Veterans thank you for your service

“Through their service, they have been honed into warriors and possess a warrior spirit. A veteran’s experiences and their duty to protect our country can create challenges to finding the sometimes-elusive peace they seek, beyond those of the average citizen.”

These words from Jenny Frank, manager of Veteran Services and Programs at Bakersfield College, have stuck with me this week as we celebrate and honor our nation’s veterans.

Veterans Day became a nationally observed holiday in 1938. It was first celebrated as “Armistice Day” in 1918 honoring the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” – which was the end of World War I.  

The federal holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all veterans of all wars. It has become a day to honor the sacrifices they have made so that we all can enjoy the freedoms we have. Their courage and dedication are of indescribable importance to our nation, and no words can ever express how much that means.

I am left with a heartfelt – but inadequate – thank you, to all our veterans, for your service.

It was a wonderful week, celebrating our student veterans at all three of our campuses with various events honoring their service.

I finished my week with a great hike, enjoying the peaceful tranquility of a fall morning.

Also spotted a tarantula!

Good morning, friends…
It is November 13, 2021.
The sun shines bright over KCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 

Porterville College

Military Veterans Share Their Stories at 2021-2022’s First On-Campus CHAP Event

Jim Entz, PC Professor and Coordinator of the Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (CHAP), brought the organization into its 20th year on campus with Wednesday’s early afternoon event at the PC Theater.

Founded in 2002, CHAP has become a vital cultural institution of Porterville College. It exists to enhance awareness of important cultural aspects that are little known, and it uses panels, guest speakers, exhibits, and concerts to do so.

In honor of Veterans Day (Thursday, November 11th), the Wednesday panel included five veterans: Nicholas Oliva (Iraq), Roland Hill (Vietnam), Cody Ridenour (Coast Guard patrol in the Caribbean), Greg King (Vietnam), and Everette Morgan (Vietnam). The ages, experiences, and stories of the veterans ranged widely across the spectrum of military life. Branches included the Army, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Their moving stories covered the spectrum of the human experience—grief and trauma, but also humor and the matter-of-fact reality of learning to survive through months of combat and high stress situations—all in locations across the globe. A $68 million dollar drug bust in the Caribbean Sea with the Coast Guard, a massive C-130 plane engaging in a combat landing in Baghdad, Iraq (where a plane nosedives straight down, then pulls up at the last minute to avoid enemy fire), a door gunner’s experience on a helicopter in Vietnam, soldiers racing to get back to base in their planes before the gates were locked—these were a few of the stories told.

One thing that especially stood out: despite there being a distinct contrast of ages and experiences in the panel, the silver-haired Vietnam vets shared a spirit of support and camaraderie with the younger veterans. There exists a unique and amazing bond between servicemembers in the military no matter the branch or time period, and this panel provided a moving, memorable example of that.

As Vietnam vet Everette Morgan said at the event: “You learned the guy next to you was your life…It was unique because your group would stick together no matter what. I’ve never seen that outside of the military.”

Pirates Basketball off to a great start with new coach

Amaurys Fermin

It didn’t take long for new Porterville College head basketball coach Amaurys Fermin and the PC men’s basketball team to make their presence felt on the court.

Facing Southern California’s preseason No. 10-ranked Allan Hancock College, Fermin and the Pirates earned their first victory, beating the Bulldogs by a final score of 78-76 in their 2021-22 season-opener.

PC led 39-32 at halftime and had to hold off a furious late-game surge by Allan Hancock to pull off the upset.

The Pirates have since gone on to an impressive 3 and 1 record to start the season after defeating Ohlone College (86-67) and Cañada College (67-47).  The season’s only loss to date came in a matchup with Chabot College (76-60).

We’re excited for their upcoming matchup with the BC Renegades, when they face them on the PC campus during the Milt Stowe Classic on November 19th!

PC Baseball Team and Students Step Up to help local organization

Last week, I shared an email from Library and Literacy Commissioner, Catherine May, about how the PC baseball team was helping the Friends of the Library organization.

Today I’d like to share a little more background about this effort.

Just over 18 months ago, the Porterville City Library was burned to the ground in a fire which cost our community not only an incredible resource, but the lives of two brave firefighters as well. The community has both mourned these losses and come together to help rebuild in many ways since that tragic day.

The Porterville Friends of the Library organization has been fundraising and selling books to make money for the Porterville Library for decades. They have been crucial in the Libraries effort to rebuild, but not without cost to them.

