Merry Christmas 2021

Mele Kalikimaka

I always enjoy the beautiful banyan trees in Hawaii… it brings back memories of growing up in Kerala and doing weekend trips to Courtallam with mom and dad.

A banyan tree in Hawaii

Banyans are a special tree that creates trunk-like roots from its mighty branches to the ground, allowing the tree to walk in a way, traveling and spreading out over many years. The largest banyan tree in the world is located in India – it is over 250 years old and covers about 3.5 acres, with 3,600 aerial roots that give it the appearance of a full forest.

The Great Banyan Tree in India was affected by a fungal attack after two cyclones in the 19th Century, and its main 51-foot trunk had to be removed. However, this network of aerial roots has allowed the tree to go on and thrive.

Here is a red crested cardinal (Brazilian Cardinal) perched on a Jamaican Poinsetiia … gorgeous.

There is a tradition that says when you see a cardinal, it should serve as a reminder to embrace the new beginnings ahead, and believe those beginnings will comfort your soul.

And then there are lizards…the one below was snapped at a garden in Hawaii …. house geckos are quite common in south India…. and, I am not a fan, btw.

Hawai’i for me always brings back childhood memories.

And on Christmas eve NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was launched in French Guiana. Nick, I am sure you will write about this in one of your great Californian pieces.

Good morning and Merry Christmas, friends…
It is December 25, 2021.
The sun shines bright over KCCD.

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

Porterville College

Quick Tips for Teaching Success: A Deep Dive Into Ensuring Learning

I’ve been sharing some of the presentations from Porterville College’s “Quick Tips for Teaching Success” series. Today, I’m sharing one from last April that I particularly enjoyed but haven’t had a chance to share yet.

In it, panelists discuss ways to address learning loss and ensure learning for their students.

You van view the recording online at

Thank you to presenters Dustin Acres, Melissa Long, and Elisa Queenan!

Cerro Coso Community College

Message from President Sean Hancock

I wanted to share part of the message Cerro Coso Community College President Sean Hancock sent out just before the end of semester:

“I am inspired by the way you live out our mission to “make a difference in the life of every student we serve” and admire your ongoing commitment, collaboration, and compassion throughout it all. I hope that during this season of joy, you will take a moment to reflect on the many contributions you make to this college, its students, each other, and the communities we serve.

As I look back on the past year, I am humbled and deeply proud of everything we have accomplished, and the improvements that we have put in place that will have a lasting impact over the years to come. So, as we wrap up the year, let me wish you a joyful and restful holiday season. 

I look forward to resuming our important work together in January 2022 as we continue to make Cerro Coso Community College an incredible and transformative place that shapes the lives of so many students.  I am confident that we can, and will, triumph over any new challenges in the New Year as we continue to “figure it out” together. “

Bakersfield College

Umoja ASTEP Celebrates Kwanzaa and mentors

Umoja students light the candles on the Kinara; each candle represents one day of the holiday.

Bakersfield College’s Umoja African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) Program held a pre-Kwanzaa and Mentor Appreciation Celebration. Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural holiday created by Dr. Maulana Karenga and celebrated from Dec. 26 though Jan. 1. It is based on African harvest festivals. Each day has a specific theme: unity, self- determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. 

The students also thanked their mentors. Juwan Priddie said of his mentor BC faculty Charles Truvillion: “Although Mr. Truvillion is a very busy man, he still checks up on me as if I were his own son. . . I will use his wise words as a guide in my life. Thank you Dr. Parks and thank you Mr. Truvillion.”

From left: Mentors Carol Holland, BC Nurse Debra Strong, students and mentor Charles Truvillion

Also recognized were the students who completed the two-semester Umoja Career Prep Academy, a partnership between Umoja, Dr. Ken Robinson, Dignity Health, and the BC Nursing department. The program was funded by grants from Morgan Clayton and the BC Foundation.

The Umoja ASTEP program was founded by Dr. Parks in 2015 and offers coursework, mentoring, counseling support to stay on track and graduate, academic and cultural trips, book loans, college tours, and motivating speakers and events. This Celebration was more intimate due to COVID restrictions on in-person events.

From left: Mychael Phillips, Umoja Comm professor; Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator/English faculty; Umoja students; Steve Agard, Umoja Counselor; and Steve Watkin, Interim Assoc. Vice Chancellor: masks were only removed for the photo

Tom Burke Recognition

Last week, I shared about the KCCD Board of Trustees’ recognition of Chancellor Emeritus Tom Burke. Today, I’d like to share another video and some photos.

Here’s State Assemblymember Rudy Salas:

And a few photos:

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media:

Bakersfield College’s Outreach & Early College team had a festive gathering:

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce shared this:

“The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with presenting sponsor CHEVRON was proud to host a special 2021 Energy and Ag Academy graduation. Dedicated to inspiring and educating local high school and collage students about the thriving industries within Kern County, the academy, in its seventh year, continues to instill core leadership skills in its participants.

Over 40 students participated in the annual educational program. Participants were chosen from area high schools (juniors and seniors) and students enrolled at Bakersfield College, Taft College, CSU Bakersfield and CSU Fresno who have an interested in the Energy and Agriculture sectors.

This year’s Energy and Agriculture academy was made possible through a collaborative partnership with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHCC), Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, Presenting Sponsor, CHEVRON, and industry partners: Bakersfield College, California Resources Corporation, and Aera Energy, LLC.

Mary Jo Pasek sent me this photo of the BC Choir visiting the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary:

Assemblymember Vince Fong was in Bakersfield for the annual Christmas Eve Toy Run:

BC Librarian Faith Bradham shared this post from visiting the library her grandmother directed:

Porterville College Communications Professor Jonathan Hernandez was in a festive spirit:


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

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


Tagged: , , , ,

One thought on “Merry Christmas 2021

  1. […] year, I wrote about my visit to Hawaii. Mele […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: