jack Hernandez:

The Desert

The moon rise
over the desert
is no longer surprising,
he had not foreseen
living in its barren canvas
painted in his later years.

Until this time his life
scurried like an ant
seeking    always seeking,
now he sits grasping
for nothing more
than silent truth in silver light.

BC Vaccine Clinics

If you still need to get your COVID vaccine, I invite you to come to one of BC’s upcoming clinics. Walk-ins are accepted at all clinics, or register at myturn.ca.gov 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.

This week’s clnics include:

  • Tuesday, June 15 on-campus Student Life Office from 10 am to 3 pm: Moderna (18+) and Johnson and Johnson Janssen (18+)
  • Wednesday, June 16 on-campus Student Life Office from 10 am to 3 pm: Moderna (18+) and Johnson and Johnson Janssen (18+)
  • Friday, June 18 @ Mercado Latino (2105 Edison Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93305) from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Moderna (18+) and Pfizer (12+)
  • Saturday, June 19 @ Yokuts Park (4200 Empire Drive) for the 6th Annual Juneteenth Celebration from 3:30 to 8 pm:  Pfizer (12+)

You can find all upcoming clinics at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/studenthealth/clinic.

In the News

Jamal Wright featured in CTA piece about pandemic’s silver linings

Jamal Wright

The California Teachers Association’s California Education magazine, which showcases CTA members, did a piece on the pandemic’s silver linings and how educators have emerged “better, stronger and kinder.”

One of these educators is BC History Professor Jamal Wright:

“For me, the silver lining was learning how to create information resources for students, so they knew something about a topic before even coming to class,” says Wright, a member of the Kern Community College District chapter of the Community College Association (Kern CCD/CCA).

“I learned how to embed videos in lectures using Canvas. I post lectures with videos that students can watch any time. I engage in ‘flipped learning,’ so students can watch clips of Gladiator before I lecture on the Roman Empire. It develops a deeper understanding of the material. I also create quizzes in Canvas to test for understanding and help them retain information.”

102 high school students in Kern County will graduate with an associate degree

I loved this article by Emma Gallegos which made the front page of the Bakersfield Californian. Across the Early College program, 102 graduating high school students in Kern County will also be receiving an associate degree from BC. https://tinyurl.com/594dnfa3

Arvin High School Principal Ed Watts credits the program with helping students continue their education even beyond their associate degree.

“Once a kid has a college plan in their pocket, they’re much more apt to keep going,” he said.

CityServe hosts graduation ceremony for Project HireUp students

KGET did a piece on the Project HireUp program’s latest graduation. Seven students completed the 6-week course, which incorporates job training and life skills development for those struggling with unemployment. And here is Sam Morgan with a front page piece in the Bakersfield Californian https://tinyurl.com/42ftvcsz with photo below from Alex Horvath.

Fun Photos

Here are my latest photos of Neo and Bessie:

Here are a few social media posts I’ve enjoyed this week:

From BC Librarian Mindy Wilmot:

From Counseling and Student Success & Kern Promise Program Manager Isabel Castaneda:

And from History Professor Olivia Garcia:


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 “BC doing it right – Early College in Kern County

  1. […] last week’s blog, I wrote about Spring Internship Success internships of several of our […]

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