The fire that leveled the library also took away the organization’s space to store books. A local business was able to allow them to store books in their warehouse, for a time, but can no longer afford to spare the extra room.  Luckily, the city was able to provide space for the Friends of the Library, but they had to move the many heavy books in storage on their own. Unfortunately, the majority of the organization’s membership is older and unable to do much heavy lifting.

Enter the PC Baseball team. They answered the Friends of the Library’s call for help and spent a day moving the boxes from the warehouse to the new city facility.

Pirates Baseball Coach JL Buchanan shared this sentiment on Twitter about the effort, “Porterville College Pirate Baseball players helping out the Friends of Library organization today. So proud of them for giving back to their community.” @gopcpirates @PortervillePrez @PCollegePirates

Cerro Coso Community College

Honoring our Veterans and Active Duty Military

Cerro Coso Community College paid tribute to veterans and active duty military kicking off a week of activities beginning with a flag raising ceremony at the Ridgecrest Campus on Monday, November 8, 2021 by Naval Air Weapon Center, Weapons Division China Lake Color Guards. Speakers included college president Dr. Sean Hancock, Trustee and former Naval Officer Jack Connell, and Ridgecrest Mayor and Cerro Coso alum Eric Bruen.   

A virtual and physical Wall of Courage is on display on the college website  here, and the physical version on exhibit in the Student Center at the Ridgecrest Campus.  On Wednesday, Veterans Services hosted a barbecue for staff and students honoring veterans and those who currently serve our country. 

Balk – New Associate Professor of Nursing

Lisa Balk

Please join us in welcoming new Associate Professor of Nursing Lisa Balk to the Cerro Coso community.   

Born in Maryland, Balk, a military wife, has lived the military life and spent time in San Diego, Rhode Island, and Maryland when her husband was active-duty Navy.  She moved to Ridgecrest in 2016 when her husband took a job at China Lake. 

Balk has a real heart for animals and worked many years as a veterinary assistant while pursuing a career in nursing.  Balk and her husband have a son who lives in Ridgecrest and a daughter in the Los Angeles area training horses. 

She has two rescue cats,  enjoys working with the Guide Dogs for the Blind and is currently raising her fourth puppy.  He accompanies her to work at the college some days, enjoying all that the campus has to offer. 

Balk holds a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Stevenson University, and a Master’s of Science in Health Science, Leadership and Management with an Education Focus from the University of Maryland School of Nursing. 

Welcome to Cerro Coso Lisa!  

High School Students Can Earn College Credit: Find Out How

Cerro Coso Community College is hosting a virtual Dual and Concurrent Programs Workshop for parents of high school students on Tuesday, November 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

If you are the parent of a junior or senior in high school, find out how your student can get a head start in earning college credits before they leave high school, ultimately making their college experience more affordable, efficient, and enriching.

Cerro Coso Community College offers dual and concurrent enrollment classes for high school students throughout its service area. 

Find out more about both programs, processes, and how it can benefit your high school student’s future.

Parents are being asked to pre-register for the Zoom workshop here.  

For more information contact the College Outreach Office at 760-384-6219 or email .

Cerro Coso is now holding priority registration for spring 2022 classes. 

Cerro Coso Community College – Your Hometown College.

Bakersfield College

BC is a Top 150 Community College, Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

Bakersfield College has been recognized as a member of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 150 list. The biennial Aspen Prize Top 150, awarded by the Aspen Institute, is considered the signature recognition for high achievement and performance among American community colleges.

Aspen selects their top college list based on student outcomes that include learning, completion rates, employment rates, earnings and equity. The Aspen Institute reviewed data from a select pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success, as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds. Focused on student access and success, the Aspen Prize recognizes community colleges with exceptional achievements in four areas:

  1. Student learning;
  2. Certificate and degree completion while in community college and after transferring to a four-year institution;
  3. Employment and earnings rates after graduation; and
  4. Access for and success of minority and limited-income students.

The 150 eligible colleges have been invited to submit data and narratives as the next steps in an intensive data and practice review process, culminating in the announcement of the Prize winner in spring 2023. The next steps in the process include selection of the top ten finalists by a  panel of 15 experts in community colleges, higher education and workforce training, to be announced in spring/summer 2022 and Fall 2022 site visits to each of the ten finalists, during which the Aspen Institute and partners will collect additional information, including employment and earnings data and insights about promising practices.

BC Receives $6 Million For Health Education Through Advocacy of Assembly Member Rudy Salas

Assembly Member Rudy Salas presented $6 million dollars in state funding to expand and implement workforce training programs focused on health education. This will be the second time in 2 months, and the fourth time in 4 years that Salas will present substantial funding, totaling over $22 million, to support Renegades and educational programming at Bakersfield College. Read more about how these funds will make a difference.

Renegades Serve as Contact Tracers in Kern County Schools 

Through a partnership with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Kern County Public Health Services, select BC students who completed the Infectious Disease Contact Tracing course will now participate in contact tracing efforts and help stop the spread of the virus at schools in Kern County. Read the press release for Bakersfield College Students with Completion of Infectious Disease Training Course to Serve as Contact Tracers in Schools Throughout Kern County.

BC & Adventist Mobile Health Clinic in McFarland and Rural Kern

Bakersfield College is joining Adventist Health in an effort to make quality health services and health related education more accessible in McFarland through the Adventist Mobile Health Clinic. BC’s efforts will focus on community wellness initiatives, referral services for Early College students and their families, and creating additional opportunities for nursing students to participate in clinical settings and community wellness events. 

BC Peace Project: Peace and Military Service

This week, Bakersfield College continued the BC Peace Project with a seminar titled “Peace and Military Service.”

Check out the panel discussion from Wednesday’s event – thank you to Kimberly Rodriguez, Armando Trujillo, Deb Johnson, and Josh Dhanens for taking part:

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem from Jack Hernandez:


In airports he strode
pridefully past those
slowed by worn years,
head high under a smug cap,
heart smiling secretly
in fortune’s false light,
unaware that soon
he would shuffle
in the wake
of those grinning
at his declining flight.

Quick Tips for Teaching Success

The Porterville College Quick Tips Team continued their education series with “The Quick Tips Team is Fraud Squad” on Wednesday.

Thank you to presenters Dustin Acres, Rebecca Baird, Joy Lawrence, Melissa Long, Ian Onizuka, Elisa Queenan, and Robert Simpkins.

Check out more at

Ag/Water/Energy (AWE) Education Series Webinar #3

This week, the Valley Strong Energy Institute hosted another webinar in the Ag/Water/Energy Education Series. We welcomed Steve Bohlen, Emily Wimberger, and Chris Gould to discuss carbon management opportunities impacting Kern County.

I enjoyed this article from John Cox for The Bakersfield Californian about the webinar.

Check out our speakers’ presentations.

Steve Bohlen:

Chris Gould:

Emily Wimberger:

Find out more about the Institute at

In the News

Renegade Roundup: Forestry and Natural Resources Program at Bakersfield College

Check out the latest feature from BC Agriculture in the Valley Ag Voice.

We are working closely with 4-year universities to make sure students have a clear path to transfer. We are currently working with Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, Humboldt State University, and the University of California at Berkeley on the pathways for natural resource-based degrees. We also have an advisory board that seeks input from our partner universities as well as representatives from CALFIRE, the United States Forest Service, University of California Cooperative Extension, Windwolves Preserve, the Panorama Vista Preserve, and other local entities.

Bakersfield College has two professors within the Forestry department,
Dr. Renaldo Arroyo (left) and Dr. Jalisca Thomason (right)

Kern County Women in STEM: An Interview with Cheryl Scott

Debbie Charpentier with Charpentier Wealth Strategies recently interviewed BC Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Scott.

There are so many great reasons we should encourage girls and women to pursue STEM education and careers!  Working at Bakersfield College, I love seeing our faculty encourage students to explore their options.  The opportunities are endless, and thanks to the fact that STEM jobs generally pay considerably more than non-STEM jobs, they can set a woman up to be successful and self-sufficient.  Employers can help, too.  For example, Phillips 66 has established a scholarship at BC for women studying STEM disciplines.

Cheryl Scott

Fun Photos and Social Media

Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg got her COVID-19 booster. Booster shots administered by Diego and Marisa! Go BC Nursing Program👍🏽

The Porterville College WeComm club shared this group photo after they cleaned up Veterans Park in Porterville:

Cerro Coso Community College shared some photos from their Veterans BBQ:

Trustees Romeo Agbalog and Yovani Jimenez were among the fans at last Saturday’s Renegade Football game:



That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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3 thoughts on “Veterans thank you for your service

  1. Nick Strobel November 13, 2021 at 10:03 am Reply

    So cool that you got to see a tarantula in the wild! I’m glad that you include links to the recordings of some of the great webinars happening at BC. They are fantastic! Another one that happened recently is the BC SGA’s Distinguished Speaker in early November, Dr. Moogega Cooper viewable at .

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